Skip to content
New Music

10 Albums You Can Hear Now: Queens of the Stone Age, Ben Folds Five, and Camera Obscura

queens of the stone age, like clockwork

It’s Friday! Close out the work week by streaming brand new albums from Queens of the Stone Age, Camera Obscura, Thundercat, Quadron, Ben Folds Five, Deafheaven, and more.

1) Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork. “After opening with shuffling percussion, [“My God is the Sun”] becomes a beastly thing comprising massive grinding guitars and hugely punishing drumwork. The crew’s trademark sludge is offset by aggressive bursts of rock and Homme’s always surprising falsettos, not to mention some ghostly keyboard play. Eventually, a menacing build leads into a half-time release, where our anti-hero coos almost Yorke-like about his worship of the great Helios.” — SPIN (via iTunes) 

2) Camera Obscura, Desire Lines. “Desire Lines is more confident and direct than anything in the band’s catalog… On this album, lust and chastity sound like equally honest parts of the same whole. The combination makes Desire Lines sound like a career best.” (via NPR) 

3) Thundercat, Apocalypse. “Co-produced and co-written by producers Flying Lotus and Mono/Poly, Thundercat’s follow-up to The Golden Age of the Apocalypse was written after the death of keyboardist, FlyLo bandmate and friend Austin Peralta. It can be, at times, bittersweet, as if attempting to smile and dance the pain away in the gossamer late-night plea ‘Heartbreaks + Setbacks,’ the somber yacht-rocker ‘Without You’ and the time-signature-shifting jazz-pop ‘Tron Song.’ But then there are tracks that really want to move, like the Herbie Hancock mutant fusion of ‘Lotus and the Jondy’ or your next party-starter, the sweaty and somewhat self-deprecating ‘Oh Sheit It’s X.'” (via NPR) 

4) Eleanor Friedberger, Personal Record. “As half of the brother-sister act The Fiery Furnaces — presently on hiatus — Eleanor Friedberger indulges some of her artier and more experimental, unpredictable impulses. As a solo artist, she’s the epitome of subtle, un-showy cool… On [Personal Record], her palette expands to include a wider array of themes and perspectives, while she maintains a minimalist-cool sound that’s sweet, simple and timeless… she keeps enough spareness in these songs that when she switches up the formula — as in the lush choruses of ‘She’s a Mirror,’ the bouncy strum of ‘Stare at the Sun’ or the flashes of distortion in ‘Tomorrow Tomorrow’ — the joys and surprises hit that much harder.” (via NPR) 

5) Spectrals, Sob Story. “Produced with Chet ‘JR’ White, bassist and one-time producer for Girls, [Sob Story] features single ‘A Heartbeat Behind,’ which SPIN’s Chris Martins described last month as ‘cooly spit-shined’ with ‘rollicking guitar riffs and snapping drums.’ The full-length’s other 11 tracks trade in similarly lean hooks, nimbly navigating from lo-fi slacker anthems to sweetly smoldering torch songs.” (via SPIN) 

6) Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds Five Live. “Recorded over the course of the trio’s 2012-2013 tour in support of their latest LP, Ben Folds Five Live pulls stand-outs from all four of the band’s full-lengths: 1995’s self-titled debut, 1997’s Whatever and Ever Amen, 1999’s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, and last year’s The Sound of the Life of the Mind. (Yes, that includes ‘Brick.’)” — SPIN (via Consequence of Sound) 

7) Portugal. The Man, Evil Friends. “Sure, you could wait until Tuesday (June 4) to pick up Portland-based psych-pop unit Portugal. The Man’s new Danger Mouse-produced LP, Evil Friends, we’ll let you in on a secret: the band are already streaming the set in full… Along with previously revealed cuts like ‘Purple Yellow Red and Blue’ and ‘Evil Friends,’ you can check out tracks like ‘Plastic Soldiers’ — an atmospheric give-and-take of pianos, violins and textured beatwork — or the chipper pop anthem ‘Modern Jesus.'” (via Tumblr) 

8) Quadron, Avalanche. “The ringing guitar chords that open Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ are lifted from the beginning of a song called ‘Tiden Flyver’ by the group Boom Clap Bachelors. Robin Hannibal of Boom Clap Bachelors is in Rhye, but he’s also in Quadron with singer Coco O… Quadron has been building a murmuring buzz this year thanks to their single ‘Hey Love,’ which uses the soft strums and handclaps of the Lumineers for good instead of evil. Quadron’s newest single is ‘Better Off,’ a lightly breezy song with a jazz lilt. Kendrick slides through for a verse, sounding as comfortable and perfect as he did on ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.'” — SPIN (via the New York Times

9) These New Puritans, Field of Reeds. “What These New Puritans didn’t do for their third album was head into the studio with a few guitar riffs, and then jam them into rock’n’roll songs. Instead, Jack Barnett had every part fully composed and arranged before even venturing into Studio P4 Funkhaus Nalepastraße, in Berlin… As you may have gathered, Field of Reeds is a most unconventional album. If you are looking for comparisons, then maybe the sharp left turns taken by Japan and Talk Talk in their latter years offer a clue.” (via the Guardian

10) Deafheaven, Sunbather. “San Francisco’s Deafheaven are set to turn the black metal game on its head with the… arrival of Sunbather. The group’s second album is experimental even within its niche field — which is to say it’s not afraid to get genuinely pretty, or to play with pop conventions even as it subverts them wildly… [The title track] opens with a swarming flurry of guitars and then vacillates between panoramic vistas and shredded doom. Head screamer George Clarke scorches his vocal cords for the cause, pushing the song along through a handful of distinct movements. The resulting firestorm is a mix of Deftones’ darkness, Mogwai’s expansiveness, Jesu’s heft, and Fuck Buttons’ intensity.” — SPIN (via Pitchfork)