AFI released Crash Love today, and its first single is "Medicate." Very much a return to The Art of Drowning- style aesthetic, and by that I really mean a grateful turning-away from Decemberunderground, which seemed to value dramatics over music. Epic guitar solos and truly Davey Havok-unique lyrical themes aplenty.
Ghostface Killah's Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City was definitely much-anticipated in hip-hop circles. I don't usually follow rap too closely, but there are elements in hip-hop that I really enjoy - easy, down-tempo, non-sampled backing tracks, and free-flowing rhymes... and this track has all of that. Unfortunately, the rhymes are far between long stretches of auto-tuned harmonies.
Backspacer is Pearl Jam's first release since Eddie Vedder's solo sojourn for the melancholy soundtrack to Into the Wild, and frankly, I welcomely expected the next Pearl Jam album to have the same sort of mumbley introspection so present in all its other works, or at least some of the anger of the self-titled 2006 album. Instead, we get "The Fixer," which is utterly... peppy. Lots of 'yeah yeah's' and major-keyed power chords. Not Pearl Jam-my.
Monsters of Folk is a supergroup comprised of big-hitters M. Ward, Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Jim James, and "The Sandman, The Breakman, and Me" is everything I hoped this collaboration to produce (and everything I had hoped Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band would have.) M. Ward on vocals, it doesn't seem like anyone really fronts the band, they are all equal in folky-awesomeness.