New Music Friday — “Fast Food, Living Nostalgia”

>>With so much music that was released today and throughout the week, it can be overwhelming and difficult to determine what to listen to. But we managed to string up a list of some of the releases to make things easier for you. From the triumphant return of the Strokes to the surprise release from STRFKR, here are some of the best releases of New Music Friday.

The Strokes — 'The New Abnormal' [RCA/Cult Records]

It’s weird to see the Strokes revisiting their previous work on the opening track of their highly-anticipated new album 'The New Abnormal.' Continuing their legacy of great album openers, “The Adults Are Talking,” arguably the best Strokes song in the last ten years, is surreal and stoic, evoking the vibrancy and immediacy from their earlier days. Instead of releasing another divisive album, 'The New Abnormal' feels like a mature take on the band’s earlier style melded with their experimental and sonic DNA from the 2010s and even solo projects. Also, frontman Julian Casablanca’s falsetto has tremendously improved. When the instrumentals are minimal or bare like on the nostalgia-inducing, but forward-thinking “At The Door,” his crooning brings a flood of emotions you think you’d never get again from a Strokes song. Apparently, they took the 2010’s off, but from the sounds of it, the Strokes don’t seem tired anymore.

Stream the new album here.

Laura Marling — 'Song For Our Daughter' [Partisan/Chrysallis Records]

While many artists, like Pottery and Sports Team, have been delaying their releases due to COVID-19, the British folk singer Laura Marling decided to release her’s sooner than later. Earlier this week, along with the arrival of her new song “Held Down,” she posted on social media: “In light of the change to all our circumstances, I saw no reason to hold back on something that, at the very least, might entertain, and at its best, provide some sense of union.” Produced mostly by Marling herself, she returns to the warmer side of her earlier material, providing an intimate and comforting sound that’s ideal for the current crisis we’re all facing.

Stream the new album here.

STRFKR — 'Future Past Life' [Polyvinyl Record Co.]

The indie pop outfit STRFKR have released a surprise album called 'Future Past Life.' The new album began back in 2014 during frontman Josh Hodge’s trip to Amsterdam, where he collaborated with like-minded musicians, Mathias Janmat and David Hoogerheide, who helped craft the early sketches of 'Future Past Life.' The new 10-track LP follows 2016’s synth-heavy 'Being No One, Going Nowhere.' The new album however is driven by an acoustic guitar with the synths now distant — a first for the band. With the ambient textures and patterns no longer in the forefront, the songs are certainly more stripped back and spaced out with a lo-fi approach, but the twisting melodies and grooving drums are still prominent. Be sure to check out our review of their show at Anthology last year!

Stream the new album here.

Flat Worms — 'Antarctica' [Drag City]

The Los Angeles-based garage rock outfit Flat Worms have released the sequel to their fantastic 2017 self-titled debut with their latest called 'Antarctica.' With Steve Albini and prolific rocker Ty Segall behind the soundboard, the trio’s signature garage-punk led-guitars and vigorous rhythms sound less grimy, now with the production more upfront, along with frontman Will Ivy’s vocals sounding way clearer. But even with the layers of noise and reverb stripped away, many of the songs are still sneering and brutal, with their signature bruising and ear-splitting guitars still in the forefront.

Stream the new album here.

Hamilton Leithauser — 'The Loves of Your Life' [Glassnote Records]

Following The Walkmen’s 2013 hiatus, frontman and guitarist Hamilton Leithauser paints musical portraits of his friends and strangers he’s met along the way on his latest solo album 'The Loves of Your Life.' Led by some humorous teasers that give a glimpse of some of his characters, the new LP was recorded and produced over a period of three years in Leithauser’s home studio. Filled with layers of upbeat folk rhythms and muddy riffs that were ever-so present on his 2016 release, Leithauser keeps up his legacy as a solo artist with the same consistency he has with The Walkmen.

Stream the new album here.

Trace Mountains — 'Lost in the Country' [Lame-O Records]

Former LVL UP member Dave Benton has released his second full-length album under his musical project Trace Mountains. Writing the album between the period of his debut album as Trace Mountains and LVL UP’s last album before splitting in 2018, Benton relocated to Kingston, NY, to focus and write more candidly, “finding a creative process that requires me to be honest with myself,” as he explains. Benton is still able to comfort you with his warm and mild vocals over his sturdy guitar tones, burning the same tenderness he’s been known for in his past work. The new album even features some guests too, including Susannah Cutler of Yours Are the Only Ears to even former LVL UP bandmate Greg Rutkin.

Stream the new album here.

Why Bonnie — 'Voice Box' [Fat Possum Records]

The Austin-based indie pop band Why Bonnie have released a new five-song EP called 'Voice Box.' It’s the perfect listen for these strange times as it “encapsulates a disconnect between [the] inner and outer world.” Most of the tracks here are closer to the dream-pop side of things, but one of its leading tracks “Athlete” is immediate with its propulsive guitar work, blistering rhythms and sharp synth melody, all underlying Blair Howerton’s calm yet frustrated vocals.

Stream the new EP here.

Sparta — 'Trust the River' [Dine Alone Records]

Sparta, the post-hardcore band led by former At the Drive-In guitarist Jim Ward, are back with their first album in 14 years. Serving as the long-awaited follow-up to 2006’s 'Threes,' Ward brought a balance between his post-Sparta project Sleepercar and the classic material. There’s some sprawling led-ballads (“No One Can Be Nowhere”), then of course you have your immediate and gut-punching bursts that recall classic-Sparta (“Cat Scream”) and then there’s even something new (“Miracle”).

Stream the new album here.

For more music, be sure to check out our New Music Friday playlist HERE!