New Music Friday: 13 new releases to hear now
Every Friday, artists drop anticipated albums, surprise singles, and hyped collaborations. As part of New Music Friday, EW’s music team will choose some of the essential new tunes. With new releases from Sleater-Kinney, Migos, Japandroids, and more, here are the most noteworthy new releases this week.
Sleater-Kinney, Live In Paris
After a decade away from the game, Sleater-Kinney returned in 2015 with their eighth studio album, No Cities to Love, and a world tour that reminded the world why the Pacific Northwest power trio is one of rock’s crown jewels. This career-spanning live document, recorded at La Cigale in Paris, captures the group’s extremes, from the sonic assault of 1997’s “Dig Me Out” to the tenderness of 2005’s “Modern Girl.” — Eric Renner Brown
Their breakout smash “Bad and Boujee” currently sits at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but the second studio album from the Southern hip-hop trio suggests they’re just getting started. And while DJ Khaled, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, and Travis Scott all stop by, highlights like “T-Shirt” prove the Migos don’t need much help. “Culture is what the fans have been waiting for,” the group’s Takeoff told EW. “The flavor you get from Migos — the excitement, the swag, everything — it’s a movie, literally.” —E.R.B.
Erik Hassle, Innocence Lost
Trained at the same Stockholm music school that groomed Robyn and Tove Lo, Swedish crooner Erik Hassle mixes R&B and soul melodies with glossy electro-pop production on his latest full-length. Highlights include the disco-tinged “No Words” and the heartbreaking closer “Missing You,” as well as guest appearances by Tinashe (on the title track) and Vic Mensa. —Nolan Feeney
Japandroids, Near to the Wild Heart of Life
“Our old strategy was trying to basically create a really great live record in the studio,” Japandroids singer-guitarist Brian King told EW late last year. “Not being afraid of using the studio for what it’s capable of is not necessarily a strategy, per se, but it does kind of open the door to infinite possibilities that I don’t think we ever really considered before this album.” The benefits of the approach are evident on the Vancouver duo’s third album — and first since 2012’s opus Celebration Rock — which melds their heart-on-sleeve lyricism with a smattering of acoustic guitars and electronic effects. Or, as Barry Walters put it in EW’s review, “Near to the Wild Heart of Life marks a huge leap forward in studio craft, stylistic diversity, and lyrical scope as it crosses the gap between punk and classic rock like the Clash’s London Calling or Green Day’s American Idiot.” —E.R.B.
Gallant “Cave Me In” ft. Tablo and Eric Nam
The R&B-breakout dropped his long-awaited debut in 2016 but he hasn’t wasted any time getting to new music. Twenty-seven days into the new year, Gallant returned with a fresh, understated cut that features South Korean popstars Tablo and Eric Nam. The three take turns begging and pleading with their love interests. Chances are you won’t be able to resist. — Madison Vain
Cloud Nothings, Life Without Sound
Cloud Nothings have reliably churned out solid pop-punk records for the better part of a decade, but on their fifth album, Life Without Sound, frontman Dylan Baldi tells EW they’re focusing on the pop side of the equation. “It’s a poppier record,” he says. “I’ve just been trying to write pop songs, in a way — or my own version of them.” Everything’s relative, though: “Modern Act” and “Enter Entirely” are among the most immediate tunes in Cloud Nothings’ discography, but they still have enough grit for the mosh pit. —E.R.B.
Kevin Garrett, “Little Bit of You”
If you don’t know Kevin Garrett’s name, just look a little harder at the credits of your favorite album of 2016—the Brooklyn-based songwriter co-produced Beyoncé’s “Pray You Catch Me” from Lemonade. Now, he’s prepping for his second EP, False Hope, out Feb. 3, with the sparse, finger-snapping slow jam “Little Bit of You.” “The song is about catching on to someone’s negative tendencies in a relationship and seeing them within yourself as well,” Garrett tells EW, “all the while not wanting to give up on anything.“
Allison Crutchfield, Tourist in This Town
Allison Crutchfield has been playing in rock bands since she was a teenager—including some with her twin sister, Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee—but she never put out a solo album until now. Crutchfield packs her debut LP with an arsenal of vintage synthesizers and stellar, quote-this-on-your-LiveJournal lyrics (see: “I keep confusing love and nostalgia,” from “I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California”) inspired by a breakup and the disorienting nature of life on the road. —N.F.
Thundercat, “Show You The Way”
The funk-jazz fusion of bass virtuoso Thundercat is notoriously smooth — but bringing aboard two kings of smooth rock, Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, initially seemed like a stretch, even for him. Instead, the track is one of Thundercat’s best yet, and bodes well for his upcoming album, Drunk, which features Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, and Pharrell. —E.R.B.
Brantley Gilbert, The Devil Don’t Sleep
The hard-rock leaning country star’s last two albums — 2014’s Just as I Am and 2010’s Halfway to Heaven — both enjoyed platinum-level success and his fourth LP has equal stadium-sized ambition. With swaggering guitars, catchy hooks, and a DGAF attitude, Devil promises to keep the “One Hell of an Amen” singer at the top of the country charts. —M.V.
Real Estate, “Darling”
Founding member and slick guitarist Matt Mondanile left the dreamy indie-rock act since they released their last album, 2014’s Atlas, but the jangly first single from their fourth full-length In Mind suggests they’re no worse for wear. Martin Courtney’s plaintive vocals blend with Alex Bleeker’s plucky bass and new axeman Julian Lynch’s riffs for a product that’s classic Real Estate. E.R.B.
Ty Segall, Ty Segall
Another year, another Ty Segall record: Almost exactly a year after his most recent effort, Emotional Mugger, the mind-bogglingly prolific patron saint of San Francisco’s garage rock scene is back with his ninth solo album. On this self-titled effort — the second of his career — Segall’s songwriting is more direct and fleshed-out than on Mugger, yielding T.Rex-worthy results from the strummer “Orange Color Queen” to the 10-minute amp workout “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned).” —E.R.B.
Miles Mosley, Uprising
During Kamasi Washington’s latest tour, Miles Mosley often stole the show with his upright bass fireworks. The saxophonist would typically cede the stage to Mosley for “Abraham,” a prog-jazz masterpiece that’s featured along with 10 other high-octane cuts on his latest full-length. —E.R.B.