Published Dec 09, 2014If you're in search of some of the latest records for the music fiend on your list this holiday season, our New Release Roundup can help point you in the right direction. The piece features reviews of some of the top releases this week. Give it a read to catch up on what's new and notable, then be sure to check out our Recently Reviewed section for many more.
Since disbanding the original lineup of the Smashing Pumpkins in the year 2000, Billy Corgan has made headlines more for his incessant grumbling about everything from the state of music to Anderson Cooper than for his music. Their third LP since returning to music, Monuments to an Elegy, finds the man teaming up with guitarist Jeff Schroeder and Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee to make a record that is "nakedly moody, sonically tight, full of searing guitars, wobbly synths and memorable melodies," according to our review. How does the latest incarnation of Corgan's alt-rock collective fare this time around? Read our review to find out.
On the aptly named Classics, She & Him explore a variety of pop hits from the 1930s to 1970s. With Zooey Deschanel taking the lead on the majority of performances, the accompaniment of M. Ward and a 20-piece orchestra makes for safe, pleasant interpretations of pop standards such as "Unchained Melody," "We'll Meet Again" and "Teach Me Tonight," among others.
With little promotion and no singles to be found prior to release, J. Cole's surprise third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive "bridges childhood memories to current success, interpolating tales of lust, confusion, growth and gratitude." Further up the east coast, Ghostface Killah delivers what our reviewer calls "some of his best rapping in recent years" on 36 Seasons. Backed by an all-star cast of guests including Kool G Rap, AZ and Pharoahe Monch, the album plays out much more like a team effort than a solo project.
Finally, the legendary DJ Premier and Royce da 5'9" have partnered up under the name PRhyme to deliver what our reviewer calls "one of 2014's tightest releases." The self-titled disc serves up nine tracks full of "dark, hard and flawless" Premo sample flips, with Royce delivering a punchline-filled performance that's as "invigorated and honest as ever."
Find some tracks from the albums reviewed above and lots more on our Rdio Genre Playlists:
Pop & Rock