With so much music that was released throughout the week, it can be overwhelming and difficult to determine what to listen to. We assembled a list of some of the best releases with brief reviews to make things easier for you. From Conway the Machine flexing his versatility to Deepwimp wearing their influences on their sleeve while never slipping into gimmickry, here are some of the best releases of the week.
Conway the Machine — La Maquina [Griselda Records/Drumwork/Empire]
Last year, the Buffalo rapper, Conway the Machine, dominated in the realm of hip-hop, with his smooth revival of '90s-style boom-bap and gritty, stark beats on albums like King to a GOD (one of my favorite albums last year) and LULU. And don't forget about the infectious chemistry he established with Big Ghost on If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed from earlier this year. After a decade, Conway has embodied and cemented his city's identity of street rap and again continues his prolific output on his latest album La Maquina—showing the consistency coming from Griselda's roster. The new album features some big name guests and producers—including 2 Chainz, JID, Ludacris, Murda Beatz, Cardiak and again The Alchemist, as well as his Griselda crew Benny The Butcher and Westside Gunn. It's everything you'd expect from a Conway album (grimy and spaced-out boom-bap) and like King to a God, Conway is interested in bidding for a bigger audience with a more wide-ranging and playful style that's multigenerational. Some highlights include the 2 Chainz feature "200 Pies," a swinging and jazzy number that's more soulful with its spaced-out backdrop and the fiery reunion with Westside and Benny on their ode to their hometown on the closer "S.E. Gang," which includes a soaring psych-tinged guitar on a beat that's effective. Less than a year after his best release, Conway is back with a slew of big name producers and features that feels celebratory to an already well-established career.
Stream the new album here.
Deepwimp — People Are Young These Days [Sorry Bud Records]
After pounding out some memories and fuzzy guitar hooks on last year's five-track EP Please Party for Me, the Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet Deep Wimp are back at it again with their full-length debut People Are Young These Days. Evoking a similar style that ventures between infectious melodies and crunching, reverb-drenched guitars, Deep Wimp's debut navigates familiar sounds with a distinct style that never veers towards the clichés of '90s indie rock or grunge—it's a compelling and intense blend of Silkworm and the live albums from Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Through their emotive dual vocal deliveries that overlay raucous rhythmic shifts, the band's rugged guitar-driven soundscapes are filled with well-crafted introspection, especially on the epic closer "Hey Genesee." The lead single "Sweater" bristles with energy from its underground charm and the breezy "Karaoke Funeral" is a gentle stomper before cascading into a flood of darting guitars.
Cory Hanson — Pale Horse Rider [Drag City]
On his second solo effort, Cory Hanson moves away from the garage-psych stylings of his band Wand and instead swings towards a singer-songwriter aesthetic that's more country-inclined, imbuing a level of songcraft that's sublime and transgenerational—reminiscent of the classics (Bob Dylan, Joe Strummer & David Berman). His latest album Pale Horse Rider is a gorgeous album that is deeply gloomy and a way-out venture of starry-eyed melodic psychedelia. It's a simple, acoustic album with its folk melodies and ethereal choruses, but its deeply-layered earth tones swirl in an atmosphere that's filled with solitude and loneliness. Recorded right before the pandemic, the album is an impressionist look on the overwhelming chaos and anxiety of the outside world.
Sharon Van Etten — epic Ten [Ba Da Bing Records]
From her Springsteen-esque indie pop soundscapes, Sharon Van Etten's music has consistently grown and evolved over the years, especially on 2019's heavily textured Remind Me Tomorrow. Her latest album isn't new, but it's a lovely and fresh reinvention of her 2010 album Epic. Giving these songs new life, Van Etten recruited artists from multiple generations and musical genres—ranging from Lucinda Williams, Fiona Apple, Courtney Barnett & Vagabon and even IDLES. Just about all the covers here create an intimate balance, embracing Van Etten's unique style, while inserting their own twists on the covers album. In a press release, Van Etten expressed how grateful she was for collaborating with these artists and how each one of them influenced her music. "I am in awe of the artists who wanted to participate in celebrating my anniversary and reissue, from young inspiring musicians, to artists who took me under their wing, who I met on tour, and to artists I’ve looked up to since I was a teenager," Van Etten said. "Each one of these artists continue to influence my writing and provide a sense of camaraderie during this new era of sharing music."
Stream the new album here.
Young Stoner Life, Young Thug & Gunna — Slime Language 2 [Young Stoner Life Records/300 Entertainment]
When Young Thug established his label Young Stoner Life back in 2016, he set out to sign some of hip-hop's most vibrant and innovative artists and perfectly showcased that on 2018's Slime Language album—a groundbreaking collaborative album from a familial powerhouse who highlight the culture of one of hip-hop's epicenters. Young Thug with his right-hand man Gunna are striking again, unveiling another compilation that recreates the magic from the first LP with now featuring hip-hop giants like Drake, Skepta and Travis Scott and some newcomers. From the woozy and frenetic standout "Ski" to the enticing and slick "I Like" Slime Language 2 is another shining highlight from stars of YSL.
Stream the new album here.
For more new music, be sure to check out our New Music Friday playlist below.