11 New Albums to Stream Now: Cat Power, 'A Star Is Born' and More

EDITORS’ PICK: Cat Power, Wanderer
“Chan Marshall, aka: Cat Power, lays full claim to the title of her tenth album, Wanderer with the authority of a blueswoman who’s seen some shit,” writes Will Hermes, “alternately conjuring trances and slapping you out of them, projecting clear-eyed, uncompromising strength on one of the most fragile-sounding sets she’s ever made.”
Read Our Review: Cat Power’s Timelessly Haunting Wanderer

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
“One point of A Star Is Born is that everything about Ally’s life grows to match her talent,” writes Brittany Spanos. “The progression of songs in the film show that: when she lacks the confidence to sing the songs she has written, she goes for classics like ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and ‘La Vie En Rose.’ As Jackson opens her up to her potential, she moves to the stages of the amphitheaters he plays in, singing grandiose power ballads like the otherworldly, Mark Ronson-assisted highlight ‘Shallow’ or the explosive ‘Always Remember Us This Way.’”
Read Our Review: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Shine Bright on the A Star Is Born Soundtrack
Read Peter Travers’ Review of A Star Is BornCooper, Gaga Hit All the Right Notes

Eric Church, Desperate Man
The sixth album from the country iconoclast showcases “American songcraft steeped more than ever in idiosyncratic traditionalism, chilled out, reflective, refusing to pander to country radio trends, and furthering the southern soul-rock sound of his last set, the 2015 Mister Misunderstood,” writes Will Hermes. “‘Some Of It’ is about wisdom. ‘Monsters’ is, too, and faith (and sure, politicians if you like). ‘Hippie Radio’ conjures Jackson Browne’s approach to country music, with sly nods to Warren Zevon’s ‘Werewolves of London’ (produced and covered by Browne), along with ‘White Wedding’ and ‘Lady Marmalade’ — invoking the power of music that ostensibly shaped him, just like his 2012 breakthrough ‘Springsteen’ did.”
Read Our Cover Story: Eric Church: The Defiant One
Read Our Feature: Eric Church’s Desperate Man: Track-By-Track Guide
Read Our Review: Eric Church Pledges Allegiance to Old-School Country-Rock Values on Desperate Man

John Lennon, Imagine – The Ultimate Collection
John Lennon’s most celebrated album gets a mild facelift and a deep dive with this new box set, which includes new mixes, demos and alternate takes, as well as burps and bathroom breaks. The new “Ultimate Mix” of Imagine brings the former Beatle’s voice a little more to the forefront but remains mostly faithful to the original mix. Fans will likely skip all of this and go straight to the treasure trove of fly-on-the-wall outtakes. The “Imagine” demo, for instance, begins with Lennon clearing his throat and presenting the song without all its familiar accouterments. Another volume features a version of the album without Phil Spector’s flourishes (like the slinky Asian strings on “It’s So Hard”). The final disc sports audio docs (dubbed Evolution mixes) of each song, mixing together banter, demo cuts and finished versions — and a bit of urination on “How.” For a singer whose biggest hit has the line, “You may say I’m a dreamer,” this box set shows just how much thought he put into making those dreams a reality. Kory Grow

Steve Perry, Traces
The storied belter’s first solo album in a quarter-century is “very much a classic Steve Perry record, full of dramatic schmaltz, nostalgia and the occasional rocker,” writes Kory Grow. “Lead single ‘No Erasin” could be a Journey song with its crashing piano and guitar riffs and Perry’s reminiscences of hooking up with an old flame in the backseat of his car. ‘Sun Shines Gray’ is a driving rocker that goes anyway he wants it (lots of slower, quieter parts for the singing and heavier parts in between). And ‘Most of All’ drips with emotion as Perry croons for ‘the ones who’ve lost their most of all.’”
Read Our Feature: Steve Perry Still Believes
Read Our Review: Steve Perry Is Still a Believer on Traces

Phosphorescent, C’est La Vie
Matthew Houck recorded his first studio album since 2013 in his studio Spirit Sounds. “In the past, I really resisted allowing my personal life to be part of the Phosphorescent narrative,” he told Rolling Stone. “This time, I kind of just was like, ‘Well, sure, let’s do it. Let’s talk about my life, I guess.’ I’m still not 100 percent percent comfortable with it.”
Read Our Feature: How Phosphorescent Learned to Love Life’s Ambiguities

Swearin’, Fall Into the Sun
“After breaking up the band for several years, Crutchfield and co-singer-guitarist Kyle Gilbride, alongside drummer Jeff Bolt, have reunited for their third, and most fully realized, record to date,” writes Jonathan Bernstein. “On eleven songs that blend the newly energized band’s Nineties punk foundation with classic rock riffs and newfound singer-songwriter sincerity, the band interweaves a multi-layered, moving narrative of hurt, aging, and reconciliation that draws its energy from the narrative tension between Crutchfield and Gilbride’s starkly different songwriting styles.”

Donny McCaslin, Blow.
The new album by the stalwart saxophonist, whose work on David Bowie’s Blackstar introduced him to a brand-new audience, “almost registers as a kind of new debut for the 51-year-old,” writes Hank Shteamer. “On Blow., McCaslin and fellow Blackstar collaborators Jason Lindner, Tim Lefebvre and Mark Guiliana step boldly into hybrid, tough-to-classify musical terrain, grafting their trademark sleek, emotive electrojazz onto lush, proggy art rock.”
Read Our Review: Blackstar Saxist Donny McCaslin Fully Embraces Art Pop on Blow.

Mozzy, Gangland Landlord
Since his 2015 breakthrough Bladadah, this Sacramento lyricist has tapped into a deep yet under-explored vein of West Coast street rap with consistently compelling results. Belying its media rep as simplistically violent “gangsta rap,” Mozzy’s music is full of regret for past actions, entrepreneurial hope and hustle; it’s also marked by a keen social conscience. “It’s like the slums got a hold on me,” he says on the hook for “Black Hearted,” a track from Gangland Landlord. The album’s “No Way (intro)” includes Kendrick Lamar shouting out Mozzy at this year’s Grammy Awards — “Like my man Mozzy say, God up top”; other mainstream stars pay tribute with cameos, including A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Schoolboy Q, Yo Gotti, and Dej Loaf. Ty Dolla $ign and YG help score a remake of 2Pac’s “Thugz Mansion.” “I got love for them bloods out in Sac, homie,” says Blac Youngsta appreciatively on “Bands on Me.” But Mozzy’s grizzled, sandpapery voice and matter-of-fact tone lies at the album’s center. Mosi Reeves

Gregory Alan Isakov, Evening Machines
The South African-born troubadour’s first album of originals since 2013 adds an array of new textures to the hushed-indie-folk template he perfected on “Big Black Car” and “The Stable Song.” Lead single “Chemicals” pits the singer’s Zach Condon-esque croon and airy falsetto against faint string drones that recall his 2016 collaboration with the Colorado Symphony; “Caves” mixes electronic static, wordless harmonies and heavily reverbed instruments for an intoxicating rush, one of the few moments where Evening Machines hints at “rock.” But Isakov largely sticks to dreamy, hypnotic soundscapes like the layers of feedback on “Powder” or the reverse effects and ghostly vocals of “Where You Gonna Go” — beautiful collisions of acoustic instruments, Isakov’s soothing vocals and otherworldly noise. Jon Freeman

Madeline Kenney, Perfect Shapes
Last year, this neurobiology-trained folk-gazer released her stunning debut Night Night At the First Landing, which showcased her penchant for flipping the pop script. Her second album, which she recorded with Wye Oak’s sonic scientist Jenn Wasner, is full of strong writing and headphone-worthy details; the skip-stepping central riff of “Cut Me Off” is tethered to earth by resolute drums and a crosswalk signal’s barked “Wait!”; “The Flavor of the Fruit Tree” pairs the wow and flutter of an analog synth with hovering-in-midair harmonies and julienned vocal samples; and the simmering “Your Art” recalls Built to Spill at its most inviting, then blasts off into space on its coda, on which shooting-star guitars and a gently blown trumpet trade lullaby verses until they’re both safely ensconced in dreamland. Wriggling against expectations and bursting with ideas, Perfect Shapes is restless and smart, taking often-surprising, always-pleasing paths to pop bliss. Maura Johnston

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