Boy, it’s been fun as hell watching Rae Sremmurd turn into Rae Sremmurd. The duo popped up in 2015 with a bunch of mean, stuff-you-in-the-locker bangers like “No Flex Zone” and “No Type” and an album that worked way better than it had any right to; its sequel, SremmLife 2, was even better, with a world-conquering single in “Black Beatles” that still hasn’t lost a step two years later. They’ve been hard at work on their third record, SR3MM, ever since, and it sounds like a doozy, with one disc devoted to Swae, one to Jxmmi, and another to the duo. It’s probably the best triple-album concept since 69 Love Songs, and it will be much, much dirtier. Part of what makes all this work is their ongoing collaboration with Mike Will Made It, one of the best producers in hip-hop, who seems to click with the duo like Missy Elliot and Timbaland or Clipse and the Neptunes used to. They recently released three new singles representing each of the new record’s three discs, and they’re all keepers: the melancholy synth-pop of Swae’s “Hurt To Look,” the fried-brain nihilism of Jxmmi’s “Brxnks Truck,” and most importantly the duo cut “Powerglide.” They turn tense synths into something skating and propulsive, full of effortless hooks and bruising asides, a six-minute paean to streaking neon lights. Juicy J guests, sounding like he hasn’t left the strip club in a decade. Sr3MM can’t come out soon enough. [Clayton Purdom]
I recently got turned on to this Japanese quartet and immediately fell in love with their vicious but tuneful punk-rock assaults. Hailing from Kyoto and named after a local love hotel (which, for the unfamiliar, is exactly what you think it is), Otoboke Beaver places itself in a new wave of feminist Japanese bands, shouting and shredding against “bad love, devious boyfriends, and general sexism.” The language barrier makes it difficult to pick up on those nuances, but the band’s attitude comes through loud and clear on cacophonous, wickedly fun songs, like its new single “Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi,” which offsets a dizzying cyclone of throat-tearing screams and furious guitars with quiet bridges full of schoolyard chanting and clapping. If this addicting little single was enough to draw you in as much as it did me, there’s plenty more material already available on streaming services and the band’s Bandcamp page. [Matt Gerardi]
Most people know Mazzy Star for the wide success of 1994’s “Fade Into You,” but too few know the band’s 1980s predecessor, Opal. The short-lived neo-psych group released only one album, 1987’s Happy Nightmare Baby, before singer Kendra Smith departed and guitarist David Roback partnered with Hope Sandoval. I love that album and return to it regularly, but just as often, I find myself reaching for the band’s first EP from 1984, Fell From The Sun. In another lifetime, the hypnotic “Grains Of Sand” could’ve been a Nico song (and of course, Opal and many Paisley Underground bands were influenced by The Velvet Underground), with its poignant, minimalist lyrics and droning organ tones. It’s a song that stops me in my tracks every time it comes on, transfixed by Smith’s tender vocals and the pitter-patter of the chimes and hand drums “raining down inside you.” [Kelsey J. Waite]
Listen to these songs and more on The A.V. Club’s Spotify playlist, updated weekly with what we’re listening to.