With so much good music being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to listen to first. Every week, Pitchfork offers a run-down of significant new releases available on streaming services. This week’s batch includes new albums from Waxahatchee, Half Waif, Nicolás Jaar, Hailu Mergia, Daniel Avery and Alessandro Cortini, and Nap Eyes. Subscribe to Pitchfork’s New Music Friday newsletter to get our recommendations in your inbox every week. (All releases featured here are independently selected by our editors. When you buy something through our affiliate links, however, Pitchfork earns an affiliate commission.)
Saint Cloud is the fifth album Katie Crutchfield has recorded as Waxahatchee. It’s the result of a slowdown period for the prolific singer-songwriter; speaking to Hazel Cills for Bandcamp Daily, she explained how she had to learn to take care of herself so that she could make the record, which sees her re-embrace her country roots. “Every time you make a record, you have a vision, but it’s a bit of a crapshoot how it’s actually going to turn out. You just get on the bus and hope it gets you to your destination. And I’ve never hit the bullseye more than I did with this.”
Half Waif is singer-songwriter Nandi Rose. Her new album The Caretaker, her first for ANTI-, is named for a fictional character, “someone who has been entrusted with taking care of this estate, taking care of the land, and she’s not doing a very good job,” Rose said. “The weeds are growing everywhere, and she’s not taking care of herself.” Check out Half Waif’s “Halogen 2” video.
2020 has already been a busy year for Nicolás Jaar, who released an album under his Against All Logic alias in February. Cenizas is the producer’s follow-up to his 2016 album Sirens and was recorded across the same years as his A.A.L. album. Read “Sound the Alarm: Nicolas Jaar and the Politics of Dance Music.”
Yene Mircha is the latest album from Ethiopian jazz giant Hailu Mergia, who revived his decades-long career with 2018’s Lala Belu. Mergia reunited with sax player Moges Habte, his colleague in Ethiopia’s 1970s-era Walias Band, on the new album, the title of which translates to “my choice” in Amharic.
Daniel Avery and Nine Inch Nails contributor Alessandro Cortini completed their collaborative LP Illusion of Time in 2018 when Avery was on the road as support for NIN. The process began years earlier, however, as a remote project between the two. In his Pitchfork review of the album, Shawn Reynaldo writes, “There isn’t a concrete narrative to speak of, but Avery and Cortini have clearly cast their gaze skyward; it’s a beautiful record that takes wonder as its defining characteristic.”
Nap Eyes: Snapshot of a Beginner [Jagjaguwar]
Snapshot of a Beginner is the fourth album from Nova Scotia ensemble Nap Eyes. The band recruited Jonathan Low and James Elkington as producers for the album, which they recorded at the National’s Long Pond studio. Snapshot is the band’s Jagjaguwar debut and also its follow-up to 2018’s I’m Bad Now.