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This Week in Music: The week of the mixtapes and comebacks with Wale, Miguel and More

We listen to new music every week, but finding out what’s new isn’t always easy. Below is a list of our favorite new albums and single that dropped this week so you can keep your head bobbing all through your commute and drum on your desk to the dismay of all your co-workers. Here are the best releases for the third week of December 2014.

New Albums for December 16, 2014

The Pinkprint

Nicki Minaj

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NickiMinajPinkprint

If you thought it was hard to avoid Nicki Minaj on the radio before, just wait as the singles off this record start working their way onto the airwaves. Minaj, more personal than before, mixes top notch features with her own impressive brand.

Sucker

Charli XCX

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On her third full-length album (only the second commercial release), Charli XCX hits a stride that shows she’s mastered her own unique voice. Pop music with an unabashed punkiness makes her stand out even on overproduced tracks.

Music and Words

Malcolm Middleton

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MalcolmMiddleton

The album title of Arab Strap musician Malcolm Middleton might sound vague, but it tells plenty about the record. The music of Middleton serves to carry the words of poet David Shrigley, reworked and presented as songs.

Black Messiah

D’Angelo

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DAngelo-Black-Messiah

R&B icon D’Angelo was one of the most prominent artists during the rise of neo-soul. It’s been nearly 20 years since his breakthrough record Brown Sugar, and he’s snuck back into the spotlight with Black Messiah, his first release in 14 years.

Holy Water

Laurel

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LaurelHolyWater

If you haven’t heard of Laurel yet, now two EPs into her young career, then get ready because she’s going to be unavoidable in the future. The London-based songstress has a voice that pierces through any soundscape and she sounds undeniable.

Back to the Ordinary

Kid Astray

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Kidastray

On an EP called Back to the Ordinary, Norwegian pop sextet Kid Astray sound anything but. Backed by bouncing synth sounds and an influx of influence from acts like Foster the People, the band begins exploring its own sound throughout.

Nobody

Chief Keef

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ChiefKeefNobody

The biggest news surrounding Chief Keef’s latest record is that he’s snagged Kanye West to join him on the titular track, their second collaboration after Hold My Liquor. But there’s plenty more here as the 19-year-old Chicagoan holds his own solo.

Salt Gall Box Souls

H Hawkline

NoiseTrade

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On his first release on London label Heavenly, H Hawkline drops a collection of tracks left off previous releases or put out in limited release, making the jangly, loose, and infectious tracks available widely for the first time.

Sandopolis

Hashman Deejay

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HashmanDeejaySandopolis

One of the members of the Vancouver collective Mood Hut, Hashman Deejay – otherwise known as Tanner Matt – has released a solo record that proves his work stands up on its own with a record full of layered tracks and addictive production.

New Singles

Lampshades on Fire

Modest Mouse

The Current

ModestMouse

Modest Mouse has been relatively quiet since the release of 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. The band is back with an album planned for release in March 2015, and this is the first taste of that record.

Boys Latin

Panda Bear

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PandaBear

You may know Panda Bear better as Noah Lennox of Animal Collective. His latest solo project is due out in January, and Boys Latin is the second single from the record to surface, available to hear with a beautiful animated music video.

Pretty Green

Spinee

SoundCloud

Spinee

20-year-old London-based producer Spinee has been making a name by making remixes of music that take dramatically new approaches. The latest on that theme, Pretty Green, takes on Ultrabeat’s 2003 release Pretty Green Eyes.

The Kids Aren’t Alright

Fall Out Boy

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Fall Out Boy has been working up the release of their new record pretty heavily. The latest single to come out is The Kids Aren’t Alright, a lighter side after the curveball of their first single. The band also dropped the full track listing for its record.

Deep Six

Marilyn Manson

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MarilynMansonDeepSix

It’s been a bit since Marilyn Manson was in the spotlight, but the often controversial artist hasn’t disappeared. He’s been working on a new record, and Deep Six serves as a sampler, offering up a stomping bluesy sound.

Turn Me Up

Twin Shadow

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TwinShadow

Twin Shadow, otherwise known as George Lewis Jr., was supposed to have a new record drop this year. It’s been pushed back, but the recent Warner Music signee has a new single that should suffice fans until the full album drops in March 2015.

Next page: Hot new albums and singles from the second week of December 2014.

We listen to new music every week, but finding out what’s new isn’t always easy. Below is a list of our favorite new albums and single that dropped this week so you can keep your head bobbing all through your commute and drum on your desk to the dismay of all your co-workers. Here are the best releases for the first week of December 2014.

New Albums for December 9, 2014

Monuments to an Elegy

Smashing Pumpkins

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SmashingPumpkinsME

On their 10th studio album, Smashing Pumpkins return to peak form behind the guidance of frontman Billy Corgan. But it’s not a purely nostalgic trip – it’s a Smashing Pumpkins that have advanced sonically.

2014 Forest Hills Drive

J. Cole

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JCole2014ForestDrive

Rapper J. Cole named his third album after the address of his childhood home in North Carolina. It’s a driving force behind the album, a rare instance of a hip hop record without a feature, and Cole stands strong on his own.

36 Seasons

Ghostface Killah

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Ghostface36Seasons

Wu Tang made a return as a collective earlier this year, but its members are still out making their solo work as well. Ghostface calls upon other Wu Tang members but keeps himself as the focal point throughout to the delight of his fans.

Variant

Ben Frost

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BenFoldsVariant

After the critically praised record Aurora was released earlier this year, Frost follows up with an EP expanding the album’s soundscape with remixes and b-sides that didn’t make the final cut.

Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart?

K. Michelle

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After her impressive debut, K. Michelle had a high bar set for herself. She exceeds it with her larger than life personality and presence, showing off her skills as both a songwriter and a performer keeping R&B alive.

PRhyme

PRhyme

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PRhyme

Not satisfied with a successful solo career and being a member of the supergroup Slaughterhouse, Royce da 5’9″ has teamed up with super producer DJ Premier to create a record with the sound and feel of an instant classic.

Berkeley to Bakersfield

Cracker

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CrackerBtoB

Alt rockers Cracker take their time on Berkeley to Bakersfield to explore the wide and varying landscapes of California, taking influence from different parts of the state and applying it to the tracks.

Geocidal

Tētēma

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tetema_Geocidal

A collaborative work between Mike Patton of Faith No More and pianist Anthony Pateras results in a chaotic world, presented in a way that is equal parts thoughtful and panicked.

Measures

Nostalgia 77 and the Monster

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MeasuresNostalgia77

The latest work from Ben Lambdin, best known for his creations as Nostalgia 77, mixes in a setlist of original works and expertly crafted covers performed with the backing of a live band to create a dynamic feel.

New Singles

Gray Duck

Doomtree

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DoomtreeAllHands

The Minnesota hip hop collective announced a new crew record and national tour. To support the announcement, they dropped Gray Duck, a banging track with clever wordplay and the second drop from the upcoming All Hands album.

Hope for the Future

Paul McCartney

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Paul_McCartney

It leaked online a few weeks ago, but a proper release for Paul McCartney’s new music has finally arrived. Hope for the Future is the latest effort from the former Beatle, and is accompanied by four remixes as well.

Hush

HAWK

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hawkhush

Post-rock group Hawk is offering up their latest single for free. Hush, a folk-like lullaby with a chilling tone and a dizzying climb, offers fans an epic listen and shows the progress of the band’s sound.

Surface Envy

Sleater-Kinney

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sleater-kinney-no-cities-to-love

Punk trio Sleater-Kinney is reuniting with the upcoming record No Cities to Love. The second teaser for the record, Surface Envy, gives fans a taste of their big, brazen, and unafraid sound in full effect.

Lake Song

Decemberists

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the-decemberists-what-a-terrible-world
With the release of What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World getting ever closer, the Decemberists have dropped another teaser ahead of it dropping, a simple and serenading ballad.

Shoulders

Twerps

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TwerpShoulders

The Twerps have been on a roll lately. They’ve signed to Merge Records, dropped an EP, released a single, and are now teasing a new album set to be released in January. Shoulders is a dreamy track from a band living the dream.

Next page: Hot new albums and singles from the first week of December 2014.