Thursday, December 08, 2011

Now Downloading: New Releases 12.06.11: The Black Keys, The Roots

The Black Keys' El Camino will likely make a dent in the holiday season. 
It's effectively the last week for new releases, as the inventory shifts to high ticket unit shifters for the holiday season (i.e. special reissues and box set compilations) before going dormant until 2012. Most significant albums have either been released or are pushed off to January (see Guided By Voices' first post-reunion offering coming January 1) so as not to get lost in the holiday shuffle. A couple releases look to make their way into a few stockings, though, with The Black Keys likely to outsell their last, Brothers -- which has nearly gone platinum), by a decent margin. The Roots have the other release which, thanks to their nightly exposure on TV, should also shift enough units to justify a December release.

Playlist: New Releases 12.06.11

The Black Keys - El Camino
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

The Black Keys - El Camino
The Black Keys have had an unlikely rise to the top of the indie rock heap, buoyed in part by both the slick production of Dangermouse and the absolute clinic they put on for commercial song licensing for 2010's Brothers. Video games (FIFA 11, NHL 11, Rocksmith), soundtracks (Limitless, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, I Am Number Four, Bad Teacher) and countless ads (Suburu, etc.). Their sticking to the formula with El Camino, and this album is built for song licensing. From the opening strands of "Lonely Boy," all the way to the final note fading out for "Mind Eraser," it's an assault of radio-friendly-glam-blues pop. The riffs are so welcoming to the ear, it becomes easy to forget after a listen, but it's hard to deny going back for another run. Lyrics have never been a strong point for the Akron, OH duo, and there's no escaping the inanity here as well, but T. Rex/Bo Diddly/ZZ Top combo will scratch an itch you didn't even know you had.

Free Stream of 5 Tracks

The Roots - Undun
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

The Roots - Undun
Undun, the band's 13th long player, is the story of the fictional Redford Stephens, running from his death by gunshot in reverse to his birth. It's the Philly outfit's first concept album, and it was born from a Sufjan Stevens' piece (from the album Michigan). (Wrote more about this a couple days back -- obligatory link back.) It's a sonically stunning, and if there's any drawback it's Black Thought's usually obtuse rapping, which makes following the story frustrating at times. There's a whole iPhone/iPad app to go along with it, featuring interviews, photos and music videos to help with the back story, but I'm not equipped for playback, so I can only speak to the music -- which is stunning enough for this to be considered their best album yet.

Album Stream via NPR's First Listen

More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Boris - New Album / Free AOL Album Stream
Lucero - Mi Secreto De Amor
Amy Winehouse - Lioness: Hidden Treasures
The Cure - Bestival Live 2011
Nils Lofgren - Old School
The White Buffalo - Lost and Found EP / Free AOL Album Stream
KOAN Sound - The Papercut Chronicles / Free AOL Album Stream
Robin Thicke - Love After War
Miracles of Modern Science - Dog Year
Dia Frampton - Red
Loka - Passing Place / Free AOL Album Stream
Great Aunt Ida - Nuclearize Me / "Romance" [mp3]
T-Pain - rEVOLVEr
The Maine - Pioneer

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