Alicia Keys’ fourth, The Element Of Freedom comes our way with a bonus DVD of what the catalogue descibes as “intimate studio performances”. If you’ve ever enjoyed an Alicia Keys album, you’ll be pleased with this one too, easy electronic elegance from a deservedly familiar voice. Includes guest appearances from Jay-Z and Beyonce.
OneRepublic are an American band who gamely attempt to marry the sounds of stadium rock to modern R&B. If those two sounds are the bride and groom, then slickness and polish are the best man and maid of honour, with moody ballads being the eventual offspring. To extend this already extended metaphor I will mention they honeymoon at the upper reaches of the charts. Waking Up is the album.
And finally, the pile of new music wouldn’t be complete without a 3CD compilation put together by Ministry Of Sound. Luckily then, Anthems : electronic 80s is here. Amongst it’s 68 mixed tracks are contributions from Kajagoogoo, Blancmange, A Flock Of Seagulls and other ridiculously named bands. Don’t worry, there’s some cool stuff on there.
Amerie may not have the chart topping success of contemporaries like Beyonce and Rihanna, but she is every bit their equal when it comes to making quality, post-2k R&B. Latest work Love & War continues her strong run of form, earning well-deserved critical plaudits. Also, her full name is Amerie Mi Marie Rogers, which is mildly amusing.
Ministry Of Sound have been busy compiling the dance music, putting it on 3CD sets, then releasing it in little boxes for many years now. Two new little 3CD boxes they’ve just put out are Anthems II, which includes tracks from 1983-2009 and The Annual 2010, which is what they suppose this year will sound like on the inside of dance clubs.
The Blueprint 3 is actually Jay-Z’s fourth album in the Blueprint series (there was a confusing 2.1 released at some point) and his first post-unretirement. It continues in the same vein as it’s predecessors, radio hits mixed with more introspective tunes - mix in some guest spots and I guess you could say that’s the blueprint for the Blueprints. Hoho.
This Is It : The Music That Inspired The Movie has arrived upon the catalogue. For Michael Jackson completists it has a bonus disc full (well three out of four tracks) of demo versions of songs, for other people it has a selection of his singles dating back to Jackson 5 days.
Continuing with the music from movies theme; New Moon Soundtrack. A who’s who of indie rock singing about things loosely related to the acting output of a who’s who of people who pretend to be vampires, werewolves and the girls that love them. Grizzly Bear, Thom Yorke, Death Cab For Cutie and more.
The Time Of Our Lives is an EP by Miley Cyrus that was released exclusively at Wal-Mart to help promote her new clothing line. Eight songs including a live one featuring the Jonas Brothers. Well worth a look if Miley makes you smiley.
Mika returns with album number two, it’s called The Boy Who Knew Too Much. This is an ominous title. Who is this boy? What did he know? If I listen will I find out, or merely discover a dancey pop album destined for heavy rotation across the airwaves? Questions, but no answers. I remain suspicious.
Now That’s What I Call Music 31 is another of those collections of songs that someone calls music. Only this time it’s twice as big, because instead of just the one CD, there’s now two. Bonus! Features Beyonce, Ladyhawke, Kelly Clarkson and about a million others.
Gin Wigmore’s Holy Smoke debuted at number one, went gold it’s first week, and went platinum it’s second. Quite the success by anyone’s measure. If you don’t already have this, you can issue it from us. For free.
Hey, what’s that on the catalogue? Oh my, it’s seven new CDs. What a treat huh?
Pearl Jam have been around for so long that there once was a time when I was too young to buy any of their albums. Their first album was called Ten and this, Backspacer, is their tenth album - might this mean they’ve come full circle and this is their last? Who knows, but they’re still doing the grunge rock, sprinkled with emotive ballad thing anyway.
Muse are a band who’ve always aimed for epic, and on The Resistance they’ve outdone themselves in that department. These are songs that only stadiums can contain, everything is an overblown symphony of massive guitar solos and pomp. So, you know, quite exciting and all that.
The Underground 2009 is a Ministry of Sound compilation, full of underground dance hits from the year past. Spread over a genrous 3 CDs are the likes of Armand Van Helden, Dizzee Rascal, Roots Manuva and others including the intriguingly named Zombie Disco Squad.
Sean Kingston found chart success a couple of years ago with his dancehall and reggae flavoured hip hop, most unavoidably with mega-hit Beautiful Girls. On second album proper, Tomorrow, he looks for a repeat performance with more of the same polished, catchy, dancefloor and radio ready tunes.
Underground rapper Kid Cudi has delivered his much anticipated debut album Man on the moon : end of the day to critical acclaim and now it’s arrived here. It’s a highly conceptual affair, featuring five acts in which Cudi and guests including Kanye West, MGMT and Ratatat lay down some of the most futuristic hip hop imaginable.
I reviewed a Tokio Hotel album just a few weeks ago, if you picked it up and were all like “man, I just can’t get enough German Emo, this rules”, then I have some good news, Humanoid is it. It’s Tokio Hotel’s second English language release and it finds them adding sci-fi imagery and a slightly maturing sound to spice things up.
Paramore became platinum selling stars after the release and subsequent success of Riot!, but it caused division amongst band members and they came close to breaking up. This tumult seems to have made Paramore stronger and tighter, because Brand New Eyes is their best set of songs yet.
Doom is a masked rapper famous for being mysterious prolific and really, really good. He used to be known as MF Doom (and various other aliases), but dropped the MF, much like Diddy dropped the P from P. Diddy. Anyway, Born Like This is his latest. If you enjoy your hip hop old school and clever give this a listen, then delve deeper into his catalogue.
Gin Wigmore is a local singer in the Amy Winehouse / Macy Gray mold of funny voiced songstresses. Her EP Gin: Extended Play went gold here this June and now arrives on our shelves. You’ve probably seen her videos and heard her on the radio, but if not pick this up if you like folksy pop.
Sticking with the local content, Ulcerate are New Zealand’s premier death metal oufit and they bring Everything is Fire to the table. It’s been lauded in the international growly vocals and pounding double kick pedalled drums community for being cerebral and forward thinking, though fans of loud noises will enjoy also.
Liam Finn pops back with Champagne in seashells, a wee five tracker recorded with Eliza Jane. It’s a nice follow up to I’ll be lightning and makes me look forward to his next full-length. More tasty pop-rock treats from our beardy pal.
German emo kids Tokio Hotel’s English language debut Scream serves up the sort of melodramatic rock now expected by the genre, the twist being that they (at the time of recording anyway) were all eligible for YA library cards. If your boat is floated by MCR etc. pick this up, as you’ll likely enjoy greatly.
Jack White is a prolific man. If his bandmates aren’t ready to release any new material he simply forms a new band and presses on. Dead Weather being active band number three, with The White Stripes and The Raconteurs being the other two. Dead Weather is somewhat of a departure for White, who is banging the drums instead of strumming the guitar on this record. On Horehound, the bands debut, he shares vocal duties with Allison Mosshart (of the Kills), with Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (Raconteurs and Greenhornes) rounding out the group. If you’ve ever enjoyed any of the above bands, or even just Rock music in general give Horehound a listen.
The Gossip emerged out of the Nu-Rave scene spearheaded by The Klaxons in 2006 with Standing In The Way Of Control and now return with their new long-player Music For Men. Lead by outspoken front-woman Beth Ditto, it’s more of the same adventurously aggressive, neon-coloured electro-pop.
Metalheads rejoice! A whopping two-thirds of the new CDs this week feature loud guitars and shouty vocals. Beatles fans and Tiki Taane fans can also rejoice, but not quite as much.
Master of Puppetsis considered by many as Metallica’s masterpiece and one of the, if not the greatest metal album of all time. Your parents may not consider it a masterpiece if you play it loud enough, and really, isn’t that the point?
Metallica’s next album …And Justice For All, realeased in 1988 (so too old to have a YA card anymore) saw them break-through on MTV with the video for One. My first memory of Metallica was seeing One on Beavis and Butthead, which means I’m far too old to have a YA card anymore.
Metallica, or the Black Album as it is is commonly referred to due to the black cover, was the one that made Metallica into proper mainstream stars. It includes quite a few big hits like Enter Sandman and slow-dance favourite (at least if you go to bogan schools) Nothing Else Matters.
Before he was a tragic figure on a reality show Ozzy Osbourne cranked out a few top-notch metal albums, the fantastically titled Blizzard Of Ozz being the first of his solo efforts. A cornerstone of 80’s metal.
Diary Of A Madman came next for Ozzy Osbourne in 1981. Building on his previous success, this classic album turned Ozzy into a star. Biting the heads off bats and other craziness would follow…
AC/DC are another classic metal band who operated in the 80s. Highway To Hell was their best record to date and also their most well recieved to date. Includes the classic single Highway To Hell.
A couple of Beatles compilations have turned up, 1962-1966 and 1967-1970, also known as the Red and Blue albums respectively. These are pretty much the definitive Beatles compilations to seek out if you don’t feel like picking up the million or so albums they made.
Flux / Tiki by Tiki Taane has turned up. It’s a remix job for the Past, present, future album and includes a song called David Lange You Da Bomb!, which confused me initially until I realised that David Lange probably was our most rockin’ PM.
Metallica are one of the biggest and longest tenured bands in metal and it all started here on Kill ‘Em All, their 1983 debut record. It’s also probably their fastest and rawest album, if you enjoyed the more recent Death Magnetic then this is right up your alley.
Sticking with metal for a while longer, there is a new Iron Maiden compilation out. Somewhere back in time : the best of 1980-1989 arguably finds the band at their peak. Includes Run to the Hills, Number of the Beast and other headbanging classics.
The Datsuns recently released album number four, Headstunts, and now it’s joined the YA collection. If you’ve ever enjoyed The Datsuns in the past, or are a fan of The White Stripes, The Libertines etc. then pick this one up.
Sate Of Mind are a local drum and bass group who’ve been making waves recently with Faster Than Light. It also comes with a bonus disc of remixes, so, bonus.
Transformers : revenge of the fallen : the album is the soundtrack to the newly released Transformers movie. Green Day, Nickleback, Linkin Park and other similar bands are featured.
Lastly, Hannah Montana : the movie also has a soundtrack that’s been added to the collection. If you’re a fan of Miley’s go out and pick this one up post haste.
If you’re a fan of MGMT and their work, have a listen to Empire Of The Sun’s really ace Walking On A Dream. Also they wear really silly costumes, which is always a nice bonus.
The Rakes’ third album Klang is here. If you enjoy Interpol, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand and all that sort of thing, then The Rakes are right up your alley.
Punk Popsters Plain White T’s Big Bad World has arrived. I think they have a new one coming shortly, so get caught up with this beforehand… If you want to that is.
Released in 1973 Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon is one of those albums that always pops up in top 100 all time lists. Come get it from here if you can’t find it amongst your parents collection.
More CDs and playlist after the jump…
4 New CDs have arrived. If your fancy is tickled by any of them they can be found, as always, in the YA area.
Ex Libertines and Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty has re-emerged as a solo artist called Peter Doherty. The addition of the ‘r’ is supposed to make us take him seriously as a mature artist and on Grace/Wastelands he does indeed come off as serious and mature . . . at least comparitively so. A very good, if somewhat subdued, album.
An album that is sure to be playing in cafes for the next 3 years is the new Fat Freddys Drop CD, Dr. Boondigga and the big BW. Who is this Dr. Boondigga? And what is a big BW? Answers inside, maybe.
Flying the flag for New Zealand rock are Midnight Youth with The Brave Don’t Run. This is their debut and it could be the start of big things for them.
And lastly, a fantastic compilation called Simply The Best New Wave. 34 tracks across two discs and every one of them is a gem. Includes The Modern Lovers, The Cure, New Order, Blondie and other classic artists. HGHLY RCCD.