Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

November’s new music includes releases from Alicia Keys, Metallica, and (maybe) Beck

Illustration: Nick Wanserski

Every Friday, dozens of new records are released into the wild. Some make big splashes, and others sink almost immediately. For most music consumers, it’s almost too much information, and save for those precious few who spend their hours glued to review sites and release calendars, it’s hard to know what’s coming out when. Thankfully, The A.V. Club is ready to help those struggling souls. Each month, we’ll publish a fairly comprehensive list of what’s coming to record stores and streaming services in upcoming weeks, complete with capsule previews so interested parties can know what to expect.

November 4

Ryan Adams, TBD

Details are still sketchy around Ryan Adams’ latest release, but according to an interview the singer did with Entertainment Weekly, the record—Adams’ 16th—is inspired by both AC/DC and Bruce Hornsby. That intriguing fact aside, it seems like Adams is drawing from a wealth of both material and experience on the record, using storied producer Don Was to help him pick from 80 potential tracks. [Marah Eakin]


American Wrestlers, Goodbye Terrible Youth


American Wrestlers started out as a name for Gary McClure’s bedroom recordings. The one-man band’s self-titled 2015 debut was an uneven mix of shaggy rock tunes, but it showcased a talent for catchy riffs and stylistic flexibility. The songs were dense enough to support a full touring band, and for his follow-up, Goodbye Terrible Youth, McClure has brought that troupe into the studio for a collection of tracks that, judging by the album’s singles, promise to be brighter, tighter, and just as memorable. [Matt Gerardi]

Jim James, Eternally Even

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James has a voice that could make even an uptight CIA company man weep tears of joy. On his second solo record, after 2013’s mellow Regions Of Light And Sound Of God, the shaggy troubadour doesn’t lean too heavily on his heavenly tenor, singing in a lower register that better suits the record’s anxious, fatalistic funk. Don’t expect the classic-rock euphoria of James’ day job; these nine tracks are moodier affairs, with nary a squealing guitar solo or folky acoustic strum within earshot. Still, the warm emotion in the man’s pipes occasionally pokes through the gloom, on the closing title track and piano-abetted standout “Here In Spirit.” [A.A. Dowd]


Alicia Keys, Here

Although Alicia Keys has been in the popular music game for about 15 years, she’s only released five studio LPs. Her sixth, Here, promises to be a more stripped-down, bare affair than previous efforts, with the album’s art and promotional pictures capturing her recent decision to go makeup-free. First single “Blended Family (What You Do For Love),” featuring A$AP Rocky, reflects that vibe. [Marah Eakin]


Lambchop, FLOTUS

Lambchop has released albums at a steady pace since the mid-’90s, with frontman Kurt Wagner and a changing roster of musicians branching from traditional country roots into lush orchestrations spanning lounge, rock, soul, and more. The lead single off FLOTUS—which stands for For Love Often Turns Us Still—is an 18-minute electronic soundscape called “The Hustle,” which is sometimes reminiscent of early electro-rock and Rounds-era Four Tet, and is punctuated with impressionistic piano and staccato horn. It opens up into a more typical Lambchop sound (if such a thing exists) with Wagner’s quiet sing-song carrying the middle third. If this is the lead single, we can only imagine the wonders that await on the full album. [Laura M. Browning]


TAD, God’s Balls, Salt Lick, and 8-Way Santa reissues

Although TAD was part of the same Seattle scene that spawned the term “grunge,” it didn’t catch on in the way its contemporaries did. Sure, it went on to tour with Nirvana and Soundgarden, but TAD has long remained a hidden gem from grunge’s gestational period. With Sub Pop reissuing the band’s first three albums, TAD gets the second life it’s long deserved. [David Anthony]


November 11

Animals As Leaders, The Madness Of Many

How can three dudes make this much noise? Washington, D.C., trio Animal As Leaders conjures complex, shape-shifting instrumental maelstroms, planting feet in a variety of different genres, from metal to prog to jazz. Though best known, perhaps, for its energetic live show—the guys have a tendency to give the headliners for which they open a run for their virtuosic money—Animal As Leaders flex plenty of studio muscle, too. Whether fourth LP The Madness Of Many will harken back to the group’s heavier roots or take them further into uncharted sonic territory remains to be seen. But opening track “Arithmophobia” suggests that fans of Eastern-inflected noodling and spacey interludes won’t be disappointed. [A.A. Dowd]


Cory Hanson, The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo


Wand has always tucked a bit of gentle psychedelia into its lumbering garage rock, but the Drag City trio’s quieter side came into full view on its latest album, 1000 Days. For his solo debut, Wand’s frontman, Cory Hanson, is diving even further into the weird waters of freaky folk. There’s not an electric guitar to be heard on the album’s debut single, “Ordinary People,” which instead builds its spacey sound from swelling strings and Hanson’s airy vocals. [Matt Gerardi]

Justice, Woman

After erupting onto the scene with , a juggernaut of a record that hustled between smooth neo-disco and abrasive dance-floor assaults, Justice took a step away from its French-house roots and delivered a hard-rocking sophomore album that had as much in common with AC/DC and ELP as it did Daft Punk. Five years after that detour, Justice’s third studio album, Woman, sounds like a return to the hook-filled dancehall goodness that put the duo on the map, but the pulsing pop of a track like “Randy” shows they’ve also learned a few tricks along the way. [Matt Gerardi]


Loscil, Monument Builders


Ambient composer Loscil, a.k.a. Scott Morgan, delivers albums at a prolific clip that belies their artful constructions and meditative states. Monument Builders, his 11th full-length (and eighth for Kranky) is another immersive, introspective experience Morgan says is inspired by Philip Glass’ score for Koyaanisqatsi, mortality, and environmental collapse. It’s similarly more enchanting than that suggests. [Sean O’Neal]

The Men, Devil Music


While The Men’s last couple of records saw the band inching closer to the sound of Neil Young’s golden years, for Devil Music the band opted to return to its hardcore roots. Recorded in the band’s practice-space-cum-studio, Devil Music is a lo-fi collection of raging punk that channels the band’s energetic early days without sounding like a creative step backward. [David Anthony]

OddCouple, Liberation


Chicago’s Closed Sessions has been on a hot streak this year. Already featuring releases from the likes of Jamila Woods and Kweku Collins, it’s now bringing forth OddCouple’s latest, Liberation. While Liberation is meant to showcase OddCouple’s production—and it does a bang-up job of that—with features from the aforementioned Woods and Collins. Along with Mick Jenkins’ The Healing Component and Joey Purp’s iiiDrops, Liberation is yet another release that shows Chicago rap is having a real banner year. [David Anthony]

Papa M, Highway Songs


When David Pajo was in a major motorcycle accident earlier this year, it looked like he might never walk again—that is, if he even kept his leg. Dozens of surgeries later, Pajo is back home, on the road to recovery and releasing a new record as Papa M, one of his myriad solo aliases. Out on Drag City, Highway Songs seems like a labor of bedroom love, full of spare beats and touches that could have only been provided by Pajo himself. [Marah Eakin]

Rayon, A Beat Of Silence


Notwist singer and guitarist Markus Acher steps away from the more accessible pop-art sounds of his band to focus on an eclectic instrumental solo album. With sparse, at times ambient, sounds threaded through a variety of electronic and organic instruments, this new release on Morr Music will likely be an experimental and meditative offering. [Alex McCown-Levy]

The Rolling Stones, Havana Moon

On March 25, The Rolling Stones became the first major international rock band to play Cuba since the United States lifted the embargo sanctions. To mark the occasion, the group is releasing a live album and concert film of the performance, featuring 13 tracks on CD or LP and accompanying DVD/Blu-ray. There’s also a full-length documentary of the entire 10-city Latin American tour, of which Cuba was the last stop—maybe it will explain why they only played 13 songs. [Alex McCown-Levy]


Sad13, Slugger

For her debut solo album, Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis elected to turn her Twitter handle into the moniker for her new project. The resulting Slugger is a record that still feels distinctly Dupuis while also being a few steps removed from her work with Speedy. Where Speedy Ortiz draws a direct line to Stephen Malkmus, Sad13 is a bedroom-pop project that expands beyond those four walls. It’s an album that shows another side of Dupuis, one that’s concerned more with an electronic bounce than those old gold soundz. [David Anthony]


Sleigh Bells, Jessica Rabbit

Three years after the release of the group’s last album, Bitter Rivals, the electronic dance-pop (with just a hint of noise) duo returns with a new record. Perhaps emboldened by its legal battle with Demi Lovato, these new songs are aiming for the cheap seats, with simple, accessible beats and radio-ready… well, everything. [Alex McCown-Levy]


A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service

There was no reason to expect a new Tribe record in 2016. Its last, 1998’s The Love Movement, seemed conclusive, and the 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life showed some lingering bad blood between the group’s members. Then, in March, Phife Dawg—the Five Foot Assassin, and Q-Tip’s fleet-voiced foil—passed away after a lifelong battle with diabetes, seemingly cementing the conclusion of Tribe’s creative output. But then L.A. Reid started talking about a new record, begun before Phife’s death. Then Q-Tip did. Then, last week, a release date emerged, accompanied by a characteristically generous, hope-filled note from Tip. And for a certain type of rap fan, for whom A Tribe Called Quest is the warm center of the musical universe, an ideal pitched between smart drums and warm samples and eternally, impossibly fresh verses, it’s becoming increasingly clear: One of the greatest acts in rap history is releasing a sixth album. Eighteen years later, and not a second too soon. [Clayton Purdom]


Martha Wainwright, Goodnight City

The first solo album from Martha Wainwright since 2012 promises to enrich the catalog of raw folk songs she’s built over the last decade-plus with a live looseness and relative lightness. Always in part working with family members, Wainwright this time also invited others to write for her, and Goodnight City features contributions by the likes of author Michael Ondaatje, Beth Orton, Merrill Garbus, and Glen Hansard. Single “Around The Bend” suggests that, true to form, these songs will showcase Wainwright’s beautifully unruly vocals and her ability to inhabit any song with full-bodied emotion. [Kelsey J. Waite]


You Blew It!, Abendrot

The evolution of the Orlando pop-punk/emo hybrid You Blew It! isn’t an unprecedented one, but it’s striking all the same. After all, this is the band that named its first album Grow Up, Dude and its latest after a German word that has no English translation. That’s a perfect example of what’s changed between You Blew It!’s nascent days and now. Abendrot plays like the band’s version of Brand New’s Deja Entendu, adding more nuance, layers, and guitar effects while still writing emotionally resonant pop-punk. It’s a brave step for the band, one that shows You Blew It! is growing up, dude. [David Anthony]


November 18

Miranda Lambert, The Weight Of These Wings

Miranda Lambert has undergone all sorts of personal drama over the past two years—namely, her very public divorce from Blake Shelton—so it should be interesting to see how that comes across in her latest solo effort, the hokily titled The Weight Of These Wings. If first single “Vice” is any indication, Lambert is still full of piss and vinegar, though maybe a little more war-worn than she was on previous material. [Marah Eakin]


Bruno Mars, 24K Magic

A master of spectacle, Bruno Mars has never done anything by half measures. That appears to be the case with his new record, 24K Magic, which boasts a massive band, huge production, and a music video that finds Mars and a buddy riding jet skis through the Bellagio fountains. It would be ridiculous if Mars weren’t so darn charming, but he is, and so it’s best to just give into his total domination of the rest of 2016 now, lest you find yourself begrudgingly toe-tapping along come December. [Marah Eakin]


Metallica, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

2008’s Death Magnetic wasn’t some triumphant return to form for the biggest of the Big Four, but it did get them out from under the ruinous influence of Bob Rock, the man who helped sand down the band’s thrash glory into clunky radio bait. For its 10th studio album, Metallica reunites with the Magnetic producing team of Rick Rubin and Greg Fidelman, and early singles “Hardwired” and “Moth Into Flame” suggest at least an attempt to approximate the spirit of the Master Of Puppets heyday. A true creative rebirth is probably impossible, but if any of these songs sound bearable sandwiched between “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Battery” on the inevitable world tour, we’ll call Hardwired…To Self-Destruct a success. [A.A. Dowd]


Thee Oh Sees, An Odd Entrances


Keeping pace with their prolific output, Thee Oh Sees follow up this summer’s A Weird Exits with the similarly ungrammatically titled companion album An Odd Entrances. Album single “The Poem,” not unlike “Holy Smoke” from 2015’s Mutilator Defeated At Last, is a gentle comedown from the San Francisco band’s usual psych-rock drone and yelping climaxes. It’s three minutes of poetic, pastoral imagery—all whispering reeds and dark forests—laid atop dreamy, strings-laden folk. We can’t imagine an entire album of such ’60s quietude, but given the frenetic Thee Oh Sees’ track record, we won’t have to. [Laura Adamczyk]

November 25

Mica Levi And Oliver Coates, Remain Calm


Remain Calm rounds out a productive year for both Mica Levi and Oliver Coates. For Levi that includes the stellar Taz And May Vids EP and the score for upcoming biopic Jackie; Coates was essential to Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool and released his celebrated sophomore album, Upstepping. Here, the Under The Skin collaborators reconvene for a record born out of an impromptu radio session where they tried fusing Levi’s electronics with Coates’ classical compositions. The album’s first release, “Barok Main,” is unsurprisingly cinematic, with synths and cello fragments washing in and overlapping in a dreamy tideland of the artists’ merged idiosyncrasies. [Kelsey J. Waite]

This month, allegedly

Beck, TBD

If lead single “Wow” is any indication, Beck’s new record could find the one-time “Loser” aiming for total pop-radio domination. (See also: Total TV commercial ubiquity.) A record that Beck told Rolling Stone was three years in the making, the new release features production work from Greg Kurstin, who’s worked with both Sia and Adele, in addition to popping up in Beck’s Sea Change touring band. In that same interview, Beck said the record was inspired by young people and infectious festival bands, with an interest in waking listeners up with “a communal, celebratory thing.” In other words, get ready for positive Beck, and start stretching for the inevitable dance parties. [Marah Eakin]


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