New Release Highlights for March 22: The Strokes, Panic! at the Disco, Jennifer Hudson and More
(New albums are typically released on Tuesdays, i.e., today. What can you spend your hard-earned pennies on this week? Find out below.)
*Acid House Kings, Music Sounds Better With You
Acid House Kings' Music Sounds Better With You
TheLineofBestFit reviewed Music Sounds Better With You: "This is a collection of pop songs written by and for people who greet the world with a grin every morning, even if it's raining outside and you're not sure whether the girl or boy you love feels the same way you do. Acid House Kings may be about as edgy as an orange but if their brand of cheery pop ceased to exist, the world would be a darker more dreary place."
*A video for Acid House Kings' "Say Yes If You Love Me"
*Richard Ashcroft, United Nations Of Sound
Pitchfork gave the album a 3.2 out of 10 review: "Ashcroft's most affecting songs-- from 'The Drugs Don't Work' to 'On Your Own' to 'Make It Till Monday'-- were borne of personal but easily relatable experiences. He's still capable of dignified, understated performances (see: the string-swirled 'Good Lovin''), but on United Nations of Sound, he too often tries to take the fast track to universal appeal, routinely dropping blank-slate slogans-- 'this is the universal language, this is music!'; 'Out of the old/ Into the new'; 'One life! One nation! Music! Dedication!'-- that, in their fervent desire to speak to everyone, speak to no one. 'All together now,' Ashcroft commands of us during a 'Hey Jude'-style 'na na na na na' breakdown in 'Born Again'-- but that extra encouragement serves only to remind us of a time when Ashcroft didn't need to prod us to sing along with him."
*James Blake, James Blake
The Guardian reviewed Blake's debut: " if you were minded to pick holes in Blake's debut, you might alight not on the weird stuff, but the most uncomplicated. 'Give Me My Month' dispenses with sonic trickery in favour of a simple piano ballad; it's the least interesting track here, because it isn't a particularly striking song, suggesting that Blake can't really do straightforward. Then again, surrounded as it is by the strange and the spellbinding, it's not as if he needs to. One thing the world really doesn't need is another straightforward singer-songwriter. It could do with invention and originality, with music that sounds utterly of the moment, in that you struggle to imagine it being made at any point in time before now: precisely the qualities James Blake has, in lieu of commercial potential."
*The official video for James Blake's "Limit to Your Love"
*Joe Bonamassa, Dust Bowl
The Guardian reviewed Dust Bowl: "Bouzoukis are mixed with the rock riffs in the partly acoustic Black Lung Heartache, there is some cheerfully impressive playing on the Walter Jacobs favourite 'You Better Watch Yourself,' some thoughtful guitar work on the trumpet-backed 'The Last Matador of Bayonne,' and an unlikely blues-rock treatment of Barbra Streisand's 'Prisoner.' There's even a dash of Nashville, with John Hiatt singing on his excellent, pounding country-rocker Tennessee Plates, and Vince Gill appearing on the easy-going Sweet Rowena. To keep the head-bangers happy, Bonamassa can't resist bashing through Free's 1973 song 'Heartbreaker' in the company of Hughes."
*Chris Brown, F.A.M.E.
The Guardian reviewed F.A.M.E.: "We've had the remorse and crooned contrition, so the dubiously-titled F.A.M.E (forgive all my enemies) is ostensibly an attempt to move on from the storm caused by Brown's assault on ex-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. But he still sounds hamstrung by a fear of trying anything too edgy. The nifty duel between Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes is an anomaly. This record's syrupy mid-section makes good on his desire to write 'songs that your grandma can love,' while Justin Bieber duet 'Next To You' will appeal only to your tweenie sister."