Lil Baby, It’s Only Me
Atlanta’s Lil Baby surprised just about everybody with his sophomore album My Turn, a 2020 project that revealed an artist with more nuance than his hits would have you believe. Since then, he’s built up more acclaim through his collaboration with Lil Durk, The Voice of the Heroes; secured three Grammy nominations and one win (Best Melodic Rap Performance for Kanye West’s “Hurricane”); and appeared on songs with Drake, Nicki Minaj, and many more. It’s Only Me was preceded by “Heyy“ and the non-album single “Detox.”
The 1975, Being Funny in a Foreign Language
The 1975 are just as talented at making timeless pop songs as they are at infusing them with eye-rolling provocations masked as cutting insight. Still, they were on the cover of The FADER for a reason. Being Funny in a Foreign Language is the band's fifth studio album and contains the singles "Part of the Band," "Happiness," and "All I Need To Hear."
Mavi, Laughing so Hard, it Hurts
One of the most engaging lyricists working today, Mavi finally drops his sophomore project Laughing so Hard, it Hurts two years after scrapping the follow-up to 2019's Let The Sun Talk. He's also got a fantastic ear for beats: Overkast, Monte Booker, Wult Morpheus, Dylvinci, and more contribute instrumentals to the project.
Tove Lo, Dirt Femme
Best known for the bawdy pop of her 2019 breakout Sunshine Kitty, Swedish artist Tove Lo has struck a far more personal note in the songs from her new album Dirt Femme. “True Romance,” a Song You Need back in April, is a relentlessly cathartic ballad, and “Grapefruit“ addresses her struggle with an eating disorder. She’s delievered the hits as well with dancefloor-oriented tunes like “2 Die 4” and “No One Dies From Love.” Listen to her conversation with Salvatore Maicki on the new episode of The FADER Interview.
Stream: Spotify | Apple Music
So, this is unfortunate. On one hand, M.I.A. was the visionary and influential pop artist behind the classic albums Arular, Kala, and /\/\/\Y/\. On the other, she is now a born-again Christian who tweets tortured anti-vaccine analogies i.e. the exact vibe of a suburban mom who spends way too much time on Facebook. Despite the newfound religion, it's definitely a fall from grace. I was debating whether or not it would be responsible to promote this album given what's happened this week, so here's a compromise: get vaccinated and boosted, for your health and others. There. Surely that balances out her misinformation?
Bill Callahan, YTI⅃AƎЯ
This guy didn't say anything fucked up about vaccines or Alex Jones, right? No? Ok, great. *Ahem* A beloved indie singer-songwriter for decades, Callahan returns with his ninth project under his own name (his 20th if you count albums released as Smog).
YTI⅃AƎЯ was preceded by the cozy "Coyotes" and "Natural Information," and Callahan's baritone sounds as smooth and inviting as ever.
Central Cee, No More Leaks
Already a star in the U.K., Central Cee has a not-inconsiderable hold on stateside rap fans with his viral hit "Doja" and the success of an L.A. Leakers freestyle breaking down the slang of his home country. No More Leaks is a four-track EP aimed at getting ahead of the unreleased Central Cee tracks making their way around the internet.
Plains, I Walked With You A Ways
Jess Williamson, a singer-songwriter signed to Mexican Summer, teams up with Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield for the new collaborative project Plains. The country-rock project was written in Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Marfa, and was produced by Brad Cook in Durham, North Carolina.
Lucrecia Dalt, ¡Ay!
The ever-shapeshifting Columbian artist Lucrecia Dalt delivers a sumptous enigma in the form of her eighth studio album, a project melding sounds from free jazz, bolero, and rich electronic textures. This time, Dalt spins a narrative starring Preta, an immortal alien who creates a body for herself using dead skin cells and experiences everything our planet has to offer. The album’s second single, “Atemporal,“ was a Song You Need.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Return of the Dream Canteen
With John Frusciante back in the fold, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are feeling prolific. After releasing their 12th studio album Unlimited Love in April, the funk-rock band follow it up with a new one called Return of the Dream Canteen. The band recently completed a world tour with A$AP Rocky, HAIM, Thundercat, Beck, St. Vincent, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, The Strokes, and King Princess performing on various dates.
Wild Pink, ILYSM
ILYSM was written and recorded as singer-guitarist John Ross reckoned with a cancer diagnosis and uncertain future. The result is a far more spacious and curious sound than the New York rock band have played with in the past. The album is co-produced by Ross with Justin Pizzoferrato and Peter Silberman of The Antlers, and contains features from J Mascis, Julien Baker, Ryley Walker, Yasmin Williams and Samantha Crain.
A member of the underrated Swedish pop collective Team Rockit, Merely has been an exciting solo presence in her own right for years. Her new album Sculpture comes via YEAR0001 and traverses trance, chillout, and electronic pop music to singular effect. Her most recent single "Lucky Star" was playlisted for Songs You Need.
Stream: Spotify | Apple Music
Field Medic, Grow Your Hair Long If You’re Wanting to See Something That You Can Change
Kevin Patrick Sullivan made an effort to switch up his solo, off-the-cuff songwriting method for his new album as Field Medic. He recorded in a studio for the first time with Gabe Goodman and worked with a full band on his songs. “I needed help," he says in a press statement. "I had to get out of a creative rut. It was through that process of working with Gabe that I was able to get excited about recording and writing again.”
Skullcrusher, Quiet the Room
Helen Ballentine arrives with her anticipated debut as Skullcrusher today. She crafted the gorgeous ambient-folk of Quiet the Room in her Los Angeles apartment, inspired by the memories of her childhood. “It’s like layers of tracing paper," she says of the album's construction, "like someone is trying to make a drawing and you’re seeing the entire process." "Whatever Fits Together," one of four singles from the album, was a Song You Need.
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Exception (Soundtrack From the Netflix Anime Series)
Revered Japanese composer Ryuchi Sakamoto has won plaudits and awards for his scores for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, The Revenant, The Last Emperor , and many more (to say nothing of his groundbreaking career as a pop artist, both solo and as a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra). His latest project is for a Netflix horror anime series set in on a spacecraft dealing with a 3D printer that creates crewmembers. Obviously, something goes wrong.
Mykki Blanco, Stay Close to Music
For their fifth album, Mykki Blanco worked with producer FaltyDL to create a whole new dimension of the Mykki Blanco sound. “It enabled me to dream in a way that I had never dreamed with my own songwriting," Blanco writes. "All of a sudden, I felt like I had this template where I could make that sound my own.” Stay Close to Music was written in Lisbon, Paris, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and features Saul Williams, MNEK, ANOHNI, Kelsey Lu, Slug Christ, Michael Stipe, and more.
Enumclaw, Save the Baby
Indie rockers Enumclaw once declared themselves "the biggest band since Oasis." Debut album Save the Baby is their chance to prove themselves capable of such heights and comes packed with romantic anthem "Jimmy Neutron" as well as the grungey and introspective "Park Lodge." Whether they graduate from dive bars to stadiums remains to be seen, but Save the Baby is a great start.
Sam Gendel, Blueblue
blueblue is the third full-length album from jazz fusionist Sam Gendel this year, follwoing Superstore and Uroko (鱗, fish scales). He wins the top prize this week for the coolest sounding place to record an album: in a floating cabin on a tributary of the Columbia River in Oregon.
Surprise Chef, Education & Recreation
We premiered the new album from Surprise Chef, an Australian jazz group with an allegiance to the groove, just yesterday. The FADER’s David Renshaw wrote that the project “pulls in ’70s film scores and a rap producer-style use of samples resulting in an instrumental album that remains unpredictable throughout.”