2017 has been a banner year for new music. From fast-rising young talent proving their viral fame is no mistake, to legacy acts further cementing their place in music history, not a single week has passed without at least a handful of albums being release that are worthy of your time. In fact, there has been so much great music released in recent months that even our team has had a hard time keeping up. By the time we get through the records we have to cover for one reason or another there are four or five more we’re told we need to hear. It’s overwhelming, but in the best possible way.
In response to this (good) problem we are launching a new, weekly column highlighting five albums our team feels everyone should hear. These records will feature Substream regulars, as well as artists we hope to work with in the future. We know not everyone will enjoy every album we choose, and that is perfectly okay. All we ask is that you give these records a chance because the people behind them are passionate and talented musicians speaking their truth through art. They are innovators and originators who we believe are shaping the future of music for all artists. We support their efforts and we hope you will too.
So without further ado, here are the five new releases you need to hear this week:
Fans of alternative music have known PVRIS would be the next band to get mainstream attention since their first singles began appearing online a few years back. Now on their second full-length, the Massachusetts-based rock band has evolved into something much larger and far more important than even their most diehard followers could have expected. Vocalist Lynn Gunn tosses metaphor aside in favor of direct lyricism brimming with defiant anger and fierce determination, all of which is set to ambitious production that feels made for arenas. If this record doesn’t make PVRIS one of the biggest bands on the planet there is truly no justice in this world.
The Cadillac Three – Legacy
On Bury Me In My Boots, their best-selling debut album, The Cadillac Three proved themselves to be masters of both Southern rock and modern country with a collection of songs that had been refined over several years. Legacy is a different beast altogether. Release just 54 weeks after Boots hit stores, this album finds the band shaking off the aesthetic of their past in order to share a new, far more focused sound that never loses sight of the group’s Southern roots. The title track in particular is something special, reminding listeners that all the material possessions and success on Earth cannot replace the connection shared by two people in love, but it’s far from the only notable track. Just try to hear the opener, “Cadillacin,” without moving your hips or tapping your toes. We triple dog dare you.
Lil Uzi Vert – Luv Is Rage 2
Just when you thought “XO Tour Llif3” had run its course in the pop culture spotlight internet sensation turned legitimate urban hitmaker Lil Uzi Vert has finally delivered his long-awaited new album. The sixteen track release highlights Uzi’s diverse style, with rap heavy songs appearing alongside more pop-friendly material. There are even two high-profile guest features, as the 2017 XXL Freshman collaborates with the legendary Pharrell Williams (“Neon Guts”) and international superstar The Weeknd (“Unfazed”). The biggest surprise of all however, is the fact these features aren’t needed to make Lil Uzi stand out. In a time when it seems most rap artists rely on co-signs from other, arguably more popular artists to get clicks Lil Uzi is making moves all on his own. There is something for everyone on Luv Is Rage 2, and if the right singles are pushed to radio Uzi could soon find himself in a tier of music stardom altogether.
Iron & Wine – Beast Epic
It’s really hard to find something new to say about a group like Iron & Wine. Though their evolution has been minimal, the group fronted by Sam Beam has consistently released great music for people who enjoy softer sounds. Beast Epic is no exception, and to hear Beam explain the album’s origins it is clear this record holds a special place in his heart. As he explains:
“I have been and always will be fascinated by the way time asserts itself on our bodies and our hearts. The ferris wheel keeps spinning and we’re constantly approaching, leaving or returning to something totally unexpected or startlingly familiar. The rite of passage is an image I’ve returned to often because I feel we’re all constantly in some stage of transition. Beast Epic is saturated with this idea but in a different way simply because each time I return to the theme, I’ve collected new experiences to draw from. Where the older songs painted a picture of youth moving wide-eyed into adulthood’s violent pleasures and disappointments, this collection speaks to the beauty and pain of growing up after you’ve already grown up. For me, that experience has been more generous in its gifts and darker in its tragedies.”
Action Bronson – Blue Chips 7000
People used to call James Brown the hardest working man in show business, but since his death in 2006 that title has belonged to Action Bronson. From his popular Viceland series (Fuck, That’s Delicious), to his upcoming cookbook, endless touring schedule, and nonstop supply of new material, Bronson has carved a niche in the world of entertainment entirely his own. He could probably do any one of his multiple jobs and still be a massive success, but Bronson’s ambition is as large as his appetite. Blue Chips 7000 improves upon the foundation laid by 2015’s Mr. Wonderful in every way, with booming production and off the wall lyricism that blends topical discussion with pop culture reference and true life experiences no one can fake. To hear Bronson rap is to gain a new perspective on life that, honestly, is probably a lot more fun than your own. Don’t miss out.
If you would like to suggest an album for a future column, feel free to email [email protected].