Every Friday, Attendee.com takes a look at some of the week’s best new albums from across the musical spectrum. Whether you need some tunes to unwind with after work or a hot track to play at a party … we’ve got you covered.

Kelsey Lu – “Blood”

 

Kelsey Lu’s latest album takes baroque pop and turns traditional instrumentation inwards. “Blood” finds the folk artist focusing her composition skills, while still staying true to her minimal origins. She still bows her strings like she’s playing a ribcage, weaponizes her poetry for deep cutting psychological criticism, and sings like a siren. However, unlike her freshman release, the short and sweet “Church,” Lu’s latest LP is etched in deep details. “Due West” is a clear, concise and honest pop song that is fleshed out in real time. While Lu’s work is gorgeous, she sometimes tends to drag pieces out longer than is necessary. Not so on “Blood,” where even every chirp and clink that is set off in the background feels deeply needed. Lu’s new music has the quality of a veteran cinematographer who is constantly looking for new, poignant means to frame ordinary objects. “Why I Knock For You” follows a streamline motion, a sweeping hawk overlooking a canyon. Violins and marimbas contemplate the vastness of nature, while Lu’s voice — both clear and distorted — exposes admiration to the motherland. “Blood” is also exploratory. Its sounds search every crevice and tree trunk for resources. Even artificial textures are manipulated into romantic text: “Metal, metal, metal, metal, pedal to the metal, make you work and we’re risin’, the horizon’s approaching’ us, and. . . .” While this is an album with earthy tones and a thick musicology, it’s hardly inaccessible. Like Kate Bush, Lu seeks to transform the bourgeois theater and orchestra pit into a public space. She does exactly that on “Blood.

 

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Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats – “Anger Management”

“Anger Management” is an understatement. Rico Nasty’s latest album is a tantrum; a spit fire rap session that will leave you bruised and bleeding. There’s a certain horror film quality to Kenny Beats production, and it allows Rico to unlock a certain serial killer instinct to her flows. “Cheat Code” finds the New York MC slashing through the production like she’s Jason Voorhees. Rico’s bars are so furious that the beats have to stay in tempo with her. Her command of the mic and the stage are what have brought the 21-year-old into the limelight at such a young age. Unlike other hip-hop  wunderkinds, Ms. Nasty does not seek out performative aesthetics. She is unabashedly herself: vulgar, relentless, guttural. Kenny Beats, her main producer since she blew up last year on her “Nasty” LP, continues his signature chameleon/snake act. Which is to say, he is constantly changing colors and contorting his rhythms to perfectly compliment the rapper he’s working with. “Anger Management” is no different; its production constantly mirrors Rico’s inflections. “Big Titties” starts off with witchcraft percussion before going into the sloopy boombat that allows Rico to lob vicious, snake-tongued lyrics. “Sell Out” allows Rico to be more reflective, as spacey 808’s shimmey with contorted guitar samples. “Hatin” is a dubbed-down remix of Jay-Z and Timbaland “Dirt Off Your Shoulders.” It’s fitting ode to a duo that clearly inspires both rapper and producer. Timbaland and Kenny are constantly pushing the genre of hip-hop, Jay and Rico are all about cutting throats and taking names. When “Anger Management” finishes, Rico Nasty is all out of throats.

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Jackie Mendoza – “LuvHz”

Sometimes pop music can be a difficult definition to define. In some ways, acts like Nirvana or Kanye West are pop in that they are adored by millions and that their music taps into a primordial set of emotions that are made naked on the dance floor or mosh pit. Sometimes pop music is more hidden in the mix of an experimental project, like on a Radiohead song or Frank Ocean playlist. Within the chaos of sound, is a rooted commitment to the 4/4, verse-chorus-verse style of musical presentation. Jackie Mendoza’s EP “LuvHz” is the perfect example of these difficult explanations. Her songs are a furious gail of static and Midi, but beneath the abrasive tone is an unshakeable rhythm. Mendoza’s debut begins with dance anarchy, you can almost see the epileptic lights and the heat of neon as her synths explode onto the liquor stained floor, but then “Seahorse” comes along and anchors the listener in Mendoza’s world. A glittery, relaxing pop quickie that brings stability without dumbing down its intricacies. It’s not all chaos down here. Like fellow Latin artists Rosalia and Helado Negro, Mendoza is also anchored in a kind of Old World diaspora. Like Negro, her stringed instruments have a certain desert twang to them. Like Rosalia, her autotuned Spanglish is not so much “eccentric” as it is a natural expression of modern Latinx culture and all its contradictions. But Mendoza is just as global as she is communal: songs like “Your Attention” have percussion that sounds like UK dub artist Burial was behind the production board.  “LuvHz” is more experimental than it is pop, but Jackie Mendoza juggles these conflicting concepts with great ease.

Purchase your tickets here to see Jackie Mendoza live in NYC!

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Body Meat – “Truck Music”

Don’t let the uncomfortable moniker turn you off from “Truck Music” because it’s neither blood curdling metal or ambitious country. Rather, “Truck Music” is an R&B album with the velocity of a 16-wheeler on a German expressway. Frantic percussion performs every imaginable verb. It leaps, dives, hurdles, explodes, sputters, collapses, expands, kicks, punches, spits, vomits, pops, hops, lobs, sobs and kills. The vocals are almost exclusively distorted, pitched down, pitched up and autotuned in such a way that T-Pain would blush. To quote Bill Hader on SNL: “This club has everything.” “Truck Music” is a dance record, it’s a jazz album, it’s hip-hop and it’s operatic. Opening track “Combo” sounds like a Charli XCX song on bath salts. “2 Again” is as much a gospel song as any Southern spiritual. “No Garden” is 2000’s bump ’n’ grind translated into 20 languages. “Truck Music” is an album with so much utility and application because its music is defined by the digital possibilities of basement tinkering. It’s a singularity of man and machine that is not just harmless, but really fun to listen to.

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Anticipations:

 

Empath – “Roses That Cry”

 

“Roses That Cry” is everything Empath is about musically: power chords that kick up dust, eerie but playful synths, vocals that shimmer but hardly shine, and drums that hold tempo while making a ruckus. It’s the perfect balance of pop and punk. Empath cut its teeth in the Philadelphia underground scene, but their music hardly feels destitute or grimey. If anything, it’s deeply optimistic . . . so much so they kind of feel like a summer band. The wanderlust that exudes from “Roses That Cry” will surely translate into an album to play on an impromptu trip or dance around in your underwear.  

 

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(Banner Image by Susan O’Brien)