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 Queens of the Stone Age, Fifth Harmony, the War on Drugs, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.
Queens of the Stone Age: Villains (Matador). The unexpected choice of Mark Ronson for producer on this record leads the rockers into a hitherto-unexplored funky land, tinged with far more glam and groove than they’ve ever shown off before. While hardcore fans may have mixed feelings about the progression, this is a welcome and interesting re-invention for frontman Josh Homme’s talents.
Fifth Harmony: Fifth Harmony (Syco Music/Epic). Fifth Harmony is now famously more fourth now following Camila Cabello’s unexpected departure. That hasn’t stopped things from progressing, however — on the quartet’s third album, pop is popping as ever, with a lead single featuring Gucci Mane pointing the way toward further world domination.
The War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic). The War On Drugs’ frontman, Adam Granduciel, leads his sextet of a band in a collaborative, boundary-stretching exercise, showing off an overall assured handle on quality songcrafting.
Iron & Wine: Beast Epic (Sub Pop). Written and produced by Sam Beam, this is the singer-songwriter’s self-professed most personal record ever — a big statement for an artist who has been prolific under his real and stage name. In this set he shows off an appealing confidence, plus a variety of sonic twists that will surprise fans.
Adore Delano, Whatever (Adore Delano, LLC). RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Delano puts forth a set that shows off a penchant for grimier influences ’90s grunge, punk, and alternative rock. If it is possible to put a polish on grit, Delano is the alchemist who can do it.
Filthy Friends: Invitation (Kill Rock Stars). This supergroup featuring Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Kurt Bloch (the Fastbacks), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, the Minus 5) and Bill Rieflin (King Crimson) might sound like a tossup as to what direction it goes in. That said, there are a variety of interesting retro and rootsy influences all mashed up on its debut album.
Richard Thompson: Acoustic Classics II (Beeswing). This release follows Thompson’s 2014 first installment, and showcases acoustic renderings of classic numbers from his songbook over the past five decades. His voice and guitar in fine form, and this is easily as good if not better than the original effort three years ago.
Brian McKnight: Genesis (Sono Recording Group). This year marks McKnight’s 25th anniversary as a recording artist, and this release is meant to be a new beginning of sorts for him. On that note, he’s still an undisputed master at adult contemporary/R&B music, and this record doesn’t dislodge that notion whatsoever.
together PANGEA: Bulls And Roosters (Nettwerk). The L.A. rock quartet is business as usual, which actually is not particularly businesslike at all. Their latest set shows off a continued story of their well-honed talent for melodic brashness.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real (Fantasy). Willie Nelson’s next-to-youngest sounds vocally a lot like his dad, but has made a name for himself musically with his psychedelic and experimental-leaning tastes. On his latest, he enlists the elder Nelson, plus aunt Bobbie Nelson — and, in a fun twist, none other than Lady Gaga, who is the perfect guest for an artist who enjoys pushing boundaries.
Old Dominion: Happy Endings (Sony Music Nashville). This Nashville quintet holds an impressive songwriting record for some of Music City’s finest, and won immediate acclaim in 2015 with its own debut. The much-anticipated follow-up expands upon the band’s instant, easy, and magnetic vibe, adding some twists and turns genre-wise to its core country sound.
Junkie XL: The Dark Tower (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Sony Masterworks). Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, took on the task of scoring the August 4 sci-fi/western action film, based on Stephen King‘s novel. The results are solid, if not particularly his most fascinating work to date.
Liars: TFCF (Mute). Short for “Theme from crying fountain,” this title marks their first in four years. Formerly a trio, frontman Angus Andrew recorded this completely solo in a secluded studio in the bush north of Sydney. While still in classic dissonant vein, it’s clearly an introspective study for Andrew, focusing in on what it means to creatively shape-shift and find a new center.
EMA: Exile In The Outer Ring (City Slang). The artist known as EMA returns to her roots in the noise-folk outfit Gowns on her latest solo release, mixing stripped-back strides with harder epic periods. Tying things together is her uncompromising sociopolitical thematic bent.
Savoy Brown: Witchy Feelin’ (Ruf). The blues are admittedly not the easiest musical genre to take on with assurance, but never fear, Savoy Brown is here. The slightly macabre title reflects the darkly rich vibe all bluesmasters are known for embracing.