Stream of the Crop: 9 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

Stream of the Crop: 9 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

Every week, the Noisey staff puts together a list of the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. Sometimes it includes projects we’ve written about on the site already; sometimes it’s just made up of great records that we want everyone to hear, but never got the chance to write about. The result is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.

Noname: Room 25

With its undertones of blues and jazz, [Noname’s debut] Telefone felt like the antithesis to Chicago’s drill scene. “When I initially created it, I wanted it to feel like a conversation with someone who you have a crush on for the first time,” she said in a 2016 interview with The Fader. Though artfully assembled, the mixtape borrows much from the childhood game of Telefone. Noname’s inward delivery ensures that there’s an amount of distance between her and her listeners, and the message, like the game, remains somewhat distorted by the time it gets to the last participant. If her debut was proof she was self-sufficient and could generate a buzz of her own, Room 25 feels like she’s opened a door to a portal she didn’t know she possessed. On the album’s opening track, “Self,” she runs through a laundry list of who she thinks Room 25 will resonate with. Halfway through the 90-second song, she abandons the overthinking. “Y’all really thought a bitch couldn’t rap, huh?” she says. “Nah, actually this is for me.” — Kristin Corry

Dilly Dally: Heaven

Heaven is healing, intimate, an understanding that absence weighs more than presence, that life is both sweet and sour. It’s the record you wish you had in high school, a voice acknowledging your hurt all while giving you mantras to hold the hell on to. “The more I do this life, the more I realize that music is 100 percent the closest thing I’ve ever had to a religion,” Monks says. “It’s through music that I seek to find the answers for all the pain that exists. Hopefully this record will spawn a bunch of new cults or something, that’d be sick.” Monks jokes, breaking into a grin. “Like the good ones, not those bad ones.” — Jill Krajewski, Dilly Dally Almost Died

The Goon Sax: We’re Not Talking

We’re Not Talking looks beyond the boilerplate of ‘Australian Rock’, finding inspiration in avant legends like Jenny Hval, Pere Ubu, ESG and The Raincoats. Tracks like “Losing Myself” and “We Can’t Win” experiment with synths and drum machines, giving the music a hermetically sealed, internal feeling that’s true to the songs’ tone. Violins screech on “She Knows” as if laid down by Vicky Aspinall, while baroque horns on “Make Time 4 Love” cast Louis as a dour, sassy Jens Lekman, giving his theatrical vocal (one of the best on the record, going from romantic to downcast to straight-up petulant over the song’s runtime) an adequately dramatic padding. — Shaad D’Souza, The Goon Sax Are Indie Pop’s Next Best Mess

The Dirty Nil: Master Volume

[The Dirty Nil] is a high-voltage machine—an opening act that blows away every headliner with ease and a smile. For their appropriately titled sophomore album, Master Volume, the band set out to make a perfect rock record and they succeeded. On “Pain of Infinity,” the Nil crafted a spiraling, hypnotic hook capable of boring its way into any eardrum. “Auf Wiedersehen” is the album’s Germanic fuck-off power ballad. “Always High” and “I Don’t Want That Phone Call” both break from traditional “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” norms, pleading with a friend to pump the breaks on their substance intake before things head south. And the closer, “Evil Side,” features a slow build-up that carries the record out on a wave of feedback and distortion. — Dan Ozzi, The Dirty Nil’s ‘Master Volume’ Is the Album Rock ‘n’ Roll Deserves

la plimbare: la plimbare

In mixing field recordings from the coastal town of Constanta, Romania with more-often-than-not-atonal squelches of synthesizers, the sound artist la plimbare positions herself as an audio documentarian marking our environment’s slow slide into total disrepair. Bird calls ring listlessly over commercial drones, water sounds swirl in anxious loops, evoking the long-tail destruction of the organic in favor of (ultra-profitable) mechanized industry. It’s a reminder of what we stand to lose as we continue to neglect the needs of the planet we call home. Once it’s gone, only a low hum of despair remains. It’ll sound like a saw wave. — Colin Joyce

Aphex Twin: Collapse EP

The bitcrushed cityscapes and rippling countrysides in the video for Aphex Twin’s tensely coiled “T69 Collapse” more or less get at the atmosphere of the latest from Warp’s most acidic prankster. Both on that quasi-title track and elsewhere he experiments fractalized visions of familiar forms—experimenting tesselating dub on “1st 44,” muzak breakbeats on “pthex”—resulting in the purest pleasures of an RDJ release in recent memory. It’s precarious comfort food, like a dosed bag of Lays. Bet you can’t eat just one. — Colin Joyce

Dustin Wong: Fluid World Building 101 With Shaman Bambu

These multi-dimensional electronic explorations rocketing along with immense joy and unbelievable naivety. Wong, the splatter-painting multi-instrumentalist, crafts boisterous jams for an “imaginary ensemble” of jumpy digital percussionists, which sounds something like a group of adolescent AI trying to recreate “Under the Sea” before giving up, giggling at how funny a steel drum sounds. — Colin Joyce

6lack: East Atlanta Love Letter

The mystery of 6lack found its way throughout his debut, FREE 6LACK, a 14-track album that used gloomy production to teeter on the lines of hip-hop and R&B. Two years later, 6lack is no longer hiding behind his dreads and the new father is using East Atlanta Love Letter as an attempt to right his wrongs—or at least that’s what he says on “Loaded Gun.” “Zone 6” and “lemon pepper wet” references aren’t the only cultural signifiers in his 48-minute tribute to his hometown. With the exception of J. Cole, East Atlanta’s tracklist features Future and Offset, and cites Young Thug as someone whose music he uses as refuge on “Thugger’s Interlude.” The 14 tracks aren’t the “baby, please” love songs pulled from the 90s, but “Pretty Little Fears” is his version of a love song. “Could you tell me like it is / Pretty little fears / Music to my ears,” he sings. East Atlanta feels somewhat like a conversation when 6lack strings together vignettes of stories from women before retorting with an answer with his suede vocals. 6lack isn’t your traditional romantic, but he’s loving the only way he knows how. — Kristin Corry

Devontée: Head Gone

After three years of loosies, Toronto’s Devontee finally followed up his 2015 tape District Vibe with a project that doubles down on the modern GTA identity he helped mold. With a Kardinal Offishal guest feature on “Real Rudebwoy,” an album title borrowed from dancehall, and key interjections of “are you dumb?,” Head Gone couldn’t be more Toronto if it tried. Compared to the somber ruminations that continue to define the scene’s major players, Devontee has more fun with things, dropping lines like “W on my head like I’m Wario” into the mix and burning sticky, Migos-esque hooks like “Never That” into the brain. The famous “WOE” neologism Devontee coined stands for “Working on Excellence” and Head Gone shows that’s just what he’s been doing. — Phil Whitmer

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