Gorillaz’s Humanz, and 6 Other Albums to Listen to Now

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Photo: Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Every week, Vulture gathers new albums you can listen to right now. We don’t have a problem admitting it: Keeping track of everything that’s released can be overwhelming, but finding out about interesting music doesn’t have to be work. Read our picks below, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Gorillaz, Humanz (Parlophone)
There are two ways to listen to Gorillaz’s first album in six years: Front to back chronologically as this dystopian dance-party concept loosely suggests, or you can do it the choose-your-own-adventure way (the best way) and bounce around the album’s collaboration-dependent 26 tracks. There are options for the latter to make it more curated than random: If you want genre-blending and a sense of which newcomers have Damon Albarn’s stamp of approval, work your way through the album’s first few tracks, then jump to “Andromeda,” “She’s My Collar,” “Hallelujah Money,” “Out of Body,” and “Circle of Friendsz.” Prefer the legends? Stick to “Momentz,” “Charger,” “Let Me Out,” “Sex Murder Party,” and “Ticker Tape.” But if you only have the attention span for one song, you’ll have to choose between the Noel Gallagher reconciliation (“We Got the Power”) or the sneering “Charger,” starring Grace Jones. Only one tip applies to all strategies: Skip the interludes. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Sylvan Esso, What Now (Loma Vista Recordings)
If Sylvan Esso’s sophomore album, What Now, were a Transformer, it would be a touring van that changes itself into a pop-robot in the blink of an eye. For every catchy, honey-covered anthem, there’s a moment when the music reverts to something more low-key: Two musicians in the back of a tour van asking themselves what they’re supposed to do now that they’ve made it. —Gabe Cohn (@Gabescohn)

Feist, Pleasure (Polydor)
It’s weird to think about now, but Feist’s ’07 single “1234” ended up becoming synonymous with iPods thanks to a well-timed commercial that helped bring indie music into the popular consciousness. As a listener, it was unexpected, and it seems it was for Feist too. She didn’t release another album until 2011. Now, six years later, we have Pleasure, a moody, accomplished storm cloud of a record that feels low-key on purpose. From the gothic stomp of “A Man Is Not His Song” to the apocalyptic “Century” collaboration with Jarvis Cocker, Pleasure is a very good record by an often-great artist. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@Shockleysmith)

Mark Lanegan Band, Gargoyle (Heavenly Recordings)
The Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age alum’s latest record, Gargoyle, wears its influences (Iggy Pop’s ’70s collaborations with David Bowie on “Emperor,” U2 on “Old Swan”) proudly, all while keeping Lanegan’s gravelly pipes at the forefront. Oh, and the guitar on “Beehive” totally sounds like bees. —GC

Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell Live (Asthmatic Kitty) and Ryan Adams, Prisoner B-Sides (PaxAmericana Recording Company)
A year after seeing Sufjan debut his bonkers psychedelic live show for the stellar Carrie & Lowell, I never expected that I’d be recommending its recording now. It was off-putting — weird for the sake of being weird — and distracted from the heaviness of the subject matter of the album. Listening back now, though, it actually works. What the live gimmicks took from the music has been restored in postproduction. The album’s title track is now accented with chimes, orchestral flourishes, and drum slams that add a sweeping, cinematic filter. These songs are so devastating and personal, you forget how big they can become once opened up a bit. Meanwhile, in revisiting his own work of heartache, Ryan Adams turned even further inward. Prisoner B-Sides consists of 17 songs from the original album that didn’t make the cut. Some of them are even more bare-bones than usual for Adams — like he just got these words off his chest, recorded them in a single take, then left them alone — which only makes them feel all the more vulnerable. If you thought Prisoner was raw, try to make it through “Broken Things” or “Empty Bed” unscathed. —DL

G Perico, All Blue (So Way Out)
For the past few years, L.A. rap has been thriving. Whether it’s Kendrick Lamar and the rest of the TDE crew creating layered music about the worlds they inhabit, or guys like YG and G Perico, who build on DJ Quik and N.W.A’s template to create a sound at once reverent of their musical roots and completely fresh. All Blue, the latest release from the South Central rapper, is vivid and passionate, the kind of record that rewards repeat listens. Like the best West Coast rap records, it sounds like a dark summer, but this isn’t exactly easy listening. G Perico never flinches or opts for the safe route. —SH-S

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