Tuesday New Releases in Music
Though hip-hop star Wiz Khalifa and rockers Hinder hope to prove otherwise, this week’s expected sales leader, Ke$ha, controls her own fate with sophomore album Warrior. Despite an excited fan-base, the question remains: does anyone really care? Last week Rihanna’s album Unapologetic went to #1 as expected, but massive week-to-week sales drops by veterans Aerosmith, Green Day and Soundgarden proved more interesting.
Whether these sales woes reflect greater shifts in how people consume music, or merely showcase the “Holiday Album” effect on post-Thanksgiving sales, one truth endures for so-called legends: either bring your best, or stick to the reunion circuit. Heading into 2013, no such thing as a “guaranteed” hit exists.
- – - – -
Blur – Parklife: Special Edition (Virgin Records)
Dream Boat – Eclipsing (Cloud Recordings)
El Perro Del Mar – Pale Fire (The Control Group)
Swedish artist Sarah Assbring’s melancholic lo-fi indie pop shines on her fifth LP Pale Fire, particularly on the fluid groove of “Walk On By,” her strongest single yet. From Blurt Magazine:“All ten tracks evoke surreal circumstance, given a delivery that’s atmospheric, amorphous and hypnotic.”
Flogging Molly – Live at the Greek Theater (Side One Dummy) – 3 LPs + DVD
Gary Clark Jr – Blak & Blu (Warner Bros.) – Vinyl
Hinder – Welcome to the Freakshow (Republic Records)
Jacob Morris – Moths (Cloud Recordings)
Ke$ha – Warrior (RCA)
Rolling Stone says we owe Ke$ha a debt, as she’s given us so many cancerous earworms. Otherwise how would we ever fill our heads with anything remotely catchy? With Warrior, she sets herself up for what befell Lady Gaga, who dared take pop too seriously. Drowned in Sound puts it more nicely: “Warrior is never dull, always fun, and frequently a thrillingly unpredictable ride.” Check out “Die Young” if this sounds like your cup of tea.
Memory Tapes – Grace / Confusion (Carpark Records)
Mogwai – A Wrenched Virile Lore (Sub Pop)
Olly Murs – Right Place, Right Time (Columbia)
Paloma Faith – Fall to Grace (Epic)
It took six months for this sophomore effort from English singer-songwriter Paloma Faith to get a US release. Fall to Grace combines elements of pop, soul and R&B, solidly showcased by lead single “Picking Up the Pieces,” (see video above) which puts her squarely in the realm of “the next Adele” competitors.
Raime – Quarter Turns over a Living Line (Blackest Ever Black)
Shackleton – Music for the Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ (Woe to Skeptic Heart)
Scott Walker – Bish Bosch (4AD Records)
Sigha – Living With Ghosts (Hotflush)
The Bergamot – Static Flowers (Both Records)
This South Bend, Indiana, duo blends the folk-tinged pop smarts of Elliott Smith with hints of “mainstream Americana,” crafting the harmonious sounds of Static Flowers, the band’s debut. They also won “Best Unsigned American Band” in a competition sponsored by Bud Light, for what that’s worth. Standouts include “Smoke & Fire” and “Amy.”
Wiz Khalifa – O.N.I.F.C. (Atlantic)
- – - – -
Last week nearly 50 holiday-themed albums jockeyed for position among the Billboard album chart’s 200 individual entries. And since we haven’t highlighted any of the festive albums this season, there’s no better time to get into the Christmas spirit. These twenty albums offer all the jingle you’ll need for any end-of-year celebration.