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6 albums you need to hear this week

With music by Sam Smith, Ava Max and Lil Yachty

By Rolling Stone UK

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.

This week, we’ve highlighted records by Sam Smith, Smashing Pumpkins, Ava Max, The Arcs and Lil Yachty.

Sam Smith, Gloria

Gloria, Smith’s fourth studio album, serves as a “personal revolution” for the artist as they sing of “sex, lies, passion, self-expression, and imperfection”. Recorded between LA, Jamaica and London, the record boasts team-ups with Ed Sheeran (closer ‘Who We Love’), Kim Petras (viral hyperpop anthem ‘Unholy’) and Jessie Reyez (‘Perfect’ and ‘Gimme’). A beacon of hope, Gloria makes some thrilling detours on Smith’s mission to master self-love. “It’s not a destination,” he told RS UK. “It’s a daily commitment to accept yourself.” Expect the unexpected (edited) 

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL Amazon Music

SG Lewis, AudioLust & HigherLove

An album of two halves, ‘AudioLust & HigherLove’ sees the the singer-songwriter/producer explore the “darker, lusty, infatuated” approach to relationships, comparing it to the “deeper, actualised, and fulfilled version”. Lewis also takes stock of his own positioning in the space between being both a DJ and an artist. Stylistically, he’s cited influences from Daft Punk to yacht rock – bringing onboard collaborators such as Tove Lo (‘Call On Me’), Ty Dolla $ign and Lucky Daye (‘Vibe Like This’). A short-lived fling? No chance. Here, Lewis proves he can go the distance.

Listen on: Spotify Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Smashing Pumpkins, Atum: Part II

‘Act II’ of Smashing Pumpkins’ ambitious space rock opera ATUM presents another 11 tracks from Billy Corgan and co. One the whole, the triple album (to be completed by ‘Act III’ in April) serves as a sequel to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995) and Machina/The Machines of God (2000). This latest edition contains the 2022 single ‘Beguiled’, a stomping guitar anthem that resembles the Pumpkins’ earlier work. Elsewhere, there are such songs as ‘Empires’, ‘Space Age’ and ‘The Culling’. Previously, Corgan explained his maximalist approach to making ATUM – expect another showstopping listen with part two.

(Out Wednesday)

Lil Yachty, Let’s Start Here

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2021, Lil Yachty said there was one unexpected influence on his latest project: contemporary psychedelic rock.

“I met Andrew from MGMT, and I’ve been talking to a bunch of people. I met Kevin Parker [of Tame Impala], I’ve been talking to him. It’s just inspiring,” he said. “I got a bunch of side projects I’m going to drop before my next album. But what I’m trying to do on my next album, I’m trying to really take it there sonically.”

It’s only too present on Let’s Start Here – a brilliantly unrepentant odyssey into the weird.

Listen on: SpotifyApple MusicTIDAL | Amazon Music

The Arcs, Electrophonic Chronic

Dan Auerbach returns for his garage rock side-project, and yet the second album by The Arcs, Electrophonic Chronic, spans out far into soul, blues, psychedelic and space rock territory. Distorted guitars and snarling vocals are very much still in play, although Auerbach softens elsewhere for meditative moments on loss. An expansive and more experimental turn from The Black Keys frontman.

Listen on: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp | TIDAL | Amazon Music

Ava Max, Diamonds & Dancefloors

US-raised Albanian pop siren Ava Max does little to rip up the solid pop playbook on album number two. Diamonds & Dancefloors is crammed with party bops about, in her own words, “heartbreak on the dancefloor”. Co-written by Max with Cirkut and other collaborators including MNEK and Ryan Tedder, the album’s catchy, synthpop backbone nods to Lady Gaga (‘Million Dollar Baby’) and Years & Years (‘Ghost’).

Listen on: Spotify | Apple Music | TIDAL | Amazon Music