Trying to keep up with this week’s best and most exciting new music? Every Friday, we collect the best new albums available on streaming services onto one page. This week, check out Taylor Swift’s Midnights, Armani Caesar’s The Liz 2, Carly Rae Jepsen’s The Loneliest Time, Arctic Monkeys’ The Car, Hagop Tchaparian’s Bolts, and lots more.
Taylor Swift, Midnights
Swift has described her tenth studio album Midnights as "a collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams." It was announced in August, the same month as that hilarious mini-scandal over reports of her prolific private jet usage, which is a great way to change the subject. Midnights was written and produced by Swift and Jack Antonoff, her collaborator on 1989, Lover, and Folklore, as well as her re-recorded albums Red and Fearless.
Armani Caesar, The Liz 2
A lynchpin of the Griselda rap crew, Armani Caesar stormed through 2020 with The Liz, one of our favorite albums that year. Originally scheduled for a September release, The Liz 2 arrives today on the heels of great songs like "Hunnit Dolla Hiccup" with Benny The Butcher and Stove God Cooks.
Carly Rae Jepsen, The Loneliest Time
Carly Rae Jepsen maintains her presence as a cult-pop craftsperson with her sixth studio album, The Loneliest Time, aptly titled since it was recorded during the pandemic. The singles out prior to today’s release include the balmy and endearingly sedate “Western Wind,” the disco-pop soiree “Beach House,” a track of classic CRJ called “Talking To Yourself,” and “The Loneliest Time” featuring Rufus Wainwright. Listen to Jepsen’s conversation with our Editorial Director Alex Robert Ross on the new episode of The FADER Interview.
Hagop Tchaparian, Bolts
From skateboarder to member of a punk band that opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to now an electronic music producer signed to Four Tet's label Text Records, Hagop Tchaparian has spent a considerable amount of time doing cool shit. Bolts was created using field recordings and samples Tchaparian gathered over the course of 15 years; it was announced with "Round," a dusty and melancholic space-age dancefloor jam, but Tchaparian turned things up even further with the raucous "Right To Riot."
Dry Cleaning, Stumpwork
I’d understand if the horrifying cover art put you off, but I’d encourage you to soldier through: Dry Cleaning are one of the key bands in the U.K.’s wave of sardonic, spoken-word post-punk. But don’t come in expecting just deadpan British humor and piercing irony — the album was written in the wake of the deaths in the family of two of the band members, and reckoning with their passings helped inspire the album.
Wiki & Subjxct 5, Cold Cuts
N.Y.C. rapper Wiki has already had a banner year with his solo album Half God (hear him discuss it on The FADER Interview here). His second full-length of the year is a collaboration with Subjxct 5, a New Jersey-based producer who creates progressive extensions of ’00s-era East Coast rap. Navy Blue, Papo2oo4, YL, and more feature on the project’s 18 tracks.
Arctic Monkeys, The Car
The Sheffield indie rock veterans tap into a sweeping orchestral sound for their seventh studio album. The lead singles "There'd Better Be A Mirrorball," "Body Paint," and "I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am" have all crackled with an intriguing baroque-pop sensibility. Frontman Alex Truner wrote all the album's ten new songs, recorded with producer James Ford.
Brutus, Unison Life
Stefanie Mannaerts, Peter Mulders, and Stijn Vanhoegaerden are Brutus, the Belgian post-hardcore trio with an ear for genre splicing and unforced catharsis. Unison Life follows up their acclaimed project Nest, and features "Victoria," a single that was playlisted for Songs You Need.
Frankie Cosmos, Inner World Peace
Once the indie-rock solo project of Greta Kline, Frankie Cosmos continues as a four-piece band with their new project Inner World Peace. “To me, the album is about perception,” Kline says. “It’s about the question of ‘who am I?’ and whether or not the answer matters. It’s about quantum time, the possibilities of invisible worlds. The album is about finding myself floating in a new context.” Inner World Peace was recorded in Brooklyn after the pandemic forced a lengthy hiatus with co-producer Nate Mendelsohn.
Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn, Pigments
Dawn Richard, best known as an experimental R&B artist, takes a dive into avant-garde composing with Spencer Zahn, a multi-instrumentalist based in New York City. Their team-up feels both exciting and natural on the new songs, which were inspired by the music of Talk Talk and ECM Records.
Nick Hakim, Cometa
Singer-songwriter and producer Nick Hakim is exploring the feeling and practice of love on his new album COMETA (Spanish for “kite”). “I think it’s nice to have love in your life and to have people that are sharing and wanting that,” Hakim explains. “It’s my interpretation of a really romantic way to express love in my own way.” COMETA was announced with the Songs You Need-playlisted “Happen,” and the singles “Vertigo“ and “Feeling Myself“ followed.
Pinkshift, Love Me Forever
Baltimore trio Pinkshift make pop-punk a la Paramore with a healthy dose of heavy metal energy. Their debut album, Love Me Forever, drops today after the band have crisscrossed the country opening for Pup and Mannequin Pussy. Each member of the group is a person of color, something that frontperson Kumar Houngbedji (they/them) says helps remind them that what they’re doing matters. “We’ve had people of color come up to us after we played saying ‘You make me want to start my own band’ or ‘You made me feel more comfortable being there without being scrutinized.’ And I think that counts for something.”
Whitmer Thomas, The Older I Get the Funnier I Was
Whitmer Thomas nimbly shed the typical "comedian who wants to be a songwriter" pitfalls on 2020's Songs From The Golden One, a project which sported "Dumb In Love," one of our favorites songs of the year. The Older I Get the Funnier I Was explores country folk and Bright Eyes-style indie rock through a playful prism.
Jeezy and DJ Drama have come a long way since The Streets Iz Watchin dropped in 2004. Jeezy is now an Atlanta legend and Drama’s long-running Gangsta Grillz mixtape series has expanded beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Their new, 17-track collaboration has a short but strong features list: Lil Durk, EST Gee, and 42 Dugg.
Duckwrth, Chrome Bull EP
Classically trained producer and composer Michael Vincent Waller lives in L.A. now, but he was born on Staten Island, where he developed a love of hip-hop, and trained at NYU under the likes of La Monte Young. Recently, he’s been making trap beats that are informed by his deep knowledge of music theory but better suited for trunk speakers than recital halls. His new LP features ZelooperZ, 645AR, Matt Ox, Xavier Wulf, TiaCorine, Warhol.SS, and Valee, whose album contribution “Oscar” was playlisted as a Song You Need back in June.