New Music Friday: 13 releases to hear now
Plus, Spoon, Depeche Mode, Maren Morris, and more
Every Friday, artists drop anticipated albums, surprise singles, and hyped collaborations. As part of New Music Friday, EW’s music team chooses some of the essential new tunes. With fresh offerings from Feist, Zara Larsson, and Mike Will Made-It, here are the the week’s most noteworthy releases.
The indie-folk queen’s first new single since 2011’s Metals is a genre-bending affair that’s worlds away from her ubiquitous 2007 smash “1234.” It’s also some of the most adventurous, compelling music the Canadian singer-songwriter has released, beginning sparely before erupting into jagged, bluesy fireworks. The experimentation bodes well for her album of the same name, due out April 28. —Eric Renner Brown
Zara Larsson, So Good
The U.S. debut from Sweden’s latest export lives up its name. The “Never Forget You” singer keeps the party going with the dancehall jam “Sundown” and the Clean Bandit collaboration “Symphony,” but on slower tracks like the bittersweet “Funeral,” she shows off the voice that made her a star in her home country at age 10. “There are some really sad heartbreak songs, songs about relationships to your friends, and even songs about believing in yourself,” Larsson recently told EW. “It sounds corny, but it’s so good!” —Nolan Feeney
Mike Will Made-It ft. Big Sean, “On The Come Up”
After releasing “Gucci On My,” featuring Migos, 21 Savage, and YG, earlier this month, the prolific producer announced his new album, Ranson 2, and shared “On the Come Up” on Thursday. But the extravagant, Big Sean-featuring track is just another appetizer: Ransom 2 will also include guest spots from Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Pharrell, Future, Lil Wayne, and more. —E.R.B.
Spoon, Hot Thoughts
The Austin rockers couldn’t make a bad record if they tried. And on Spoon’s ninth LP, they score once more with a heady cocktail of textured guitars, weirdo synths, and Britt Daniel’s seductive sandpaper-rough croon. —Kevin O’Donnell
Depeche Mode, Spirit
The new-wave legends teamed up with producer James Ford (Mumford & Sons, Florence + the Machine) for an impressive new album that strikes a timely note in the current political climate with cuts like “Where’s the Revolution.” —E.R.B.
The road to Tinashe’s long-awaited Joyride LP has been rocky since it was first announced way back in the fall of 2015. But after tiding fans over with the companion mixtape Nightride last fall, she appears to be back on track with her new single “Flame.” The smoldering, 80s-tinged track is — get your emoji keyboard ready— pure fire. —N.F.
Maren Morris, “Bummin’ Cigarettes,” “Company You Keep,” “Space”
The 26-year-old Texas spitfire made lots of noise last summer with her terrific debut album, Hero, and added three more to the set when she released its deluxe edition Friday. Each of the previously unreleased tunes showcases a different aspect of her preternatural song-crafting inclination, floating from tender reflection (“Bummin’ Cigarettes”) to cheeky adage manipulation (“Company You Keep”) to open-hearted soul-searching (“Space”). With each new song better than the one before it, you can’t help but wonder what else might be on Morris’ cutting room floor. —Madison Vain
ANOHNI, Paradise EP
On this companion to her 2016 album Hopelessness, the visionary artist explores a dystopian world of corruption, ecological destruction, and fascism — in other words, life on planet Earth right now. But her doomsaying is offset with stunning electronic arrangements by Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never. —K.O.
Rick Ross, Rather You Than Me
The 41-year-old rapper’s first album since December 2015’s Black Market is as lavish as the fur and gold crown he wears on its cover. Clocking in at just over an hour, Rather You Than Me blends jazzy horns, Zaytoven-esque keyboards, and concussive drum tracks for an instrumental swirl that’s distinctively Rozay. And like most of Ross’ projects, the album’s guest list is staggering: Nas, Future, Raphael Saadiq, Gucci Mane, Meek Mill, Ty Dolla Sign, Jeezy, and Wale all stop by. Chris Rock even drops in for a couple spoken word interludes. —E.R.B.
Betty Who, “Mama Say”
The latest instant-grat track from the electro-pop singer’s upcoming album The Valley (out March 24) is her self-described “ode to…1999 Britney Spears.” And if the booming breakdown doesn’t give you flashbacks to turn-of-the-millennium bubble-gum pop, just take a close look at the lyrics, which contain more than a few winks at Spears’ catalog. —N.F.
Conor Oberst, Salutations
After releasing the stripped-down Ruminations this past October, the Bright Eyes frontman revealed a revised version — including full-band renditions of that album’s 10 tracks and seven new songs — was on its way. The resulting Salutations, made with frequent collaborators the Felice Brothers and legendary drummer Jim Keltner, calls back to the more jangly, Southern-flavored sound he made as Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band with hints of Cassadaga‘s waltz-like grandeur thrown in. Highlights include “Too Late to Fixate,” an accordion-heavy meditation on mindfulness and infidelity featuring Oberst’s signature warble at the forefront of the sing-along chorus, and the rollicking “Napalm,” a “Roosevelt Room”-like rocker. On Ruminations, Oberst was alone and vulnerable, confronting the pain of his recent past; on Salutations, some of that vulnerability is still there — but now there’s a layer of merry camaraderie (thanks to additional contributions from Jim James, M. Ward, Gillian Welch, and more) to it, too. —Ariana Bacle
Real Estate, In Mind
Guitarist Matt Mondanile left Real Estate prior to In Mind’s release, but his absence doesn’t appear to have tripped up the New Jersey jangle-pop outfit. If anything, Mondanile’s replacement, Julian Lynch, has reinvigorated the group’s sound with a mild hint of scuzz. But Real Estate is still frontman Martin Courtney’s show: his dreamy vocal delivery and observational lyricism continue to define the band on their fourth full-length. —E.R.B.
Weezer, “Feels Like Summer”
Less than a year after releasing their tenth studio album, the nerd-rock legends returned Thursday with a fresh single and news that their next full-length would drop before year’s end. While 2016’s Weezer (White Album) reclaimed some of the riffed-out edginess of the band’s earlier work, “Feels Like Summer” finds frontman Rivers Cuomo in emulating the bombast and reggae-tinged vibes of current pop fare like Katy Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm.” —E.R.B.