This week fans of OneRepublic regret that the band’s Native won’t arrive until at least 2013 after yet another delay. But in the lead-up to Black Friday plenty of new music still hits the shelves this week. Kid Rock will battle his protégé and former DJ Uncle Kracker, while Rihanna hopes her sales will come in strong despite that ridiculously trippy performance of “Diamonds” she gave us last week on Saturday Night Live. Meanwhile Phillip Phillips hopes his generic name and the diminished reputation of American Idol will still convert into fan excitement as his The World from the Side of the Moon arrives Tuesday as well.
In chart news, One Direction’s boy-band sophomore album extravaganza looks to debut atop the Billboard 200 when that chart updates Wednesday, as Take Me Home should sell more than half a million copies. Sorry, Taylor Swift, your reign has ended. Meanwhile, the truth of the new music industry reality becomes clear for veteran artists. Christina Aguilera has to mourn her album’s putrid sales — even her ubiquitous role on NBC’s The Voice won’t push Lotus past 75,000. Even Soundgarden, gone 16 years from the alt-rock landscape, expects to reach 80,000. Aerosmith’s album went top three last week, but a dismal overall performance suggests the title will plummet in the coming weeks.
Don’t even ask about Green Day’s latest – Dos! — which arrives comatose. Their supposed one, two, three punch serves more as a weak, desperate slap, the year’s biggest rock disappointment by far.
- – - – -
3 Doors Down – The Greatest Hits (Universal Republic)
If you listened to radio during the years 2000 through 2007 you’ve heard the bulk of these post-Grunge hits, including Billboard top five smash singles “Kryptonite,” “When I’m Gone,” and “Here Without You.” This greatest hits collection compiles those and nine additional hits, including their most recent single “One Light.”
AC/DC – Live at River Plate (Columbia)
Bad Brains – Into the Future (Megaforce)
Crown the Empire – The Fallout (Rise Records)
David Vest – East Meets Vest (Ark-O-Matic)
Elbow – Dead in the Boot (Xenon Records)
Federale – The Blood Flowed Like Wine (Federale Records)
Inspired by classic spaghetti westerns, Portland band Federale re-captures that haunting, violent atmosphere through their third album. “Sarcophagus” blends a horn-driven western tribal rhythm with haunting middle-eastern inspired vocals to create a hybrid I’d describe as “Tarantino-esque.” It’s definitely worth a listen.
Il Volo – We Are Love (Xenon Records)
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit – Live From Alabama (Lightning Rod Records)
Kid Rock – Rebel Soul (Atlantic)
Kid Rock long ago abandoned rap-rock for the more sturdy role of “trailer-park troubadour,” as Entertainment Weekly puts it. There’s nothing groundbreaking about Rebel Soul’s over-reliance on various well-worn Southern Rock tropes, but he knows his audience and has no problem playing it safe, singing to the converted.
Matt & Toby – Matt & Toby (Tooth & Nail)
Naomi Punk – The Feeling (Captured Tracks)
Pitbull – Global Warming (RCA)
Porcupine Tree – Octane Twisted (KSCOPE)
Rihanna – Unapologetic (Island / Def-Jam)
The ugliest album cover of the year aside, whether you love or hate her Rihanna has proven herself unsinkable over the years. So far she’s heading into release week without a guaranteed smash like “Umbrella” to keep the haters at bay. That and, unapologetic or not, it’s hard to get past all the songs about her undying love for Chris Brown, the man who savagely and publicly beat her just three years ago.
Sienna Skies – The Constant Climb (Invogue Records)
Solid Gold – Eat Your Young (Totally Gross National Product)
The Faint – Danse Macabre: Deluxe Edition (Saddle Creek)
The Maldives – Muscle for the Wing (Spark and Shine Records)
The Pharmacy – Stoned and Alone (Old Flame Records)
The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know – The Remixes (FatCat Records)
The Young Evils – Foreign Spells (The Young Evils)
Uncle Kracker – Midnight Special (Sugarhill)
Wanting – Everything in the World (Nettwerk Records)
- – - – -
Among the list of overlooked albums we’re highlighting this week, Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave proves art-rock can have commercially viable overtones, while albums from Dirty Projectors and Midwestern indie-rock stalwarts Guided By Voices vie for your attention as well.
Popular Fall Hits
- – - – -
9/25: Alt-J – An Awesome Wave (Atlantic)
PopMatters praises “the tension between the approachable and the unknown” which sets this album apart as the year’s strongest debut. Merging elements of dub, polyrhythmic pop and art-rock pretension into ultimately satisfying pop songs, the album just won England’s Mercury Prize for the nation’s best album.
10/2: The Amity Affliction – Chasing Ghosts (Roadrunner Records)
10/2: Sun Airway – Soft Fall (Dead Oceans)
10/9: Two Fingers – Stunt Rhythms (Big Dada Records)
10/9: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist (Macklemore)
10/16: The Luyas – Animator (Dead Oceans)
This album defies easy descriptions. Animator’s first two singles, “Fifty Fifty” and “Montuno” showcase the band’s two divergent poles. The former is a surf-inflused nugget of relatively straightforward pop, while the latter borders on classical in its arrangement, eventually developing into light, soothing pop in the vein of Ivy’s “Thinking About You” over eight minutes.
10/16: Mac DeMarco – 2 (Captured Tracks)
10/23: The Amazing – Gentle Stream (Partisan Records)
10/23: Pig Destroyer – Book Burner (Relapse Records)
10/30: Lukid – Lonely at the Top (Werkdiscs)
10/30: Parkway Drive – Atlas (Epitaph)
Parkway Drive’s fourth album, the Australian metalcore band’s best shot yet at conquering the American market, features the ear-thrashing single “Dark Days.” Alternative Press writes: “Cohesive and engaging throughout, this is the sound of a band at their most fearless.”
10/30: Neurosis – Honor Found in Decay (Neurot Recordings)
10/30: The Soft Moon – Zeros (Captured Tracks)
10/30: The Coup – Sorry To Bother You (Anti / Epitaph)
11/6: Dirty Projectors – About to Die EP (Domino Recording Co.)
11/6: Mike Doughty – The Flip is Another Honey (Snack Bar)
The Soul Coughing alum spent the last decade building his reputation as a prolific songwriter itching to put his own spin on alternative rock. This self-produced covers album shifts that sound into overdrive as Doughty reworks music from John Denver (“Sunshine”) and Randy Newman (“Mankind”) among others.
11/13: Steve Hauschildt – Sequitur (Kranky / Carrot Top)
11/13: Roc Marciano – Reloaded (Decon Inc.)
11/13: The Weeknd – Trilogy (Universal Republic)
11/13: Guided By Voices – The Bears for Lunch (Guided By Voices)
- – - – -
Because most Black Friday deals focus on big-ticket items rather than Blu-Ray releases, it’s a slow release week on the video front. But what’s coming out looks solid. Among the frontrunners: a Blu-Ray extravaganza celebrating the best of Quentin Tarantino on ten discs, HBO’s Game of Thrones’ first season receives the full Blu-Ray treatment, and Sly Stallone’s latest blockbuster hits your big screen.
New Releases: DVD / Blu-Ray
- – - – -
Once wasn’t enough – these aging action figures return for a rousing sequel, following the Expendables as they undertake a mission which should be simple, until it devolves into a quest for revenge against a rival mercenary. Sylvester Stallone continues to do his own stunts, and Jean-Claude Van Damme went full-on “method” as he fought to stay in character as the movie’s villain. Take that, Tropic Thunder!
Bringing Up Bobby (DVD)
Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection (Blu-Ray)
Finally Tarantino’s best films get the Blu-Ray treatment we’ve all waited for! Ten discs, including eight films (Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill I and II, Death Proof and Inglorious Basterds) and two discs full of all-new bonus material. This Tarantino-collector’s dream surely rests on every fan’s must-have list, even more-so than a Royale with Cheese.
Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season (Blu-Ray)
* the Blu-Ray release date is November 27
- – - – -
Three words to set you drooling for this week’s tech finds: “Personal drone quadricopter.” You know you want one! Plus: Tell dad he can deep-fry that turkey without raising the All-State premiums this Thanksgiving.
PJ Lifestyle: Ultimate Holiday Gifts
Okay, dad, you can finally break out the Turducken without burning down the whole house AllState style. This infrared Turkey Fryer represents a huge step forward in oil-less cooking, allowing the easy cooking of a 16-pound turkey (or any other large cut of meat) without worrying about the hot oil. Thanks to the double-wall cylindrical cooking chamber and fully-enclosed propane burner, your holiday meal will cook up juicy, crisp and flavorful every time. Say it with me: best gift ever!
For the nerd who wants to own game night once and for all, this wall-mountable chess-board sets the thinking man’s game in a whole new light. Make your game a true conversation piece as you battle your friends for ultimate chess supremacy. A distinctive gift for anyone bored with horizontal chess, but not quite ready for the intellectual challenge of multi-dimensional Star Trek chess.
For everyone who wants to own drone technology on a non-Pentagon budget, I present your new favorite holiday gift! From Amazon:
“The Parrot AR.Drone is the first quadricopter that can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet. By tilting your device, you control the direction of your AR.Drone, and by releasing it, the AR.Drone is instantly stabilized. Thanks to the AR.Drone’s autopilot feature, anyone can be an expert as the AR.Drone allows for an easy take-off and landing.”
You can even take live HD video while you’re flying, streaming it to your smartphone or tablet as if you’re in the pilot’s seat. What more could a guy ask for?
If you’ve seen Wreck-It Ralph a few too many times and find your nostalgia for classic arcade games won’t subside, here’s your personal Giftvana (trademark pending). Bringing the “Golden Age” of arcade games to your own living room, this upright gaming system collects 130 pre-installed games, all at your fingertips, leaving no official reason you’ll ever need to leave the house again. It’ll cost you to bring this bad-boy home, but tell Junior he can pay for his own semester of college. It’s worth it to have the most popular game room in the neighborhood!
- – - – -
That’s all for this week’s edition of Tuesday New Releases! We’re open to your suggestions as we develop this column to best serve you. If you have suggestions for future coverage, or if you have a product you’d like featured or reviewed here, simply email Jonathan Sanders at email@example.com.