This week we're running a bit short-staffed but Joe, Ally and I still found some stuff we want you to hear if you haven't already - including Scottish synthpop darlings Chvrches, the streaming service Rdio and long-awaited new music from Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
The Bones of What You Believe - Joseph Keller
The Bones of What You Believe is the first full album by Scottish electronic band Chvrches. The band contrasts their upbeat melodies with melancholy lyrics to great effect, and there's an energy to the songs that can't be ignored. Singer Lauren Mayberry's voice cuts through you in every track. Standouts songs include We Sink, Tether, Night Sky, and Science/Visions. The standard album can be found on iTunes for $7.99, while the special edition, with bonus tracks and two music videos, is available for $10.99.
- $7.99 - Download Now
Rdio - Ally Kazmucha
Ok, it's not technically an actual media pick, but it's close enough. Rdio has been one of my go-to streaming audio services for a long time. I don't particularly care for some of Spotify's limitations, or their interface, and Rdio just better suits my needs.
I was left hoping that I could dump some of my audio subscriptions with the official version of iTunes Radio since I currently subscribe to three. Unfortunately, [my initial impressions of iTunes Radio]( aren't too much different than the beta. I didn't expect it to be a complete streaming service but I would have been happy with a compromise. I didn't even feel it was that so for now, I'll stick to trusty Rdio for a good majority of my music needs with Songza and DI.fm not far behind.
If you weren't impressed either, make sure you check out Rdio. It's free to try for 14 days.
- Free - Download Now
Unvarnished (Deluxe Edition) - Peter Cohen
It's been a long time since we've heard a full-length album from Joan Jett - 2006's Sinner was the last one. But it's worth the wait, because well, it's Joan Frickin' Jett. Unvarnished doesn't stray too far melodically from what we've expected from Jett lo these past forty years - it's straight-up three chord jangly, punky rock 'n' roll that's made Joan Jett and the Blackhearts a bona fide American rock and roll institution.
There are a few surprises here and there, like the strings on "Everybody Needs a Hero." Jett teams up with Dave Grohl for the single which has been in rotation since the summertime, "Any Weather" (Grohl is credited in the liner notes with playing "100 different instruments"). Lyrically, Jett focuses on issues like the death of her mother ("Hard to Grow Up"), offers up some biting commentary on social media and reality television, love and heartbreak, alienation.
The Deluxe Edition includes four additional tracks: "I Know What I Know," "Seriously," the demo version of "Different," and a different mix of "Any Weather."
Aw, hell. Buy it already. It's Joan Effin' Jett.
- $12.99 - Download now
So what's on your list of new music or media this week? Let me know in the comments.