Home / New Album Releases 11/25/08: Guns N’ Roses, Kanye West, The Killers, Scott Weiland, Jeff Beck, Coldplay, Hall & Oates, Ludacris, Cynic & More

New Album Releases 11/25/08: Guns N’ Roses, Kanye West, The Killers, Scott Weiland, Jeff Beck, Coldplay, Hall & Oates, Ludacris, Cynic & More

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Let's see now, where to begin?

Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy is honest to God, really, finally out. I haven't heard any of it yet, but I know for a fact that it's out and I've got my can of Dr. Pepper to prove it.

Whether or not Chinese Democracy can really be called an actual GNR record or not is a matter of some debate, since neither Slash, Izzy or any of the other original gunners are on the record, save for Axl Rose. Either way, the first new music in some 14 years from a band calling itself Guns N' Roses is finally here, and it can now be yours by heading to your neighborhood Best Buy. Yup. Another one of those deals.

This past Sunday night at the American Music Awards, Kanye West boldly proclaimed that he wants to be the new Elvis. Whether or not his new 808s & Heartbreak is a step in the right direction remains to be seen. Advance reviews on the album have been decidedly mixed, and the biggest news here seems to be the heavy use of processed vocals on the tracks leaning more towards R&B than hip-hop. Kanye has up to this point been pure gold at the cash register though, so we wouldn't bet against him.

Another highlight of the AMAs was a very stoned looking Scott Weiland introducing Pink by calling her "one of the great artists of our time." Weiland's new solo disc — his first in 10 years — is said to lean more towards STP glam-pop than Velvet Revolver crunch.

The Killers third full length album Day & Age is a return to the wave-pop of Hot Fuss and a step away from the loftier ambitions of Sam's Town. Jeff Beck turns in a blistering live set of guitar mechanics on Performing This Week… Live at Ronnie Scott's. Coldplay offer up a companion piece to their smash hit Viva La Vida with the new EP Prospekt's March. Ludacris takes some time out from his acting career to explore the Theater of the Mind.

Mark Saleski has a few choice words on guilty pleasures as he considers the new live set from Hall & Oates. But first, Tom Johnson is here to report on the return of a band who've been away from the limelight for nearly as long as GNR. Take it away, Mr. Johnson…

Tom Johnson's Tasters Choice: Cynic – Traced In Air

Bands taking 15 years to put another album out must be a theme this week, as Cynic's sophomore album emerges the same week as Guns 'N Roses' long-awaited new album. I don't know exactly what kept Cynic apart in the decade and a half since 1993's groundbreaking Focus, but the band returns almost as if little time had passed – still technical, still heavy, and not a little bit weird and jazzy in places — maybe even "beautiful," some odd minds might call it.

What makes this band so special is that these guys possess a skill so few metal bands like this do – a sense of subtlety. There is brutal and heavy in equal measure with the delicate and intricate. That said, is it a sign of the times that the "tech" in this album doesn't seem quite so technical? Has metal advanced so much since their first album that it caught up to what they were doing? I'm not sure, and I'm not sure it matters too much – it's simply great to have them back, and hopefully they're going to stick around this time and give us a lot more than one album every 15 years.

Saleski's Choice: Hall & Oates – Live At The Troubadour

I've written about this before, but Hall & Oates used to be on my list of guilty pleasures. Wait, better make that secret guilty pleasures. Super-secret, that is. There was no way I was going to let on to my friends, all of whom were heavily into stuff like Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Foghat, and Ted Nugent, that I totally dug tunes like "Rich Girl." Well, everybody grows up after a time and with that maturation process should come the realization that you just can't help who you like.

What's that cliché ? The heart wants what the heart wants? Yeah, I know…too often that's applied as a sort of "rationalization salve" to wounds created by affairs of the heart. Luckily, my love of the pop and soul music of Hall & Oates has produced no such casualties — except for maybe my 'indie cred' as applied to my writing. But heck, since I never had any 'indie cred' to begin with, I can just go ahead and say that I'm looking forward to this release and it's companion DVD. This documents their return to the famed Troubadour in L.A. after 35 years.

Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:

The Fireman
Electric Arguments
Neo-Psychedelia, Pop/Rock

Guns N' Roses
Chinese Democracy
Album Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock

The Killers
Day & Age
New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Alternative Pop/Rock

Scott Weiland
Happy in Galoshes
Soft Drive
Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Post-Grunge

Kanye West
808s & Heartbreak
Midwest Rap, Urban, Pop-Rap, Pop

Trace Adkins
New Traditionalist, Contemporary Country

Arild Andersen
Live at Belleville
Avant-Garde Jazz, Post-Bop

Maria, Madre di Dio
Baroque Solo Cantatas & Sacred Music

Jeff Beck
Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club
Guitar Virtuoso, Hard Rock, Blues-Rock

David Byrne/Brian Eno
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Los Campesinos!
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Arts & Crafts
Indie Rock, Indie Pop

Prospekt's March
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Rivers Cuomo
Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

The Datsuns
Smoke & Mirrors
Hell Squad/Cooking Vinyl
Garage Punk, Hard Rock

Death Cab for Cutie
Something About Airplanes [Deluxe Edition]
Indie Rock, Twee Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock

The Ball Street Journal
West Coast Rap, Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap

The Reminder [Deluxe Edition]
Cherry Tree/Interscope
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Indie Rock

Angela Gheorghiu
My Puccini [CD+DVD]
EMI Classics
Romantic Opera

Seventh Tree [Bonus DVD]
Alternative Pop/Rock, Electronica

Good Charlotte
The Greatest Remixes
Punk-Pop, Punk Revival

Hall & Oates
Live at the Troubadour
Shout! Factory
Blue-Eyed Soul, Pop/Rock, Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

Hollyridge Strings
The Beach Boys Song Book, Vols. 1-2
Collectors' Choice Music/EMI
Mood Music, Orchestral Pop

Classic Jaheim, Vol. 1
Warner Bros.
Contemporary R&B, Neo-Soul, Urban

Al Jourgensen
Wicked Lake
13th Planet/Megaforce
Alternative Metal, Soundtracks

Linkin Park
Road to Revolution Live at Milton Keynes
Warner Bros.
Alternative Metal, Post-Grunge, Rap-Metal

Theater of the Mind
Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam
Dirty South, Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap

The Complete John Peel Sessions
Post-Punk, New Wave

Barry Manilow
The Greatest Songs of the Eighties
Adult Contemporary, Soft Rock, Pop/Rock, Vocal Pop

Metro Area
Fabric 43
Left-Field House, Club/Dance, House, Post-Disco

Last Night Remixed
Club/Dance, House, Techno, Progressive Trance

Shawn Mullins
Live at the Variety Playhouse
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Americana

Anna Netrebko
Deutsche Grammophon
Opera Arias

Anthony Spiri
W.F. Bach: Fantasias; Fugues; Sonatas
Oehms Classics
Classical Piano

Fei Wu
Contemporary Chamber Music

Original Soundtrack
Juno: Music from the Motion Picture [Deluxe Edition Soundtrack]
Indie Pop, Film Music, Indie Rock, Pop/Rock

The Final Riot! [CD/DVD]
Fueled by Ramen
Emo-Pop, Punk-Pop

Various Artists
Badd Santa: A Stones Throw Records Xmas
Stones Throw
Holiday, Underground Rap, Alternative Rap, Novelty, Funk

Murmur [Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition]
College Rock, Jangle Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock, American Underground

The Rapture
Club/Dance, Left-Field House, House, Disco, Funk

Rick Springfield
Mission Magic! [Bonus Track]
Master Classics
AM Pop, Bubblegum, Pop/Rock

The Sword
Age of Winters/Gods of the Earth
Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Stoner Metal

Various Artists
Red House 25: A Silver Anniversary Retrospective
Red House
Contemporary Folk, Country-Folk

White Zombie
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie
Metal, Hard Rock, Industrial, Horror-Rock

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • Weiland did seem a little toasted, eh? i did hear one of his new tunes on the radio and it was quite good.

    and speaking of the awards show…geezies, aren’t there any rock bands out there anymore? Coldplay? c’mon…!

  • Jordan Richardson

    aren’t there any rock bands out there anymore?

    Rock is dead.

  • hannnah;]

    i like guns and roses.
    (8) welcome to the jungle.

    rock is not dead.

  • hannnah;]

    tbh rock is actally alive.

  • oh, i totally think rock is alive…just not on the american music awards.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I don’t know exactly what kept Cynic apart in the decade and a half since 1993’s groundbreaking Focus…

    Cynic first disbanded in 1994 but the members were quick to approach different avenues. Sean Malone gave us the brilliant Gordian Knot while his own solo release prior to that was just as amazing for its time. Sean Reinert stuck with Mr. Malone for his solo effort as well as Gordian Knot. BUT, he was also involved with Aghora on their Y2k self titled release which was damn good. Both members including Paul Masivdal had some brief but worthwhile commercial success with AEon Spoke. Masvidal also writes and performs music for television and motion pictures, credits include main title (composer credit) on an Emmy nominated NBC teen series show ‘Operation Junkyard’, short films ‘The Yellow Umbrella’, ‘A Bride In Black’, session musician for Carsey Warner network sitcoms, ‘That 70’s Show, 3rd Rock From The Sun, also has library songs regularly performed on network and cable television.

    *Phew*… After all that it is nice to hear a new release and I, for one, am an odd mind that finds “Traced in Air” to be not only Beautiful but a true “progressive” effort for the metal community.

    It pushes the envelope on so many levels. Cynic is no longer technical for the sake of complexity but more like Modern Jazz where it blends in. It is different but the same &, to me, shows a mature vision of where “Prog” Metal needs to go.

  • And there you go, our resident Cynic expert chimes in. I somehow knew you’d help us here, Brian. 😉 And, yes, it is a very, very good album – took me by surprise even though I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the band after all this time.

  • Oh?? Come on Tom… Don’t report like you didn’t know that Wikipedia existed *Smirk*. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I am quite the frenzied fan of Cynic,Gordian Knot,etc…

    Honestly, you took me by surprise with such an insightful review. Nice Job!

  • so sez Mr. Guppus…

    Cynic first disbanded in 1994 but the members were quick to approach different avenues. Sean Malone gave us the brilliant Gordian Knot while his own solo release prior to that was just as amazing for its time.

    I didn’t know about the connection between Cynic and Gordian Knot. Gordian Knot is indeed very good stuff, so if this Cynic is anything like that, I’m on board. Thanks for the tip.

  • Hall & Oates, without a trace of irony.

  • irony is for the weak.

  • Tom

    Hall & Oates a guilty pleasure? Do you eat ice cream when listening?

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus


    IMHO, if you are ProgHead, like me, I don’t see why you wouldn’t like Cynic. The growling back-up vocals may turn you off if you don’t like Death Metal,but, I feel with Traced in Air they are used tastefully. Almost more like an added emotion/instrument instead of being the main focal point. As for Focus, I think you could appreciate the progressive attributes though it is a little bit of a tougher listen. Just like Tom said, it was very groundbreaking for 1993 so you kinda have to expect that. Those sounds were unheard of for this genre with exception to Watchtower & Atheist,but, they still presented some amazing ideas.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I totally dig I can’t go for that(No can do)
    by Hall & Oates. I just don’t understand the whole “guilty pleasure” thing…But, I also like Benny Mardones If I Could Fly. I guess I’m just weird like that.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Oh and let’s not forget Jo Jo by Boz Scaggs

  • Yep, Pico, you need to check out Cynic. The “death growls” on the new one are very minimal – they are basically almost background vocals on the new one, with the “altered-straight” vocals being the most prominent. I guess it’s kind of a vocoder type effect (Brian? you probably know more,) but more sci-fi sounding. Honestly, even if you’re not big into this, but you can handle it, Cynic is VERY worth checking out. They are several cuts WAY above, and the instrumental stuff is so tasty.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Because I trust Brian’s metal cred. and Tom’s everything cred., I’m checking out Cynic. Wish me luck, fellas.

  • If you trust TJ’s cred Jordan…and you should…you should also check out Porucpine Tree. TJ (and Pico) turned me onto them about a year ago, and I’ve since become a pretty big fan. If I’m not mistaken, Gupster’s a fan too.

    Word of warning though, they’ve got a ton of records and if you get hooked it’ll be expensive. Trust me, I know…


  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Yea, Tom, it is a vocoder. Though, I am not certain how far the technology has come and whether Paul is using an actually piece of equipment or hardware/software for a computer.
    Either way, he has a great voice and this really masks it in a supportive way.

    Jordan… thanks. Glen is right, you should check out PT.Very Solid Prog Rock. I like most of their latter stuff but my favorite is In Absentia.

    I would also suggest:
    Spiral Architect
    Attention Deficit
    Spock’s Beard
    Sieges Even Paramount

    Oh and of course The Improv Project

  • i will take the vocoder-ed vocals over the silly growls any day. besides, the music is really happenin’.

    gonna have to buy that one.

  • The artwork is worth the purchase of a hard copy, Mark. Really beautiful stuff – the kind of thing we don’t see very often anymore, unfortunately. It’s this kind of thing I’m going to be very sad to see disappear when downloads/streaming are the only choices we have.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    It’s this kind of thing I’m going to be very sad to see disappear when downloads/streaming are the only choices we have.

    Actually, I think it could get better. No paper to worry about so they could design artwork in HD and make it like 1600 x 1200 and @ only 1-2Mb the cover art would look sick. Include that file with a Flac formatted d/l(96Khz/24Bit) then you could print that shit yourself via color laser printer on some glossy photo paper and have an actual poster.