Pick Of The Week: New
Wu Block, Wu Block
While Wu-Tang side projects tend to be hit-or-miss, Wu Block at least sounds promising. The product of collaboration between Ghostface Killah and The Lox’s Sheek Louch, Wu Block also features guest rhymes from Raekwon, Jadakiss, Cappadonna, Method Man, GZA, Erykah Badu, and more. Whether all that A-list power will help the record amount to something awesome isn’t really clear, but the singles, “Stick Up Kids” and “Union Square,” are fairly solid.
Reissue Of The Week
Rage Against The Machine, XX
Twenty years after initial release, Rage Against The Machine’s self-titled debut is getting its needlessly swanky reissue. The XX box set includes a re-mastered copy of the album, original demos, and previously unseen early concert footage. It’s the perfect gift for any anti-capitalists or clueless Rage-loving Republicans on your Christmas list.
Do Not Break The Seal
Various Artists, 50 Shades Of Classical
Earlier this year, 50 Shades Of Grey threw the publishing world for a loop when actual smart people began reading the book—and liking it. A smut-fic feeding frenzy followed, accompanied by all sorts of other 50 Shades-related material, including a surprisingly popular classical album. And since that was popular and classical music costs basically nothing to record and release, more albums have followed, including this week’s 50 Shades Of Classical, a three-disc box set brimming with “dark, sensual masterpieces” by Beethoven, Bach, and Debussy. Gross.
Alicia Keys, Girl On Fire
Girl On Fire, Alicia Keys’ fifth record, aims to prove that the music-buying population at large still cares about old-school R&B ballads. Featuring the single of the same name, Girl On Fire also features duets with Emeli Sandé, Gary Clark Jr., and Jamie xx.
Big Dipper, Big Dipper Crashes On The Platinum Planet
Boston’s Big Dipper was one of the casualties of the major-label indie binge of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Chewed up and spit out by Epic Records, the group broke up in 1992. After Merge Records released an anthology of the group’s material back in 2008, Big Dipper got back together for some shows, and as tends to happen, now it’s made a new record. Big Dipper Crashes On The Platinum Planet features cover art from Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard, who’s also the subject of one of the record’s tracks.
King Crimson, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic 40th Anniversary Box Set
While King Crimson’s Larks’ Tongues In Aspic was originally only 46 minutes long, it somehow merited a 15-disc box set—13 CDs, one DVD, and one Blu-ray—for its 40th anniversary. While Larks is an important record for the progressive-rock group, non-obsessive fans might opt for one of the other, less-daunting reissue options—a two-CD set or a CD/DVD combo pack.