Stream of the Crop: 5 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

Kesha: Rainbow

After a brutal, years-long legal battle that kept her from performing and releasing new music, Kesha is finally back with a new album. Rainbow, her third LP and first since 2012’s Warrior, was released this morning; it features the already-released “Praying,” “Woman,” “Learn to Let Go,” and “Hymn,” but that’s not the coolest thing here. This is an album that opens with a song called “Bastards” (“Don’t let the bastards bring you down”), features two singalong scuzz-pop tracks with Eagles of Death Metal, and builds in a duet with Dolly Parton, “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You),” the hit that Kesha’s own mother co-wrote for Parton in 1978.

—Alex Robert Ross, Kesha Is Back With ‘Rainbow’ and She Played “Praying” on ‘Fallon’ Last Night

Downtown Boys: Cost of Living

The third full-length record from the Providence, Rhode Island based band, who we recently described as “one of the many rock bands crucially deciding to dig into issues of identity and community with a steel-toed boot.” Cost of Living was produced by the legendary Guy Picciotto (Fuazi/Rights of Spring).

—Alex Robert Ross

Religious Girls: Pure Energy

The latest offering from the Oakland-bred trio is boldly experimental, even by their own standards. It hurries from singalong melodies and arena-rock guitar melodies to brutal noise and discomforting wails; it’s lushly electronic one moment and jaggedly analog the next; it’s changes rhythm and tempo without ever sounding mathematical—there’s just too much chaos for any sort of dull precision. It might give you nightmares, but it’s a risk worth taking.

—Alex Robert Ross

David Rawlings: Poor David’s Almanack

Most of David Rawlings’s third album could be played on country radio. This isn’t always the case for the longtime Gillian Welch collaborator and master-producer, but it’s by no means a slight. Unlike Welch, whose work is consistently beautiful and spare, Rawlings will back his voice up with steady drumbeats, distorted guitars, and talk of “burnin’ it down tonight.” Contributions come from Old Crow Medicine Show and LA-based folk-rock band Dawes.

—Alex Robert Ross

HoodCelebrityy: Trap vs. Reggae

Jamaican-born, New York-based rapper and reggae musician HoodCelebrityy’s second mixtape, Trap Vs. Reggae, features the already-released “Island Girls” featuring Cardi B and Josh X, and 14 more hip-hop-inspired dancehall tracks that range from the jagged (“Sit Down,” ‘Run That”), to the direct (“I’m the Shhhh”). The tape finds its groove when it attacks the dancehall melodies, first on the radio-ready R&B track “Special” and then on the straight-up poppy “Vybez.”

Alex Robert Ross

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