New This Week: Roger Waters, Halsey, Bleachers, and More

Wendy Geller
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Roger Waters,

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 Roger Waters, Halsey, Bleachers, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.

Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want? (Columbia). Pink Floyd mastermind Waters’s first rock album in 25 years is, as one might expect, an angry exercise examining life following the election of Donald Trump. Although the majority of his musical ranting is political — and negatively so — he does manage, as a true artist, to weave moments of humor and glimpses of hope into a bleak landscape.

Halsey: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (Astralwerks). Alt-pop sorceress Halsey pulls no punches in her wildly ambitious sophomore release, which careens from sparseness to emotional sorrow, all tracks showing off her stunning, breathy vocals (which were brought to worldwide attention via the Chainsmokers’ massive hit “Closer”). Writing and performing collaborators are equally high caliber, including the Weeknd, Sia, Migos’s Quavo, and Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui.

Bleachers: Gone Now (RCA). Jack Antonoff started Bleacher, his side project (to main gig .fun), in 2014, and it’s clear this is something he is choosing to put quite a big portion of his talent into. Here, he creates a cohesive story sewing together deeply personal themes over 12 songs, all with a steady and assured hand. Guest appearances from Lorde and Carly Rae Jepsen are merely icing on the cake.

Dan Auerbach: Waiting on a Song (Easy Eye Sound/Nonesuch). Black Keys frontman Auerbach pens a love letter to his transplanted hometown of Nashville on his second solo album, taking inspiration from Music City’s rich history and pool of legendary artists. Guest appearances include John Prine, Duane Eddy, Jerry Douglas, Pat McLaughlin, Bobby Wood, and Gene Chrisman of the Memphis Boys.

Nikka Costa: Nikka & Strings/Underneath & in Between (Metropolis). This is Costa’s first record in nearly a decade, and it’s a stunner for its beautiful, soulful, and funky take on a variety of covers and originals. While she takes on classics by Jeff Buckley and Frank Sinatra, an undeniable highlight is the jazzy cover of Prince’s longing ballad “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which was made famous by Sinéad O’Connor decades ago.

alt-j: Relaxer (Canvasback/Atlantic). U.K. alt-rockers alt-j spin an oddly pretty, dark story for their latest release, which is chock-full of ideas and sounds. There may be too many ideas at work here, resulting in a slightly schizophrenic effort overall, but fans will enjoy the sonic trip.

Benjamin Booker: Witness (ATO). Booker set out on his sophomore effort to create a record that explores a subjective, self-directed approach to discovering the secrets of life, love, and identity. He wrote all 10 tracks himself; the title track features a guest vocal from Mavis Staples.

Mali Music: The Transition of Mali (ByStorm Entertainment/RCA). Grammy-nominated Mali Music’s second release was anticipated with a great deal of excitement, coming after his fine major-label debut, Mali Is. It’s a thoughtful, mind-oriented set, with guest appearances by Jhené Aiko and Jazmine Sullivan.

All Time Low: Last Young Renegade (Fueled by Ramen). Known for their prowess as young pop-punk pioneers, All Time Low show off a new maturity on their latest release. The songs are definitely from the angle of men, not boys, at this point — but that’s not to say they have lost their ability to write a crazy sticky hook. The entire set is filled with ’em.

Amber Coffman: City of No Reply (Columbia). This is the debut solo album from former Dirty Projectors member Coffman. Her split with Dave Longstreth, her musical and personal partner in Dirty Projectors, might have resulted in a bitter piece of work, but instead she takes a self-reflective, smooth, and groovy path for her solo collection.

Dispatch: America, Location 12 (Bomber/Kobalt Music Recordings). Dispatch have offered uneven amounts of output in the past decade, having taken a hiatus from 2002 to 2011 — and then keeping fans waiting for a new album for five years. It’s finally here and it proves to be worth the wait, utilizing a very of-the-moment focus on lyrical activism and political commentary.

Flogging Molly: Life Is Good (Vanguard). This marks the Irish-American folk-punk band’s first studio album in six years; it was recorded in lead singer Dave King’s hometown of Dublin and helmed by Joe Chiccarelli, who has worked with the White Stripes, Beck, and another set of famous Dubliners — U2.

Mandisa: Out of the Dark (Sparrow). American Idol alum Mandisa overcame a crippling bout with depression to create her latest album, which focuses on hope and faith in God to see things through despite any circumstance. She’s joined on the set by fellow contemporary Christian stalwarts TobyMac, with whom she toured earlier this year, and Kirk Franklin.

Saint Etienne: Home Counties (Heavenly Recordings). Saint Etienne grew up in the Home Counties, the term used for the shires directly surrounding London. For their latest release, they explore a day in the life of Southern England dwellers, via 16 songs referencing such area touchstones as BBC Radio and the railways.

North Mississippi Allstars: Prayer for Peace (Songs of the South/Legacy Recordings). This set is self-produced by the Dickinson Brothers, marking their eighth overall. It was recorded at six different studios across the country, and includes a solid guest roster including Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band, Dead & Company), Graeme Lesh (Midnight North, the Terrapin Family Band), Sharisse Norman, Dominic Davis (Jack White), and Shardé Thomas, daughter of Mississippi blues giant Otha Turner.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (Virgin). DreamWorks’ animated film about the unlikely superhero in tighty whiteys features a surprisingly hip soundtrack, including contributions from “Weird Al” Yankovic, Adam Lambert, Andy Grammer, Lil Yachty, Nathan Willett of Cold War Kids, and more.