As we dip into the long weekend, we’ve got some new tunes on the way worth loading up on. Fifth Harmony are striking while the iron is sizzling hot with their sophomore LP, electronic producer Flume is back for another round of soulful gems, and The Strokes decided to drop a group of songs out of nowhere. We’ve also got an exploratory, emotional journey from the Hotelier, a long overdue return from Thrice, Chance the Rapper goes wide release, and many more. Here are the albums you need to hear this week.
Fifth Harmony – 7/27
What Fifth Harmony is managing to do in 2016 is definitely unique; the quintet are the first girl group to have a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 since the Pussycat Dolls in 2008. Their story truly feels like one from a bygone era — they were formed from five different soloists on The X Factor (RIP) and came together only to place third. Even One Direction, who formed under similar circumstances, are no longer together. So what has kept the train moving?
Well, besides the fact that they can all really sing, the group has managed to constantly update their sound to stay current in pop. Their massive 2015 hit “Worth It” had that irresistible sax riff with a unmistakable facsimile of a DJ Mustard beat. The lead single off of their new album, “Work From Home,” follows a similar motif with a chant-filled chorus and frequent Mustard collaborator, Ty Dolla $ign. In addition to tracks which host hip-hop heavyweights like Fetty Wap and Missy Elliott, 7/27 goes so many different places from afro-pop to Prince-inspired R&B to even dancehall. Fifth Harmony want to be the definitive girl group for this generation; while it’s not certain that they are there yet, they very clearly are on their way.
Flume – Skin
Over the past five years, Australian producer Flume has quietly formed an incredible discography of original tracks and essential remixes. His self-titled debut in 2012 slow burned and more and more people discovered him until he was a fixture at festivals all over the world. Flume’s style and sound isn’t similar to any of his contemporaries; the best way to describe it is dizzy, echoing electronic beats but with the attitude and knock of something more hip-hop. Skin, his new album, definitely leans hard on the latter in terms of guest appearances; Vic Mensa, Vince Staples, and Raekwon all appear in addition to dance superstars like Little Dragon, AlunaGeorge, Tove Lo, and even Beck.
The Strokes – Future Present Past EP
We haven’t heard from The Strokes as a collective unit since 2013, and out of nowhere this week, the seminal New York band released a blitz of new tracks which we eventually came to know as Future Present Past. The EP comes at a strange time for the band — both Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond Jr. seem preoccupied with their solo efforts — but it still shows the group can string together a collection of hits when they want to. The title of the EP refers to its three original tracks: “Threat Of Joy” representing their original sound in the past, “OBLIVIUS” resembling their current state, and “Drag Queen” being where they will likely end up. Whether it’s prelude to something more or merely an appetizer, Future Present Past is a short, but sweet reminder that The Strokes were once rock ‘n’ roll’s last hope — even if the genre never is as dead as some would like to think.
Here are the rest of the week’s new albums:
Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book [wide release]
The Hotelier – Goodness
Dierks Bentley – Black
Catfish and The Bottlemen – The Ride
Kevin Gates – Murder For Hire 2
Thrice – To be Everywhere is to be Nowhere
Joey Purp – iiiDrops
The Monkees – Good Times!
Yumi Zouma – Yoncalla
Ro James – ELDORADO
Beth Orton – Kidsticks
Rockie Fresh – The Night I Went To…
Danny Elfman – Alice Through the Looking Glass Soundtrack
Real Friends – The Home Inside My Head
PUP – The Dream is Over
Belly – Another Day in Paradise
Holy F*ck – Congrats
Kristin Kontrol [singer of Dum Dum Girls] – X-Communicate
Mistah F.A.B. – Son of a Pimp Pt. 2
Lone – Levitate
Gold Panda – Good Luck and Do Your Best
Band of Skulls – By Default
Lacuna Coil – Delirium
Miles Davis & Robert Glasper – Everything’s Beautiful