10 Albums You Can Hear Now: Smith Westerns, Wale, Bosnian Rainbows, and Transplants

Plus: Mavis Staples, Palms, Lemuria, Hausu, Mibbs, and Lightning Dust

smith westerns, wale, soft will, the gifted
Smith Westerns' Cullen Omori and Wale Photos by Getty Images
Kyle McGovern WRITTEN BY
Kyle McGovern

It's Wednesday! That means we've rounded up 10 new, streamable albums for your listening pleasure. Strap on a pair of headphones and dive in below.

1) Smith WesternsSoft Will. "Given that Smith Westerns' first record came out when its members were teenagers, it makes sense that the Chicago band has evolved from a garage-y pop-rock outfit — all shambling T. Rex-isms and impeccable hair — to something sweeter, dreamier, slicker and sunnier... The follow-up to Smith Westerns' 2011 breakthrough Dye It BlondeSoft Will (out June 25) is the sound of weaponized agreeability; a band whose songs are so catchy, even wistful ballads like 'White Oath' have a shiny sheen that practically glistens. Given a brisk pace to match, songs like "Idol" and the appropriately titled 'Glossed' practically roll the car windows down for you." (via NPR)

2) Bosnian RainbowsBosnian Rainbows. "Every song on Bosnian Rainbows is catchy and anthemic, with frequent nods to the '80s work of Simple Minds and Bowie. [Band co-leader Omar Rodríguez-López], who can get too tangled in his own head, here finds a way to package his ideas in a succinct and digestible way. Songs like the bouncy 'Torn Maps' and the wistful 'Turtlenecks' are easy to enjoy, but not too reduced — they're full of rich narratives, unusual musical progressions and cryptic, Tori Amos-esque lyrics to keep listeners feeling both included and intrigued." (via NPR)

3) WaleThe Gifted. "The Gifted features 16 tracks, including the previously released 'LoveHate Thing' featuring Sam Dew, the melodic Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz-assisted smoker's cut 'Rotation,' and his hit with Tiara Thomas, 'Bad.' It also [includes] a knocking gentleman club's anthem 'Clappers,' featuring Juicy J and Nicki Minaj." — Hip-Hop Wired (via iTunes)

4) TransplantsIn a Warzone. "The punk supergroup Transplants turn up the aggression on In a Warzone, packing their upcoming third album with fast, ferocious cuts and a few changes of pace. Rancid's Tim Armstrong, Blink-182's Travis Barker and Death March's 'Skinhead Rob' Aston catch their breath on pop anthems ('Come Around'), jam on rap and blues-rock ('Something's Different') and mess with drum-and-bass in more hip-hop exploration ('It's a Problem')." (via Rolling Stone)

5) Mavis StaplesOne True Vine. "One of [Mavis] Staples' many high-profile fans, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, produced and plays on Staples' 2010 album You Are Not Alone, and he returns to steer its fine follow-up, One True Vine... the new album finds Tweedy playing virtually every instrument — that's his 17-year-old son Spencer on drums — but, as Jeff Tweedy often does on records he produces, he tends to hang back, eschew showy flourishes and stay out of the way once the tape is rolling. This is Staples' showcase, and rightfully so, though Tweedy clearly had a hand in picking the songs, from 'Holy Ghost' (by Low, whose new album he produced) to pieces by Funkadelic and Nick Lowe, to the three tracks he wrote himself." (via NPR)

6) Palms, Palms. "Palms is a cinematic alt-metal supergroup combining 60 percent of post-rock dream weavers Isis (drummer Aaron Harris, bassist Jeff Caxide, and keyboardist Clifford Meyer), and the cloudgazing, dreamy, hyper-romantic vocals of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno. Truly the sum of its more-than-able parts, Palms is the slow-orbiting-rocket float of Oceanic-era Isis painted in soft colors, now with the gushing, soaring melodies that would work on an older sibling's mixtape next to Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, U2, or Depeche Mode." (via SPIN)

7) Hausu, Total. "Hausu [have already shared] 'Chrysanthemum,' a heaving shredder that SPIN described as 'a sweetly sour mix of Dischord-ant post-punk drive and vintage alt-rock gnarl (via Dinosaur Jr. et al.).' Now, the Portland bruisers have shared the entirety of Total, their debut album, out June 25 via Sub Pop's Hardly Art imprint. Like that earlier sample, the full 10-track set trades heavily in sinewy guitar lines, walloping drums, and furious lamentations courtesy singer Ben Friars Funkhouser." (via SPIN)

8) Mibbs, Freebass EP. "Mibbs hails from long-hustling Los Angeles trio Pac Div, but he breaks out of the backpack on his debut solo EP, Freebass. Produced by hit-maker Scoop DeVille (Snoop Dogg, Fat Joe, Kendrick Lamar, Das Racist), these five songs combine wavy minimal beatwork with rhymes that range from swaggy to heady to hard. And while 'Rollin' coasts by with sparse drums and deep sea submarine pulse, 'Supwithat' is built around a screaming/chiming melody that sounds cribbed from My Bloody Valentine's Loveless." (via SPIN)

9) Lightning Dust, Fantasy. "Black Mountain members Amber Webber and Joshua Wells are three albums into their Lightning Dust synth side project, and it runs smoother than ever. On June 25, the Vancouver duo will follow 2009's Infinite Light with Fantasy, a full-length that features enthralling lead single 'Diamond' and the newly revealed 'Loaded Gun.' Powered by muscular drum beats and a darkly throbbing robo pulse, Lightning Dust's latest track boasts an Italo disco-pedigree. Maybe Canadians Do It Better." — SPIN (via Pitchfork) 

10) Lemuria, The Distance Is So Big. "Beginning with their self-titled 7-inch debut, guitarist Sheena Ozzella and drummer Alex Kerns (who share vocal duties) crafted a particularly self-assured brand of post-hardcore, a sound that only grew more refined on their 2011 effort, Pebble, with the added production touch of Jawbox's J. Robbins. The band — which has included bassist Max Gregor since 2010... holed up once again with Robbins in his studio in Baltimore, emerging... with [The Distance Is So Big's] 'Brilliant Dancer,' a bipolar bit of melodic punk that manages to float some plinking piano chords over Ozzella's and Kerns' honeyed vocal takes and characteristically hearty guitar work." — SPIN (via NPR)

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