New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Little Simz, BabyDrill, and more

Stream every standout album released this Friday with The FADER’s weekly roundup.

February 09, 2024
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Little Simz, BabyDrill, and more (L) Little Simz. Photo by Karolina Wielcoha (M) BabyDrill. Photo by John Canon. (R) Helado Negro. Photo via 4AD.  

Every Friday, The FADER's writers dive into the most exciting new projects released that week. Today, read our thoughts on Little Simz's Drop 7, BabyDrill's ScoreGod, Helado Negro's PHASOR, and more.

Little Simz, Drop 7
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Little Simz, BabyDrill, and more

Over the past decade, U.K. rapper Little Simz has filled the gaps between albums with her smaller but no less accomplished Drop series. Today she delivers the seventh edition, a sleek and playful collection of sonic experiments created entirely with producer Jakwob (who is on a roll after his recent work scoring the excellent How To Have Sex). Simz's last couple of albums have been expansive and lush, almost epic in scale. In contrast, Drop 7 feels compact and insular, the sweeping strings and soulful interludes swapped for experimentation and nods to the clubs of her London hometown. Simz opens the EP by stating, "I've been all around town, bass stunning, as these sounds come in" and goes on to prove it. She raps over a jungle beat on "Power" and a percussive afrobeat rhythm on "SOS." "Fever," meanwhile, has a manic energy over which Simz enjoys the moment while test-driving high-speed cars. "Far Away" closes Drop 7in a more reflective mood, though. "Why did I let you get so far away?" she asks with a tone of defeat as horns gently lap at the edges of the tippy-tappy drums. It's a bittersweet ending to an all-too-brief project from one of the most versatile artists out there. — David Renshaw

Hear it: Apple Music | Spotify

BabyDrill, ScoreGod
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Little Simz, BabyDrill, and more

Atlanta rappers are always looking out for the next generation: now that Young Nudy has made a name for himself, he’s started to take emerging artists under his wing, like 21 Savage or Young Thug once looked out for him. On his new album Score God, BabyDrill proves himself as one of the most promising young apprentices signed to Nudy’s PDE Records, with a ferocious energy that takes no prisoners. A buzzing synthesizer radiates on album opener “Can’t Speak Again,” like an alarm warning you to get out of the way of the storm that’s about to come. Like his mentor, BabyDrill’s voice is fried and raspy, but where Nudy has his head in the clouds, BabyDrill is in the streets and in your face, going bar-for-bar with the likes of Luh Tyler, Rob49, and YTB Fatt. The sci-fi synths and pounding bass of “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “Down Bad” are borderline rage, but BabyDrill is in touch with more sensitive emotions too. On “Let ‘Em Know,” he surveys his accomplishments over a twinkling piano line, while the Hunxho-featuring “Just Want You” even shows off his shyly romantic side. — Nadine Smith

Hear it: Apple Music | Spotify

Helado Negro, PHASOR
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Little Simz, BabyDrill, and more

The creation of PHASOR, Roberto Carlos Lange’s eighth full-length album as Helado Negro has elements of providence and destiny, like all great origin myths. It begins in 2019, when Lange encountered a vintage generative synthesizer called SAL MAR, created by Salvatore Matirano and held at the University of Illinois. You’ll recall the legend of King Arthur, where a supernatural device resonates with a chosen spirit — SAL MAR’s ability to create soundscapes from nothing got Lange thinking about the primordial soup of his creativity. “The songs are the fruit, but I love what’s under the dirt. The unseen magical process,” he says in a press release. That might suggest an album of abstractions, but PHASOR is a pure art-pop wonder, as meditative as it is extravagant. Each song invites you to get lost in it, starting with album opener and single “LFO (Lupe Meets Oliveros),” a dreamy krautrock track that sets Phasor’s exploratory tone. — Jordan Darville

Hear it: Apple Music | Spotify | Bandcamp

Ducks Ltd., Harm's Way
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Little Simz, BabyDrill, and more

Happy-sad music exists as its own form of a liminal space; you might be going through it, but there’s a catharsis in dancing to your own misery. (It’s what Morrissey and The Smiths do so well, although they always place far too much emphasis on the “sad.”) Toronto duo Ducks. Ltd have lots of anxieties, caused by general world disillusionment and ennui and the downfall of certain relationships, but their frenzied, exuberant, jovial jangle-pop always makes for a freeing listen. Ducks Ltd’s latest full-length album, Harm’s Way, sees Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis quite literally play through the pain brought on by everyday life, through the upbeat, surfy guitar work, bouncy melodies, pulsating drums, earworm choruses. They find solace from their own suffering through their music and in each other; they’ve also enlisted a merry band consisting of notable members from Chicago’s DIY scene, enlisting Ratboys’ Julia Steiner on backing vocals, Dehd’s Jason Balla on drum arrangement and additional backing vocal duty, to name a few. Yeah, you might be crying on the way to the rave, but you get to dance it all away. — Cady Siregar

Hear it: Apple Music | Spotify | Bandcamp

Mk.gee, Two Star & The Dream Police
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Little Simz, BabyDrill, and more

When I first heard Michael Gordon’s new album as Mk.gee, I had to double-check to make sure it wasn’t released on the Paul Institute. The label run by the Pauls — Jai and his brother A.K. — would be a fitting home for Gordon’s vision of pop, as cool as chrome with a keen air for spacious, ‘80s-influenced textures. It’s a more fully realized version of the direction hinted at on 2020’s A Museum of Contradictions, where Mk.gee put a lot of sonic distance between himself and the polished disco-inspired sound of his debut Pronounced McGee. Two Star & The Dream Police goes all in, cloaking nearly every instrument in an impenetrable gloss of processing — more than once I found myself asking “is that a guitar, or a similar instrument I haven’t heard before?” The album peaks at its most R&B-inspired moments, like “DNM,” which crackles with the energy of a Prince demo, and “Breakthespell,” where treacle-textured guitar lines strum out a pained ballad. — Jordan Darville

Hear it: Spotify | Apple Music

Other projects out today that you should listen to

1999 WRITE THE FUTURE, hella (˃̣̣̥╭╮˂̣̣̥) ✧ ♡ ‧º·˚:
Amiture, Mother Engine
Brittany Howard, What Now
DJ Harrison, Shades of Yesterday
Dusky, Sampler 01: Floor To Floor 10 Years of 17 Steps
Chelsea Wolfe, She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She
Declan McKenna, What Happened To The Beach?
Fer Franco, Ritos de Paso
Fivio Foreign, Pain and Love 2
Helado Negro, Phasor
Hot Sugar, Creation Myth
IBAAKU, Joola Jazz
Itasca, Imitation of War
Kali Malone, All Life Long
Kelela, RAVE:N, The Remixes
Kin Teal, Ecosystem
Loving, Any Light
Madi Diaz, Weird Faith
MINAS, Grazes EP
Nick Andre and Joyo Velarde, Fever Dream EP
Orgōne, Chimera
Paranoid London, Arseholes, Liars and Electronic
Pouty, Forgot About Me
Pylon Reenactment Society, Magnet Factory
Rich Amiri, Ghetto Fabulous (Deluxe)
Shygirl, Club Shy
Sonic Youth, Walls Have Ears [Live bootleg]
Sound On Tape, Hush Harbors EP
Usher, Coming Home
Various Artists, Hearts & Minds & Crooked Beats [Benefit Compilation]
Various Artists, Next Wave Acid Punk DEUX - Secret Cuts [Compilation]


New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Little Simz, BabyDrill, and more