10 New Albums to Stream Today

Featuring Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Dry Cleaning, Flock of Dimes and more

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10 New Albums to Stream Today

As April 2021’s first of five New Music Fridays draws to a close, we’re getting our album recommendations in just under the wire, highlighting the new releases you just can’t miss. Dry Cleaning and Moontype have made their much-anticipated debuts, Godspeed You! Black Emperor are back with their first new album since 2017, and Ratboys and Ecco2k have surprise releases out in the world. Fill up your streaming queue with the 10 records below, and if you have the means, buy them on Bandcamp, too!

Bryce Dessner & The Australian String Quartet: Impermanence/Disintegration

Composer Bryce Dessner, perhaps best known for his work as a guitarist in The National, released a new collaboration with the Australian String Quartet for the Sydney Dance Company. Conceived in the wake of the 2019 Australian bushfires and Notre Dame Cathedral fire, the enthralling score ricochets between panic and serenity. The production, which includes a beautifully expansive string arrangement of ANOHNI’s “Another World,” highlights the importance of community in the face of adversity. —Jade Gomez

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Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg

British quartet Dry Cleaning extract the profound from the mundane and the meaningful from the nonsensical. On “Viking Hair” from the band’s 2019 EP Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks, frontperson Florence Shaw’s everyday sexual fantasies stood in for the arbitrary guidelines determining acceptable and shameful desires; as she surreally rattled off “traditional fish bar, chicken and ribs, bus pass” and more on “Traditional Fish” from the band’s other 2019 EP, Sweet Princess, she scorned the very idea of commerce. And she did it all in a bone-dry, comical sing-speak set to rollicking, if not straightforward, post-punk courtesy of guitarist Tom Dowse, bassist Lewis Maynard and drummer Nick Buxton. New Long Leg, Dry Cleaning’s debut album (and first release for 4AD), is all of that and none of that. Shaw’s semi-accidental revelations about the ridiculousness of being alive when we live in a society are sharper than ever, and her voice newly takes the tone of a psychic waking up from a 70-year nap. Dowse, Maynard and Buxton have massively upped their game, too: The EPs’ post-punk foundation remains, but atop it come stomping glam riffs, dream-pop arpeggios and razor-sharp melodies that loosen Dry Cleaning’s prior tension without entirely taming the mania. —Max Freedman

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Ecco2k: PXE EP

Drain Gang co-founder Ecco2k emerged on the radar of critics and fans alike following the release of 2019’s E. The Swedish artist’s uniquely disjointed take on pop music explored the malleability of song structure and tested the limits of experimentation in minimalism. The new surprise EP PXE explores a new facet of Ecco’s creativity that he aptly dubbed “pixie music.” It’s a fever dream, reminiscent of overlapping radio channels battling for one’s attention. “In the Flesh” is a noisy pop essay on yearning for love and self-assurance punctuated by echoey vocals and playful giggles. The EP slowly disintegrates into chaotic static, as he argues with an alter ego on “Jalouse” and wrestles with his vulnerability on “No***’s Song.” The record is a maximalist portrait of conflict within oneself, and it sounds magical. —Jade Gomez

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Flock of Dimes: Head of Roses

Last spring, Jenn Wasner was faced with a now-familiar dilemma: what to do with all this newfound free time. For perpetually touring artists like Wasner, the sleepy days of 2020 quarantine were likely even more of an adjustment. And like many of those grounded musicians, Wasner used the abundance of solitude as an excuse to look inward. She got to writing, and those balmy weeks between March and June of last year resulted in Head of Roses, Wasner’s lush second album under her Flock of Dimes solo alias. A habitual collaborator, the Baltimore-born musician is probably known to most as one-half of experimental indie-pop group Wye Oak, who released their most recent stunner The Louder I Call, the Faster it Runs in 2018 on Merge Records, and as a touring member of Bon Iver. On Head of Roses, Wasner entrusts another stalwart indie label (Sub Pop) with her complex-yet-approachable rock stylings and assembles a different group of collaborators, but she sounds more confident than ever in her own voice. —Ellen Johnson

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor: G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END

For the entirety of its existence, the Canadian post-rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor has eschewed interviews, choosing instead to communicate collectively through terse, unsigned (and uncapitalized) statements. “this record,” reads the one accompanying the band’s new album G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END, “is about all of us waiting for the end.” The truth is, Godspeed’s entire body of work over the past three decades has felt like a prelude to an end—an end that feels closer than ever before. It is surely no coincidence, then, that G_d’s Pee arrives now, its 52 minutes stuffed with forbidding drones, symphonic despair, eerie found sounds and vast swaths of epic, instrumental rock befitting the apocalypse and whatever comes after. —Ben Salmon

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Moontype: Bodies of Water

Friendship, water and glass have a lot in common. For starters, they’re essential for modern life, and they can be beautiful, life-affirming and often long-lasting. Similarly, they’re all powerful and capable of wreaking havoc. But most interestingly, we can see our reflection in each of them, whether it’s a storefront, a pond or even a friendship. These three things also inform Bodies of Water, the impressive debut album from Chicago trio Moontype. The record is full of references to water in various states of matter, cherished quality time and glass as a symbol of perspective—all devices to highlight the tender, wholesome moments that keep us going. It’s a sweet, intimate record, bolstered by the love each band member has for each other. Soaking up their album really is a healing experience given its universal search for love, understanding and identity. Whether songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist Margaret McCarthy is pining for a friend she hasn’t seen in a while, feeling disconnected from someone who’s near, or trying to cope with being alone, Bodies of Water cherishes the special moments when connection comes easy, and we truly feel seen by ourselves and others. —Lizzie Manno

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The Natvral: Tethers

Tethers is the first solo release from Kip Berman, former frontman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. As The Natvral, Berman opts for a stripped-down folk-rock sound that’s easy to get carried away on, all honest introspection and rich Americana instrumentation, with Blood on the Tracks as the obvious comparison point. Berman recorded the album over a week alongside former Pains producer Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Black Country New Road) and touring members Jacob Sloan (bass) and Brian Alvarez (drums), as well as Crystal Stilts’ Kyle Forester (keys), and Sarah Chihaya (vocals). “It wasn’t so much a decision about how to work. It was the only way to do it,” Berman recalls of recording Tethers. “I had these songs, but not much time, so we just tracked everything as quickly and in the moment as we could and hoped for the best.” That immediacy shines through, as Berman melds his search for self-knowledge with jangling rock tracks that warm the heart. —Scott Russell

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Pansy: Pansy

Chicago act Pansy, also known as Vivian McCall, makes an exquisite debut on her first album, Pansy. McCall’s brand of bedroom pop ranges from somber to bright and refreshing, chronicling her experiences as a trans woman against the backdrop of folky guitars and lo-fi sound samples. Pansy is in her finest form on closing track “Me In Mine,” a coming-of-age story that finds her victoriously declaring, “I’m done hiding / Done abiding by the rules of how / I’m supposed to look and feel, it’s real.” The song builds and explodes into one of McCall’s higher-energy songs, made a standout by the solid foundation of lower-key songs filling out the majority of the tracklist, such as the intimate sound abetted by a layered whisper track on “Shoes.” —Carli Scolforo

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Ratboys: Happy Birthday, Ratboy

Ratboys surprised fans with the release of a new album Friday, Happy Birthday, Ratboy. The record serves to celebrate the Chicago band’s 10-year anniversary, and largely consists of re-recordings of the earliest Ratboys work. Five tracks comes from the first RATBOY EP, and another five from the undergrad days when founding members Julia Steiner and Dave Sagan met. The most exciting re-release is “Intense Judgement,” with Steiner’s light, sweet vocals guiding the song through easy grooving indie rock until an attention-grabbing breakdown arrives in the track’s latter half. The album closes with Ratboy’s latest single “Go Outside; a fully country-fied song written by the band between tours in 2019 while yearning for more time out in the world with loved ones. —Carli Scolforo

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Ryley Walker: Course in Fable

Chicago-born, New York-based singer/songwriter Ryley Walker is in the unique position of being so good at Twitter that it tends to overshadow his other talents. His new album Course in Fable tips the scales back in the other direction, showcasing Walker’s continuous stylistic evolution that has comprised everything from jazz and freak-folk to indie rock and a whole album of Dave Matthews Band covers. Recruiting his longtime collaborators Andrew Scott Young, Bill MacKay and Ryan Jewell, as well as John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake), Walker delivers what can best be described as “prog-folk” across Course in Fable’s seven tracks, with undercurrents of post-rock (“Pond Scum Ocean”), Americana (“Rang Dizzy”), math rock (“Axis Bent”) and more. Course in Fable is overwhelming on paper, but smooth as silk on wax, with Walker’s steady hand (and sharp sense of humor) making for a rich experience. —Scott Russell

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And don’t forget to check out … La Femme: Paradigmes, Major Murphy: Access, The Snuts: W.L.