Chris Stapleton, From A Room, Vol. 1

Hirsute songster Stapleton follows up 2015’s surprise blockbuster Traveler sounding world-weary. He hopes the preacher doesn’t visit his cell in “Death Row”; hopes his dealer didn’t get busted in “Them Stems”; ponders how his drunken past as “the Picasso of painting the town” makes his better half not trust him in the waltzing “Up to No Good Livin'”; laments the unfortunate timing of her departure in an update of Willie Nelson’s “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning.” He choogles most of it as gruff, sepia-toned blues-country, with real-life better half Morgane Stapleton chiming in occasionally to add tension. --Chuck Eddy

Logic, Everybody

Much like his 2015 album The Incredible True Story, Logic’s third album is a concept piece. But while that 2015 album found astronauts searching for intelligent life while bumping his music, Everybody settles on a man who has died in a car crash and now lingers in a “Waiting Room” where astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson appears as God, or at least a spiritual being who counsels us on the meaning of life. Meanwhile, Logic dives headfirst into perceptions of his biracial identity, and clarifies myths with empathy and passion. “My blood is the slave and the master,” he raps on “Everybody.” “America” finds him trading bars with Black Thought, Chuck D, Big Lenbo; and Alessia Cara and Khalid help him write the anti-suicide PSA “1-800-273-8255.” Listen to the end of “AfricAryan” for a cameo by J Cole. --Mosi Reeves

Blondie, Pollinator

On their first new album in three years, Blondie has masterminded an intellectual construct on the aptly titled Pollinator, challenging some of their more famous fans to write (or co-write) a song that reminded them of why they loved these music progenitors who fearlessly mixed up genres, epochs and fashion to become one of the most loved and revered bands that ever put their Beatle boots on a stage (or in the case of Debbie Harry, her spindly stilettos). The result is much better than you might think from the swirling gauzy guitar thrills of “My Monster” written by Johnny Marr to the sharp rhythmic authority of “Gravity” co-written with Charlie XCX that transmits some of the anxiety of life at the top circa 1980, when you’ve got no place else to go but down. Surprise contributions from Sia, Blood Orange and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek don’t yank the album into present time, but gently nudge it there, without losing any of the unstudied cool of the original band, which is now comprised of Harry, Chris Stein and super drummer, Clem Burke. Pollinator is even more of a collaborative affair than just the writing. Invited guest performers like the Strokes Nick Valensi, Laurie Anderson and Joan Jett capture that energy of New York when it sizzles. And it sizzles here. --Jaan Uhelszki

Mac DeMarco, This Old Dog

This Old Dog boasts plenty of Mac DeMarco’s woozy charm and lazy man pop genius, yet it also finds him expanding his sonic palette. Where the rootsy title track finds him creeping towards a more orthodox style of indie-informed folk-rock, “One More Love Song” reaches back to the softest soul of the ’70s for its downy groove. As the album’s title suggests, DeMarco’s lyrics this time around frequently dig into questions of getting older--but not without a few twists. “My Old Man,” for instance, folds his own issues with aging into the realization that he’s beginning to see a great deal of his father in himself. Of course, DeMarco pours all this deep introspection into a song that oozes seriously relaxed vibes. That’s just how he rolls. --Justin Farrar

LCD Soundsystem “Call The Police / American Dream”*

LCD Soundsystem resurfaces after a seven-year hiatus with singles “Call The Police” and “American Dream” ahead of a much-awaited LP and tour. “Call The Police” is a punchy rock number layering guitar licks, locomotive percussion, cymbal washes and synthesizer swells with typical moody Murphy vocals. “American Dream” marries foreboding and somehow aspirational synth figures, recalling Joy Division with dark instrumentation and lyrics that manage both earnest and resigned sentiment. The band known for “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” emerged from a decades-long party both older and sanguine, as the lyrics of “American Dream” belie: “Oh, the revolution was here / That would set you free from those bourgeoisie / In the morning everything's clearer / When the sunlight exposes your age / But that's okay.” --Sara Jayne Crow

At the Drive-In, In•Ter A•Li•A

The politically conscious In•Ter A•Li•A may be At the Drive-In’s first studio effort in 17 years, yet the post-hardcore pioneers sound as though they’re picking up right where they left off. As intricate as it is visceral, the opening “No Wolf Like the Present” spits shards of cold and atonal guitar, while flailing howler Cedric Bixler wrestles whirling dervish drummer Tony Hajjar in a cage match. The equally imposing “Governed by Contagions” rides a wiry, arty punk riff and unleashes enough anti-establishment rebellion to bring down a fascist regime. But not every cut is a wrecking ball. “Ghost-Tape No. 9” is a slowly throbbing descent into dub-inspired avant-rock. It comes smeared in the the kind of gauzy, phantom sound effects that fans of The Mars Volta will immediately recognize. So yeah, At the Drive-In are back and in a big way. --Justin Farrar

Lil Yachty, “Bring It Back”

Lil Yachty took an unexpected blast to the past in his new ‘80s themed track “Bring It Back.” Trading his youthful and melodic trap infused tunes--or “bubblegum trap” beats-- for electric guitar licks and ‘80s synths and drum machines, Yachty pleads “please bring back your lovin’, cause you’ve been gone for too long.” No teenager is a stranger to these emotions and the track plays into the theme of Yachty’s debut album, Teenage Emotions set to arrive on May 26th. --Jazmyn Pratt


Halsey, Eyes Closed

Dance music crooner Halsey emerges with a single ahead of her new album drop, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. “Eyes Closed” somehow manages to be a ballad with top charting potential as the vocalist marries electro-pop with aching and bruised vocals inspired by the vocalist’s self-described recent toxic break-up: “If I keep my eyes closed / He feels just like you.” -–Sara Jayne Crow




Haim, “Want You Back”

“Want You Back,” the lead single from the trio’s forthcoming Something to Tell You album, sounds like the Haim we know and love, only richer, fuller and significantly more intricate. The ’80s-inspired love ballad--a plea for forgiveness that’s equal parts pop and R&B--methodically blossoms into a kaleidoscope of swirling vocal dances, popping bass, funk guitar chop and hazy chords. It’s yet another example of why Haim are both amazingly catchy and slyly arty. --Justin Farrar