Stream of the Crop: 5 New Albums for Heavy Rotation

The end of the week means a glut of new music to dig into and, while that is Extremely Good, it can be difficult to know where to start. So every week, we at Noisey put together a list of our favorite new albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. You can listen to them all on this page. It is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.

Sufjan Stevens: The Greatest Gift

Sufjan Stevens invented thankfulness.That may not be quantifiably true but given the generous spirit of his new B-sides and remixes “mixtape” The Greatest Gift, you could make the argument nonetheless. While the iPhone-recorded peeks into the recording process of Carrie & Lowell are lovely, it’s the unheard material that truly dazzles. From the audio god rays that conclude “Wallowa Lake Monster” to the appropriately cascading electroacoustic textures of “The Hidden River of My Life,” there’s much to be grateful for. —Phil Whitmer

Björk: Utopia

“Definitely the best feeling is if you’ve written a song you think is good. We are hard judges, we write a lot of songs we think are OK, but when you write a song you think is good—that feeling is special. You do the whole thing for that feeling and you couldn’t put it any better for me: to have nothing and then there’s something. It’s like magic. It’s a philosophical statement, it’s proactive: you don’t like this world, how about this? It’s you coming up with an option or positive rather than the other option which is going down the drain. There’s no neutral, you have to make things to go forward—I mean that in the purest philosophical way.” — Björk, in conversation with Kim Taylor-Bennett.

His Electro Blue Voice: Mental Hoop

Como, Italy’s premier post-psych drone-rock attack band, His Electro Blue Voice, make wonderfully stressful music. It’s the anxious, wound too tight, walls-closing-in sound of non-existence at one end, and death at the other. Metronome kraut-drums drive almost every song, guitars wash and pierce like infernal unattended power tools, while singer Francesco Mariani bleats and rants his existential concerns to an empty sky. The band has been perfecting their brand of turbulent space-grunge and post-punk to an obsessive degree and [Mental Hoop], chugging mightily along at an all too brief 35 minutes, is a terrific encapsulation of their ethos: momentum, impotent rage, repetition, and just enough ragged melody to keep hope afloat.— Zachary Lipez, His Electro Blue Voice’s ‘Mental Hoop’ Is an Anxious Blast into the Void

Mick Jenkins: or more; the anxious

or more; the anxious has Jenkins at his lyrical, deliberate best, crackling over unhurried beats from THEMpeople, Ahwlee, Origami Beats, Greenslime, and ENG Creation. He’s in more tense territory here than he was on last year’s The Healing Component LP, though. On opener “Happy Gilmore,” he says he’ll “look you in your face if I hit you / Give a fuck about your clique or who with you”; on the previously released “Vampire in Brooklyn,” he digs into politicians and arrogant kid via a Biggie reference. On “Energies,” alongside Saba, he finishes up with triumph over an oscillating, tipsy beat: “Now my little light is incandescent / Now a nigga skin is iridescent / You can’t get this glow with acquiescing / I ain’t been there since an adolescent / I been asking questions.” — Alex Robert Ross, Mick Jenkins’s New Mixtape Is a Tense, Pointed Gift

DRAM: #1HappyHoliday

Think fires, think Santa loading up his sleigh, think taking your drunk ass to bed having sipped too much whisky. That’s the kinda thing we’re talking about when we’re talking about DRAM’s #1HappyHoliday release. It’s as though DRAM has soaked in the bathwater of Christmas spirit and emerged with a collection of tunes that wouldn’t be out of place in Home Alone 2. Oh, and his mom features on the record, which shouldn’t need to be stated but will be done so as the ultimate stunt.

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