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.
Popular Holiday Albums
- – - – -
This year’s holiday music of the moment comes from Rod Stewart, fresh off the release of his autobiography and a series of geezer-bating (and mediocre) American Songbook albums. A top ten mainstay since its release in October, Merry Christmas, Baby features his take on classic holiday tunes, including this wannabe-Sting performance of “The Christmas Song.”
Michael Buble – Christmas (Reprise)
Blake Shelton – Cheers, It’s Christmas (Warner Bros.)
Lady Antebellum – On This Winter’s Night (Capitol)
Scotty McCreery – Christmas With Scotty McCreery (Mercury Nashville)
Josh Groban – Noel (WEA / Reprise)
Artists love holiday releases because they sell well year after year. Groban’s Noel moved more than 3.6 million copies during its first three months back in 2007, and in the five years since it earned its spot as the second most popular holiday album of the Soundscan era (behind Kenny G’s Miracles.) Groban’s versions of “Ave Maria” and “Silent Night” alone make this worthy of a listen if you haven’t already.
Justin Bieber – Under the Mistletoe (Island)
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Dreams of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night) (Universal Republic)
Various Artists – Holidays Rule (Hear Music)
Colbie Caillat – Christmas in the Sand (Universal Republic)
Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy Records)
This one sells itself, the hands-down best holiday release of the last 50 years. It helps that the songs embedded themselves into our memories through a holiday television classic, but Guaraldi’s timeless jazzy arrangements would win us over even if we didn’t know the basis of “Linus and Lucy.” And if you don’t melt when hearing “Christmas Time Is Here,” I don’t want to know you.
Andrea Bocelli – My Christmas (Verve)
Elvis Presley – It’s Christmas Time (Sony/BMG Special Markets)
Jeremy Camp – Christmas: God With Us (EMI CMG)
CCM songwriter Jeremy Camp’s first full-length Christmas album features both original and traditional holiday songs, a collection you’ll want to make a staple of your yearly musical celebrations. Camp’s grunged-up version of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” stands out alongside the title track as reasons to listen.
- – - – -
Just in time for December shopping, Hollywood rolls out the big guns. The elephant in the room, The Dark Knight Rises, stands guaranteed to stuff millions of stockings, while Eastbound & Down’s third season and The Simpsons’ 15th bring plenty of laughs. Plus: Holiday horror abounds as 1984’s Silent Night, Holy Night gets the remake treatment!
New Releases: DVD / Blu-Ray
- – - – -
Following the success of The Dark Knight, the culmination of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy kept fans guessing how the masterful director would top himself. See how it all ends, or catch up on the entire trilogy.
HBO’s bastard stepchild lives perpetually in the shadows of Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and True Blood. During the show’s third season, deluded, burned-out former major-league pitcher Kenny Powers returns from Mexico to South Carolina, where he gets his shot at career resurrection as the closer for the Myrtle Beach Mermen. The best dark comedy on cable continues to surprise!
Remember that year a psycho axe-murderer disguised as Santa committed good, old-fashioned holiday mass-homicide? Of course you do. This remake of 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night features an all-out death race to stop St. Nick’s bloody rampage. I’d make a joke about decking the halls with your guts, but Futurama already did it. Just get this movie, and celebrate the real spirit of the season.
Finding Nemo (Blu-Ray)
Catch Me If You Can (Blu-Ray)
Brazil: Criterion Collection (Blu-Ray)
- – - – -
You know who will play for this year’s BCS Championship, and the rest of the bowl season continues lining up. Now we set out to help you build the perfect tailgating experience! Everything you need to grill, chill and enjoy football thrills, this week in “Ultimate Holiday Gifts.”
PJ Lifestyle: Ultimate Holiday Gifts: Tailgating Edition
- – - – -
Specifically designed for social cooking, the Blacktop 360 grill-fryer features everything you need for the most amazing tailgating experience, right down to the deep-fryer embedded at the center! Forget cooking for everyone else while they sit around enjoying the atmosphere. Make them join in the fun, cooking everyone’s favorites at the same time on this beast which doubles as a deep-fryer, grill and griddle all in one. Cook the food up fast, leaving you plenty of time to celebrate your favorite team’s oncoming victory!
Easily simulate all the comforts of home from any parking space once you own this sports den canopy, which includes a rain / shade cover, inflatable structure with strong tie-downs, and convenient, rugged flooring – not to mention the four inflatable chairs which will make you the envy of everyone else forced to eat or listen to the game while sitting on broken-down lawn furniture. Call this the perfect holiday gift for the sports fan who thinks he has everything.
Soundtrack your tailgating extravaganza with music from your iPod, with amplified audio worthy of a much larger system, thanks to this one-piece external speaker dock. Whether you’re blasting high-energy music to keep you and your friends hyped for the oncoming gridiron rivalry, or listening to the local sports station for every bit of the in-game action, the ION Audio Tailgater Speaker System wins the parking-lot accessory war.
Who says tailgating must end at kickoff? When you’re finished with the eating but unable to get a ticket for the game itself, no need to worry! This handheld LCD television features a built-in tuner to grab all the local digital channels, allowing you to watch the game from the comfort of your vehicle. If you don’t want to mess with your own portable satellite system, this miniature TV easily serves as the next best thing.
- – - – -
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.