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 final week of December 2014.
New Albums for December 30, 2014
Wale and A-Trak
The holiday season may be coming to a close, but Wale’s Festivus mixtape is worth a listen any time of year. Dropped for free on SoundCloud, the rapper calls on a long list of guests to join in on Wale’s love of Seinfeld.
It’s been four years since the Croatian rockers Stonebride have put out a record, and while Heavy Envelope is a short return – clocking in at just 32 minutes – it’s welcome one with signs of sonic maturity and psychedelic flourishes.
The Grand Gestures
The Grand Gestures may not have the most clever album titles – Third is their third record, and you can guess the name of their others – but their craft is on display in their lo-fi sound and spoken word vocals.
Miguel has gone the way of D’Angelo and surprised fans with a sudden drop of music. Though it’s not a full record, just an EP to quench the thirst, it’s a welcome release for those craving more from the talent R&B star.
Fans of the Rustic Overtones, one of the most promising funk-infused rock bands to come out of the 90s, will recognize the title of this album. This re-issue includes unreleased tracks and the full record rather than its initial shortened release.
Nikki Yanofsky scores help from the godfather of all pop stars, Quincy Jones, on her record Little Secret. Her soulful, powerful voice takes center stage on the album, and the poppy backing makes for the right elements of a breakout release.
Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
After releasing a record via BitTorrent and raking in 4.4 million downloads, Thom Yorke has moved to a slightly more traditional method of distribution. The album from the BitTorrent Bundle is available as a pay-what-you-want release on Bandcamp.
The Young OG Project
Dropped on Christmas day as a little surprise to fans, Fabolous returns with his first album release in 5 years. He’s gearing up for another to drop in 2015, and The Young OG Project shows he has plenty left in the tank.
Alex Cowan, also known as Agor, is one half of Blue Hawaii, but he takes control on the free mixtape Agor Edits. The collection of reworked songs from the band’s 2012 release put a new spin on old work while the duo hammers out new material.
This track made its way to the internet as a part of the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey movie soundtrack. The track brings everything you’d expect from a song geared toward the erotic crowd, with a quiet intensity to it.
Another song for a soundtrack, but N.E.R.D. is going in an entirely different direction. The group, led by Pharrell, makes their return to lend their sound to the playlist for the upcoming Spongebob Squarepants film.
Looking for a Place to Land
Justin Townes Earle
Nashville-based singer and songwriter Justin Townes Earl dropped a new single this week that continues his trend of emotional vulnerability, as he lays himself out over the strumming of an acoustic guitar.
It’s been a minute since Erick Sermon was in the spotlight of hip hop. Though he’s best known for his work in the late 80s and early 90s with EPMD, Sermon plans to return solo in 2015. One Shot is the first taste of what he’s got.
Jodeci feat. B.o.B.
The on-again, off-again R&B band consisting of Jo-Jo, K-Ci, and DeVante Swing are back with their first single in over 18 years. The promise of a new album to follow has fans awaiting the comeback.
Next page: Hot new albums and singles from the third week of December 2014.