Plus new tunes from Gucci Mane, Grizzly Bear, Robert Plant, and more

By Eric Renner BrownMadison VainNolan Feeney and Christian Holub
August 18, 2017 at 02:15 PM EDT
FABIO TEIXEIRA/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images; Steven A Henry/Getty Images; Joseph Okpako/Redferns

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. From Justin Bieber’s reunion with his “Sorry” cohorts to another dose of wholesome Miley, here are the week’s most noteworthy releases. Got Spotify? Stream all of EW’s picks by following our playlist (embedded below) for this week.

Justin Bieber & BloodPop, “Friends”

When he’s not topping the charts with the “Despacito” remix, the Biebz is getting his old squad back together — and returning some favors. “Friends” reunites several members of the team who worked on his hit “Sorry,” including producer BloodPop — making his artist debut here — and songwriting wonders Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter. —Nolan Feeney

Miley Cyrus, “Younger Now”

The 24-year-old pop star embraces dreamy guitars and dramatic atmospherics — literally, check out the electronic thunderstorm that opens the cut — for a warm ode playing down age. “I just think for girls to celebrate being young right now would be a great thing,” Cyrus told Billboard earlier this summer, adding that she had a lightbulb moment during a conversation with her mother, Tish. “She was like, ‘I swear to God, you are younger now at 24 than you were at four!’ And so it just hit me, like I am f—ing younger now, and I am proud of that.” —Madison Vain

Gucci Mane ft. Migos, “I Get the Bag”

The prolific trap master — he already released the excellent Droptopwop earlier this year — recruited the genre’s reigning kings for the first single from Mr. Davis, due Sept. 15. Quavo and Takeoff deliver verses a cut above some of the ones they’ve spun in recent pop guest spots, but reserve the spotlight for Gucci, who tosses out gems like “I won’t even come out the house for free” and “Stop the comparing, y’all making me laugh / need the rehab, I’m addicted to cash.” —E.R.B.

Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins

Dense and breathtaking, the seminal indie-rock group’s first full-length since 2012’s Shields has arrived — and it rekindles the characteristics that have always endeared Grizzly Bear to listeners. Few of the ’00s indie powerhouses and evolved as well as them. —E.R.B.

Bonnie McKee, “Thorns”

After completing her visual EP last year — and digging into her archives for her one-off throwback “Stars in Your Heart” — the pop hitmaker for the likes of Britney Spears and Katy Perry is back to new tunes with this finger-snapping bop. “I generally consider myself a pretty warm, approachable person, but there is a side of me that can be quite prickly,” she tells EW. “‘Thorns’ is a colorful and unapologetic proclamation that I am a complicated, multidimensional woman who can, like many women, be elusive, aloof, and even biting at times. But that’s what you get when you pick a rose.” —N.F.

Robert Plant, “The May Queen”

The iconic Led Zeppelin singer announced Carry Fire, his first record since 2014, on Friday and shared its bounding lead single, “The May Queen.” With its bounding percussion, forceful acoustic guitars, and Plant’s tried-and-true ah-ah vocal style, the rustic track sounds like a lost cut from the Led Zeppelin III sessions. —E.R.B.

LCD Soundsystem, “Tonite”

Their comeback album is due in two weeks, but the New York dance-punk legends hadn’t shared any new material since May’s “Call the Police” and “American Dream” double dose. Between its gurgling synths and James Murphy’s anxious lyrics, “Tonite” resembles the most brooding moments from LCD’s previous album, 2010’s This Is Happening. E.R.B.

KMD feat. Jay Electronica & DOOM, “True Lightyears”

Both of these rappers march to the beat of their own drum. While DOOM still hasn’t pursued a follow-up to his beloved 2005 Madlib collaboration Madvillainy, he’s reformed his old ‘80s group KMD. While Jay Electronica still hasn’t released his long-awaited debut album, he provides a guest verse here. Over a beat that is characteristically both cartoony and ethereal, these two eccentrics trade verses about mystic self-confidence and the virtues of various lunchmeats. Hip-hop heads are happy to take whatever they can get from these guys. —Christian Holub

Lizzo, “Water Me”

Nourish thyself. In her uplifting new jam, the “Good As Hell” singer-rapper considers the need to shower each other — get the metaphor yet? — with love, affection, and respect when it comes to relationships. Cheers to that. —M.V.

Weezer, “Mexican Fender”

The alt-rock mainstays returned to form with last year’s Weezer (White Album) — and they appear to be maintaining the streak with “Mexican Fender,” the first single off their forthcoming 11th album, Pacific Daydream. On paper, the cut reads like most Weezer singles: Crunchy power-pop guitars? Check. Nerdy-meets-cool narrative? Got it. (This one’s about meeting a computer programmer at the guitar shop.) An intensely saccharine chorus? Yep. But there’s a certain comfort to Weezer’s reliability and how Rivers Cuomo can seemingly churn out addictive nuggets like “Mexican Fender” in his sleep. —E.R.B.

Thomas Rhett, “Grave”

The newly minted country headliner continues marching toward Life Changes‘s Sept. 8 release with “Grave,” a sweet meditation on what we take with us when the lights go out. “When the good Lord calls me home and this life is through,” he sings over a classic country instrumental. “I may be six feet deep, but I’ll still be lovin’ you / Baby, what we got won’t ever die / Can’t take diamonds, can’t take gold / But I’ll take your love with me when I go.” —M.V.

Brand New, Science Fiction

The beloved band’s first album in eight years is a sweeping statement that should sate their passionate fans. Painstakingly assembled — they backed off plans to release the project last year because it wasn’t “complete enough, refined enough” — the LP ranges from plucky balladry (“Could Never Be Heaven”) to breakneck emo (“Out of Mana”).

Anderson East, “All on My Mind”

The southern R&B artist teamed up with Ed Sheeran, Sheeran’s frequent collaborator Jonny McDaid (Snow Patrol), and Aaron Raitiere for the cooking first offering from his forthcoming second album. Obsessed with a hard-to-tame love — wonder who he could be talking about… — he sings, “You could find my woman dancing in bare-feet on a couch, in a ballroom dress.” —M.V.

Julien Baker, “Appointments”

The heartrending singer-songwriter signed to Matador Records — the powerhouse indie that hosts Queens of the Stone Age and Spoon — on the heels of her sparse, moving 2015 debut Sprained Ankle. “Appointments,” the first single from her label debut Turn Out the Lights, out Oct. 27, picks up where she left off. Swirling guitars and vocals build to a wrenching conclusion: “Maybe it’s all gonna turn out alright,” Baker sings. “Oh, I know that it’s not, but I have to believe that it is.” —E.R.B.

Alice Glass, Alice Glass EP

Glass made her name as the madcap singer in electronic duo Crystal Castles; her surprise, eponymous EP is her first solo release since leaving the group in 2014. Earlier this year, she described her new material alternately sounding “like being eaten by fire ants” and “like being slowly consumed by a snake.” She’s not exactly correct — these songs are far more enjoyable than either of those situations. She’ll bring the tunes to audiences this fall as the opener on Marilyn Manson’s tour. —E.R.B.

Gorillaz, “Strobelite (Kaytranada Remix)”

From productions for Chance the Rapper and Anderson .Paak to his own magnificent 2016 album 99.9%, 24-year-old Canadian producer Kaytranada seems to currently possess the Midas touch. His remix of “Strobelite,” a highlight of Gorillaz’ 2017 LP Humanz, is another display of his canny ability to recast the work of others, previously exhibited on versions of Rihanna’s “Kiss It Better” and Pharrell’s “Happy.” —E.R.B.

ZHU, stardustexhalemarrakechdreams EP

The mysterious producer returned with a surprise EP Friday. Across its four tunes, ZHU embraces haunting effects and a skittering low-end for irresistible results. Queue up standout “Stardust” and, go on, get a little weird. —M.V.

Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts, “Soul and Cigarette”

Italian composer and musician Daniele Luppi teamed with superproducer Danger Mouse — and guest including Jack White and Norah Jones — for 2011’s Rome, which found common ground between alt-rock and Spaghetti Westerns. Luppi’s newly announced project is a collaborative album with New York indie-rockers Parquet Courts; it’s somewhat fitting that the band that wrote “Stoned & Starving” about living in Ridgewood, Queens worked on MILANO, which a press release describes as Luppi’s depiction “of an emerging youth culture struggling to be heard amidst the rapid gentrification of old Milan.” Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O also contributed to MILANO, which is duo out Oct. 27 via Danger Mouse’s nascent 30th Century Records. —E.R.B.

Dream Wife, “Fire”

The all-female punk trio — who hail from England and Iceland — were among EW’s favorite acts at SXSW this year. “Fire,” off their EP of the same name due next month, is another example of why they rule: Astounding musical precision, addictive melodies, and plenty of heart.  —E.R.B.

Listen to a playlist of the tracks from this week’s New Music Friday above.

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