Searching for something to listen to this weekend? Yahoo Music has you covered with a rundown of some of this week’s biggest and buzzing releases, including Chris Stapleton, At the Drive-In, Slowdive, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.
Chris Stapleton: From a Room: Volume 1 (Mercury Nashville). Few artists of any genre have made as big a debut as Chris Stapleton, who single-handledly swept Nashville — and, hell, the world — with his solo full-length Traveller in 2015. It goes without saying that anticipation for his next album has been high. Here, he returns with a tight set of eight original songs, plus a Willie Nelson cover from 1982, “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning.” He’s backed up vocally by his (equally talented) wife, Morgane, which seals this release as quality from top to bottom.
At the Drive-In: in•tera•li•a (Rise). After a 15-year break — during which the members were quite successfully busy with other projects — At the Drive-In has finally returned to the studio. The resulting album comes at a good time for fans of mainstream rock, a genre that’s not easily categorized or served these days, as it offers up a dazzlingly good dose of the sound that made the group famous to begin with.
Slowdive: Slowdive (Dead Oceans). The fact that Slowdive has always been ahead of its time is pronounced with this release, the shoegaze-pioneer band’s first in 22 years. Direct, economic, and powerful, the sound is perfectly suited for today’s musical climate, and does not have a drop of the self-consciousness so often found in bands that decide to regroup after a fair amount of time.
Brandi Carlile/Various Artists: Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of the Story — An Album to Benefit War Child (Columbia). This year marks the 10th anniversary of Brandi Carlile‘s breakthrough album The Story, and she decided to put the milestone to a good cause: Namely this all-star charity tribute featuring A-list covers by Adele, Pearl Jam, Dolly Parton, Indigo Girls, Jim James, and Old Crow Medicine Show. As the title explains, proceeds will go to benefit the charity War Child, which helps children affected in war-torn regions.
Blondie: Pollinator (BMG Rights Management). The seminal new-wave band’s 11th studio album is one big party, spiced up with fun collaborations from guests such as Joan Jett, Laurie Anderson, Charli XCX, Sia, and Johnny Marr. Expect lots of hooks, choruses, and a big drumbeat throughout.
Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet (Verve). This is the last album Krall co-produced with Tommy LiPuma, who died in March. Her vocal interpretations of the Great American Songbook are clean, understated, and fresh-sounding, showing off a talent that doesn’t need much embellishment or polish — something LiPuma obviously recognized and admirably worked with to best effect.
The Afghan Whigs: In Spades (Sub Pop). The Afghan Whigs took a good time apart (16 years, to be exact) before reuniting in 2014 to fans’ delight and critical acclaim. The group’s second post-reunion album shows off a deeper/darker, more intense side of the band, layered with references to demons, death, doom, and other such fare. Not all is lost to the dark side however: Welcome bits of fire and snark move things along in a unique mix.
Wale: Shine (MMG/Atlantic). The Grammy-nominated rapper’s set with his guest list on his latest album includes Lil Wayne, Major Lazer, Wizkid, Dua Lipa, G-Eazy, Chris Brown, J. Balvin, Travis Scott, Davido, Olamide, Phil Adé, and even his own daughter, Zyla, appear on the record. The album’s title refers to the phrase “Still Here Ignoring Negative Energy,” and fittingly, the overall vibe is fun and upbeat.
Julie Andrews: Julie’s Greenroom (Music From the Netflix Original Series) (Varѐse Sarabande). This Netflix series stars Andrews as the headmaster of a performing arts school, with a cast of adorable puppets as her pupils. Here’s the soundtrack, which features guest stars including Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Ellie Kemper and David Hyde Pierce.
Black Lips: Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? (Vice). Sean Lennon helms the production duties on the latest from these Atlanta garage punks — and he’s not the only Lennon on the record. Mom Yoko contributes vocals to the mix as well. Aside from these standout helping hands, the sound of the band is snarling as ever.
Patti LaBelle: Bel Hommage (GPE). The great LaBelle is 72 years old, but one would never guess this from her powerful voice alone, which she shows off on her latest to fine effect by tackling a selection of jazz standards. A class act as always.
Perfume Genius: No Shape (Matador). Mike Hadreas’s fourth record is an exercise in non-restraint — on the set, he confidently takes the opportunity to be opulent sonically, as well as deeply introspective lyrically. The singer-songwriter has never lacked an ability to be interesting, and he pushes extra buttons to that end here.
Taj Mahal/Keb Mo: TajMo (Concord). The collaboration between these two blues legends is as delightful as it sounds on paper, with both artists seamlessly blending their respective unique styles to create a fresh and ambitious new sound. Guests Bonnie Raitt (on a standout John Mayer cover), Joe Walsh, and Sheila E. join in to sweeten the set even more.
The Head and the Heart: Stinson Beach Sessions (Warner). This set features eight previously unreleased demos from the writing of the indie-folk band’s third album, 2016’s Signs of Light, as well as three other previously unreleased songs. Like the last release, this is unfettered, classic-sounding writing that serves as a welcome addition to their catalog.
Nite Jewel: Real High (Gloriette). Electronica artist Ramona Gonzalez releases her fifth album on her own record label, and continues this focus with the carefully approached production and wildly infectious hooks throughout. The overall result is a fascinating and absorbing work of art: both magnetic and somehow odd at the same time.
Ozomatli: Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica (Cleopatra). Los Angeles’s favorite Latin-fusion institution pays admirable homage to its roots on this record, reinterpreting traditional and contemporary Mexican songs by way of Jamaican rhythms. The set boasts production by Jamaican stars Sly & Robbie, plus a multinational slate of guest appearances including Juanes, Regulo Caro, Gaby Moreno, and Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy: Best Troubador (Drag City). Will Oldham pays tribute to one of his greatest influences here, the late great Merle Haggard, by taking a thoughtful meander around the country icon’s rich catalog. He forgoes some of the most obvious (and best-loved) Hag tunes here, choosing instead to explore cuts that allow him to show off his obvious appreciation for outlaw country — a genre that is as often bleak as it is raucous.