[December 4, 2007] Heading to the record store? Here’s what’s new.

    Each week, we preview a handful of notable albums scheduled to hit the shelves, plus offer a full list of the current new releases.


    Aloha Light WorksAloha

    Light Works


    This lengthy seven-song EP from post-rock outfit Aloha comes as a nice little year-end gift to the band’s fans. Light Works’ title is misleading, because the EP features heavy layering of a bunch of complex elements. Included in the mix are brass horns, vintage keyboards, mallet instruments, and strangely tuned guitars. All of it was guided by Aloha’s resident studio genius, T.J. Lipple. ~John Zeiss


    Band: http://www.myspace.com/aloha

    Label: https://www.polyvinylrecords.com

    “Body Buzz” MP3: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/media/prc-147-01.mp3

    Ghostface Big Doe Rehab album coverGhostface Killah

    Big Doe Rehab

    Island/Def Jam 

    One of Jay-Z’s purported reasons for retiring in 2003 was that he felt he was recording music for the sake of it. Since his debut in 1996, he released an album each year — a rare level of productivity in today’s music industry. The "hiatus" paid off, because he returned with two of his most widely recognized records. Which makes me wonder if Pretty Toney will need to take leave soon. Since 2004 he has released at least one record per year, and with this winter’s coinciding Wu-Tang reunion, he shows no sign of slowing down. Or, perhaps Ghost has just picked up on the finer aspects of seasonal shopping and is simply flooding another winter with a bundle of product. ~Dan Nishimoto


    Artist: http://www.myspace.com/ghostface

    Label: http://www.defjam.com

    Chris Schlarb Twilight Ghost Stories album coverChris Schlarb

    Twilight & Ghost Stories

    Asthmatic Kitty

    Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty label is turning into quite the home for musical artistes. Like the founder himself, Chris Schlarb creates beautiful, symphonic compositions. Twilight & Ghost Stories is the first full-length solo album from Schlarb, formally of the avant-jazz outfit I Heart Lung. Staying with the communal vibe that abounds at Asthmatic Kitty, the record features plenty of interesting guests. Many of the label’s other artists, including Stevens himself, Liz Janes, Ray Raposa, and John Ringhofer put in contributions. So do Mick Rossi, who has played with Philip Glass; Dave Easley, who has played with Joni Mitchell; and Parker Paul, who has played with Royal Trux. All these disparate elements indicate that this will be one very engaging sound collage. ~John Zeiss


    Artist: http://www.chrisschlarb.com

    Label: http://asthmatickitty.com

    “Section I” MP3: http://asthmatickitty.com/mp3/chr….mp3

    “Section IV” MP3: http://asthmatickitty.com/mp3/chr….mp3

    NWA Straight Outta Compton album coverEazy-E: The Best of: Featuring… Eazy-E

    Mack 10: Foe Life: The Best of Mack 10

    NWA: Straight Outta Compton [20th Anniversary Edition]

    Westside Connection: The Best of: The Gangsta/The Killa/The Dope Dealer


    ‘Tis the season to fuck a ho, cap a bitch and/or slang that rock. Or, at least that’s Capitol/Priority’s nostalgic message. A generation has passed since NWA reimagined the gangster icon as the gangsta, and hindsight again proves how much has changed since. The group’s cartoonlike zeal for violence, hedonism and nihilism (which simply re-upped an age-old fascination with the underworld) has since been replaced by the Republican, self-made formality of two other noted peers, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. However, these reissues and collections offer a summary look at the seeds of today’s American Gangster. The NWA set, which also includes a live version of "Compton’s N the House" and "covers" of NWA classics by gangsta-rap illuminati like Snoop, Bone Thugs, Mack 10 and others, is accompanied by collections of NWA alumnus Eazy-E and peers Mack 10 and Angeleno supergroup Westside Connection. ~Dan Nishimoto



    Label: http://www.capitolrecords.com

    Tender Forever Wider album coverTender Forever



    Tender Forever is the musical milieu of French singer-songwriter Melanie Valera, who first made a name for herself in the French band the Bonnies and the Franco-American act Garrison Rocks. Valera’s Tender Forever music has been labeled “lo-fi R&B” and “emotional pop,” and she has toured with the likes of the Blow and Anna Oxygen. Wilder is Tender Forever’s first album for K. ~John Zeiss


    Artist: http://krecs.com/tenderforever

    Label: http://www.krecs.com

    Audio: http://www.myspace.com/tenderforever 

    Too Short Get Off the Stage album coverToo Short

    Get Off the Stage


    In 2006 hyphy music hit national headlines, and its ambassador, E-40, was set to experience his long-awaited breakthrough. Then his hyphy-informed tenth album, My Ghetto Report Card, came. And went a career-best gold. And then E-40 went. And so did hyphy. Fortunately, that other Bay Area stalwart, Too Short, didn’t get the memo. Once again, the pimp-talk pioneer trods on to his own beat and returns with his seventeenth record of hyphy-inflected beats and — what else? — more pimp talk. ~Dan Nishimoto


    Artist: http://www.tooshortworld.com

    Label: http://www.zombalabelgroup.com

    Audio: http://www.myspace.com/tooshortworld 

    Tupac Best Of album cover2Pac

    Best of 2Pac, Part 1: Thug; Best of 2Pac, Part 2: Life


    As easy as it may be to poke fun at 2Pac’s prolific posthumous output and the seemingly endless ransacking of his archives, the messianic rapper surprisingly has only one (official) greatest-hits compilation to his name. So, Interscope has re-packaged its previous two-disc Greatest Hits from 1998 as two single-disc installments, each with a "theme." Although Part 1 mostly repeats the same tracks, Part 2 adds to ‘Pac’s "legacy." Of course, there’s got to be some new tracks. So, per Chris Rock’s observation, we can be sure there’ll be a few more clues about who killed him ("It was Kevin with the Mac-11!"). ~Dan Nishimoto


    Artists: http://www.2paclegacy.com

    Label: http://www.interscope.com

    Audio: http://www.myspace.com/2pac

    *Release dates may change. E-mail brandon@prefixmag.com with corrections or additions.