albums of the week

Brad Paisley’s Love and War, and 5 Other Albums to Listen to Now

Brad Paisley. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

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.

Joe Goddard, Electric Lines (Domino Records)
U.K. producer Joe Goddard is best known Stateside for being part of the playfully idiosyncratic electronic band Hot Chip and as one half of the house duo the 2 Bears, but his sophomore solo album is a confident, cohesive, and thoroughly enjoyable statement from a producer no longer content to classify his music as a Hot Chip side project. While there’s a lot to like here for Hot Chip fans — “Lose Your Love” offers up a groove layered with Auto-Tuned vocals reminiscent of that band’s single “I Feel Better,” and the title track is a reflective ballad featuring Hot Chip vocalist Alexis Taylor — Electric Lines as a whole is a solid album of unimpeachable house and disco-inflected pop that’s perfect for summer. That Goddard and guest vocalist SLO can deliver a chorus as generic as “music is the answer to your problems” with such genuine conviction that you actually believe them is a testament to Electric Lines’ simple power. —Samantha Rollins (@SamanthaRollins)

Ray Davies, Americana (Legacy)
Ray Davies swaps “Waterloo Sunset” for purple mountain majesties on Americana, a tongue-in-cheek love letter to sub-Mason-Dixon America. Just as he did with British tea-and-crumpets propriety during his time with the Kinks, Davies both celebrates and takes the piss out of classic Americana. He talks romantically about driving a Mustang in “The Deal,” but has a bit too much fun with the idea of drinking a “cappuCCINO,” like he did with “frilly nylon panties” being pulled “right up tight” years ago in “Dedicated Follower of Fashion.” When, on the album’s title track, he sings “I wanna make my home where the buffalo roam,” you might sense a sarcastic sneer behind the drawl — but you also kind of believe him. —Gabe Cohn (@Gabescohn)

J Dilla, Motor City (Vintage Vibes Music Group / Nature Sounds)
A completist’s burden is entirely self-imposed, and often doesn’t make sense to outsiders, but what happens when an artist’s body of work is enriched by the act of hearing literally everything they’ve ever made? Three days before he died, Detroit producer J Dilla released Donuts, a now-classic album of beat sketches lovingly stitched together as a patchwork narrative of one man’s lifelong obsession with music. It moved from crackly-soul to psychedelic reggae with ease, disregarding conventional song structure in favor of loose ideas that gather weight the more you hear them. Since his passing, Dilla’s seemingly endless archives have been gradually unearthed. Motor City — a collection of beat scraps that doesn’t achieve the same brilliance as Donuts but is full of interesting ideas nonetheless — was compiled by Dilla’s mother, and her love for her son’s work is almost audible. It’s likely that most of these pieces were not meant for public consumption — at least not in the form they exist in now, but listening to them still feels exciting. Each unearthed nugget is a window into the mind of one of music’s great treasures. I can’t say this is the best album ever, but it’s definitely inspiring. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)

Woods, Love Is Love (Woodsist)
It’s a ballsy move to quote Lin-Manuel Miranda for your album title (Was I the only one who thought of Van Morrison when he delivered that speech?), but the phrase “Love Is Love” couldn’t be a more fitting title for this collection of songs. Recorded in the months immediately after the election, Love Is Love is a rumination on — and affirmation of — its title, expressed through a freewheeling half-hour of psychedelic folk. The six songs are centered around “Spring Is in the Air,” a ten-minute instrumental odyssey that shifts subtly from sounding mournful to sounding triumphant — like how a televised Cadillac motorcade can look like a victory or a funeral, depending on the background noise. —GC

Gas, Narkopop (Kompakt)
Wolfgang Voigt, a founding father of minimal techno, completely changed the way I thought about nature. His Gas project — which is sometimes ambient and completely without rhythmic structure, except when he introduces a muffled drum pulse that sounds like a heart beating — has long defined a specific sort of relationship with the world at large. When you think of “nature music” (whatever that is! I kind of just made it up), you probably think of a wooden flute or maybe some dude with a guitar picking away at a solitary melody, but Voigt flips that concept on its head. Narkopop, his first Gas album since 2000’s Pop, is lush and amniotic, strings are stretched to the point of unrecognizability, and a low bass thrum might as well be a rushing river. When you listen to it, the outside world falls away, which is the point. —SH-S

Brad Paisley, Love and War (Arista Nashville)
Perhaps the biggest surprise on Brad Paisley’s new album, Love and War, is the lyric “Let’s all sing together: The internet is forever!” on a song called “selfie#theinternetisforever.” It’s about how people on social media have no shame, and it’s a weird little interlude smack dab in the middle of Paisley’s down-home tribute to slices of southern paradise (“Heaven South”), long nights with your girl (“Last Time for Everything,” “Go to Bed Early”), and even the veterans we neglect when they return from combat (“Love and War”). If you’re a sucker for a heartbreaking country ballads, Paisley hits his peak on the Bill Anderson duet “Dying to See Her,” about a man following his beloved into the afterlife, because he’s just not him without her. Always one to appreciate a cross-genre collaboration, Paisley also brings in Mick Jagger and Timbaland for a few assists, and they manage to work out pretty well. Spin Love and War as you pregame for summer cookouts. — Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru)

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