15 Albums You Can Hear Now: Lil Wayne, the Weeknd, Arctic Monkeys, Janelle Monae, More

Plus: the Stepkids, Willis Earl Beal, Body/Head, Holy Ghost!, and BL'AST!

lil wayne, dedication 5, stream
Lil Wayne onstage at the America's Most Wanted Music Festival 2013 Photo by Getty Images
Kyle McGovern WRITTEN BY
Kyle McGovern

Can't wait to hear new albums from the Weeknd, Janelle Monáe, Arctic Monkeys, the Stepkids, and Kim Gordon's Body/Head project? Now you don't have to — they're all streaming below. Grab some headphones and enjoy.

1) Lil Wayne, Dedication 5. "Lil Wayne [returns] with Dedication 5, a messy but energetic pileup of original songs, giggly interludes, and freestyles. The tape features contributions from the Weeknd, Chance The Rapper, T.I., 2 Chainz, Birdman, and the usual rotating cast of Young Money understudies. Wayne, more engaged than he sometimes has been lately, hijacks songs from people like Future, Rich Homie Quan, Kanye West, and the notably absent Drake." — Stereogum (via DatPiff)

2) The Weeknd, Kiss Land. "[Abel] Tesfaye's new album, Kiss Land, is a glass-clad monolith to his jaded misogynist fantasies and melodramatic jet-setting, fascinating for both its futurist sonic template and its emotionally stunted hypersexuality... Tesfaye's delicate voice, often breaking into a desperate whimper, constantly echoes off towering synthetic minor chords and spare, hydraulic drum patterns. He is truly lost in the machine." (via NPR)

3) Arctic Monkeys, AM. "Arctic Monkeys' fifth album AM handily made SPIN's 50 Fall Albums That You Gotta Hear... The 12-track set was produced by longtime collaborator James Ford and songwriter Ross Orton (M.I.A., the Fall, Roots Manuva). Heretofore, we'd heard a handful of tracks displaying the group's classic writing chops paired with gritty, slightly glammed rock'n'roll and a whole lot of lusty heartache. Now the band offers us the bigger picture." — SPIN (via iTunes)

4) Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady. "The 19-track set features collaborations with Prince, Miguel, Erykah Badu, Solange, and Esperanza Spalding. We've also seen videos for 'Dance Apocalyptic' and 'Q.U.E.E.N.', each of which was set in a future where, respectively, zombies roam and revolutionaries are kept behind glass. Taken in its whole, The Electric Lady is clear-headed and free to be as funky as it wants to be — a worthy follow-up to 2010's The ArchAndroid that makes good on Monáe's enthralling in-person energy." — SPIN (via VH1)

5) The Stepkids, Troubadour. "On the [Stepkids'] easily digestible second spin, Troubadour, the trio — Gitelman, bassist-keyboardist-vocalist Dan Edinberg, and drummer-vocalist Tim Walsh — recorded 10 tracks that continue the vein of funky, jazz-inflected R&B they tapped on their self-titled debut, a record SPIN called one of the 20 Best R&B Albums of 2011. After opening the album with the Sergio Leone-channeling line, 'Once upon a time in Connecticut,' they traverse a landscape of jagged, jazzy, Steely Dan–inflected interludes; Philly soul wah-wah skronks; and their unique layers of vocal harmonies." (via SPIN)

6) Willis Earl Beal, Nobody knows. "A richer and more approachable encapsulation of his unpredictable sound, Nobody knows. opens with two full minutes of Beal's unaccompanied voice before fanning out into a deft mix of spare blues confessionals and classic soul. At times, as in a breezily charming duet with Cat Power titled 'Coming Through,' Beal seems to bury his past entirely — a move befitting an album forged around the idea of rootlessness, alienation and the abandonment of identity." (via NPR)

7) Body/Head, Coming Apart. "Coming Apart, [Kim Gordon's] debut double-album with guitarist Bill Nace as Body/Head, feels like a glorious revelation of her strengths: It makes clear she was the soul of Sonic Youth, now standing free in sharp relief against that body of work, reframing what we thought we knew... much of Coming Apart is about women's roles — their duty, their identity. Gordon sings of the murderess, the mistress, the actress, the 'good little housewife' who beckons us to her sofa and asks, 'Do you want ice?'." — SPIN (via Pitchfork)

8) Holy Ghost!, Dynamics. "The New York disco-pop duo Holy Ghost! are about to return with their sophomore LP Dynamics, the follow-up to 2011′s self-titled debut, and the new album sounds gorgeous on first listen. The band always came off like the smoothest act on DFA, and when they linked up with Michael McDonald, it felt somehow more appropriate than when Grizzly Bear did the same thing. On Dymanics, they make their sound even slicker and lusher." — Stereogum (via Pitchfork)

9) BL'AST!, It's in My Blood. "'Everyone used to have a BL'AST! sticker on the bottom of their fucking skateboard,' says Dave Grohl, who first met the Santa Cruz hardcore act while touring with his '80s punks Scream ... Grohl recently found the time to tinker with the original, unmixed tapes of the 1987 BL'AST! album It's in My Blood... [The] new mix of the retitled BLOOD! (done on the Sound City board) gives the group back its bite — something savage for a time where bands like All Pigs Must Die, Trash Talk, and Centuries are looking back lovingly to that era." (via SPIN)

10) The 1975, The 1975. "Manchester’s the 1975 are the latest kids to mine what seems like their country’s greatest national resource when it comes to rock: youthful angst. 'This album is the soundtrack to our formative years,' says singer Matt Healy. 'The culmination of our adolescence and the cornerstone of our material thus far. That’s exactly what it is.' He preens moodily through the album, out September 3 in the States, and its success is in just how personal it all sounds." (via Fader)

11) Factory Floor, Factory Floor. "While [Factory Floor] counts Joy Division/New Order's Stephen Morris and Throbbing Gristle's Chris Carter as early fans and collaborators, Factory Floor's self-possession springs from something more primal: the almost-animal magnetism that flows between Colk Void, drummer Gabe Gurnsey and synth player Dominic Butler. Threads can be traced to post-industrial, disco and acid, but it's the performers' sheer conviction to frisson that startles." (via NPR)

12) Potty Mouth, Hell Bent. "Two years and hundreds of practice sessions later, [Phoebe] Harris' guitar riffs on Hell Bent are some of the catchiest of 2013. [Abby] Weems' monotone voice at the front of the mix isn't polished, but it's a perfect fit for Potty Mouth's rough-hewn melodies... There are declarations of self-worth ('Rusted Shut'), ambition ('Wishlist'), friendship ('Bullseye') and success ('The Gap'), and there's 'The Spins,' a cautionary tale that conjures images of freshman college dorm life." (via NPR)

13) Pink Frost, Sundowning. "Pink Frost were previously known as APTEKA, a psychedelic outfit with a penchant for shoegazing. Now, the Chicago crew have changed their name and revamped their sound for Sundowning, the full-length follow-up to APTEKA's debut album, 2011's Gargoyle Days. [The] new nine-track LP still looks longingly at guitar slingers of the past, but Pink Frost have mostly swept away the haze that clouded their previous incarnation. Instead, they've adopted the sort of chugging, nakedly urgent pace once mastered by another Illinois alt-rock set that sometimes indulged in similarly symphonic fantasies: the Smashing Pumpkins." (via SPIN)

14) The Orwells, Who Needs You EP. "The Orwells dropped an EP earlier this year but the Chicago five-piece have already lined up a second, the fast-approaching Who Needs You. The four-track collection fits nicely alongside the Best New Artist alums' previous output of fresh-faced but decidedly scruffy garage-punk. Boasting two self-described 'rip-off' songs — one an homage to the Misfits ('Open Your Eyes'), the other a nod to the Black Lips ('Salvation Is a Parking Lot') — and some production work from TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek (only on 'Who Needs You'), the upcoming short-player delivers 12 thrilling minutes of tuneful, teenaged hooks." (via SPIN)

15) Kill the Noise, Black Magic Remixes EP. "Kill the Noise's OWSLA-released BLVCK MVGIC EP opened a lot of doors for the electro-step producer. Of course, Jake Stanczak was already plenty well known in the scene, but that 2012 [collection] landed the man in the Billboard 200 and, more importantly, spawned a handful of songs that are staples of DJ sets the world over. Now those peers/fans have a chance to truly put their own spin on the material thanks to the nine-track Black Magic Remixes set." (via SPIN)

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