New Release Highlights For December 21: Keri Hilson, Keyshia Cole, Duran Duran 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.)

click to enlarge Avant's The Letter
Avant's The Letter

*Avant, The Letter The Urban Music Scene review says of Avant's latest album, "The Letter is a solid effort. There may not be anything that a new audience will grasp from this album that they would not grasp from Avant's earlier efforts, but dedicated fans will be more than impressed with this consistent set. It is a shame that Avant does not 'receive more love' given his vocal talents. Regardless, Avant keeps alive a breed of R&B singers who are preeminent 'lover men' regardless of how the album sells stack up."

*The official video for "Kiss Goodbye" by Avant

click to enlarge David Banner & 9th Wonder's Death of a Pop Star
David Banner & 9th Wonder's Death of a Pop Star

*David Banner & 9th Wonder, Death Of A Pop Star Prefix says of the new record, "Unless I have missed something in my research, Death of a Pop Star marks the first time these two Southern hip-hoppers have joined forces. It's not entirely surprising, though, even if they were relatively close in proximity. For years, Mississippi MC (and sometimes producer) David Banner and North Carolina producer (and sometimes rapper) 9th Wonder operated on opposite ends of the spectrum. Banner, though he injected social consciousness into some tracks, was more of a boisterous upstart while 9th's previous work was rooted in traditional boom-bap working with Little Brother and Buckshot. So far, though, it sounds like Death of a Pop Star is an amalgam of both the rapper and producer's previous work, just kicked up to a headier and heavier level."

click to enlarge Duran Duran's All You Need Is Now
Duran Duran's All You Need Is Now

*Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now The Orlando Weekly reviews Duran Duran's latest, saying "It would be wrong to give Ronson too much credit for the authenticity and audacity of this very-Duran Duran experience. Likewise, it would be wrong not to recognize his deftness at time travel as witnessed in his coddling of a crumbling Amy Winehouse over pumped-up classic soul or on the temporal triptiks of his own "solo" output... But the real revelation within the nine tracks presented here is that this gaggle of fiftysomething heartthrobs is still more than capable of accessing the allure and mystery that made their initial output so inescapable. It seems all they really needed was somebody to tell them that."

*Duran Duran and friends discuss the making of All You Need Is Now

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