Well, isn’t this a surprise? Two of this week’s highest profile releases essentially came out of thin air: Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered. and 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne’s collaborative effort ColleGrove. On the expected front, we had new material from living legend Loretta Lynn, indie poppers Miike Snow, folk king M. Ward, indie rock stalwart Robert Pollard, and many more. Here are the albums you need to hear this week.
Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered.
Any time an artist as respected as Kendrick Lamar releases new material, pretty much the entire internet freezes. He’s earned that much in his brief, but brilliant career. His latest, untitled unmastered., is a collection of odds and ends he has written and performed, once thought to never be heard again. Maybe it was a tweet from LeBron James that made Kendrick change his mind, but for whatever the reason, he’s decided to put these rhymes on wax and push them out into the world.
A few places you may have heard these tracks before are The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon earlier this year (“untitled 08 l 09.06.2014.”) and on The Colbert Report in 2014 (“untitled 03 | 05.28.2013.”). Less structured and more freeform, untitled unmastered. feels like Kendrick just wanted to flex his muscular flows in a way that people may have slept on with the more conceptual To Pimp a Butterfly.
2 Chainz & Lil Wayne – ColleGrove
Another surprise release comes this week by way of 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne. To be fair, we knew this collaborative tape was on the horizon as the two had been performing together pretty frequently, but Kanye West dropped the bombshell that it was being released mere days before its arrival.
For what it’s worth, the teaming up of these two makes perfect sense. They’ve worked off of each other very well in the past on tracks like “Rich as F*ck,” “Yuck,” and “I Do It” to name a few, and both men have been in holding patterns until they each release their next highly anticipated major studio albums. ColleGrove is exactly the kind of thing both these guys need until they unleash the next big thing.
Loretta Lynn – Full Circle
And now for something completely different. The pride of Butcher Hollow, Loretta Lynn has been making incredible music for more than 50 years. The singer-songwriter has sired so many musicians who have adopted her style from legends in their own right like Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire to newer stars like Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert. Lynn’s last album was 2004’s Van Lear Rose, which was co-produced by and featured Jack White, but even into her 80s in 2016, she sounds as present and vibrant as ever. Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello join Lynn in guest spots on Full Circle, but they are really a small part of the record. This is Loretta’s show on life — what was lost, what was gained, and what’s left.
Here are the rest of the week’s releases:
Miike Snow – iii
Ray LaMontagne – Ouroboros
Violent Femmes – We Can Do Anything
M. Ward – More Rain
Nada Surf – You Know Who You Are
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive
Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution
Lapsley – Long Way Home
Bas – Too High to Riot
La Sera – Music for Listening to Music To
Pete Yorn – ArrangingTime
The Knocks – 55
Face to Face – Protection
Poliça – United Crushers
Tokimonsta – FOVERE
Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place – You’re Doomed. Be Nice.
Robert Pollard – Of Course You Are
The Struts – Everybody Wants
Kilo Kish – Reflections in Real Time
Rupaul – Butch Queen
Tonight Alive – Limitless
Prince Rama – Xtreme Now