Fresh off a kickass performance on SNL, Ohio's favorite rock duo are back with their seventh studio studio jam. El Camino by The Black Keys ($10) offers up eleven new tracks from Auerbach and Carney, two of which we've heard, and the rest of which we're confident won't suck. Pre-order now for happy, hassle-free delivery to the electronic listening device of your choice tomorrow.
Also known as the slightly less irritating half of Oasis' brotherly duo, Noel Gallagher was the main writing force behind the band. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds ($12) is the eponymous debut from his new solo project, packed with songs that sound familiar, yet somehow different — and we're guessing it's due to the lack of Liam's nasally voice overpowering the proceedings. Not exactly a classic, but perfectly listenable — and that counts for a lot during a season of crappy Xmas pop.
Parachutes it's not, but Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay ($10) isn't the worst thing you could play through your speakers this fall. Produced by committee and featuring an appearance by unlikely collaborator Rihanna, this fifth studio album continues the band's juxtaposition of seemingly meaningful lyrics with vaguely bland orchestral accompaniment, making it perfect background music for dinner parties or consumer electronics commercials. Not that that's a bad thing — it's worked great for Moby.
Left behind in the wake of Hank Williams' untimely death was a briefcase filled with papers, just papers... which also happened to be covered in lyrics. The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams ($12) gathers together some great artists — including Bob Dylan, Alan Jackson, Jack White, Merle Haggard, and Sheryl Crow — in an effort to bring these unheard songs to life, resulting in twelve tracks that rival William's best in songwriting quality while greatly surpassing them in spookiness.
[Scouted by Mark]
Think you've got the ultimate release of Nevemind because you scored a vinyl copy? Think again. Arriving slightly after the album's 20th anniversary, the Nevermind Super Deluxe Edition ($135) includes the remastered classic in its entirety, studio and live B-sides, the first-ever full release of the pre-Nevermind demos recorded at Butch Vig's Smart Studios, boombox recordings of rehearsals, and the Devonshire mixes, or Nevermind as produced and mixed by Vig, instead of the Vig produced, Andy Wallace mixed version that became one of the best albums of the '90s, as well as a 90-page book and a DVD of a 1991 Paramount show. If you want in, you'd best hurry — only 10,000 copies will be available in North America, while the rest of the world has to fight over the remaining 30,000.
Frusciante might be gone, but if you thought that was going to stop Flea, Kiedis and Co. from carrying one, you haven't been paying attention. I'm With You by Red Hot Chili Peppers ($10) is the band's tenth studio album, and finds RHCP in fine form, continuing to crank out funk-infused rock that, thanks to the arrival of guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, includes some new influences that kinda, sorta, make up for the missing member.
We're fast approaching the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana's seminal masterpiece Nevermind, and as such we're seeing an explosion of retrospective articles, videos, and... tribute albums? Newermind ($Free) was put together by the folks at SPIN and features all thirteen of the original album's tracks — including the hidden "Endless, Nameless" — covered by such artists as the Meat Puppets, Surfer Blood, and The Vaselines. All you have to do is "Like" their Facebook page. And you've drunkenly "Liked" worse stuff than that, right? [Scouted by Sean]
Unless you lost your wallet or are otherwise incapacitated after the long holiday weekend, fire up your favorite browser — oh wait, you've already done that — and get your pre-order in for Watch The Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West ($12-$15). This collaborative effort is available in a 10-song regular version or a 14-song deluxe edition, either as an MP3 download or an old-school CD. We've only heard one song so far — it has something to do with ham — but given the track record of these two, we're pretty sure you won't be disappointed.
Normally, when a singer known for his folksy sound takes on more electronic influences in production, the result is still good, but loses something in the translation. Thankfully, that's not the case with Bon Iver ($8). This eponymous follow-up to For Emma, Forever Ago keeps the most intimate, important piece of the prior recipe — Justin Vernon's voice — while expanding the band's repertoire and scope, mixing in bits and pieces of other genres until it culminates in a final track that'd be perfectly at home alongside '80s ballads yet never sounds derivative.
Death Cab's last effort wasn't the band's best — we deemed it "probably sappy enough to get you laid" — so its nice to see them return to form. Codes And Keys by Death Cab for Cutie ($10) sees Gibbard and co. continue their melodic journey with songs that are noticeably less guitar-driven, a little '80s-ish, and even occasionally happy — which is fitting for a band that's older, more mature, and more successful.
Argue all you want about whether or not it was actually meant to sync up so well with The Wizard of Oz — it's undeniably one of the most influential albums of the last 40 years. The Dark Side Of The Moon Immersion Box Set ($130) gives Pink Floyd's ground-breaking album the attention it deserves — and then some — by offering up a digitally remastered version of the classic on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray, in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, as well as various other mixes of the album, live versions of all the songs, concert screen films, a documentary, a 40-page booklet, a book or original photos, and plenty of other trinkets and baubles. All that's missing is tickets to a Dark Side laser light show at the local planetarium.
Most bands' second albums are prone to the sophomore slump: similarly-sounding songs that lack the energy and focus of the initial release. Luckily, that's not the case with Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes ($10). Available for streaming online, this twelve-track opus goes beyond the band's eponymous debut with more haunting melodies, deliberate pacing, just a hint of anger, and some experimental jazz thrown in for good measure. It might not be the soundtrack to the summer, but it will go down as one of the best albums of 2011.