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Here are the gems of this week’s new music releases


Today is Friday. At last, we made it, and that means your favorite new album might just be out today.


KELLY: Our colleagues at NPR Music have been sifting through all this week's new releases, bringing you the gems on their weekly New Music Friday podcast. Here are Anamaria Sayre and Hazel Cills with their top picks, starting with Peso Pluma. This song, "Bruce Wayne," is from his sophomore album titled "Exodo."


PESO PLUMA: (Singing in Spanish).

ANAMARIA SAYRE, BYLINE: So Hazel, to preface, back up, give people 2 seconds of context, this is one of the most highly anticipated albums at least of my year as someone who covers exclusively the Spanish language music world, pretty much. And that is because Peso Pluma is the artist, essentially, that kind of took regional Mexican to a global level. This is the type of music that has existed in Mexico for over a hundred years. It's now been revamped by all these young artists, and I'm honestly blown away. So I'm kind of curious to hear first what you thought as the outside observer.

HAZEL CILLS, BYLINE: Yeah. Well, I think, you know, Peso Pluma - I've learned so much about him through you and sort of the ways in which he's kind of, like, taking these very traditional genres.

Like, I feel like you and Felix Contreras on Alt.Latino are always talking about, you know, regional Mexican being, like, your grandparents' music and really sort of bringing his own perspective as, like, a young artist who's also really interested in pop music, really interested in rap and sort of infusing that into the music that he makes. And it seems like he's thinking about his place in popular music more widely than just like, I'm a regional Mexican artist who is breaking through, you know, the charts in a mainstream way.

SAYRE: Yeah. The way that they do mix these sounds - I mean, they always pair something new with something old. And a song that really struck me was "El Reloj" (ph).


PLUMA: (Singing in Spanish).

SAYRE: Now, this is really a special track because there is an incredibly famous bolero that has been sung year in, year out, over and over and over again called "El Reloj." And basically, the conceit of that song, its incredible conceit - it's someone looking at the clock and basically saying, please stop because this is the only time that I have with her. You know, once morning comes, I lose her.

And I saw this song actually very much as a reaction to that conceit. You basically hear him opening the song, saying (speaking Spanish), which is basically him saying, there are no more minutes left on the clock, my love. I spend the whole night looking at the phone. I read your messages, and I start smiling.

So he's basically, like, Part 2, extension of the story of "El Reloj" is Peso Pluma sitting here and being like, the clock's over. It happened. Our time is done, and I'm just sitting here in this very modern take on this conceit - right? - staring at my phone, thinking about how your texts used to make me smile.

CILLS: It's like Peso Pluma the softie is coming out.

SAYRE: Exactly.


CILLS: So that was Peso Pluma, but now we're going to go in a bit of a different direction with a new album titled "Miss Flower" by the artist Emiliana Torrini. And this is the title track, "Miss Flower."


EMILIANA TORRINI: I have just completed mowing your lawn. It remains a label as of love but the need to be around you. And the grass keeps growing and so needs cutting, so I'm there for the doing.

CILLS: This album is her first solo album of new material in over a decade, and it has such a interesting story. It's kind of this concept record inspired by a box of letters written to a woman named Geraldine Flower, who is the late mother of one of Emiliana's friends, Zoe.

And so the two of them went through these letters, and they found that Miss Flower lived a really fascinating life. There were stories of love and heartbreak and secrecy. And so each song on this album is inspired by an individual letter written to Miss Flower.

And it really feels like I'm listening to a correspondence, and I feel like that's really embodied in this title track, which is kind of this love letter that someone wrote to her expressing their feelings of admiration. But it sort of begins with this weird image of, you know, them talking about how they had to cut her lawn. It's like a love letter that begins with this image.

SAYRE: So, if I'm entirely honest, when I heard this track, and I heard her come in with those super breathy vocals talking about mowing the lawn, I was like, I'm a little bit scared.


SAYRE: I was like, this is a little bit...

CILLS: Like, too intense? Like, it was too intense for you? Or you were...

SAYRE: Yeah. It was just like, ooh. Like, I'm - I kind of had chills.

CILLS: It's intimate.

SAYRE: Like, what's happening?

CILLS: It's really...

SAYRE: And I think specifically the fact that so much of it is told from the alternative perspective, people writing letters to her - I really liked pairing that with this feeling that I had because in a way, it kind of feels like, oh, someone kind of, like, insistently pursuing you or someone, like, in your space or trying to talk in your life. And it's like, oh, that should feel a little bit uneasy or that should feel a little bit sticky. And so I thought that she did a really good job of representing that well while still maintaining, you know, some lighter tracks, some nicer moments.


TORRINI: Now I try to imagine you a wine, what sort you'd be and how I would describe you. I read the wine you come from grows on hot land. There's a heat running through your veins. I feel it now in mine.

CILLS: It's time for a quick lightning round of some other albums out today.

SAYRE: OK, so first record I'm bringing in is the new Lake Street Dive record. It's called "Good Together," and the track is called "Better Not Tell You." They go almost a little bit funky on it, which I really like. It feels a little different. It's really fun and dancey (ph). It's them at their best, their tightest. And I love those horns.


LAKE STREET DIVE: (Singing) Oh, but I better not tell you, better not tell you now. I got a secret, baby. Better not tell you, better not tell you now. And I'm going to keep it.

CILLS: The pop star Gracie Abrams made a big splash last year with her debut album "Good Riddance". It earned her a Grammy nomination for best new artist. And she has a new album out today, and it's titled "The Secret Of Us.".


GRACIE ABRAMS: (Singing) I'd burn for you, and you don't even know my name. If you asked me to, I'd give up everything.

SAYRE: OK, and I wanted to give a shout-out to a single that comes out today that's coming off of an album later this summer on July 5. This is a remix album by the band Melenas. Now, the original album is called "Ahora," so this will be the remix version. They brought all kinds of collaborators on to work on this record. This track in particular is remixed by Peanut Butter Wolf. The song is called "Bang."


MELENAS: (Singing) Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, (singing in Spanish).

(Singing) Bang, bang, bang, bang - (singing in Spanish).

(Singing) Bang, bang, bang, bang - (singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Hazel Cills
Hazel Cills is an editor at NPR Music, where she edits breaking music news, reviews, essays and interviews. Before coming to NPR in 2021, Hazel was a culture reporter at Jezebel, where she wrote about music and popular culture. She was also a writer for MTV News and a founding staff writer for the teen publication Rookie magazine.
Ana Sayre
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