With the plethora of good music that drops every week, it can feel overwhelming to stay on top of it all. That’s why each week, Los Angeles magazine curates a list of the best releases that you should check out.
This weekend’s playlist features the album that everyone has been yearning to hear for five years, Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, as well as new projects from rapper Leikeli47, Florence + The Machine, and Tank and The Bangas.
Standout Tracks: “N95” and “United in Grief”
As expected, when Kendrick Lamar announced last month that he was dropping his first album in five years, many fans were overjoyed and filled with anticipation. Then the release of his track “Heart Part 5”—a staple freestyle that the rapper shares before each new album—provided listeners with a taste of what was to come.
Now that the Compton wordsmith has officially unleashed his momentous musical return, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, it’s all anyone is talking about—and for good reason. The 18-track double album, which features nine songs on each, is a breathtaking and vulnerable exploration into the world of Lamar, who has managed to keep his personal life relatively private throughout his decade+ career. It’s the type of album—as are all of his projects—that you have to listen to several times and sit with in order to take it all in.
On the heels of the release, Lamar also announced that he’s embarking on a global tour along with his cousin Baby Keem and Tanna Leone. You can bet that his hometown shows—two performances at the Crypto.com Arena—will be sold out. [artist info]
Standout Tracks: “Choreomania” and “King”
Florence Welch has unveiled Dance Fever, her first album with her band in four years. Written in London during the pandemic, the 14-track project perfectly encapsulates the built up tension and anxiety that came from having to be on lockdown during the dark time. The album’s title was inspired by Welch’s fascination with the medieval “dancing plague” also known as choreomania and St Vitus’ Dance, in which people would dance until they collapsed. Florence + The Machine are set to perform in Los Angeles on October 14-15 at the Hollywood Bowl. [artist info]
Standout Track: “Communion in My Cup” and “Why Try”
If you haven’t seen Tank and The Bangas’ enchanting NPR Tiny desk performance, we suggest you watch that ASAP. It has more than 12 million views for a reason. Once you’ve done that, listen to the New Orleans-bred fusion band’s refreshing new album, Red Balloon. The 15-track project features Wayne Brady who serves as the host of the record, Lalah Hathaway, Big Freedia, Trombone Shorty, and more. [artist info]
Standout Tracks: “Zoom” and “Hold My Hand”
Leikeli47 has dropped her third studio album, Shape Up. The 14-track project, executive produced by Harold Lilly, caps off the Brooklyn rapper’s “Beauty Series” trilogy, which includes 2017’s Wash & Set and 2018’s Acrylic. Shape Up includes previously released tracks “LL Cool J,” “Chitty Bang,” ”Secret Service,” and “BITM” which arrived in February with an accompanying music video that pays tribute to New York’s ballroom scene. America’s Next Top Model’s Miss J Alexander serves as the only guest feature on the project with the song “Jay Walk.” [artist info]
Standout Tracks: “Basic Needs” and “Impersonator”
The Miami songstress has shared a new album titled Based On A Feeling—her first musical release since her 2020 holiday project, Christmas Blues. Based On A Feeling features 11 featureless tracks, which finds Sabrina Claudio floating over ethereal production handled by the likes of Blue Rondo and STINT. The RnB singer is slated to go on tour this fall and she’ll be performing in Los Angeles on September 28 at the Hollywood Palladium. [artist info]
Other Worthy Mentions: Quelle Chris, Cassidy Place
Detroit rapper Quelle Chris shared an introspective album titled Deathfame, which features 14 songs and L.A.-based singer Cassidy Place unveiled a stunning 5-track EP titled As You Wish, which was produced by De’Jour Thomas.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.