It’s Tuesday, and any audiophile knows what that means: new album releases! In the modern digital age, the fare is rarely as climactic as it should be. After all, most everything has leaked somewhere before its release date. The only exception here occurs when the release date gets pushed back, and there is nothing yet to leak (I’m looking at you, Wiz Khalifa). But regardless of how many times you’ve already listened to the following albums, these five are officially available in hard copy and legal digital files today, and I think they’re worth the purchase.
I Bet On Sky - Dinosaur Jr.
After much inner-band struggle and clashing personalities in the late ‘80s, there was a period when it was unclear whether Dinosaur Jr. would ever reunite, or if we’d be left with frontman J Mascis piecing together tracks by himself. Fortunately, the trio’s Beyond shed any previous doubt, and Farm solidified that the feuds were under control, and the music was back — slightly more polished and not quite as hardcore, but back.
So what’s exciting about I Bet On Sky? One word: momentum. Their previous two releases on the Jagjaguwar label have been perfectly layered hard-hitters dripping with ear-shattering heaviness but tempered in introverted lyrics and emotional guitar solos. They’ve shown no sign of slowing down, and with a new tour on board, they’re nothing short of committed this time.
Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color - Brother Ali
Brother Ali has always been an introspective poet in the hip-hop world, tackling issues personal and societal. In his newest, the legally blind albino Muslim is coming fresh off his first pilgrimage to Mecca, so you can bet his lyrics will have heavy religious themes, particularly in reference to ongoing wars and conflicts.
According to Ali’s website, the artist created MIADIC while in a “self-imposed two-month exile in Seattle,” giving him plenty of time to reflect and create, and that level of dedication to a single work is hard to come by. On top of that, renowned producer Jake One crafted the beats, making this a highly intimate endeavor — and we can’t wait to hear how it sounds.
Charmer - Aimee Mann
I have to admit, I’ve never paid much attention to Aimee Mann. But now, after hearing Charmer streaming on NPR’s website, I have found myself humming her calm, folk-pop melodies to myself without even remembering listening to them. And so, today marks the day I will purchase my first Aimee Mann album. And I’m happy for it. The fact that James Mercer of the Shins makes a vocal cameo is all the more enticing, and a writing collaboration on a track with Tim Heidecker (“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”) seems bizarrely intriguing, to say the least.
O.N.I.F.C. - Wiz Khalifa
In the six-year period before releasing his first studio album, Wiz Khalifa was one of hip-hop’s most prolific artists, with 10 mixtapes, two independent albums and nearly 30 singles. For someone with as much production stamina as Wiz, something in his latest is a bit of an anomaly in his career. Announced in April, O.N.I.F.C. was scheduled for release in late August. Then pushed back to today, the 18th. Now it has been pushed back yet again, indefinitely.
Perfection takes time, sure, but Wiz Khalifa used to drop mixtapes too fast for some to keep up. Nonetheless, the delayed anticipation makes it all the more exciting to check out when it’s finally released. Bravo, publicity team.
Shields - Grizzly Bear
The bear is out of the bag and has been for days now. After leaking online and then being featured on NPR’s, Shields has been devoured, reviewed and heard by anyone with a will and an internet connection. However, that’s no reason not to go purchase the album on its actual release day. Receiving high praise from most sources and an 83/100 score on metacritic, Grizzly Bear’s follow up to the highly-acclaimed Veckatimest continues their reign as one of the most-listenable indie pop bands out there.