New Music Roundup — “The Wheel’s Still in Spin”

NMF 6-19 Featured Image

With so much music that was released throughout the week, it can be overwhelming and difficult to determine what to listen to. But we managed to string up a list of some of the best new releases to make things easier for you. From Phoebe Bridgers’ gorgeous new album to Bob Dylan’s late-career triumph, here are some of the best new releases. 

NMF 6-19 Phoebe Bridgers
Dead Oceans

Phoebe Bridgers — Punisher 

Phoebe Bridgers’ highly-anticipated sophomore effort Punisher finds the singer-songwriter exploring new and bigger directions that’s filled with striking moments just as powerful as her breakthrough debut album Stranger in the Alps. Building off the beautiful, but haunting alt-folk hymns of her debut, Bridgers showcases a more atmospheric and expansive sound that’s consistent throughout the album. However, there’s a couple more uptempo songs that sound like they exist in a different world than the other songs including the breezy “I See You” and the sprawling “Kyoto,” which was first written as a ballad. There’s also a Boygenius reunion on the twangy and tender “Graceland Too.” The closing minutes on the final track “I Know The End” is the album at its most intense and anthemic. There’s an onslaught of noise made up of Sufjan-esque horns, crashing cymbals and plenty of guitar feedback with a chorus shouting “The end is here!” a crushing ending to one of the year’s best releases. Bridgers released ‘Punisher’ a day early to encourage fans to donate to racial justice organizations. On her social media she wrote, “I’m not pushing the record until things go back to ‘normal’ because I don’t think they should. Here it is a little early. Abolish the police. Hope you like it.”

Stream the new album here.

NMF 6-19 Gum Country
Burger Records

Gum Country — Somewhere

The new Canadian power duo Gum Country unveiled their first album together called Somewhere. Fronted by Courtney Garvin of the Courtneys and multi-instrumentalist Connor Mayer, Gum Country embraces the fuzzy and charming lo-fi guitar pop stylings of Yo La Tengo and Beat Happening. There’s also some laid-back energy here that’s similar to Garvin’s other musical project. Garvin detailed how the songs on Somewhere drift through the highs and lows of daily life and deals with subjects ranging from powerful feelings to video gaming. Its lead single and title track is charged with energetic hooks and plenty of distortion, showcasing the duo at their best. In a statement, Garvin described the lead single as dealing with one’s identity when moving to a big city. “I wrote Somewhere a couple years after moving to L.A,” Garvin said. “It’s about leaving a place that you are comfortable in and landing in a strange new one, and discovering what parts of your identity remain and which were left behind.”

Stream the new album here.

NMF 6-19 Starchild & The New Romantic
Self-released

Starchild & The New Romantic — Forever

Following his excellent 2018 debut album Language, Bryndon Cook has released his second album as Starchild & The New Romantic. In case you aren’t aware, Cook is a longtime collaborator of Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, and has appeared all over Solange’s work, once even being the bandleader for the R&B star. Cook’s R&B style carries a retro-futurist aesthetic that blends greatly with his palette of many-splendored synth sounds. There’s also a colorful foray of disco and ‘80s funk to his style. Sonically and spiritually, Forever is Cook at his best and sophomore effort achieves a more consistent sound by blending bouncy riffs with soulful harmonies. There’s also notable appearances from Toro Y Moi, Nick Hakim, Le’asha, Rosehardt, London O’Connor, and Fabiana Palladino. 

Stream the new album here

NMF 6-19 Teyana Taylor
G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam Recordings

Teyana Taylor — The Album

Following the Kanye West-produced K.T.S.E. in 2018, Teyana Taylor has reintroduced herself with a new 23-song effort simply called The Album. Initially set for last December, Taylor postponed the album in order to add more tracks. Spanning nearly 80-minutes, The Album is filled with twists and turns and notable contributions from Quavo, Missy Elliot and Future. Even the legendary Ms. Lauryn Hill pops up on the album’s powerful closer “We Got Love,” which was first performed as a duet with West on an episode of Saturday Night Live back in 2018. In a recent piece Taylor penned for Billboard, Taylor noted the importance of releasing her album on Juneteenth. “Yes, it’s a celebration, but we still got work to do,” Taylor wrote. “It’s still a lot of work to be done, but I just wanted it to be a thing where Juneteenth is amazing, but even after Juneteenth, we have to keep going. We have to keep celebrating one another and not letting that die down. We have to all keep taking a stand, because it shouldn’t be just a thing where we’re celebrated for one day, or a month, and then that’s that.”

Stream the new album here

NMF 6-19 Neil Young
Reprise Records

Neil Young — Homegrown

Neil Young has finally unearthed his long lost mid-seventies album Homegrown, which retains his country-rock sound, but feels more raw and immediate. Living up the hype of being a lost classic, Homegrown is a profound expression of emotion, with songs being quite revealing, sad and introspective. Written and recorded during the demise of his relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress, Young has said that the album was shelved after he considered it too personal and painful. He also describes it as the “missing link” between ‘Harvest’ and ‘Comes a Time.’ Showing breezy and luscious melodies (“Try,” “Love is a Rose”) and harrowing vocals over abstract drones (“Florida,” “Kansas”), this lost classic is a snapshot of Young at his creative peak. 

Stream the new album here

NMF 6-19 Bob Dylan
Columbia Records

Bob Dylan Rough and Rowdy Ways

Six decades into his career and at nearly 80, Bob Dylan is still composing extraordinary protest anthems for our changing times. On his first album of original material in eight years, Rough and Rowdy Ways shows Dylan returning to his true form. It’s also best album since 2001’s Love and Theft, which emulates Dylan’s songwriting and philosophy here. Dylan’s voice sounds much better especially his croon on the warm “I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You” and his spoken-word approach on the 17-minute epic closing track “Murder Most Foul.” Rough and Rowdy Ways is another crucial and thrilling effort from Dylan that sounds like another Great American Novel.

Stream the new album here

NMF 6-19 IDLES
Partisan Records

IDLES — “Grounds”

After releasing the explosive single “Mr. Motivator” last month, the Bristol post-punk band IDLES are back with another raging single called “Grounds.” It’s the second single from their highly anticipated third album Ultra Mono, out Sept. 25, via Partisan Records. “Grounds” is loaded with charging guitars and flashy beats, showing the band’s stylistic expansion. It’s also the perfect track to sum up what is happening in the world right now and it’s prophetic considering it was teased at one of their live shows last year. In a statement, frontman Joe Talbot detailed that the band tried expressing the power of self-belief and were inspired by hip-hop records. “We wanted to write a song that embodied self-belief, and gave us self-belief — a counter-punch to all the doubt we build up from all the noise we so easily let in,” he says. “We wanted to make the sound of our own hearts’ marching band, armed with a jack hammer and a smile. We wanted to make the sound of our engine starting. So we did. Thank you.”

Stream the new single here.

NMF 6-19 Amnesia Scanner
PAN

Amnesia Scanner — Tearless

The Berlin-based electronic duo Amnesia Scanner are back with another imaginative and inventive album called  Tearless. Led by Ville Haimala and Martti Kalliala, the music duo showcase a disruptive and intense electronic sound that makes for a strange clash of different styles, from industrial to EDM. The new album is doomy and cynical, even when embracing its catchy pop sensibilities. Before COVID-19 struck, the duo described their new album as “a breakup album with the planet.” After releasing their debut album Another Life in 2018, in an interview with The Fader, Kalliala painted a picture that sounds more fitting now. “It’s our interpretation of the present, and for it to feel like now, it needs to be exaggerated, cartoonish, and scary — as well as dumb and funny at times.” The new album also features contributions from Lalita, Code Orange and LYZZA.

Stream the new album here


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