Contrary to expectations, Jason Aldean’s Night Train looks to be a Mumford-slayer when this week’s Billboard 200 is updated later this week. Estimates suggest the new album will break 400,000 and easily dominate last week’s slate of new releases. He won’t get much time to enjoy his first-ever No. 1 album, however, as this week’s juggernaut release, Taylor Swift’s Red, is set to be this year’s biggest-selling album. Her sophomore album, Speak Now, broke one million in first-week sales back in 2010, and Red has already spawned four top ten singles, two of which had opening week sales of more than 400,000. Nothing else on this week’s slate can touch that.
See Last Week’s Picks: TUESDAY NEW RELEASES – “A Fine Frenzy in the Shadow of Mumford”
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… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead – Lost Songs (Superball Music)
Bebo Norman – Lights of Distant Cities (BEC Recordings)
The most consistent songwriter in all of Christian contemporary music, Norman’s eighth studio album features his strongest material yet. Standout track “Outside Her Window Was the World” successfully channels Coldplay through Third Day, subverting expectations both from the pop and CCR perspective.
Being As An Ocean – Dear G-d… (Invogue Records)
Billy Ray Cyrus – Change My Mind (Blue Cadillac Music)
He who brought us the torture of “Achy Breaky Heart” coupled with his overhyped offspring Miley, Cyrus attempts a comeback and, at least with the title track, comes up with by-the-book modern country which won’t disappoint casual listeners.
Bridgit Mendler – Hello My Name Is… (Hollywood Records)
Colbie Caillat – Christmas in the Sand (Universal Republic)
Diamond Rings – Free Dimensional (Astralwerks)
Further Seems Forever – Penny Black (Rise Records)
Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu (Warner Bros.)
At 28, Gary Clark Jr’s blend of contemporary soul and hip-hop with classic blues and r&b plants him firmly at the lead of today’s young tastemakers. Of his new album, Rolling Stone calls the album “uneven, [but] occasionally thrilling” and touts Clark’s willingness to experiment with blues in the age of auto-tune.
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid M.A.A.D. City (Aftermath)
P.O.S. – We Don’t Even Live Here (Rhymesayers)
Paul Banks – Banks (Matador Records)
Rick Berlin – Always On Insane (The Whitehaus Family Record)
Shiny Toy Guns – III (Five Seven Music)
Taylor Swift – Red (Big Machine)
This album is critically bulletproof, but when you strip away the hype, Red is a surprisingly strong album from a songwriter who isn’t afraid to leave country in the dust for the pop music she clearly longs to make. “I Knew You Were Trouble” flirts with dubstep flourishes and proves to be her strongest pop contribution yet. Haters, prepare to be surprised!
Titus Andronicus – Local Business (XL Recordings)
Tony Bennett – Viva Duets (Columbia)
Tweaker – Call the Time Eternity (Metropolis Records)
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Week after week albums continue to surprise, as this Fall’s releases prove there’s always plenty more great music worth highlighting. This week, KISS’s twentieth album gets surprisingly solid reviews. Plus crazy cabaret-inspired alternative from former Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer, new music from Muse and fresh material from Jack White’s latest revival project, Wanda Jackson.
Popular Fall Hits
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9/11: Amanda Palmer – Theater is Evil (Alliance Entertainment)
Palmer, formerly known as lead singer for the Dresden Dolls, raised more than $1.5 million on Kickstarter to fund this album and its subsequent tour. The lead single, “The Killing Type,” is a flaming conversation kickstarter of its own.
9/18: Aimee Mann – Charmer (SuperEgo Records)
9/18: Ryan Bingham – Tomorrowland (Axster Bingham Records)
9/25: As I Lay Dying – Awakened (Metal Blade)
9/25: Ringo Deathstarr – Mauve (Sonic Unyon)
10/2: Jarrod Niemann – Free the Music (Sony Nashville / Arista)
The second major-label release for the country songwriter. From Rolling Stone: “At 33, Niemann is a reformed hat act with wildly catholic taste, and his second major-label LP subverts mainstream country tropes while chatting them up at the bar.”
10/2: Muse – The 2nd Law (Warner Bros.)
10/9: Wanda Jackson – Unfinished Business (Sugarhill)
10/9: KISS – Monster (UMe)
Twenty albums in, Kiss still can’t get that number one they so crave, but the reviews for this album are better than expected even when damning with faint praise. The LA Times writes: “KISS’s new album … is a fantastic dog — protective, loyal, fun to be around but ferocious when it needs to be.”
10/16: Daphni – Jiaolong (Merge) – Dan Snaith a.k.a. Caribou
10/16: Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos (Reprise)
10/16: The Herbaliser – There Were Seven (Redeye Label)
The seventh release for the funk and hip-hop duo of Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba. From AllMusic: “At 15 tracks, it’s a bit too full for newcomers to take in one go, but by mixing the strongest bits of their early days (song structure, smoky attitude) and their later years (technically gifted musicians who form a tight, but swinging band) the Herbaliser return to greatness and no fan should sit this one out.
10/16: K’naan – Country, God or the Girl (A&M/Octone)
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This week we have a double-shot from the unsinkable Tyler Perry, as well as the release of every woman’s favorite Soderbergh stripper movie, Magic Mike, and all the presidential vampire hunting you can handle! Plus, Steve Carell looks for apocalyptic friendship and Seth Rogan tries to go arty with an assist from Michelle Williams.
New Releases: DVD / Blu-Ray
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Set in the world of male strippers and directed by Steven Soderbergh, Magic Mike stars Channing Tatum in a story inspired by his real life. Newsday calls it “one of the year’s best surprises,” saying the same of Tatum’s acting.
A domestic romantic drama starring Seth Rogan and Oscar-winning actress Michelle Williams. Steven Rea, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, writes: “Williams lives and breathes her role, Kirby is charming and real, and you actually start to ache and empathize with Rogen – the emptiness and heartache he conveys when Lou and Margot finally thrash things out is crushing.” The film gives Rogan the chance to stretch as an actor.
Happy Endings: The Complete Second Season (DVD)
This was the biggest surprise of last year’s fall TV season. Saved from the brink of cancellation by ABC after a disastrous first season, the ensemble comedy proves you can build an audience for a show if you give the writers time to find their footing.
Tyler Perry’s Meet The Browns: Season Seven (DVD)
Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman: Season Three (DVD)
The Invisible War (DVD)
The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military. Directed by Kirby Dick, the documentarian behind This Film Is Not Yet Rated.
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This week we’ve hunted down the perfect beer accessory for the friend who thinks he has it all. Plus, a stereo system with a foot in every musical generation, the ultimate laptop speakers for those who want big sound in a small package, and headphones good enough to make an audiophile out of even the most casual music listener.
PJ Lifestyle Tech Finds
From Amazon: “This premium two-piece computer speaker system is also the smallest from Bose, yet it delivers sound well beyond its size. Computer MusicMonitor is recommended if your laptop or PC is a prime source of entertainment, you’re particular about audio quality and you want an elegant yet unobtrusive system.” Having full stereo sound without the inconvenience of a bulky subwoofer makes these a quality buy for under $300.
If you’ve ever wanted to be able to listen to vinyl albums and your digital music on the same system, this is the perfect gift for yourself – all at the price of a standard standalone turntable. As a bonus, the USB port provided allows you to record your vinyl albums to digital mp3s and transfer them to a thumb drive. Talk about a conversation starter!
You may not call yourself an audiophile, yet. Listen to music through these headphones, however, and you’ll have a hard time going back. Capable of playing virtually any genre of music while handling the lows and highs which the human ear can’t consciously perceive, the resultant sound quality makes these $1,000 headphones worth every penny. For an unforgettable listening experience suited for every musical taste, these headphones are indispensable.
This is a product destined to become every home bartender’s best friend. Whether you already have a Heineken DraughtKeg or you need the optional CO2 accessory kit, this mini kegerator uses special carbonator pressure technology to deliver a pub-quality pour of beer every time, while keeping the beer at the drinker’s preferred temperature. It even comes with a car adaptor plug-in, perfect for barbecues or tailgating.
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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 protected].