Best Albums to Stream: Kendrick Lamar, Jim James, Beach Boys


The Beach Boys, 1967 – Sunshine Tomorrow 2: The Studio Sessions
The Beach Boys, 1967 – Live Sunshine
Two Beach Boys rarities compilations issued today capture the group’s incredibly prolific 1967, continuing the deep dive that began with this past summer’s expansive Sunshine Tomorrow set. Sunshine Tomorrow 2 is a 29-track collection of studio tracks that includes a cappella versions, alternate mixes, and songs recorded for the group’s shelved live album Lei’d in Hawaii. Live Sunshine goes even deeper into the band’s live vaults, collecting 109 rehearsal and concert recordings from shows across the U.S., including gigs in Hawaii, Detroit and Boston. 
Hear (Sunshine Tomorrow 2): Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal
Hear (Live Sunshine): Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

Kendrick Lamar, DAMN. Collectors Edition
Rolling Stone’
s Number One album of 2017 gets reissued in reverse, adding new dimension to the Compton MC’s heady, heavy storytelling.
Read Our List: 50 Best Albums of 2017
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

Luke Bryan, What Makes You Country
“What Makes You Country” opens the Nashville hip-shaker’s sixth album of the same name with an in-depth exploration of the genre’s associated imagery – dirt roads, radios playing Alabama songs, live oak trees, “a little green-eyed girl from Jackson” – which doubles as a party invitation to self-identified “country” people from all over the globe. Bryan, who begins his stint as a judge on ABC’s rebooted American Idol in March, is always willing to cross the aisle of genre, as his good-time persona and hooky anthems indicate. But he’s also become a bit introspective in his post-Spring Break guise; “Land of a Million Songs” traces his love affair with music over the years, while the chiming “Most People Are Good” bucks 2017’s endless torrent of bad news with a message of hope about humanity that also takes a firm stand in favor of getting out of the house. Maura Johnston
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Bandcamp | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

Big Sean and Metro Boomin, Double Or Nothing
The collaboration between Detroit MC Big Sean and the perpetually in-demand producer Metro Boomin (“Bad and Boujee,” “Jumpman”) studs cameos from Travis Scott, Young Thug and Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee amidst Sean’s boasts. 
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud | Spotify | Tidal

Jim James, Tribute to 2
“These classic songs feel like live broadcasts from distant memory, clouds in heaven, or an empty theater after everyone’s gone home,” Will Hermes writes about the My Morning Jacket frontman’s second collection of covers, which includes his reworks of Brian Wilson’s “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” and Sonny and Cher’s “Baby Don’t Go.” 
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Belle and Sebastian, How to Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1)
Twenty years since Dog On Wheels and Lazy Line Painter Jane, the Scottish indie-pop institution returns to the EP format with the first of three releases (parts two and three are due next year). “We Were Beautiful” finds creative director Stuart Murdoch pondering a time when “the women are oblique/ and the boys are paper-thin” over wistful jungle beats. “The Girl Doesn’t Get It” is Abba-esque Euro-pop with surprisingly political lyrics; “Fickle Season” is sunny ’60s French yé-yé refashioned for a Glasgow winter. A five-pack from old friends, worth playing on repeat. Will Hermes
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

Walker Hayes, Boom
A country record full of genre-defiant songwriting and nods to hip-hop, this singer-songwriter’s debut is the product of a career in the Nashville trenches that spans back to 2005. “There’s no boxes put around this project,” Hayes told Rolling Stone. “It’s all the truth about what it took us to get here. That’s a lot of what the album entails, my struggles on this journey to putting this album out.” 
Read Our Feature: Quirky Songwriter Walker Hayes on New Album ‘Boom,’ Conquering Self-Doubt
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

K. Michelle, Kimberly: The People I Used to Know
“If you hear something on this album that steps on your toes,” the R&B firebrand and VH1 fixture K. Michelle announces at the opening of her fourth full-length, “just know the truth only steps on your toes when you’ve stepped out of line.” K. Michelle’s truth gets a high-intensity airing on this tour de force, which includes the take-no-prisoners rap “Alert,” the sparkling, spiteful Jay-Z callback “Make This Song Cry,” the media broadside “Kim K” (which pairs its pointed critique of black women’s dismissive portrayals in the media with the oh-shit hook “Wish I could be a Kardashian so I could be black”) and the stirring ballad “Heaven.” A shrewd performer even before she landed her reality-TV gigs, K. Michelle’s poison-dart voice makes her call-outs land sharply, but the vulnerability she shows on Kimberly‘s more tender tracks gives her list of grievances emotional heft. Maura Johnston
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

Total Control, Laughing At the System
Melbourne’s post-post-punkers keep their sense of humor intact on tracks that bite even when they’re laid-back (the fuzzed-out “Luxury Vacuum”) and especially when they’re lunging at the listener (the browbeating pair of title tracks that bookend the album).
Hear: Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal



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