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When it hits: 5 albums to listen to this month

Wait, do you hear that? Could it be true, has it finally happened!? That’s right it’s January, the start of a new year and you can finally turn the radio on without fearing that your eardrums will be flooded with unforgiving Christmas music. To help you recover from holiday jingle fatigue, take a listen to these five albums, guaranteed to get your year started off right.


A Better Tomorrow by Wu-Tang Clan (released Dec 2, 2014)

Having trouble working with your JTEs? Look no further than Wu-tang Clan for some inspiration in collaboration. Wu-tang is made up of nine members (previously ten) – RZA, GZA, Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah, Inspecta Deck, Masta Killa, Method Man, Raekwon, and U-God – who all bring their own unique sound and ideas to a studio project. Imagine the planning, the relationship building, and most importantly, the compromise that has to take place in order for the group to create a successful album. Yet, the Clan has done it time and time again, as represented by their sixth and newest album, A Better Tomorrow. Sure the process isn’t always easy (Raekwon went “on strike” for a bit this past year), but that’s to be expected when men, all middle-aged now, have different ideas for what’s best for the group. Still the feat is to be applauded and admired. Simply put, this album shows there’s always something new to be found from veterans of the game.

While you’re exploring the Wu-niverse catch up on Ghostface Killah’s latest album 36 Seasons, also released last month. Of course, I can’t forget to mention that Jan 2015 additionally marks the 10th anniversary of former Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s posthumous mixtape album, Osirus.


american beauty american pyschoAmerican Beauty/American Psycho by Fall Out Boy (release date: Jan 20)

The same week you sat down to have your Thanksgiving meal, or wished that you were having your Thanksgiving meal, Fall Out Boy announced they would be releasing their sixth studio album this January. With their first single from the album “Centuries” out now, it appears the band will continue the theatric and melodramatic tone found in many of their later albums. That being said one can expect a well-balanced album with a dizzying energy defining some songs while others offer hypnotic sing-along hooks. What’s even more exciting is the opportunity to see them perform these songs live at this year’s Punk Spring. Look out for an article about this event in the near future.


no jacket requiredNo Jacket Required by Phil Collins (released Jan 25, 1985)

“Do you like Phil Collins?… This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.” Yes, I know. I’ve fallen into the easiest Phil Collins review trap there is; quoting American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman as he explores the artistry of Phil Collins solo work as well as his contribution to the band Genesis. Yet, who can blame me when the opening track’s title is right there in the book (and how convenient the words American Psycho also appear in Fall Out Boy’s newest album title mentioned in this same article). Listening to No Jacket Required, an album celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is similar to finding yourself standing under a rain of eighties without an umbrella. A rain that pours on you all of the good things from the decade like horn and synthesizer giddiness found in “Only You and I Know” and soulful love from “One More Night.” Enjoy this Grammy-awarded Album of the Year and by the end, you’ll be screaming your heart out with Collins as you’re both pleading for someone to take, take you home.


st. vincentSt. Vincent by St. Vincent (released Feb 24, 2014)

For the past few years, you would have been hard pressed to find an indie rock fan who didn’t have St. Vincent as one of their favorite artists and with her fourth and newest studio album, the odds in all likelihood have become even rarer. While you’re dancing or swaying to the music the album hits on themes and emotions that will simultaneously have tears streaming down your face. Themes and emotions we all at one time or another think about or fall prey to; the fear of losing the love closest to you (“I Prefer Your Love”), holding onto hope against all odds (“Severed Crossed Fingers”), and regret (“Regret”). Catch this indie goddess live at Club Quattro Umeda on Thursday, Feb 19. Tickets cost 6,500 yen plus a drink and directions for purchasing them can be found here.


what a terrible worldWhat A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World by The Decemberists (release date: Jan 20)

Four years since The King is Dead’s release, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World marks The Decemberists’ seventh studio album. Long-time fans of the band will agree that Colin Meloy, The Decemberists’ frontman, is an artist with an undeniably unique voice and newer fans have probably been won over by the groups lyrical depiction of both fantastical and historical tales. Listening to the first two singles, “Lake Song” and “Make You Better” seem to reveal that the Decemberists are still embracing their folk influences, while never hesitating to let the music’s energy take over and dictate the song’s direction. An added bonus to the release of the “Make You Better” music video is the guest performance by Nick Offerman as a German news host. It just goes to show this band loves to perform as much as they love the music.


Sean Mulvihill




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