Weekly Release: Lady Gaga, Raphael Saadiq, Art Brut and More

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Weekly Release has been on hiatus the past few weeks. Why? Because there wasn’t much happening in the way of new releases. Not that there wasn’t anything released, there just wasn’t much that we felt like talking about. So, what we’re bringing you today is a combination of albums that are coming out today and a few that have been released in the past couple weeks that we missed during our time off.

Did we really need to include that lengthy explanation? No, we probably didn’t. Now let’s get to it. Here’s your Weekly Release for the last week of May, 2011.

Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’

Okay, so here’s one that came out earlier this month, but we’d be doing you a major disservice by not giving it a mention. Raphael Saadiq has become a favorite among the hipster and indie crowd in recent years, but he’s been around longer than a lot of those newfound fans probably realize. He was cranking out the hits with Tony Toni Toné, quite possibly the last great American R&B band, since the late 1980s. Since going solo, he’s embraced a vintage soul sound more and more with each successive album, and Stone Rollin’ is the culmination of that throwback movement.

If you didn’t know better, you might think this record was an artifact from the 1960s. You know what’s wrong with that? Not a damn thing. Buy this album right now, if you haven’t already.

The Lonely Island – Turtleneck and Chain

Some of the initial fascination and novelty might have worn off of The Lonely Island’s peculiar brand of comedy rap, but rest assured, they’re still experts in their field. Turtleneck and Chain mixes some memorable favorites from the past few seasons of SNL (“Shy Ronnie,” “I Just Had Sex”) with all new tracks featuring the likes of Beck and Snoop Dogg.

A good portion of the listening public will loudly proclaim that they’re “so over The Lonely Island,” but get them in a room alone with this album and it’s all but guaranteed that they’ll be laughing.

Art Brut – Brilliant! Tragic!

Art Brut were lumped in the same class as Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand by British mag NME. The label applied to all of those bands was “Art Wave.” We have no clue what that’s supposed to mean. A combination of art rock and new wave maybe? Whatever the case, it appears that Art Brut is making the strongest case for being the band that will ride that art wave to longevity. At least we hope they do.

Danger Mouse – Rome

Well, it’s Tuesday, and you know what that means…it’s time for Danger Mouse to release a new album with a new partner. This time around, the other half of the creative partnership is film music composer Daniele Luppi. Awesomely, also along for the ride are Jack White and the secretly awesome and “seems-to-get-sexier-every-year” Norah Jones.

romeL-R: Jack White, HOLY SHIT IS THAT NORAH JONES?!?!?, Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi

Unfortunately, Jack and Norah only get two songs each on the album. The rest is instrumental music. Do you want to buy it? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But you can make the decision a bit easier by listening to the WHOLE DAMN THING in the above video. How awesome is that?

New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys – NKOTBSB

Listen closely. Can you hear it? It’s the sound of middle-aged men realizing that they must do what it takes to put food on the table. In this case, “what it takes” means singing and prancing around like a boy band, except they aren’t boys. They’re men. Old men. This is undeniably sad to watch, but it will probably make them a ton of cash, so we’d totally do it too if we had the chance.

Lady Gaga – Born This Way

As great as anything else we’ve listed so far may be, it’s pretty much a given that none of it is going to get any real press. Why? Because the new Lady Gaga album is out, that’s why! She certainly has her fair share of detractors, although we assume the tide of public opinion changed drastically when we spoke up in support of her in a recent Don’t Hate: Lady Gaga feature. We’re pretty influential, you know.

Anyway, the new album is busting at the seams with religious references set to expertly crafted dance music, so don’t expect the Madonna comparisons to die anytime soon. But honestly, in a world where at least fifteen different bands sound exactly like Nickelback, we have no qualms about applauding someone for having good taste when it comes to who they choose to emulate. It could be much worse.