In the age of streaming, it’s never been easier to listen to new music — but with over 60,000 new songs added to Spotify every day, it’s also never been harder to know what to put on. Every week, the team at Rolling Stone UK will run down some of the best new releases that have been added to streaming services.
Hozier – Unreal Unearth
Nearly a decade since the Irish troubadour introduced himself to the world by taking his fans to church, Hozier continues to evoke grandeur in both his music and his lyrics; on this third album, Unreal Unearth, he infuses his indie rock blueprint with funk and soul, with the introduction of co-writers for the first time as well as polished production making this his most accomplished-sounding album yet. Thematically, meanwhile, he continues to grapple with issues both intimate, as on the tender ‘First Kiss’, and spiritual, ruminating on the existence of God on ‘De Selby (Part 1)’.
Giggs – Zero Tolerance
At the age of 40, Nathaniel Thompson appears to have made the unlikely transition from grime outsider to one of the genre’s elder statesmen, an accession elegantly demonstrated by this sixths studio album, Zero Tolerance. The list of features reads as a testament to his stature in the modern hip hop scene, with US A-listers (Diddy, for instance, on the thumping lead single ‘Mandem’, or 21 Savage on the epic ‘By Chance’) rubbing shoulders with the next generation of grime greats; Zero Tolerance features a fourth crossover with Dave, as well as a standout team-up with Potter Payper. Giggs, as one of grime’s leading lights, remains undiminished.
Genesis Owusu – Struggler
The debut studio album from Genesis Owusu, the raw, uncompromising Smiling with No Teeth, was a genuine barrier-breaker in Australia, one which saw the star – born in Ghana but based in Canberra – become the first rapper and only the second person of colour to win the ARIA Award for Album of the Year. Two years later, he’s back to solidify his place on Australia’s hip hop throne, with a record that stays true to the template he set out last time around. There’s fiery discussion of his own experiences of racism, juxtaposed with a looseness to the way in which he blends rap and pop sounds to create a poppy, accessible aesthetic. Struggler should delight the mainstream audience he found with Smiling with No Teeth.
Tribes – Rabbit Head
This third record from Tribes, which arrives over a decade since their last full-length, may well represent one of the great musical comeback stories of the year. After a meteoric rise through the indie rock ranks followed their formation in Camden in 2009, they were signed to Island Records and then promptly dropped when their second album, Wish to Scream failed to live up to expectations. The group collapsed under the weight of the rancour that the split with their label inspired, but re-energised ten years on, they have assembled their brightest, poppiest and most optimistic collection yet. Good things come to those who wait.
Reneé Rapp – Snow Angel
When she spoke to Rolling Stone back in June, Reneé Rapp spoke of this debut album as representing a snapshot of “the most intense interpersonal relationships and experiences that I’ve had over the last five months, whether they be good or bad. And all of them are bad.” It has been a heady couple of years for the 23-year-old, having risen to prominence via a starring role in Mindy Kaling’s comedy series The Sex Lives of College Girls, but she has found the time to process a major breakup in 2022 through the medium of her songwriting, which, on this evidence, is disarmingly honest and consistently engaging.
The Xcerts – Learning How to Live and Let Go
Now on to their fifth record, nobody would reasonably accuse this rabble-rousing Aberdeen outfit of reinventing then musical wheel, but when they are on the kind of infectiously fun form that Learning How to Live and Let Go finds them in, it is difficult to care. With this record, particularly, The Xcerts seem to be penning one long paean to the rambunctiousness of their youth, fizzing with energy on tracks like ‘Lovesick’ and ‘Lust in Translation’ and bringing a punky fury to ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Ache’, with the latter featuring a guest turn from Architects frontman Sam Carter. There’s room too, though, for real poignancy – acoustic ballad ‘Everything I Cannot Live Without’ and the woozy ‘My Friends Forever’ both demonstrating the band’s range.