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.

Beast Coast — “Escape From New York”

“Escape From New York” is the culmination of an entire subculture of Brooklyn hip-hop. It started back in 2012 as more of a banner, but is only now formally releasing tracks.  It’s made up of three groups (Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, Underachievers) coming together like the Zords from Power Rangers. Commanding this large cast of misfits and goons is Joey Bada$$, the prodigal son of Bed-Stuy. He coordinates an album that taps into the strengths (and weaknesses) of each group. Tracks like “Left Hand” and “Far Away” utilize the haunting production of Flatbush Zombies’ Erick Arc Elliott in contrast with Kirk Knight or Issa Gold’s mellow flows. “Desperado” is a mesmerizing cocktail of thuggish Gregorian chants and thoughtful bars. “Escape” is a solid record, but sometimes fail to carry the momentum from its opening track “It Ain’t Easy, It Ain’t Easy.” Despite some inconsistencies, this is a refreshing dose of early 2010’s stoner rap.

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Steve Lacy — “Apollo XXI”

A few years ago, Steve Lacy began producing beats on his iPhone. Shortly afterwards, he joined the ranks of neo-soul darlings The Internet. Then, he produced beats for Isaiah Rashad and J. Cole. He was behind the beats on Kendrick’s “Pride” and orchestrated Kali Uchis’ debut album. These past 10 months have seen him make cameos with Solange, Blood Orange and Vampire Weekend. Oh, and he did this all before he could legally drink. The R&B wunderkind has finally released his own complete project, as was alluded to on his 2017 demos. “Apollo XXI” feels like a stripped-down Prince record. Throughout the LP, his voice is like a mist floating over and around every instrument. His guitar work is impeccable, tapping into the legacy of Nile Rodgers and Shuggie Otis. Despite having plenty of beats to groove to, “Apollo XXI” is introspective in a way that the work of Lacy’s’ contemporaries is not. There’s an old, bluesman’s streak somewhere in the soul of pop music’s best-kept secret.


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Skepta — “Ignorance is Bliss”

Grime is a postindustrial and abrasive UK rap style that has been dominating England’s charts for years now. Its success on the other side of the pond has been another story. It’s a style of hip-hop that is just as influenced by dub and acid house as is it by Biggie Smalls or Lil Wayne. Skepta, Grime’s most famous ambassador, has had the most success breaking through the cultural barrier. American critics adore him — and rightfully so. His flows are verbose and serpentine. He never stays in one place or feeling for too long. Lyrically, the North London native has master the art of repetition without redundancy. As mentioned before, Grime was molded by the ‘90s club scene. Thus, the production on “Ignorance Is Bliss” relies on simple bass and drum beats as a plateau for Skepta’s braggadocious rhymes. By UK standards, this latest record isn’t groundbreaking, but hopefully it will introduce more American rap fans to the world of Grime.  


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Rosalía — “Aute Cuture”

Catalan’s mononymous pop sensation took the world by storm last year. Her breakout album, “El Mal Querer,” was an amazing mixture of dancefloor arthouse and contemporary Latin music. Not even a year removed from her sophomore release, Rosalía returns with “Aute Cuture”: a flamenco club banger that features her signature sing-song monologues. It’s a fun track with loads of charisma and an EDM buildup that soars past its drop. It’s a smirkish tease for her recently announced third studio album.

You can catch Rosalia live at the Made in America Festival.

Get your tickets here!

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Bon Iver — “Hey, Ma”

There was a five-year hiatus between Bon Iver’s self-titled breakout and the deeply experimental “22, A Million.” As quickly as Justin Vernon reemerged, he disappeared back into the wilderness. That’s why it’s such a pleasant surprise to see Vernon returning to the fold so quickly. He’s always been able to pull at our deepest nostalgias and anxieties. “Hey, Ma” does exactly that, with Vernon’s patented reverb vocals yearning for the warmth of childhood. Throughout the track, he leans on some of his usual tropes: drummer boy snares, elusive guitar, verses stumbling into choruses. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s good to hear Bon Iver come out from the autotune underbrush.


Purchase your tickets here to see Bon Iver live in concert!


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Gia Margaret — “Babies”

“Babies” is an additional track from Gia Margaret’s gorgeous “There’s Always Glimmer.” The Chicago singer-songwriter relies on Raymond Carver intimacy just as much as she does on the soft touch of ambience. “Babies” traverses the difficult topic of reproduction, and what it means to desire creation. It’s a folk song for the modern age; Margaret’s lush, desolate murmurs echoing off the ivory keys as she prays for maternal understanding. Here’s to hoping we get new music from one of indie rock’s most sentimental up-and-comers.

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