Top 5 on Friday: New Releases

Top 5 recent new releases

1. Burials by AFI I’m not sure if I would say this is the band’s best album, but I’m also not sure if that’s because I’m so partial to Sing the Sorrow or if Burials really just isn’t quite on that level. But Burials is certainly the band’s most mature album, and it’s some of their most straightforward, gritty rock. They feel a lot more like a grown-up band now and not a band for teenage goth girls. It’s still very much AFI in that it’s dark but at times incredibly catchy. And Jade Puget’s guitar riffs are some of his best ever.
2. Small Little Pieces by Blue of Colors Solo projects sometimes have a way of actually sounding a lot like the bands they originated from (one of my favorite examples of this is Queen’s Brian May’s Back to the Light, which sounds a lot like pure Queen, but I also cite this as an example of how collaborative the band’s songwriting efforts were). Blue of Colors, though, Punchline singer Steve Soboslai’s more indie-oriented solo endeavor, isn’t one of those. Some songs do sound like a subdued Punchline for sure–“Goodbye Stranger,” for example–but overall, Small Little Pieces is a different, solid indie record. Even though I admittedly overplayed some of the songs released in advance.
3. Matangi by M.I.A. I’ve always liked M.I.A., but I’ve only really been a casually listener–Matangi is the first of her albums I’ve ever listened to in full, which was a good decision because it’s excellent.
4. The Next Day Extra by David Bowie The Next Day was a nice surprise release from Bowie anyway–and I’m still pissed that I never found the Record Store Day vinyl on my pilgrimage–but the bonus material on the Extra release only makes it better, even though I strongly dislike bonus rereleases with a year or so of the original. That said, I’m a big fan of “God Bless the Girl.” This is definitely the best of Bowie’s most recent releases, too, so that’s a huge plus.
5. Reflektor by Arcade Fire I’ve been meaning to pay proper attention to Arcade Fire since I caught their SNL performance awhile back and really liked it, but other than happening upon a few songs on Spotify, I never really did. Then IYS started covering single releases and the album leak, and the Sirius satellite radio Paul had (has?) in his car had “Reflektor” on heavy rotation on all the alternative stations. And here we are.
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