New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums

The Armed, Victoria Monét, and jaimie branch lead this week’s new album releases.

August 25, 2023
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums (L) The Armed. Photo by Nate Sturley. (M) Victoria Monét. Photo by Foxxatron. (R) jaimie branch. Photo by Hailey Thelen  

Every Friday, The FADER's writers dive into the most exciting new projects released that week. Today, read our thoughts on The Armed's Perfect Saviors, jaimie branch's Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)), Victoria Monét's Jaguar II and more.

The Armed, Perfect Saviors
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums

Refract, brother. For The FADER's June digital cover story, we sent Dan Ozzi to take the pulse on The Armed, a shadowy collective of musicians with indeterminate membership who've still managed to cultivate a rabidly devoted fanbase. What he discovered was half an extremely jacked anarchist collective, half a cult bent on world domination (if Fight Club has proven anything, it's that the line between those two can often be negligible). Mainstream crossover might feel like a pipe dream for a band that was, until recently, making blistering hardcore with a pretty high screaming-to-singing ratio, but on their new album Perfect Saviors, everything snaps into focus, and suddenly taking over the world doesn't seem so unlikely. Singles like "Liar 2" and "Everything's Glitter," are just as anthemically melodic as they are sonically dense, and while "Sport of Form" practically begs for an accompanying laser light show, it can make cleaning your house feel like a matter of life and death, too. – Walden Green

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

jaimie branch, Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war))
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums

jaimie branch’s untimely passing at the age of 39 in the summer of 2022 left a yawning void in the jazz and experimental music communities of Chicago, New York, New England, Baltimore, and beyond. The places where she lived out her life with exceptional relish and the infinite spaces she touched with her impassioned music and activism. branch’s contributions to the form — as a larger-than-life frontwoman and a generous accompanist — are too numerous to name here. But some of her most outstanding work as a leader appears on her two Fly or Die albums, released in 2017 and 2019, respectively. The third Fly or Die is both a final call to action from jaimie — musical, spiritual, political — from beyond the grave and a tribute to jaimie, a tragic yet triumphant send-off from those who knew and loved her best. In addition to her core FOD quartet, contributors to the album include Nick Broste, Rob Frye, Akenya Seymour, Daniel Villarreal, and Kuma Dog. — Raphael Helfand

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

Victoria Monét, JAGUAR II
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums

Victoria Monet's JAGUAR II is not only unbelievably sexy, but it's also incredibly poignant. While the record includes tracks like carefree anthems including "Party Girls" and "On My Mama," she makes it a point to encourage shameless sexual liberation with songs like "Alright" and "Cadillac." Similar to the album's first edition, she includes a range of heavy-hitting features, but in this follow-up she goes even harder, providing cuts from Lucky Daye, Buju Banton, and Earth, Wind & Fire. – Arielle Lana LeJarde

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music

Open Mike Eagle, another triumph of ghetto engineering
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums

Open Mike Eagle embraces comedy like few other rappers, but his humor has always been balanced by a deep vulnerability, like if Devin The Dude grew up on Borscht Belt stand-up. On another triumph of ghetto engineering, Mike is in an even more reflective mood than usual, looking back at the singular and slightly surreal road his career has taken over the last decade, from freestyle cyphers and house shows to Comedy Central and wrestling rings. On “Dave said these are the liner notes,” he does his best Mister Señor Love Daddy, shouting out countless underground collectives like Project Blowed and Fake Four, while “WFLD 32” sees him reunite with long-time friend and collaborator Hannibal Buress. “We should have made otherground a thing” goes back to Mike’s DIY roots and the years he spent crashing on other people’s couches: “Been doing shows with Quelle since it was Christopher,” he says in a loving nod to his creative comrade Quelle Chris, who provides the thick trip-hop beat on opener “I bled on stage at first ave.” It’s not just an ode to the resilience of the working musician, but evidence of just how far Open Mike Eagle’s community of like-minded artists and jokesters have come. — Nadine Smith

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

Be Your Own Pet, Mommy
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums

When Be Your Own Pet emerged in the mid-2000s they were a snarling bunch of teen punks spinning Tasmanian Devil-like through a staid indie rock scene. In frontperson Jemina Pearl they had a true icon upfront but she was met with waves of misogyny and literal violence from an audience that, more often than not, were drawn to the idea of her instead of the reality. A decade and a half on, the band are now a little older and able to operate on their own terms. Mommy is their first new album since 2008 but feels as fresh as a debut. "Worship The Whip" is a burly and cheeky re-introduction to their garage rock chops, while in "Hand Grenade" and "Big Trouble" the band have two singalongs to rival anything from the past. Justice is rarely handed fairly out in the music world but Be Your Own Pet's return is the kind of feel-good story everyone should be able to get behind. — David Renshaw

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

SPELLLING, SPELLLING & the Mystery School
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums

Chrystia Cabral a.k.a. SPELLLING has already proven herself a one-of-one singer-songwriter in modern music — a soul diva beamed from planet Kate Bush — with three excellent albums released since 2017. Why, then, two years after reaching career-high acclaim with her third album The Turning Wheel, would she choose to assemble a band called the Mystery School to rerecord select songs from her catalog? What might superficially seem like a step backwards actually expands the scope of Cabral's talents; the songs on Mystery School feel like widescreen 35mm projections of films that were previously only available on VHS cassette (of course, this takes nothing away from the relatively hardscrabble charm of the originals — Mystery School's songs aren't "improvements" but more siblings from beyond an enchanted mirror). Don't call it a reboot, remake, or even a revisitation: SPELLLING & the Mystery School is a reassertion of Cabral's longstanding talents for anyone who may have only recently tapped in. — Jordan Darville

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

Ratboys, The Window
New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums

Ratboys have always been a steady, growing indie rock force. Their band-next-door charm goes in tandem with their ability to create soaring melodies and hooky choruses that are vulnerable and emotionally open, echoing the melancholy reflections of Soccer Mommy and Snail Mail alongside the astute, wry storytelling of Wednesday and MJ Lenderman. On their latest release The Window, vocalist Julia Steiner takes the listener on a journey through the close intimacies of human nature and empathy, dabbling in stadium-sized rock and experimenting with the kind of country-tinged folk-pop that echoes the likes of their aforementioned North Carolina ringleaders. They might forever be shifting and mutating ever so delicately within their sound, but that’s just the eternal charm of Ratboys. – Cady Siregar

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

Other projects you should stream this week

Burna Boy, I Told You…
Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist, Voir Dire
Toro y Moi, Sandhills EP
Luh Tyler, ROTY EP
Buck Meek, Haunted Mountain
John Glacier & Surf Gang, JGSG
Yeek, Future Reference
Becca Mancari Left Hand
Fat Tony & Taydex, I Will Make a Baby in this Damn Economy
Bebel Gilberto, João
Harmony, Dystopia Girl EP
Fridayy, Fridayy
James Fauntleroy & Terrace Martin, Nova
Drab Majesty, An Object in Motion
Kibi James, Delusions
Hiss Golden Messenger, Jump For Joy
Jaboukie, All Who Can’t Hear Must Feel
Open Mike Eagle, Another Triumph of Ghetto Engineering
Ashnikko, Weedkiller
Grandaddy, Sumday: Excess Baggage
Becca Mancari, Left Hand
Maluma, Don Juan
Our Broken Garden, Blind
Islands, And That’s Why The Dolphins Lost Their Legs
Digga D, Back To Square One
Ratboys, The Window
Zach Bryan, Zach Bryan
Hannah Georgas, I’d Be Lying If I Said I Didn’t Care
Prince Josh, Moth
Ruth Garbus, Alive People
Titi Bakorta, Molende
Prison, Upstate
Euglossine, Bug Planet Is the Current Timeline
Jonathan Scales, Re-Potted
Ta-Ku, Songs To Come Home To
Academy of Light, Open Air
Clementine Valentine, The Coin that Broke the Fountain Floor
Film School, Field
DJ Muggs, Soul Assassins 3
Barker, Unfixed EP
Mad Keys, Soulection White Label 025 EP
Sun’s Signature, Sun’s Signature (Extended) EP
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Australian Carnage – Live at the Sydney Opera House

New Music Friday: This week’s essential new albums