Big Boi, Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors â€“ Second full-fledged solo album from Big Boi, one-half of Outkast — his third if you count his half of Outkast’s 2004 Speakerboxxx/The Love Below — finds him mixing it up with collaborators as wide-ranging as A$AP Rocky and indie-poppers Phantogram to Wavves and fellow ATL stars Ludacris and T.I. Dan Hyman writes:
On Vicious Lies there’s no genre, collaborator or experiment too out-there for Daddy Fat Sax. What’s more impressive though, is that (nearly) all of it works. Whether he’s chopping it up with underrated indie-pop duo Phantogram on the electro drugged-out funk groove “CPU,” letting Wavves’ Nathan Williams go punk-apocalyptic on “Shoes For Running,” or unspooling Xanax-popping depression rap alongside Kid Cudi during “She Hates Me,” it’s Big Boi’s willingness to go for broke that sells this sometimes overstuffed album.
Green Day, Â¡TRÃ‰! â€“ Third in the punk-pop institution’s bang-bang-bang rapid-fire trilogy of records this year, all in an attempt to scale back down from their American Idiot grandeur back to the three chord yearners they were in their Kerplunk days. You can never go back, of course, but it’s nice to hear Billie Joe work out his sweet tooth on this smaller scale.
Julia Holter, Ekstasis (expanded) â€“ The vocalist and composer’s beautiful, shimmering Ekstasis reissued with some revelatory live takes on her crystalline music.
The Jam, The Gift â€“ The final studio album by the legendary Jam. This is the one with “A Town Called Malice” on it.
Jawbreaker, Bivouac â€“ One of the classic emo records, reissued, full of as much raw, ragged power as the day it was released.
Gil Shaham, Arvo Part: Tabula Rasa â€“ A masterpiece of mystic minimalism, performed by one of the most spiritually attuned violinists on the planet.
The Game, Jesus Piece â€“ The West Coast stalwart catches the holy ghost for his fifth album of classical gangsta rap, featuring appearances, as per usual for him, by half the functioning mainstream rap industry.
Masta Killa, Selling My Soul â€“ Latest from the Wu-Tang’s quietest and most enduring member. He seems to understand his own place in the game: He opens the record with a dialogue snippet from the cult film The Spook Who Sat By The Door, in which a voice wonders, “I forgot he even existed. He has a way of fading into the background.” His low-key delivery and reflective tone never goes out of style.
Howard Shore, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Special Edition â€“ In advance of Peter Jackson’s new film version of The Hobbit, Howard Shore provides a more regal, sumptuous, orchestral version of that misty mountain hop. You can practically hear Ian McKellen’s whispered dialogue over these sweeping, Romantic cues. Plus, a couple of tankard-clinking Hobbitt drinking songs, for good measure, perfect for your next really, really nerdy party.
Various Artists, On The Road OST â€“ The soundtrack for the Kerouac film adaptation features period-appropriate bebop jazz and blues as well as compositions from Gustavo Santoalla, whose work you might know from the Brokeback Mountain score.
Peaking Lights, Lucifer In Dub â€“ In the “what it says on the tin” department: a deep-dub dive into Peaking Lights’ 2011 Lucifer.
Eat Skull, Where’d You Go â€“ Grotty, dazed lo-fi dirges from former Siltbreeze act Eat Skull; for the primitivist in you. Some of these even have the vague shape of love songs.
Marsha Ambrosius, Cold War â€“ A nicely sultry Quiet Storm R&B-influenced single from one half of Floetry.
Hanni Al Khatib, Roach Cock â€“ Abhorrently repulsive song title/cover art of the day award aside, this is more infectious, greased-up punkabilly from a guy who knows how to summon the spirit.
Ra Ra Riot, When I Dream â€“ New single from the beloved indie-rockers finds them going surprisingly laptop soul. We’ll see what the album brings.
Marnie Stern, Year of the Glad â€“ Maaaybe an Infinite Jest reference in the title of this new Marnie song? Hard to know, but it would suit the too-brainy-for-my-own-good, over-caffeinated vibe of Starn’s music. Sounds tantalizingly great.