Tuesday New Releases in Music
A few big albums remain unreleased in the run-up to Christmas, but this week the industry still recovers from its post-Black Friday hangover. So Alicia Keys offers the only major-label new release of note this week, with Girl on Fire set for a strong debut. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find a wealth of great music coming out this week, including an exceptional survey of Charlie Christian’s contributions to the development of bebop and jazz. Plus: Rage Against the Machine receives a 20th anniversary reissue, and the Winter Sounds prove you don’t need a huge budget to craft solid pop hooks.
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Don’t call her prolific, as Alicia Keys releases just her fifth studio album in the last twelve years, her first since 2009’s The Element of Freedom. It’s worth the wait, however, as early reviews have praised Keys for taking things back to basics, focusing on intimate moments and what Uncut calls her “technical brilliance.” The strongest of those intimate moments, “Not Even The King,” serves as a highlight of what Girl on Fire offers.
Big Dipper – Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet (Almost Ready Records)
Blood of the Sun – Burning on the Wings of Desire (Listenable Records)
Breathless – Green to Blue (Shellshock)
Charlie Christian – The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Sony Legacy)
Fans of jazz and bebop already know the music of Charlie Christian, but fans of anything modern involving the electric guitar should care as well. This four disc collection brings that music into stunning clarity, focusing on Christian’s pioneering work with the instrument while a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet from 1939-41, along with a disc of rarities from his time in Goodman’s orchestra and the Metronome All-Stars.
Daniel Higgs – Say God (Thrill Jockey) – Vinyl
Fort Shame – Double Wide (Redeye Label)
Great Big Sea – XX (Great Big Sea)
Jefferson Starship – Tales from the Mothership (United States Distribution)
Jerry Cole – Surf Age (Sundazed Music Inc)
Flash back to the era of classic surf-pop via this reissue from Jerry Cole and His Spacemen. Surf Age attempted to merge surf music with the wider sphere of 60s pop, more carefully focusing Cole’s mile-a-minute recording process. Incredibly rare until this long-awaited CD release, enjoy the perfect holiday time capsule. Highlights include the title track and “One Color Blues.”
John Zorn – The Concealed (Tzadik)
Junkie XL – Synthesized (Nettwerk)
Lone Wolf – The Lovers (It Never Rains)
Mike Cooper – Life and Death in Paradise (Entertainment One)
Myriad 3 – Tell (Alma Records)
My favorite discovery of the year by far, this Canadian jazz trio builds on the collective nature of improvisation, crafting a nuanced debut you won’t want to miss. The album’s highlights include “But Still and Yet” and the band’s peerless interplay on “Disturbing Inspiration,” which will haunt you, guaranteed.
Nektar – A Spoonful of Time (Cleopatra)
Outasight – Nights Like These (Warner Bros.)
Piatcions – Senseless > Sense (I Blame The Parents Records)
Sonny Burgess – Live at Sun Studios (Cleopatra) – Vinyl
The Winter Sounds – Runner (New Grenada Records)
Serving up a hybrid of Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons and Snow Patrol, New Orleans’ the Winter Sounds craft shiny pop nuggets which stand strong on repeat listens. Highlights include “The Sun Also Rises” (video below) and “Run from the Wicked”. Also worth noting: the band funded the album entirely through $9,000 in fan contributions, proving pop this good doesn’t require a major-label budget.
Therion – Les Fleurs Du Mal (End of the Light)
Wild Billy Childish & the Spartan Dreggs – Coastal Command (Damaged Goods)
Wu-Block – Wu-Block (Entertainment One)
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With a new year looming and Christmas just around the corner, now’s the time to look back at albums already out in 2012 which may have slipped from your radar. Any of these, including the latest from Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and David Crowder Band, would make perfect stocking-stuffers for the music fan in your world.