We here at Exclaim! know the holiday season can be a drag, what with all the mall shopping, long lines at the post office and massive credit card debt. But instead of getting bogged down by the weight of this winter's consumerism, why not treat yourself by picking up a new record? To help you on your way, we've taken a look at a few of the albums hitting store shelves this week, but don't forget to visit our Recently Reviewed section to get the scoop on even more new releases.
First up on the chopping block is Wu-Tang name-generating rapper Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover), who recently put his Community days behind him (well, at least partially) in favour of his hip-hop career. His second studio album, Because the Internet, is an ambitious multimedia extravaganza, complete with a 72-page screenplay and accompanying visuals. But is this hybrid concept album too much for casual listeners? Read our review to find out.
Scandalous soul singer R. Kelly provides us with some "middle of the road 'urban' R&B" on his 12th studio album, the overtly raunchy Black Panties, while East Coast garage combo Dog Day deliver dystopic, guitar-driven rock on Fade Out.
Onetime heavy metal up-and-comers Evergreen Terrace's Dead Horses disappoints due to a lack of aggression and polish, and British psychedelic upstarts Toy display a surprising lack of ambition on their sophomore LP, Join the Dots.
Last but not least, minimalist R&B singer Jhené Aiko tides fans over until the release of her long-awaited full-length, Souled Out, with her major label debut EP, Sail Out. But is this micro offering more than just a bunch of hot air? Click through to see.
Hear some of our favourite songs from these albums and many more in our Rdio Genre Playlists:
We already knew that Doves singer Jimi Goodwin was working on a solo album while the band were on hiatus, and now he's finally confirmed the details of that impending LP. Odludek is due out on March 25 through Heavenly. The album was co-produced by Goodwin, along with Dan Austin (Surfer Blood, Pixies, Doves). The record features songs co-written with Elbow's Guy Garvey, plus one with Paul Weller collaborator Simon Dine, and it's apparently a hook-filled and stylistically diverse affair. Goodwin said in a statement, "I wanted to make this mad mixtape, the kind you'd pass...Read More
As previously reported, Lost in the Trees will be dishing out their Past Life in the near-future, and the North Carolina band have now also announced plans to support their third full-length with a batch of North American tour dates. Come next year, they'll be out on the road just ahead of the album's February 18 release through Anti-. An eastern run of dates, including stops in Montreal and Toronto, has the outfit joined by All Tiny Creatures, while supporting slots have not yet been announced for the western portion of the trip. All the same, you'll find the info as is down below....Read More
Flying Lotus's most recent album, Until the Quiet Comes, was one of Exclaim!'s favourite albums of 2012, so we're excited to learn that the beloved electronic producer has a new LP on the way. The details surrounding the planned album are still shaping up, but FlyLo has dropped lots of hints over the last couple of days on Twitter. He wrote, "I'm looking at a tracklist. Almost ready for mixing." FlyLo noted that he is currently unsigned, but his relationship with Warp is still good, and they are in the process of negotiating. FlyLo added that his rapping alter-ego...Read More
Touché Amoré spent the fall promoting their third album, Is Survived By, opening up a series of North American dates for AFI. The California post-hardcore crew's next trip, however, will have them sharing the marquee spot with Philly unit mewithoutYou. A post on Touché Amoré's website confirms the tour, which runs from early February into March. As you would imagine, the bulk of the dates are to take place beneath that U.S./Canada border, but the groups will make it into Canada once. The lone up-north appearance takes place at Toronto's Mod Club on February 24. In addition to the...Read More
Late country great Johnny Cash has been honoured with various archival releases since his death in 2003, and the latest is an album made up of 12 newly discovered studio cuts. Out Among the Stars is due out on March 25 through Columbia/Legacy. These 12 tracks apparently come from two studio sessions, one at Nashville's Columbia Studios in 1981 and at 1111 Sound Studios in 1984. The songs were produced by renowned country producer Billy Sherrill. Two of the tracks — "Call Your Mother" and "I Came to Believe" — are Cash originals. The album includes duets with June...Read More
Disclosure's big year was driven by their highly danceable debut album Settle, but it will be a new collection of remixes from the LP that caps 2013 for the UK duo. According to FACT, an as-yet-untitled remix set is being primed to drop December 17. Though details are pretty slim thus far, with the band not having confirmed the project, the collection of Settle revamps will apparently include work from iconic hip-hop producer DJ Premier, house mainstay Larry Heard, Kaytranada and more. The last several months have had remixes helmed by Wookie, Flume, Toro Y Moi...Read More
Emerald City folksters the Head and the Heart are set to wrap the year with a few U.S. shows in support of their sophomore set Let's Be Still, but the band have announced that they will be back on the road in Canada next year alongside national treasure Basia Bulat. News of the tag-team dates arrived today (December 10), confirming that the Head and the Heart will link up with Bulat for some Canadian dates in March. The shared show schedule begins in Ottawa, head east towards Quebec and then slingshot back westwards, wrapping in Edmonton. You'll find all of the date info down below....Read More
The long-in-the-works biopic on legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury faced a setback earlier this fall when it was announced actor Sacha Baron Cohen had left the project. The production is picking up steam again, though, with news that the flick has roped in actor Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas, Skyfall) to play Mercury, while also confirming filmmaker Dexter Fletcher (Sunshine on Leith) will direct. According to Deadline, Fletcher has been meeting with the surviving members of Queen to discuss the direction of the film, described as a coming-of-age story that...Read More
Past seasons of Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen's hipster send-up show Portlandia have attracted notable cameos from the likes of Eddie Vedder, Jack White, Isaac Brock, Joanna Newsom and Johnny Marr. Now, the guest stars for the IFC comedy's upcoming season have been announced. A press release reveals that musically inclined guests include Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio), Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Duff McKagan (Gun N' Roses, Velvet Revolver), k.d. lang, Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Michael Nesmith (the Monkees), and returning guest St....Read More
Amber Coffman is best known for joining forces with David Longstreth in Dirty Projectors, but the singer will be striking out on her own by releasing a solo record. While the details are not yet confirmed, she spoke about her plans with Andy Beckerman for his Beginnings podcast. "I've always wanted to make a solo record, and last fall and winter I started getting more serious about it," Coffman explained. She's working on the record in Los Angeles, having recently moved there from her prior home base in New York. Coffman noted that Dirty Projectors have never written...Read More
Since Lou Reed died earlier this fall, the late Velvet Underground singer has been remembered with numerous statements and a steady string of cover tunes. Now, he's being honoured with a new documentary featuring input from some of Reed's high-profile associates. Entitled Lou Reed Remembered, it will air on Britain's BBC Four this coming Sunday (December 15). Among the contributors are former Velvet Underground members Mo Tucker and Doug Yule, Berlin guitarist Stephen Hunter, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Blondie's Debbie Harry, Culture Club's Boy George, rock photographer...Read More
Riff-slinging art rock god St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) ramped us up earlier this week with news that she'll indeed be delivering a new self-titled set in 2014, and now she's revealed she will be taking those new tunes around the world for a series of tour stops. Ahead of the album's February 25 release through Loma Vista/Republic Records, Clark will cross the Atlantic to play a handful of European gigs. A day after the LP's official due date, though, she'll be back on the North American club circuit, kicking off the continental stretch in New York. Canadian tour stops this...Read More
Vancouver/Portland folk project Wake Owl released their debut EP earlier this year, and now they're preparing to up the ante with their first full-length. The Private World of Paradise is due out on March 4 via Rezolute Music. The album was produced by Richard Swift (Foxygen, Tennis, Laetitia Sadier) at his National Freedom studios in Oregon and features songwriter Colyn Cameron joined by multi-instrumentalist Aiden Briscall. According to a press release, the album offers an "upbeat atmospheric vibe." Cameron said in a statement, "There's a lot more room in this batch of...Read More
Francophone chanteuse Coeur de Pirate (a.k.a. Béatrice Martin) is ready to let loose another LP, but this time around she'll put the focus on some of her favourite English language tunes to score the fifth season of Trauma. The soundtrack hits stores hits stores January 14 via Dare to Care Records. A press release notes that Martin's follow-up to her last set of originals, 2011's Blonde, had her teaming up in the studio with collaborator, co-arranger and co-producer Renaud Bastien. Martin played most of the instruments on the album herself, running through classics and modern...Read More
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of NXNE, and the organizers have now announced the initial batch of performers who will appear at this upcoming instalment. The annual festival will take place in Toronto from June 13 to 22. So far, the bill includes St. Vincent, Danny Brown, Run the Jewels, Juicy J, Mac DeMarco, Rhye, Omar Souleyman, Speedy Ortiz, Odonis Odonis, Courtney Barnett, Mas Ysa, the Golden Dogs, the Cliks, Paradise Animals and more. See a more extensive list of performers over at NXNE's website. In addition to music performers, the festival will include a NXNE...Read More
Timber Timbre have been relatively quiet over the last year or two, but the spooky Ontario folk outfit will be making their return in 2014. Hot Dreams is out on April 1 through Arts & Crafts. The album came together during 2013, with frontman Taylor Kirk enlisting returning collaborator Simon Trottier to co-write and co-produce. It was engineered by Graham Lessard (Young Galaxy, Stars, Plants and Animals) at the Banff Centre and at Montreal's Hotel2Tango. Synths were added at Calgary's National Music Centre and mixing was handled by Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire, Colin Stetson). ...Read More
Indie pop outfit Dum Dum Girls are gearing up to release their "bigger, darker" new album Too True album on January 27 via Sub Pop. Now, they've got a tour to go along with it. The run of shows include stops on a current European tour. Then, in the new year, they'll team up with Captured Tracks outfit Blouse for a North American trek. Along the way, they'll make three Canadian stops, playing in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in the spring. Check out the full Dum Dum Girls tour below, along with the band's video for new track "Lost Boys and Girls Club." Tour dates: ...Read More
Earlier this year, the proggy post-hardcore Vancouverites of SSRIs reinvented themselves as Sprïng. Now, they've announce their debut album under the new name, revealing that Celebrations is due out on March 4. Singer/guitarist/pianist Jo Hirabayashi engineered the self-produced record at the band's home studio in their shared East Vancouver house. Drummer Kevin Romain said in a statement, "Musicians look nostalgically back on bands like the Beatles, who got to hang around in a studio for months at a time, writing and recording music, having fun and experimenting with the medium...Read More
Our Top 10 albums lists by genre wrap up today with our staff picks for the best of soul and R&B music this year. Click next to read through the albums one by one, or use the list below to skip ahead to your favourites. ...Read More