Best New Albums: This Week's Records to Stream

Featuring Complete Mountain Almanac, Eddie 9V, H.C. McEntire and more

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Best New Albums: This Week's Records to Stream

Paste is the place to kick off each and every New Music Friday. We follow our regular roundups of the best new songs by highlighting the most compelling new records you need to hear. Find the best of what this week has to offer below, from priority picks to honorable mentions.

Complete Mountain Almanac: Complete Mountain Almanac

New music collective Complete Mountain Almanac is a collaborative project between Swedish musician Rebekka Karijord and siblings Jessica, Aaron and Bryce Dessner. Their debut self-titled record arrives at the end of January and finds the quartet contemplating climate change in a 12-song suite. Each track on Complete Mountain Almanac is titled after a month of the year and, last fall, the group teased the upcoming album with “May,” a beautiful track about giving back to Mother Earth. Earlier this year, listeners were gifted with “February,” the solemn, poetic tune about a body being taken apart in order to be saved. The band name stems from a book of poetry written by Jessica after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and imagery of mortality deeply, and often, intersect with the environmental themes on the album. —Matt Mitchell

Eddie 9V: Capricorn

“We’re tracking in history right now, y’all,” Eddie 9V says at the end of “Yella Aligator,” the swamp-funk second single from his latest album. While he’s overstating the case a bit, he’s not wrong. The Atlanta-born singer, songwriter and guitarist was set up at the venerable Capricorn Studios in Macon, Ga., where the Allman Brothers Band and Percy Sledge had once recorded. Also, Eddie 9V (real name: Brooks Mason Lane) is working in a vintage-style soul vein on most of the 11 songs on his third LP. It’s a shift from the sound of his previous albums, where he dug into old-school electric blues that evoked the crackling, fuzzed-over guitar sound of Elmore James and Freddie King cuts from the ’50s. On Capricorn, Eddie 9V is showing off his soulman bona fides with locked-in rhythms, flashy horns and a healthy measure of whirling Hammond organ and electric piano. Capricorn shows another side of a young artist who is still growing into his full potential. Not only can Eddie 9V play the blues, he’s got plenty of soul, too. —Eric R. Danton

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Fucked Up: One Day

For 20 years, Fucked Up have consistently taken an ambitious, often sprawling approach to punk. But what would happen if the band wrote and recorded an entire full-length in one day? That’s the idea behind One Day, Fucked Up’s sixth full-length studio album, which was recorded just before the COVID-19 pandemic and is just now seeing the light of day via Merge Records. The answer is simple and not terribly surprising: You get a record that is unmistakably Fucked Up, leaner than ever before and still committed to pushing punk rock into beautiful and fascinating places. The band scaled down in three ways this time around: 1. One Day is the shortest Fucked Up record, clocking in at 10 tracks and about 40 minutes long. 2. Only four of the five members were involved in the recording process. (Longtime sixth member Ben Cook left the band a while back to focus on Young Guv.) And 3. Each member composed and captured the entirety of their parts in a 24-hour period, albeit separately. Besides the length of the thing, however, it’s not as if that man-made construct diminished the brawn or the brilliance of Fucked Up on One Day. These songs are, per usual, towering monuments to the power of well-played electric guitars; dense thickets of thrilling rock ’n’ roll; controlled collisions of Mike Haliechuk’s melodic pop-rock tendencies and Damien Abraham’s made-for-hardcore howl; and raucous reflections on dreams and destruction, colonialism and corruption, legacy, love and life under the weight of late-stage capitalism. The process resulted in yet another excellent album from one of the best bands out there. Even just one day of Fucked Up is something to be treasured. —Ben Salmon

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H.C. McEntire: Every Acre

When Durham, N.C. native H.C. McEntire began her solo career after fronting the revered indie rock band Mount Moriah, she began to explore an authentic Americana songcraft that showcased her exemplary ability to tie nearly unexpressable emotions to nature. But on Every Acre, McEntire reveals that the soil we stand on may not be as solid as it seems. In the liner notes of the album, McEntire acknowledges that Every Acre was written and recorded on traditional territory of the Eno, Lumbee, Occaneechi, Shakori, Saponi, Tuscarora, Catawba, Sissipahaw, Tutelo, Adshusheer, and Cheraw peoples. On the pulsing and spectral duet with S.G. Goodman “Shadows,” McEntire contemplates this predicament weighing Southern traditions against the steps it would take to “make room” for a new way of life. Her poetic lyricism inspires a new perspective, one that zooms out of your limited vision, to understand the places we occupy in a grand existential sense. With minimal arrangements, McEntire and her small circle of musicians—which includes guitarist Luke Norton, bassist Casey Toll and drummer Daniel Faust—never rush or overwhelm with complexity. Instead, McEntrie and Norton’s warm and often tremolo’d guitars hum and converse with Toll and Faust’s laidback southern swing. Every Acre is a profound listen, one that reveals more wisdom the more you surrender to it. McEntire has discovered painful truths in the process, without ever letting herself or our history off the hook. —Pat King

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R. Ring: War Poems/We Rested

Indie rock duo R. Ring, the collaboration of Ohio legends Kelley Deal (The Breeders, Protomartyr) and Mike Montgomery (Ampline), play in the familiar sandboxes of alternative rock with cunning twists on their long-awaited second LP, War Poems/We Rested. On tracks like “Hug” and “Cartoon Heart/Build Me a Question,” the duo cranks up the tempo, delivering fuzzy riffs that veer into power-pop territory. “Cartoon Heart/Build Me a Question” especially offers beguiling lyrics: “What’s the name of your favorite song/What’s the deal with your crooked leg?” More subdued but impactful tracks like “Lighter Than a Berry” feature a vulnerable Montgomery sinking into loneliness, with lyrics that grow more and more mournful: “Shouldn’t you reach for me when you feel hollow?” Deal and Montgomery take turns helming the band, each bringing their best foot forward and giving their preferred style of alt rock a personal touch. They sat on these songs for years while working other projects, and in the meantime, they collected poetry from buddies like Hanif Abdurraqib, Sadie Dupuis, Sara Jaffe, and so many more, giving this already cerebral project a literary component. —Devon Chodzin

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Samia: Honey

On 2020’s The Baby, Samia accentuated her wit with propulsive indie rock that often betrayed promising depth to her emotions. Now, on her second LP, Honey, Samia steers into alt-folk and pop that gives her songs a broad emotive palette, but at times, the record fails to reach the heights of her previous releases. Lead single, “Kill Her Freak Out,” offers all the hallmarks of Samia’s songwriting that fans have come to love: hyperlocal lyrics (“You were next door with Gigi / Cocktails for breakfast / Walking her groceries back to the main house”), gradual builds, and deadpan delivery (“I hope you marry the girl from your hometown / And I’ll fucking kill her / And I’ll fucking freakout”). Even though the lyrical specificity teeters over the line into obfuscation, the centerpiece of “Kill Her Freak Out” is the chorus centered on familiar emotions she feared experiencing in a moment of profound loneliness. The instrumentation, initially centered on an organ, is hypnotic. With disorienting abruptness, Samia shifts gears on “Charm You,” an acoustic indie folk-rock meditation that could serve as an anthem for keeping it real. She changes things up again on “Pink Balloons,” a two-and-a-quarter minute piano ballad highlighting Samia’s vocal fortitude. Incredibly, the vibe shifts yet again: on “Mad At Me,” Samia teams up with Rostam for throbbing pop production with a feature from Minnesota-based Papa Mbye. Where Honey celebrates the diverse community that informs Samia’s experience as a person and an artist, Honey does not necessarily give back, returning an inconsistent set of identities that do not always highlight what makes her a promising artist. Samia instead sinks into the honey like quicksand, encasing her to the point of occlusion. —Devon Chodzin

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The Arcs: Electronphonic Chronic

For the first time in nearly eight years, neo-psychedelic rock band The Arcs are releasing a full-length studio album. Electrophonic Chronic, the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Yours, Dreamily, is the first Arcs release since the passing of Richard Swift, who played drums, keys and guitar in the band until 2018. Produced in tandem by frontman Dan Auerbach and pianist Leon Michels, Electrophonic Chronic continues to build on the band’s interests in their unique fusion of blues, garage rock, R&B and psychedelia. Highlighted by its singles, “Keep on Dreamin’,” “Eyez,” “Heaven Is a Place” and “Sunshine,” Auerbach has made certain to separate the hypnotic grooves of the Arcs from the heavy blues influences he translates in his other band, The Black Keys. Swift’s presence will surely be missed on Electrophonic Chronic, but it’s clear that the Arcs opted to wait for the proper time to make a new record without their beloved bandmate. —Matt Mitchell

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White Reaper: Asking for a Ride

White Reaper knows their strengths. After three slick garage rock records, the five-piece return with Asking for a Ride, another album filled with bracing guitar riffs, wailed vocals, and mechanical, solid drumming. The record also might be White Reaper’s most intriguing yet, split between their heaviest songs yet and the band’s secret weapon of strong pop instincts. Opening tunes “Asking For a Ride” and “Bozo” are built around engaging ‘80s hard rock chord progressions and blastbeat drums, but Asking for a Ride doesn’t really get going until the wonderfully cheesy, tuneful choruses of “Fog Machine” and “Crawlspace.” Vocalist Tony Esposito puts his heart into “When my phone rings, can’t wait to hear what you say” on the former, turning a throwaway line into one of the band’s great hooks. But Asking for a Ride is filled with more surprises: “Heaven or Not” tries out Def Leppard-esque balladry with the operatic corniness turned down, giving Ryan Hater’s synths and Esposito’s harmonies real pathos. “Pages,” the album’s closer that starts as a ballad and expands into a distortion-turned-to-ten classic, is an argument to not take White Reaper for granted. We might not always get steady, polished rock music from Kentuckians indebted to Cheap Trick and The Cars, but at least we have Asking for a Ride for now. —Ethan Beck

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And don’t forget to check out … Aoife O’Donovan: The Apathy Sessions, Elle King: Come Get Your Wife, Half Gringa: Ancestral Home (EP), King Tuff: Smalltown Stardust, Sam Smith: Gloria, You Me at Six: Truth Decay