New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Heems, Molly Lewis, Frances Chang, and more

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

February 16, 2024
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Heems, Molly Lewis, Frances Chang, and more (L) Heems. Photo by Atif Ateeq. (M) Frances Cheng. Photo by Linnea Nugent. (R) Molly Lewis. Photo by Shervin Lainez  

Every Friday, The FADER's writers dive into the most exciting new projects released that week. Today, read our thoughts on Heems's LAFANDAR, Molly Lewis's On The Lips, Frances Chang's Psychedelic Anxiety, and more.

New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Heems, Molly Lewis, Frances Chang, and more

LAFANDAR, a collaborative album with emerging producer Lapgan, marks Heems’s return to hip-hop after the 2017 dissolution of his second rap crew, Swet Shop Boys with Riz Ahmed and Redinho. Not only is it clear from the first moments of tracks, “Stupid Dumb Illiterate” (feat. Sid Sriram), that he hasn’t lost a step lyrically; the intervening years seem to have brought him a wisdom to match his wit. The project only gets better as it moves along, with Heems’s wordplay sharpening as Lapgan’s production alchemizes a bottomless vault of obscure South Asian samples into hip-hop gold with increasing flare. Standouts include “Baba Ganoush” (feat. Lee Scott and Cool Calm Pete), “Kala Tika,” “Yellow Chakra,” “Bukayo Saka,” and “Yo Momma” (feat. Fatboy Sharif). — Raphael Helfand

Hear it: Apple Music | Spotify | Bandcamp

Frances Chang, Psychedelic Anxiety
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Heems, Molly Lewis, Frances Chang, and more

An annoying thing that people don’t mention about processing grief is that the “healing process” is never linear. Everybody’s heard of the five stages of grief, but what isn’t talked about is how nobody ever goes through the five stages seamlessly; you quickly hop from one to two, spend too much time there, almost skip three, end repeat four before ending up back at one. Frances Chang tries to navigate life after heartbreak on her second album, Psychedelic Anxiety, by way of meddling strings, stop-start verses, and random tempo changes. There are glitchy beats and sparse drums, bouts of folk-guitar finger-picking; verses sung, somber and hymn-like, as if sung in a church.

There is nothing straightforward about Psychedelic Anxiety. It, like the slow journey to healing a broken heart, is chaotic, messy, and violent. It is meandering and unorthodox, a lo-fi, experimental “slacker-prog” auditory foray into the depths of Chang’s psyche as she tries to make sense of her life and her world after the turbulent breakdown of a relationship. Nothing makes sense, and nothing is supposed to, and yet the pandemonium here is held together by Chang’s turmoil. Chang’s lyrics are written after the fact, but they prod and poke at painful memories like a finger picking at an open wound; she ruminates on what went wrong and falls into the trap of romanticizing a lover who was bad for her, while still having the grace of self-awareness and hindsight: “Look, I know the devil is inside us all/ and I love the way you obey your spirit's sole authority / Or am I idealizing?” On “Rate My Aura,” she states: “I don’t think you could ever love me the way I love you.” A clichéd notion that is true: you can only truly find closure within yourself. — Cady Siregar

Hear it: Apple Music | Spotify | Bandcamp

dreamcastmoe, MOLLY'S SON EP
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Heems, Molly Lewis, Frances Chang, and more

On his new EP MOLLY'S SON, D.C. singer dreamcastmoe is a conductor of raw, undeniable vibes. Its five original songs (plus one glossy remix, courtesy of musclecars) run the gamut of retro funkiness while retaining the intimacy of an interior monologue. Each of the tracks has a cozy, off-the-cuff charisma: there's the sexed-up bedroom New Jack Swing of "WE GON MAKE IT," "ABUSE IT"'s cabana house bounce, and "ON THE BEACH," which sounds like a Cameo demo produced by Delroy Edwards. As good as the instrumentals are, what makes them addictive is moe's presence, where world-building is as important as holding a tune. On the '70s R&B-inspired "HAND DOWN, MAN DOWN," moe opens the track with a depiction of a pick-up basketball game, lamenting fouls and calling plays before singing a single note. It's evocative of some memory or place that's welcoming, liberated, and eager to be revisited. — Jordan Darville

Hear it: Apple Music | Spotify | Bandcamp

Molly Lewis, On The Lips
New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Heems, Molly Lewis, Frances Chang, and more

Molly Lewis is arguably the most in-demand whistler in the world right now. Sure, the competition isn't stacked, but she pops up in the most unlikely places. When Mark Ronson needed someone to whistle for the Barbie soundtrack, he turned to her; Dr. Dre, in search of a "dope whistler," brought her into his studio; and she even whistled for the actor Harry Dean Stanton on his deathbed. Whistling is often the reserve of those happiest in life, the cliched sound of the carefree, but On The Lips has a sadness in its tone that flips the convention on its head. Lewis often whistles like she's in mourning, or at least reminiscing on times of hardship, even as the music that surrounds her on standout tracks like "Slinky" and "The Crying Game" remains lush and abundant. Elsewhere, songs titled "Lounge Lizard" and "Crushed Velvet" give a window into the album's overarching sense of faded glamor and melancholy languor. On The Lips takes what initially could appear to be quirky or a shtick and turns it into a moving subversion of a previously unheralded form. — David Renshaw

Hear it: Apple Music | Spotify | Bandcamp

Other projects out today that you should listen to

Belle Chen, Ravel In The Forest
C. Diab, Imerro
Chromeo, Adult Contemporary
Daniel Noah Miller, Disintegration
Danielle Durack, Escape Artist
El Perro del Mar, Big Anonymous
Friko, Where we’ve been, Where we go from here
Grandaddy, Blu Wav
ICYTWAT, Magic as Usual
Jennifer Lopez, This Is Me…Now
Kim Petras, Slut Pop Miami
Laryssa Kim, Contezza
Laura Jane Grace, Hole in My Head 
Levitation Room, Strange Weather
Lime Garden, One More Thing
Manga Saint Hilare, Everything Is Under Control
Nate Scheible, or valleys and
Nathalie Joachim, Ki moun ou ye
Omni, Souvenir
Ol’ Burger Beats, 74: Out of Time
OsamaSon, FLXTRA
PPJ, Bloco Vol. 2 EP
Prize Horse, Sound Under
Profiler, A Digital Nowhere
Quadeca, Scrapyard
Riley Mulherkar, Riley
serpentwithfeet, Grip
Varsity, Souvenirs
Yeat, 2093
Yung Saber, No Photocopies

New Music Friday: Stream new projects from Heems, Molly Lewis, Frances Chang, and more