New This Week: Lorde, Big Boi, Beth Ditto, and More

Wendy Geller
Senior Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Lorde:

Searching for something to listen to this weekend? Yahoo Music has you covered with a rundown of some of this week’s biggest and buzzing releases, including Lorde, Big Boi, Beth Ditto, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.

Lorde: Melodrama (Lava Music/Republic). Almost four years after releasing her debut, Lorde returns with her eagerly anticipated sophomore set. On it, the now 20-year-old singer graduates to adulthood, expressing a grown-up range of emotions including some particularly sensitive reflections on broken relationships.

Big Boi: BOOMIVERSE (Epic). Big Boi has provided hip-hop with some of the genre’s most catchy and multilayered tunes, both as one-half of OutKast and on his own. On this, his third solo album, he continues his clever shuffle of musical styles to fine effect. The guest list is solid, including Adam Levine, Snoop Dogg, Killer Mike, LunchMoney Lewis, Gucci Mane, and Kurupt.

Beth Ditto: Fake Sugar (Myra’s Child/Virgin). Five years after her last release with former band Gossip, Ditto releases her first solo record, which shows off everything the Arkansas native is made of. Particularly engaging is her ability to sonically shape-shift, zooming from rock to blues to pop to Southern-tinged soul.

Royal Blood: How Did We Get So Dark? (Warner). British rock duo Royal Blood follows up its 2014 debut with this set, experimenting with more of its penchant for melodic strength. Here, the pair also play with different levels of intensity, as well as try out harmony vocals for the first time.

The Drums: Abysmal Thoughts (ANTI-/Epitaph). The Drums’ infectious sound — written and curated by frontman Jonny Pierce — somehow manages to become even more catchy on their fourth album, traversing sunny pop to darker, more atmospheric studies. It’s a complex yet highly accessible work.

Alison Moyet: Other (Cooking Vinyl). Moyet’s ninth solo album is a cinematic, lush showcase for her greatest asset: Her enormous voice. In addition to beautifully presenting that inescapable talent, the record shows off Moyet’s thought-provoking work as a lyricist.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: The Nashville Sound (Southeastern). Isbell is a highly respected name in the Americana scene; this album follows up 2015’s critically acclaimed Something More Than Free, which won two Grammy Awards and two Americana Music Association Awards. Here, he continues to develop his colorful, articulate, and poetic songwriting chops.

Royal Trux: Platinum Tips + Ice Cream (Drag City). Performance art comes alive with the latest from the NYC duo, as they presented unrehearsed music in real time to a few thousand people in California and NYC to create a “new/live/old song/new performance album.”

Cheap Trick: We’re All Alright! (Big Machine). Powerpop legends Cheap Trick are on their 18th studio album, and haven’t lost a lick of their appeal in 35 years. This may possibly be their catchiest album yet…no small feat given their catalog’s strength.

Ride: Weather Diaries (Wichita Recordings). The band’s first album in more than 20 years is filled with classic ’90s touches that will be sure to bring forth nostalgia, including combinations of distortion, melody/harmony, rhythmic beats, and sleek production.

Nickelback: Feed the Machine (BMG Rights Management). The much-maligned rock group is delivering their ninth studio album, and — sorry haters — it’s becoming less and less viable to put them down. This set is enjoyable: Grungy, hard-driven, takes itself a bit too seriously, a bit predictably political given the current climate, but is still infectious.

Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up (Nonesuch). Six years after their sophomore album comes Fleet Foxes’ third effort, a well-crafted, thoughtful, and uncompromising entry into the world of indie rock. It’s clear the band used their time wisely and meticulously in crafting this release.

Gretchen Wilson: Ready to Get Rowdy (Redneck). The infamous Redneck Woman took a couple of years off to focus on raising her teenage daughter, but is back and in her usual style with this release. Rowdy is an apt way to put it, as it’s pure old-school party country. Wilson’s good friend Kid Rock makes an appearance, as well.

Styx: The Mission (Alpha Dog 2T/UMe). Ready for a good concept album? If you’ve been feeling the market is short on such things, Styx’s first album in 14 years should be just the prog-rock journey you need. The album was created in Nashville over the course of two years and takes listeners on a intergalactic trip.

Matthew Sweet: Tomorrow Forever (S. Matthew Sweet). It’s been six years since we’ve heard from pop-master Sweet, and he returns here in fine form with help from some talented friends: Members of the Zombies, the Bangles, Velvet Crush, and the Jayhawks.

Steve Earle & the Dukes: So You Wanna be an Outlaw (Warner). This record is dedicated to the country outlaw of them all, Waylon Jennings. Earle explores his country songwriting roots, choosing collaborations with Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, and Miranda Lambert to polish them off.

Goldie: The Journey Man (Metalheadz/Cooking Vinyl). The drum and bass legend is back with a double album, his first solo release in nearly two decades. It features vocalists Natalie Duncan, Terri Walker, Tyler Lee Daly, Natalie Williams, José James, Naomi Pryor, and Goldie’s own wife Mika Wassenaar Price.

Portugal. The Man: Woodstock (Atlantic). The band tapped producers including the Beastie Boys’ Mike D, Danger Mouse, John Hill for their latest, with the result being a thoughtful, approachable, and emotional collection of songs.

CKY: The Phoenix (eOne Music). Rising from the ashes — well, okay, just about eight years hiatus — is CKY’s good old fashioned hard-rock vibe. Expect raw, driving grooves and don’t even bother playing this if you’re not going to turn the volume high.

Miranda Lee Richards: Existential Beast (Invisible Hands). Chamber-folk singer-songwriter Miranda Lee is wistful and winsome fourth solo album, which was influenced by a diverse range of artists including Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, Shirley Collins, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Buffalo Springfield, and Mazzy Star.

Zoot Woman: Absence (zwr). The band’s fifth album provides a healthy dose of synth-pop, plus a contribution from Kylie Minogue on the ballad “Still Feels Like The First Time.” Uplifting and fun music for serious times.