In this installment of What We’re Listening To, Engadget writers and editors discuss some of the recent music releases we’ve been on repeat. It’s safe to say there’s some variety to this list.

Sierra Ferrell almost seems like an anachronism in 2024, but in the best possible way. She has this easy, old-timey country style that at times reminds me of The Carters or Flatt and Scruggs (her brilliant covers of the songs ever performed by the latter duo are forever etched in my brain) and it’s just so refreshing. Path of flowersFerrell’s second studio album, steers a bit more towards a more modern sound, but maintains that deep American feel that just seems so natural from the West Virginia-born artist.

Country music is not just one thing and neither Path of flowers. It meanders through different flavors – folk, bluegrass, hints of jazz – but manages to do so in a way that feels cohesive when it all comes together. The sad “American Dreaming” and “Wish You Well” are offset by sillier, whimsical tracks like “I Could Drive You Crazy” or the deep-cut cover “Chitlin’ Cookin’ Time in Cheatham County.” Songs like “Money Train,” “I’ll Come Off the Mountain” and “Lighthouse” are instantly captivating. “Why Haven’t You Loved Me Yet” and “No Letter” look like classics in the making.

And then there’s the cheekily sinister lament of the scorned lover “Rosemary.” This is one of the songs that first got me hooked on Sierra Ferrell years ago, as I imagine is the case with many fans who have followed Ferrell’s career since her working days or her unforgettable performances by GemsOnVHS. I was almost nervous to hear it A path of flowerswith full production after liking the raw, stripped-down recording I was playing YouTube for so long. But they’ve done a great job of capturing that magic, and “Rosemary” might be my favorite song on the album. It’s hard to choose though.

Sometime early last year I discovered something I didn’t realize was missing from my life: medieval fantasy doom metal. I was at a show at the gloriously trippy Brooklyn Made, opening for the band I’d gone there to see, and unexpectedly found myself witnessing a choreographed sword fight on stage (well, there was hair) between a woman in a chainmail and someone wearing a mask of a hooded rat and underwear. I was already in awe of the band’s heavy, catchy riffs and the 1970s singer’s hypnotic vocals, but at this point, yeah, things really clicked into place. This was my introduction to Castle Rat and it was damn good.

Since then, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of their debut album and their second, which dropped last month, an LP called In the kingdom — I’ve pretty much played it on a continuous loop. In fact, it would be embarrassing if you had to check how many times I’ve listened to the album’s standout ballad “Cry For Me.” It’s a haunting, emotional song that really takes you on a journey and I’m a bit obsessed with it. In the kingdom kicks off strong with the fast ‘Dagger Dragger’ and some real bangers follow on tracks like ‘Feed the Dream’, ‘Fresh Fur’ and ‘Nightblood’. “Red Sands” is a slow-burning powerhouse, and I even found myself liking the three roughly minute-long instrumental interludes that tie the entire album together.

Doom bands love a good theme (as do I) and we tend to see a lot of weed, sorcery, sci-fi, and fantasy pop up in subgenres that fall under this umbrella. Castle Rat certainly isn’t the first to have a pike, but there’s a certain freshness to the band’s even more specific, self-described medieval fantasy brand, perhaps because they commit to it so hard. Their influences from the 70s and 80s are obvious, but everything they’ve released so far still feels original. Some people might find it all gimmicky, but I think it works. Especially since they have the necessary capabilities to support it. I’m excited to see where Castle Rat goes from here.

faceless girl Ali HAnother song I’ve been listening to an embarrassing amount these days is A strange worldfrom Allie X’s latest album, A girl without a face. Somehow I still haven’t gotten tired of it, it drives me absolutely wild. A girl without a face is full of synth-pop gems like “Off With Her Tits,” a danceable, furious anthem sure to resonate with anyone who’s experienced body image dysphoria — “John and Johnathan,” “Black Eye” and “Staying Power.” “

club shy, Shy girl It’s just a collection of direct hits. It’s not even 16 minutes long, but it really packs a punch. If you need an instant mood lift before a night out, this album is it.

Cheesecake: Volume 1Orville Peck Orville Peck’s first edition in his era without fringes is a duet album, the first part of which was released on Friday, featuring artists including Willie Nelson, Noah Cyrus and Elton John. I didn’t have much time to spend Cheesecake: Volume 1 not yet, but i’m into it so far. “Conquer the Heart” ft. Nathaniel Rateliff and “How Far Will We Take It?” with Noah Cyrus feel like they combine the best elements of pony (2019) and Bronco (2022). Bronco came in two waves, so I expect we’ll see a Volume 2 for stampede soon too.

— Cheyenne McDonald, Weekend Editor

Whenever I hear the words “banger” or “bop,” I don’t think of artists like Taylor Swift. I think of the nebulous genre of music known as bedroom pop. Bop, after all, is right there in the name. Hannah Jadagu is a pop bedroom wizard of the highest order. Her first EP was made entirely on an old iPhone and is still a slap in the face, although she has since graduated to real recording studios. Jadagu Latest Full Album on Sub Pop, Aperture, is filled with both digs and bops, and my favorite is the lovelorn “Say It Now.” Listen to this thing. It might just be the perfect pop song, and it’s really crying out for travel songs. The shoegaze-adjacent “What You Did” is another classic and would be at home on any decent summer playlist.

— Lawrence Bonk, Contributing Reporter

Justice’s first full-length release cross from 2007 is one of my favorite albums of all time. Not only did it define the crunchy electronic sound of the blog house era in the late 2000s and early 2010s, but it also felt like a new French duo had picked up where Daft Punk left off after 2005. A man after all. Now Justice is back with his fourth album Hyperdrama. But instead of being inspired by a specific genre of music like we heard in Audio, video, disco stadium rock songs or Female disco beats, this album feels more like a soundtrack to a dark sci-fi thriller, almost like it’s Justice’s take on an alternate reality Tron: Legacy soundtrack.

“Generator” is a certified track and probably the song that sounds the most like classic Justice. “Neverender” and “One Night/All Night” are also highlights, although I think Justice may have leaned too much on Tame Impala to give this album personality. “Dear Alan” delivers super smooth vibes and Thundercat makes a delightful appearance and finishes things strong on “The End”.

The only thing I’m really missing is at least one indeed dance hall a song as we had in all the band’s previous albums. I also have to admit that some of the songs in the middle blend in an unmemorable way. So while Hyperdrama is not the masterpiece from top to bottom which cross it was a decade and a half ago, more justice is not a bad thing.

— Sam Rutherford, senior reporter

Over the past few weeks I’ve mostly been listening to songs from Science fiction, the first greatest hits album by J-Pop artist Utada Hikaru. I’ve been a fan of them since they released their debut album First love in 1999, when people were much more likely to be amazed by the fact that yes, you can enjoy music with lyrics in a language you don’t understand. Since then, Utada has been in and out of the J-Pop scene and there were long periods of time where I didn’t hear anything about them. Any new music is a gift, especially this album as it ties in with an upcoming concert tour that they only do once in a blue moon.

Utada experienced a revival in 2022 when their songs “First Love” and “Hatsukoi” — which also translates to “first love” — were featured in a hit Japanese Netflix drama series called (you guessed it) First love. These songs are of course included Science fictionwhich also features songs from various points in Utada’s career.

The album will take you on a journey from when they wrote mostly R&B-inspired pop, to an era when their music became more experimental, and introduce you to their current sound, which is both mainstream and unique. While some of the re-recorded versions of their older songs like “Traveling” don’t quite hit the mark, it’s still a good representation of who Utada is as a musician. However, as a long-time fan, for me this album is not just a collection of songs, but a collection of memories from different stages of my life.

— Mariela Moon, reporter

There are several reasons why “Star-scorched and unkissed” stands out against I saw the glow of the TV a soundtrack that’s packed with not only beloved mainstays like Broken Social Scene’s “Anthems For A Seventeen-Year Old Girl,” but also other original songs from luminaries like Phoebe Bridgers and Frances Quinlan of Hop Along. If I’m backed into a corner, I’d say that the most brilliant thing about Starburned and Unkissed, its greatest strength, is that it’s a little too slow.

Each note stretches and yearns with the impatience of adolescence, bordering on running out of air, breaking in two. Like the stage of completely and equally brilliant I saw the glow of the TV it’s written about, captures the sleepy restlessness of a too-warm high school, overcrowded and isolating. The weight of his crushing guitars ebbs and flows unsteadily, mimicking the experimentation of molded hands. (A second attempt at the chorus is required to include all drums and guitars.)

It’s unstable, hopeful. Caroline’s voice—gently disfigured by deliberate auto-pitch—falls out of key in the song’s last few choruses, threatening to derail the dreamy beauty of the last three minutes. It ends abruptly, begging for another listen, another return to a time that cannot be recaptured.

Lover’s Spit Plays in the Background, Claire Russe — in Russian moods is a perfect album to read outside on a cloudy day. I’m not sure I can pick a standout song as the experience is really about letting it all wash over you, but this one is close enough.

Brian’s Stickers Hot Mulligan – Classic pop punk theme (“my job sucks and I hate everyone”), but my god, what a worm.

“About the brand”, Ekko Astral — Levels of snot previously thought unattainable. It’s hard not to love what a beautiful mess these people make.

“Cometh the Storm,” High on Fire – Most of High on Fire’s 20-plus year output sounds like – and lyrically probably is about – an axe-wielding barbarian shredding a bong, or whatever other D&D nonsense they’ve got up their sleeve. (I say that with love. I adore High on Fire.) The title track from the new one is…uncannily like a funeral song? At first it struck me as a very “old band showing their age”, but I found this to be a deliberate and welcome change. However, they are not disappointed with the use of AI for the “Burning Down” music video. come on boys

Avery Ellis, Deputy Editor, Reports