Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Music Tuesday - January 13, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith - Club Meds

I've heard the name Dan Mangan floating around over the past couple of years, and had some sense of the type of music that he makes. It wasn't until this latest was announced that I decided to check him out. While I expected to find a straightforward folk sound, what I found dark and slightly avant-garde, though still keeping rooted in his folk background. Perhaps the shift is reflective of the time he's taken off and collaborating with a backing band; it is his first album after a four year hiatus and first with a credited backing band.

Watch: "Vessel"
Listen: "Mouthpiece"

Guster - Evermotion

I've been a big fan of Guster since I was in college. Although they may cross into dad-rock territory, their quirky sound and emotional lyrics always struck a chord with me. It's been a while since their last record; just over four years since 2010's Easy Wonderful. They're trying to change expectations on this follow-up, stating a desire to "become something else entirely." It's not an unwelcome shift, I'm still loving the sound.

Watch: "Long Night"
Watch: "Simple Machine"

Justin Townes Earle - Absent Fathers

Justin Townes Earle released his fifth album, Single Mothers, in September of last year. This album is a follow-up and companion to that record, creating a double album of sorts. The two parts were recorded together, but split in two when Justin felt that they needed to reflect separate voices.

Listen: "Call Ya Momma"
Listen: "When the One You Love Loses Faith"

Mark Ronson - Uptown Special

Ronson has has almost always played the supporting player in his music. He made a name for himself producing iconic tracks from Amy Winehouse, Adele, and even Paul McCartney. Things are little changed on Uptown Special, his fourth album. He's stays in the background and lets featured vocals from Mystikal (who's apparently still around), Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala), and Stevie Wonder come to the forefront. It's his collaboration with Bruno Mars, though, that has scored him his first number one song.

Watch: "Uptown Funk" (featuring Bruno Mars)
Listen: "Daffodils" (featuring Kevin Parker)

Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

Almost all members of Animal Collective have active solo careers, but Panda Bear has by far been the most prolific. Since 1999, he has released five solo albums, including 2007's incredible Person Pitch. His sound as a solo artist, like other members of the band, differs little from his band's sound, but leans towards more personal lyrics. Panda Bear started work on the album around the same time that Centipede Hz was released and it is meant to be livelier than his previous work.

Watch: "Mr Noah"
Watch: "Boys Latin"

Other New Releases

Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of “Inside Llewyn Davis”

To celebrate the release of Inside Llewyn Davis, a number of the actors and musicians featured in the film and on the soundtrack, as well as many performers who were active in the film's time period came together for a televised concert. Many of the songs for the film were performed during the show. Video of the concert itself has been released, as well as its own soundtrack.

Listen: Marcus Mumford - "I Was Young When I Left Home"
Listen: Oscar Isaac - "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me"

Django Django - "First Light"

Django Django is preparing to release their second sophomore album sometime this year (keep an eye on my upcoming releases page for updates). While that album may not yet have a title or release date, they have released the presumed first single from the record. If it's an indication of new music to come, they've lost none of their upbeat sound.

Listen: "First Light"

Lou Reed - Hassled in April: Live in Chicago 1978

Street Hassle was Lou Reed's eighth studio album, coming eight years after his departure from the Velvet Underground. Hassled in April comprises broadcast recording made by Reed around the release of that album.

Purchase: Season of Mist

Mini Mansions - "Any Emotions"

Mini Mansions is a now-six-year-old side project started by Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shurman. The music is very different from Shurman's main act, garnering comparisons to The Beatles and Elliott Smith. This past year has seen them working with some big collaborators. Arctic Monkeys' frontman Alex Turner featured on last year's "Vertigo" and now, former Beach Boy Brian Wilson is making a guest appearance!

Watch: "Any Emotions" (featuring Brian Wilson)

Paul McCartney - "Hope for the Future" 12”

Soundtracks being released for video games are nothing new; last year, Grand Theft Auto V and Watchdogs some of the most prominent soundtracks, but mostly featured younger musicians or known composers. The soundtrack for the new Activision game Destiny features a contribution from an unexpected source, Sir Paul McCartney. While it may be presumptuous to assume he's not a gamer, it's not something I would expect from a 72-year-old British man.

Watch: "Hope for the Future"

Ryan Adams - No Shadow 7”

Barely into the new year and Ryan Adams is already jumping back into his Pax Am series. His latest, features actor Johnny Depp on guitar. No further releases have been announced, but I think it would be safe to say that he's not done yet.

Stream: Spotify

Song One Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Sometimes actors become musicians, other times musicians transition into becoming actors. Such is the case for British musician Johnny Flynn, who now has a longer filmography than discography. His latest film sees him opposite Anne Hathaway as a performer that she falls for when visiting home to see to her brother. While Flynn is an excellent songwriter in his own right, the soundtrack's songs were written by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice.

Watch: Johnny Flynn - "In April"
Watch: Trailer

Ty Segall - Mr. Face EP

It seems like after Ty Segall released seventh album, Manipulator, last year, a flood of new music from him came with it. Since then, there's been a singles compilation, this EP, and soon a new live album. This EP purports to be the first playable pair of 3D classes, with the physical version being released as two 7" discs, one red and one blue.

Listen: "Mr. Face"
Listen: "Circles"

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Music Tuesday - January 6, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Death Grips - Fashion Week

For a band that broke up in July of last year they sure don't seem very broken up. They're in the process of releasing a new album, The Powers That B, is two parts. The first part, Niggas on the Moon, was dropped in June before the disbandment. The album as a whole is set for a March release. In between those two, they're dropping a new surprise record; a supposed soundtrack to an unnamed film. This release lacks their frontman MC Ride, but he'll be back on the next one.

Listen: "Runway J"
Listen: "Runway E"

Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife

What a difference a year makes. At the end of 2013, Rae Sremmurd (Ear Drummers, their label, backwards) were largely unknown. Thanks to a pair of hit singles, "No Flex Zone" and "No Type," they became one of the most hyped acts of the year. They've wasted no time in putting out their debut record, though timing is a little strange (very little new material gets released in the first week of a new year). Early praise, however, seems to indicate that this was no rushed effort.

Watch: "Up Like Trump"
Watch: "No Flex Zone"

Other New Releases

Kindness - Who Do You Love Remixes

Kindness released his sophomore album, Otherness, in October of last year. He's helping to fill to usual early year dearth of new music with a collection of remixes of one of the tracks from that record. "Who Do You Love" originally featured guest vocals from Robyn; this collection brings together versions of the song from The Jam, Jeremy Sylvester, and Joakim.

Listen: "Who Do You Love" (Joakim Remix)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Best Albums of 2014

It is again the time of year when I show off my obsessive list-keeping (and Excel know-how) in the form of a compiled ranking from a variety of the year-end lists published at the end of each year. I've done this in each of the years that I've been running this blog (see 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013); I've described my methodology in the past and, at least for this year, that remains unchanged. So, let's get to it!

10.  Jenny Lewis - The Voyager: 22 points (3 top ten lists)
9.    Aphex Twin - Syro: 23.7 points (4 top ten lists)
8.    Caribou - Our Love: 25.9 points (5 top ten lists)
7.    Taylor Swift - 1989: 30.6 points (4 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
6.    Sharon Van Etten - Are We There: 31.3 points (6 top ten lists)
5.    Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness: 34.9 points (4 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
4.    FKA twigs - LP1: 39.1 points (7 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
3.    St. Vincent - St. Vincent: 64.2 points (9 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
2.    Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2: 70 points (8 top ten lists; 2 number one spots)
1.    The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream: 89.4 points (12 top ten lists; 5 number one spots)

There were a few surprises this year. While I saw The War on Drugs' album getting a lot of positive attention upon its release, it seemed like other records received more sustained attention through the year; FKA twigs, St. Vincent, and Run the Jewels, especially. Taylor Swift's inclusion also surprised me. While she's certainly an easy choice for mainstream album of the year, even mainstream publications tend to lean indie when the year of the end comes.

All in all, the albums I expected to see fall into the top ten did, a couple of surprises snuck in, and it was another great year in music. My spreadsheet for calculating this list can be downloaded here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Music Tuesday - December 23, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases


JMSN is the stage name of Iranian-American producer and singer Christian Berishaj. He's been active for nearly a decade and has a few albums and EPs under his belt. He's been making a bigger name for himself as a guest vocalist for a variety of hip hop artists. He has been featured on tracks by Tyga, J. Cole, and Ab-Soul. In 2012, he guested on several tracks from Kendrick Lamar's incredible good kid, m.A.A.d city. He's following a strong past couple of years with his sophomore record.

Listen: "Need U"
Listen: "Addicted"

Other New Releases

Daft Punk - Alive 1997 / Alive 2007

Daft Punk's two live albums are getting re-released together today. Alive 1997 was originally released four years after it was recorded and was one 45-minute take from a November 8th, 1997 show at the Que Club in Birmingham, UK. Ten years later, they performed at the Bercy in Paris, which was compiled into a more conventional live record and released later the same year. Both are getting  vinyl reissues thirteen and seven years after their original releases.

Watch: "Harder Better Faster Stronger"

James Murphy + IBM - Music Made with Tennis Data

2014 was a good year for new releases from former members of LCD Soundsystem and now we're getting some new music from the band's frontman. Working with IBM, Murphy takes music created from tennis players' moves and uses them to create new remixes. The data was originally compiled in order to better understand what makes athletes successful, but is being used in a completely novel way here.

Listen: "Match 4 Remix"
Listen: "Match 104 Remix"

Pink Mountaintops - "Asleep with an Angel"/"The Beat"

Pink Mountaintops released their fourth album, Get Back, earlier this year. Their follow-up was recorded and pressed for French online retailer April 77, though it is also available digitally.

Listen: "Asleep with an Angel"

Tegan and Sara - So Jealous X

It's been ten years since Tegan and Sara released their fourth studio album, So Jealous. Upon its release, the album went gold and was the first of theirs to go up for the Canadian Juno Awards. To celebrate the milestone in their career, the album is getting re-released with new b-sides, demos, remixes and cover songs.

Listen: "You Wouldn't Like Me"
Listen: "Take Me Anywhere"

Wale x A-Trak - Festivus

Festivus is well-known as fictional holiday from Seinfeld, but seems to be slowly becoming a real one, as well. To celebrate the 2014 Festivus season, rapper Wale collaborated with producer A-Trak. The mixtape features guests spots from Ab-Soul, Pusha T, and Chance The Rapper.

Listen: "Blood Money 3.5" (featuring A$AP Ferg)
Listen: "Friendship Heights" (featuring Chance The Rapper)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Music Tuesday - December 16, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Brian Chippendale & Greg Saunier - Brian Chippendale & Greg Saunier

Usually, when members of different bands get together to record a collaborative album, they play different instruments. Brian Chippendale and Greg Saunier, though, are both drummers, they play for Lightning Bolt/Black Pus and Deerhoof, respectively. Their debut collaborative album features two side-long improvisational pieces.

Watch: Checking in at 20 documentary

Charli XCX - Sucker

Charli XCX had a pretty spectacular year in 2014. She guested on one of the biggest tracks of the year, Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," and scored her first Billboard top 10 single with "Boom Clap." It's only fitting that she's topping off her best year with her sophomore album. While certainly retaining her pop sensibilities, she incorporates elements of punk music into this record.

Watch: "Breaking Up"
Watch: "Break the Rules"

Chief Keef - Nobody

It's rare for a hip hop album to lack a football team's worth of guest artists, but Chief Keef chose to scale things back on his latest album. Of the album's 12 tracks, Kanye West is the only big name guesting. He's self-releasing this effort, as he was dropped by Interscope a couple of months back.

Listen: "Nobody"
Listen: "Ain't Just Me"

D'Angelo & The Vanguard - Black Messiah

You know, everyone made a big deal over Beyoncé's surprise album last year, but she's been an active and consistent artist over the past few years. This release is even more surprising and even more spectacular. D'Angelo became known for his 2000 album Voodoo (and that body), but soon became more known for his lack of a follow-up and unfulfilled promises of a new record. Finally, with very little forewarning, he released this incredible album in mid-December.

Listen: "Really Love"
Listen: "Sugah Daddy"

Geotic - Sunset Mountain

Geotic is the side project of musician Baths, which he started to explore more ambient sounds. He put out his previous release under the name, Morning Shore, in July of this year. Both albums are part of a Eon Isle trilogy; with each record based around a different instrument. The first focused on guitar, while this one is solely based on samples of his own vocals.

Listen: "Up a Narrow Trail in the Woods"
Listen: "Flit Around the Rivulets"

Mike WiLL Made-It - Ransom

I feel a bit like 2014 was the year that producers made their voices more heard in the music they helped create, especially in hip hop. Many times, their presence was pretty obvious and somewhat intrusive (think DJ Mustard's "Mustard on the beat, hoe" on all of his tracks). Mike WiLL Made-It is another producer with a distinctive sound, but lays a bit lower on his tracks. He has worked with Juicy J, Rick Ross, and Big Sean; and some of his collaborators are also featured here.

Watch: "Someone to Love"
Listen: "Buy the World"

Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

Nicki Minaj has become well-known for her body, a fact that she doesn't shy away from or try to hide. While it would be easy to dismiss her as little more than T&A (and I certainly have), she does seem to have more to offer. On her third album, she lays bare things she's been dealing with more privately. Her candidness has paid off, she's scored the most critically-loved album of her career so far, but hasn't lost the fans either.

Watch: "Anaconda"
Watch: "Only"

Other New Releases

Ice Choir - Pure Holiday

The pre-holiday season inevitably brings with it a large slew of new Christmas albums, EPs, and singles. It doesn't seem to matter whether someone is a mainstream or independent artist, everyone puts one out at some point in their careers. Ice Choir is a project started by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Kurt Feldman. This pair of singles is their first output since their debut album, Afar, from 2012.

Listen: "It's Different Now"
Listen: "Cut Down the Tree"

Inherent Vice: The Soundtrack

Inherent Vice is a new movie from Paul Thomas Anderson starring Joaquin Phoenix, and one I really want to see. The music for the film was composed by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, who has previously produced scores for such films as There Will Be Blood and The Master.

Listen: "Shasta"
Listen: "Spooks"

The Kinks - The Anthology 1964 - 1971

2014 felt a bit like a Kinks love fest at times, not that that's a bad thing. We just seemed to get a lot of reissues and anthologies from the band. This will be the last bit of it for this year. This one collects tracks from the first few years for the band.

Listen: "You Really Got Me"
Listen: "Lola"

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Firstborn Is Dead Reissue

This week sees a handful of reissues from Nick Cave's back catalog with The Bad Seeds. The Firstborn Is Dead was originally released in 1985; it's name alludes to the stillborn twin brother of Elvis Presley. The album was further influenced by the American South, with songs referencing John Lee Hooker and Blind Lemon Jefferson, and a cover of a song originally by Johnny Cash.

Watch: "Tupelo"
Listen: "Say Goodbye to the Little Girl Tree"

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - From Her to Eternity Reissue

From Her to Eternity was The Bad Seeds' first album, released in 1984 following the dissolution of Cave's previous project, The Birthday Party. They hit the ground running with this first release, garnering fairly universal critically acclaim, something that would be maintained throughout their catalog.

Listen: "Avalanche"
Listen: "Cabin Fever"

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Kicking Against the Pricks Reissue

Kicking Against the Pricks was initially released in 1986 and consisted primarily of covers of others' songs.  They included tracks originally by John Lee Hooker, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Lou Reed, and many others. This album's title came from Bible verses, Acts 9:5, 22:8b and 26:14; referencing a passage omitted in many modern translations.

Listen: "Muddy Water"
Listen: "I'm Gonna Kill That Woman"

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Your Funeral... My Trial Reissue

Your Funeral... My Trial is the final Bad Seeds album to be reissued this week and was also released in 1986, during which time Cave was struggling with a heroin addiction. His issues played into the somber mood of the album.

Listen: "Sad Waters"
Listen: "The Carny"

YG - Blame It on the Streets

Blame It on the Streets is a new short film starring rapper YG. He has also released a soundtrack for that film. The soundtrack follows his debut album, My Krazy Life, released earlier this year.

Watch: "2015 Flow"
Listen: "Blame It on the Streets"

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Favorite Albums of 2014

20. Spoon - They Want My Soul
19. Lykke Li - I Never Learn
18. The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
17. Jessie Ware - Tough Love
16. Tennis - Ritual in Repeat
15. D'Angelo & The Vanguard - The Black Messiah
14. tUnE-yArDs - Nikki Nack
13. Peter Matthew Bauer - Liberation!
12. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
11. Afghan Whigs - Do to the Beast

10. Chet Faker - Built on Glass

I wish I had become acquainted with this Australian artist with the release of his first EP, Thinking in Textures, and his incredible cover of Blackstreet's "No Diggity." I came in earlier this year, though, just before the release of this debut album. I listened to, and watched the video for "Talk Is Cheap;" I was immediately reminded of Jamie Lidell at his best (around 2005's Multiply). Faker does a similarly masterful job of blending electronica, trip hop, and R&B.

Watch: "Talk Is Cheap"
Watch: "1998"
Watch: "Gold"

9. Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

Prior to this year, I had dismissed Mac DeMarco as little more than a goofball with a guitar. However, after seeing how much praise his previous album, 2, received on 2012 year-end lists, as well as the praise heaped on this record when it was released, I decided I would be wise to check him out. While I have found a silly, irreverent attitude (and sometimes just gross) in many of his interviews, and especially in his music videos, I've also found laid-back, well-written work. I certainly regret underestimating this guy in the past, he's proof that a goofy persona doesn't equate to goofy music.

Watch: "Chamber of Reflection"
Watch: "Passing Out Pieces"

8. FKA twigs - LP1

This young lady has had quite the year. Some interesting things have happened in her personal life, but her music has been supremely impressive. She often gets pigeon-holed with the label of R&B (perhaps because of her race), but her music incorporates elements of trip hop, experimental, electronic, even choral music. All of that combines to make slow-burning, ethereal, and sensual songs. Her music didn't quite strike me on first listen; it's subtle, but over time I was able to parse out her influences and intricacies and ultimately come to love the release.

Watch: "Two Weeks"
Watch: "Video Girl"

7. Lia Ices - Ices

I loved Lia Ices' previous album, 2011's Grown Unknown, and found this to be a worthy follow-up, perhaps even more loved than that record. She took what she's done so well in the past and built upon it, while displaying more levity and a bit of international flair. This one of the few albums this year that, after listening through, I would allow to start back over at the beginning and listen through again.

Watch: "Thousand Eyes"
Watch: "Higher"

6. Adult Jazz - Gist Is

Adult Jazz is one of my absolute favorite new finds of the year. This Leeds band shows that the British do experimental rock just about the best. There are elements of so many things that I love here; vocals sometimes reminiscent of Yellow Ostrich, other times of Wild Beasts, and the occasional jangly guitar that reminds me of WU LYF. Oh, and trombones (if you know anything about me, you know that was my instrument of choice in high school and college). However, this also sounds like almost nothing else I've heard before. There was perhaps no other album this year that I was so excited to share with other people.

Watch: "Springful"
Watch: "Am Gone"

5. Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso

I'm sometimes a bit wary when musicians make a major shift from the genre in which they started. In Mountain Man, Amelia Meath created harmonious folk music. Her work here, with Megafaun's Nick Sanborn, is very different. The sound is a electronic-tinged indie pop. The backgrounds of the two musicians keep the output interesting and artsy, while Amelia's smoky vocals completely seal the deal. The album's opener "Hey Mami" was my own personal song of the summer.

Watch: "Coffee"
Watch: "Play It Right"
Watch: "Dreamy Bruises"

4. Future Islands - Singles

It's not usually a live television performance that interests me in a band, but after hearing so much about Future Islands' Letterman appearance (and after an interesting NPR interview), I had to check this band out. I was not disappointed; the band looks so unassuming in pictures and, at first glance, their music seems to be the same way. But then, much as lead Samuel Herring busts into an odd dance move, he lets out a metal-style growl. The music is great, but it's those surprising touches that make it just a little more memorable.

Watch: "Seasons (Waiting on You)"
Watch: "A Dream of You and Me"

3. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

So many of today's hip hop talent is so young, with many artists having been born in the 1990s, but these two (El-P and Killer Mike are both pushing 40) set out to prove that it's not just a young man's game. They succeed, easily showing just about everyone else up. No album this year has made me feel so many emotions; anger, joy, sadness. Just for good measure, the duo also throws in a good amount of humor and sexuality. This could easily be my favorite hip hop album ever and another record that I would let repeat and listen to multiple times in a row.

Watch: "Blockbuster Night Part 1"
Watch: "Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)"

2. Hamilton Leithauser - Black Hours

At first, the announcement that The Walkmen were talking an "extreme hiatus" was terrifying news to me. No sooner than that news was released, though, several members had already announced their own solo records. They're all great, but frontman Hamilton Leithauser's stood out the most for me. His album could have come across as bare, lacking the band's other members, but he gets help from a number of other great musicians, and some of his bandmates are featured, as well. I still miss The Walkmen, but the solo albums are great to have in their absence.

Watch: "11 O'Clock Friday Night"
Watch: "I Don't Need Anyone"
Watch: "Alexandra"

1. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

My number one favorite album for last year was a pretty easy choice to make. I've loved St. Vincent for a number of years and she hasn't has a misstep of an album yet. Her latest is probably her best yet. She's spent her career as the quintessential cool indie girl, but transformed herself in 2014; starting with an unexpected hair bleaching. She's become an almost superhuman figure, with music and a live persona to match. Albums released towards the beginning of the year tend to get forgotten once December rolls around,  this one was released in February, but I kept returning to this one all year long.

Watch: "Birth in Reverse"
Watch: "Digital Witness"

Honorable Mentions:
Alvvays - Alvvays
Azealia Banks - Broke with Expensive Taste
Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else
Marissa Nadler - July
Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Music Tuesday - December 9, 2014

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Releases

Ghostface Killah - 36 Seasons

And just a week after releasing a long-awaited new album as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah is back with his own new album. Like other members of Wu-Tang, he has been active as a solo artist in the group's seven-year gap; he released his previous record, Twelve Reasons to Die, just last year. This is another concept album from him, and follows Tony Starks as he returns home to Staten Island after some time away.

Watch: "Blood on the Streets"
Watch: "Double Cross"

The Smashing Pumpkins - Monuments to an Elegy

In late 2009, Smashing Pumpkins announced a new multi-release music project, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, inspired by the Tarot. Now, they're winding down to their final two releases from the project. Day for Night is slated for a release next year, but this year we get Monuments to an Elegy. The band has lost quite a few members over the years, but has picked up a surprising addition this year; Tommy Lee plays drums on this record.

Listen: "Tiberius"
Listen: "Being Beige"

Other New Releases

Ben Frost - V A R I A N T EP

Ben Frost released his latest album, A U R O R A, in May of this year. The album has been extremely well-received, appearing on a number of year-end lists. His follow-up is a remix EP with tracks from that album reworked by Evian Christ, Dutch E Germ (Gang Gang Dance's Tim Dewitt), and HTRK.

Listen: "No Sorrowing" (Kangding Ray Remix)
Listen: "Venter" (Evian Christ TF 12 Mix)

Folkadelphia Sessions Volume II

Folkadelphia is a folk music-based radio show for WXPN based out of Philadelphia. Over the past year, they have hosted a number of great musicians of the genre and have compiled a few of those live performances onto a second volume of sessions. The collection is available as a free download from their Bandcamp site.

Listen: Marissa Nadler - "Drive"
Listen: Willy Mason - "I Got Gold"

James Blake - "200 Press"

Blake may only have two albums under his belt, but has been incredibly prolific with the release of singles, EPs, and remixes over the years; both under his own name and as Harmonimix. His latest single is headed by an OutKast-sampling track and, as usual, is worlds away from the type of stuff he puts out on his full-lengths.

Listen: "200 Press"
Listen: "200 Pressure"

Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet Deluxe Reissue

And now for the second Public Enemy reissue of the year. The iconic rap group re-released It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back a couple of weeks ago. This week, their third album, Fear of a Black Planet, originally released in 1993, is getting its own reissue. When it was originally released, the album was praised by critics; it would go on to be considered one of the greatest records of all time (according to Rolling Stone) and be added to the National Recording Registry.

Listen: "Welcome to the Terrordome"
Listen: "Fight the Power"

R.E.M. - 7IN-83-88 Box Set

R.E.M. may have broken up in 2011, but that hasn't stopped an impressive, and daunting, amount of material to be released since that time. The latest is a box set of vinyl singles that the band originally released between 1983 and 1988.

Listen: "Radio Free Europe"
Listen: "There She Goes Again"

Ryan Adams - "Do You Laugh When You Lie?" 7"

Ryan Adams continues his flood of new releases this year with this latest 7" set of tracks. This may be his last of the year, but he does have more Pax Am session releases slated for next year, with "No Shadow" first on the docket.

Listen: "Do You Laugh When You Lie?"
Listen: "I'm in Love with You"

Stranger Cat - "Fig Tree"/"Sirens"

Stranger Cat is the current project of musician and Sufjan Stevens collaborator Cat Martino. She's preparing to release her solo album, In the Wilderness, with the project early next year (no official date, yet), and is gearing up for that with a set of new songs.

Listen: "Fig Tree"
Listen: "Sirens"