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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Release Highlights for March 22: The Strokes, Panic! at the Disco, Jennifer Hudson and More

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM

(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 Acid House Kings' Music Sounds Better With You
  • 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"

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*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."

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*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"

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*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."

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*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."

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*Egyptrixx, Bible Eyes Pitchfork gave Bible Eyes an 8.1 out of 10 review: "it all falls together in that calculated way bass music albums do when they're simultaneously engineered for headphones and dancefloors. This is an album that sounds invigoratingly abrasive when you're moving and pins you to your seat when you're not, a study in pushing the limits of distortion that works as just plain good club music. And it's eclectic enough to anticipate a half-dozen directions for Egyptrixx to go from here-- odds are he's not out of surprises yet."

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*Jennifer Hudson, I Remember Me USA Today reviewed I Remember Me: "Even when the material -- crafted by a collection of pop and R&B stalwarts -- flirts with the banal, Hudson's unmannered strength and class shine through, as surely as the technical prowess she wields with confidence and discretion. 'Every single breath's another step on my road,' she declares on 'I Got This,' and 'I Remember Me' celebrates her heartwarming progress, and makes us look forward to the rest of her journey."

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*Keren Ann, 101 Spin reviewed 101: "Keren Ann's languid orchestral pop is suffused with equal parts Parisian lounge, Golden Age of Hollywood, and polished folk song. The atmosphere is pillowy, which makes her wit -- whether whisper-singing about being a starlet on a killing spree or playing wife to a painter who can't keep beautiful girls out of their 'luxury basement' -- a good contrast. Here, it's her detours (the disco-lite 'My Name Is Trouble' and girl-groupish 'Blood on My Hands') that sound sharpest, while some of her more familiar moves lack the glittering arrangements that previously made them shine."

*The official video for Keren Ann's "My Name is Trouble"

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*Panic! At The Disco, Vices & Virtues Spin reviewed Vices & Virtues: "With help from songwriter-producers Butch Walker (Avril Lavigne, Weezer) and John Feldman (Good Charlotte, Foxy Shazam), Vices & Virtues returns to the slick, big-production pop of the band's two-million-selling, 2005 debut A Fever You Can't Sweat Out -- heart-collapsing arena guitars, swelling strings, and overheated, mallrat-baiting choruses. But without Ross, the group's main songwriter, who drew on his own scarred youth (including the early death of his alcoholic father), Urie steps in to pen the lyrics, and the result is verbose and generic diary-entry romance ("'Sentimental boy' is my nom de plume," he wails in 'Trade Mistakes')."

*The official video for Panic! At the Disco's "The Ballad of Mona Lisa"

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*The Strokes, Angles Pitchfork reviewed Angles: "As news about the Strokes' shaky resurgence has continued to flow over the last few months, two of the group's contemporaries chose to bow out. The White Stripes-- who faced off against the Strokes in a friendly Coolest Band Alive competition for a few years in the early aughts-- officially broke up after a hiatus on February 2 in order to 'preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.' Meanwhile, fellow wry New Yorkers LCD Soundsystem will wrap up their run April 2 at Madison Square Garden. As it happens, that's just one day after the Strokes will play the same venue to kick-start their second life. Everybody wants to quit while they're ahead. Some actually do it."

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