Music on Spotify
Bruce Springsteen, High Hopes
At this point, you’ve either accepted Bruce Springsteen as the single greatest rock and roll musician this country has ever produced, or not. The fact that he continues to turn out noteworthy, and even great, music 30 years since his first album is something you either celebrate or don’t care about. And if you’re the latter and therefore not checking out “High Hopes,” we weep for your blackened soul.
Puscifer, What Is…
The lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle’s other band that you don’t listen to anymore. Actually, this one you never listened to. So at least you’re consistent.
Five Iron Frenzy, Engine of a Million Plots
In the mood for a new album from Colorado’s favorite late-90’s ska-punk band? Yeah, me neither.
Metallica, Through the Never soundtrack
Metal’s biggest band had a huge hit on their hands with their live performance/narrative movie earlier this year. This is the live soundtrack to the film and further proof that though the band might be signing up for Medicare soon, they rock as hard as ever.
Billy Joe + Norah, Foreverly
Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong teams up with adult contemporary princess Norah Jones to make the least likely duo since Turner and Hooch. “What?” you say. Oh, and they’re singing country music. “Seriously?” you ask. The truly shocking part is that, well, it’s actually good.
Ghost B.C., If You Have Ghosts
Sweden’s favorite satanic alt-rockers return with their unique brand of lameness. Their attempts to be shocking with occult lyrical themes might be more interesting if they didn’t sound like Nickelback.
Yo La Tengo, Fade
New Jersey’s favorite rockers are back! No, not the Boss, but Yo La Tango, indie darlings du jour. Their last album, Popular Songs, gave the weird little band from the Garden State unprecedented popularity. Their latest 2-CD album doesn’t disappoint.
A Perfect Circle, Three Sixty
The band that was created on the heels of Tool’s success certainly had a moment. Unfortunately, that moment isn’t now. Listening to their latest album, the band feels like a relic, a time capsule to last decade. A perfect circle has no end, but since anyone other than hardcore fans are going to want this one to end, then I guess it’s not that perfect.
Various artists, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack
The best movie soundtracks have a consistent sensibility, so that the music in the film is almost a character in itself. With a wide range of artists that seem to be chosen for their name cache more than a specific sound – from the National to Christina Aguilera – this movie soundtrack isn’t even enough to consistently elevate the film or stand that well on its own. Not that it matters; the movie’s going to make a gazillion dollars anyway.
Yo Gotti, I Am
Not to be confused with Big Gotti, Don Gotti, Juan Gotti, or the original, John Gotti, the boss of the Gambino crime family, Yo Gotti pays tribute to the fallen gangster with his own style of— well, actually, if we’re being honest here it’s not his own style at all, but a derivative hodgepodge of every Dirty South record you’ve ever heard. If that’s your thing, check it out. Though something tells me John wouldn’t have liked it.
The Killers, Direct Hits
The Killers can’t get anyone to buy their new songs. So how about their old ones? Anyone? Ya know what? Stop listening to The Killers. They had their moment, but it’s over. There’s great new music out there. Just put a little effort in, will ya?
Andrew Bird, I Want to See Pulaski at Night
Andrew Bird’s latest album is largely instrumental. A beautiful arrangement of strings, it feels very much like the score of an art house film, probably staring Chloë Sevigny somewhere on the plains, the wind blowing her hair as she stares out into vast nothingness. Or maybe that’s just me. If you’d like to hear Bird’s more radio-friendly stuff listen to The Mysterious Production of Eggs or Break It Yourself.
Lady Gaga, ARTPOP
An honorary gay man in a little Italian girl’s body, and hero to her little monsters, Gaga finally releases her long-awaited new album. With the unrelenting tabloid attention she receives and her affinity for bizarre costumes, it’s easy to forget how talented the girl is. The album is hit and miss, and at times unbearable if you don’t enjoy pop/dance music, but it’s impossible to listen to “Dope” or “Gypsy,” and not respect her tremendous voice.
Throwing Muse, Purgatory/Paradise
One of the seminal college bands of the 80’s and early 90’s returns. But as many of their compatriots have retired or just plain given up, will fans of the band from the first Bush presidency still be up for the band’s angsty rock? Or are they now too busy bumping Taylor Swift with their daughters? Something tells me the Muses are in trouble.
Toby Keith, Drinks After Work
Toby Keith, the country singer, is probably best known on the coasts for feuding with the Dixie Chicks after they criticized George Bush. I must admit that while there’s some country that I get and enjoy, but I’m not sure I’m the Toby Keith audience; this might be due to my more-or-less “Blue State” liberal views on a lot of things, or it might be because I have ears. Red State social conservatives and the ear-less, however, are going to love this thing.
Death Cab For Cutie, Transatlanticism Demos
The hipster songbirds, who are so soft now that they make The Shins look like The Stooges, have release the demos to their break out (but not best) album, Transatlanticism. While only the diehards will run out and purchase it, it is worthy of a listen on Spotify. After all, it’s free. A stripped down, slow, acoustic version of “The Sound of Settling” feels like a nod to Elliot Smith, and is a highlight. But if you’re looking for a Death Cab album to buy (or just stream on repeat – it’s on Spotify, too), pick up We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes instead.
After many delays, the Sri Lankan rapper/humanitarian/artist has finally released her first album since signing with Jay-Z’s management company. At times her self-righteous act can get a bit grating – she once declined being in People Magazine’s “Beautiful People” issue because, as she said, “Mother Teresa was never on the list.” Ugh. But, since her first album, Arular, dropped in 2005, M.I.A. has spawned an entire genre of strong, hip hop and electro-inspired female artists and she still sounds fresher than nearly all of them.
Mason Jennings, Always Been
No, he’s not related to Waylon Jennings. But Mason’s brand of simple singer-songwriter folk does seem to embrace the old country mantra of three chords and the truth. While there’s a little Jonathan Richman in his vocal, his music is more closely aligned with Ryan Adams, some Jon Brion, and Wilco. Certain to be played at your local coffee house come winter.
Lorde, Live In Concert (EP)
The just-turned-17 year-old is the youngest person to have the number one song since Tiffany did it in 1987. With such illustrious company, does anyone doubt that this Kiwi teenager is around for years to come? Don’t answer that – and besides, “Royals” is roughly 739 percent better than “I Think We’re Alone Now.”
Arcade Fire, Reflektor
They’ll never make another song as great as “Wake Up”. They just won’t. If you can accept that, you’ll realize that Reflektor is a very good album, probably better than the last one. If not, you’ll always be disappointed. By Arcade Fire albums. And by life.
Pearl Jam, Lightening Bolt
You either love Pearl Jam or you don’t and you probably made up your mind nearly 20 years ago. But while you’re still debating their role in the grunge era as it relates to Nirvana’s greatness, they’re one of the few real rock bands still out there. And unlike, say, Sting, they haven’t gotten softer as they’ve gone along – quite the opposite in fact.Eminem, “The Monster” and “Rap God” (singles)
I’m not really sure what Eminem still has to be angry about at this point, but these two track make clear he’s still plenty mad. He’s also still totally superior, skills-wise, to just about any other MC out there (save for my boy Kendrick Lamar).
Paul McCartney, New
At some point this Thanksgiving, the football games will end, only to be replaced with awkward silence between you and the old man. That’s when you play the new Paul McCartney album, and not just to placate the guy. Do it because, well … it’s actually really friggin’ good! The track “Queenie Eye” is a highlight and feels like vintage Paul.
Fall Out Boy, PAX AM Days
At some point don’t we have to change the name to Fall Out Man? Even Bow Wow dropped the “L’il” once his balls dropped. The band just released a new album earlier this year so it’s no surprise that this new EP lacks a lot of material (eight tracks and only one is over two minutes). But it’s more punk rock than it’s radio friendly predecessor, and therefore totally worth the thirteen minutes and nineteen seconds it will take to listen.