From hotly anticipated debuts (Novelist) to mixtapes from new favorites (Princess Nokia), to side projects by established artists (The Longshot), spring of 2018 has pelnty of new music for your head. Here are a few new albums to get it started.
Princess Nokia – A Girl Cried Red
Emo has been colliding with rap a lot this decade. But it’s a little bit different on this mixtape, from artist, activist and musician Destiny Frasqueri. The 25-year old is primarily a rapper, but she constantly sheds identities and experiments with different projects. Under the Princess Nokia moniker, she’s exploring all of the emo-feelings (“Smash my heart in pieces, it looks so good on the floor”) and calling on diverse influences like Paramore and Papa Roach, with a determined sense of humor. A Girl Cried Red is very now and will appeal to those who enjoy the approach taken by artists like Drake and Lil Peep.
The Longshot – Love is for Losers
We never thought we’d type that Billie Joe Armstrong needed to be liberated from Green Day, but after awhile just about anything can become stale. Although 2016’s Revolution Radio was in some ways a return to form, it feels forced compared to what Armstrong has going with his side project, The Longshot. There’s no politics here, just straightforward rock and roll, punctuated by Armstrong’s unique voice and satirical takes. On “Chasing the Ghost,” Armstrong pokes fun at himself in ways that are appropriate for a 40-something punk rocker: “Hang from the chandelier from a long, long time ago… I ain’t the same /Ain’t it a shame? Yes to the painkillers on a Saturday night!”
Lord Huron – Vide Noir
L.A. band Lord Huron, which trafficks in a kind of earnest, folk-rock music, found surprising success after their song “The Night We Met” was featured on the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. The song went platinum, and now the band is back with a new album and legions of new fans. Vide Noir is more plugged-in than unplugged, revealing a band that is in transition. What do you do when your sparse, folky pop songs become popular in an instant? For Lord Huron, the answer seems to be doubling down on heartbreak and embracing the black void (Vide Noir is the french term for the concept.) This album works best when the band relies on their roots.
Post Animal – I Think of You in a Castle
Chicago six-piece Post Animal have released their first album. Until now, the band has been known as a project that included Joe Keery, who became a star when he appeared as Steve on the Netflix series Stranger Things. Keery is now out of the band, but does appear on the record. As for the music, it’s extremely solid psychedelia that should satisfy your itch for a an all-encompassing wall of sonic sound.
Novelist – Novelist Guy
London-based MC Novelist has released his debut, the appropriately-titled Novelist Guy. Novelist is a popular practitioner of grime rock, the genre which is aggressively fast, embracing aspects of electronica, ragga, and dancehall. There’s plenty of grit on Novelist’s songs, but he stays true to his long history of activism. “All we do is gangster, gangster, gangster, gangster,” he sings on “Gangster.” Later, on the dark “Dot Dot Dot,” he finishes the thought “How am I gonna make evil stop?/ I don’t wanna hear any more guns pop.”