This is our final Music Monday column of the year, and it includes releases through the end of 2011. We'll return with our regular weekly music updates beginning January 9, 2012.
In the meantime, check out our aggregate list of Music Critic Top 10s.
This week's new releases
Each title listed below will go on sale beginning Tuesday, December 13, unless otherwise indicated. Click on any LISTEN link to listen to a free, streaming version of the entire album (typically, available only during the week of release); streaming links go to AOL Music unless otherwise indicated. The week's most noteworthy releases are starred.
- James Blake, Love What Happened Here EP
- Carter Burwell, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, The Score
- 12/20 Common, The Dreamer / The Believer
No I.D. handles the production, and John Legend and Nas are among the guests, on the hip-hop artist's ninth studio album and first release in three years.
- Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stage Whisper - Includes previously unreleased studio tracks and live recordings
- 12/20 Guided By Voices, Let's Go Eat the Factory
The first of two planned Guided By Voices albums in 2012, Let's Go Eat the Factory is the Robert Pollard-led group's first new studio album in nearly eight years, and finds Pollard backed by the "classic" mid-1990s GBV lineup of Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, Mitch Mitchell, and Kevin Fennell. Note that the December 20 release is digital only; a CD should arrive January 17.
- Anthony Hamilton, Back to Love LISTEN
- 12/20 The Internet, Purple Naked Ladies - Debut album for Odd Future spinoff; Digital only Dec. 20; CD release is Jan. 17
- 1/3 Chris Isaak, Live in Concert / Greatest Hits: Live [Blu-ray] - Rerelease of 2005 title
- Jónsi, We Bought a Zoo OST LISTEN (Rolling Stone)
- Nero, Welcome Reality
- 12/20 Thomas Newman, The Iron Lady OST
- 1/3 Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Live [Blu-ray] - Rerelease of 2005 title
- 12/19 Radiohead, The King of Limbs, Live From The Basement [DVD/Blu-ray] - Available from Radiohead site or iTunes only; other stores in January
- 12/15 The Raveonettes, Rarities/B-Sides - Limited edition 27-track compilation
- 12/27 Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo OST [3xCD]
As they did for director David Fincher's previous film (The Social Network), Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor and collaborator Atticus Ross have provided the score for the upcoming adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, though, at three hours, the soundtrack is longer than the actual film. Already available digitally, the triple album (!) comes to CD on December 27, and it includes Led Zeppelin and Bryan Ferry covers. The early critical response has been very positive.
- 12/20 Rush, Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland [Blu-ray] - DVD version is already out
- 12/19 Mark Van Hoen, The Revenant Diary - Digital only; CD coming January 17
- Various, Please Please Please: A Tribute to the Smiths [2xCD] - Smiths covers by The Wedding Present, Doug Martsch, Tanya Donelly, Girl in a Coma, and more
- VCMG, Spock EP - New collaboration between Depeche Mode co-founders Vince Clarke and Martin Gore
- John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin OST
- 12/20 Christopher Young, The Rum Diary OST
- 12/20 Young Jeezy, TM103
Jeezy's long-delayed third (and final) LP in his Thug Motivation series finally surfaces next week. The rapper is joined by guests Jay-Z, Andre 3000, Jill Scott, T.I., Snoop Dogg, Ne-Yo, Jadakiss, and more.
- Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows OST
More streaming and downloadable new music
- Listen to a pair of brand new songs by The National, performed live on Canadian radio, at the CBC site.
- Hear two new Sinead O'Connor songs, "4th and Vine" and "Take Off Your Shoes," at Soundcloud.
- Stream "Seven Stars," a new song by Air featuring Victoria Legrand of Beach House, at NME.
- Download the new School of Seven Bells track "The Night" at Pitchfork.
- PopMatters is streaming the new Ani DiFranco track "¿Which Side Are You On?", taken from her forthcoming album of the same name.
- Hear a new Nite Jewel track, "One Second of Love," at Soundcloud.
- Grab "Stay Useless," a new track by Cloud Nothings, at Rolling Stone; it comes from their upcoming January 24 release Attack on Memory.
- One Thirty BPM is streaming a pair of unreleased tracks by The Weeknd.
- Lilacs & Champagne is a new project from members of Portland's Grails; stream their new track "Everyone, Everywhere" at Stereogum.
- Listen to "Everybody Talks," a new track by Neon Trees, at Rolling Stone.
- Rolling Stone has the new Guided by Voices track "Doughnut for a Snowman" available as a free download, while Stereogum is streaming GBV's "One, Two, Three, Four."
- Blues rockers Band of Skulls have a new album coming in February; stream the title track, "Sweet Sour," at One Thirty BPM.
- Get an MP3 of "Breaking the Yearlings," a new Shearwater track, at Stereogum.
- Listen to another cheerful Gruff Rhys holiday track, "Post Apocalypse Christmas," at Stereogum.
On TV this week (new episodes only)
- Monday 12/12: Foster the People (Leno), Noel Gallagher (Conan), The Kooks (Kimmel)
- Tuesday 12/13: Death Cab for Cutie (Kimmel), Lenny Kravitz (Leno), Wild Flag (Letterman)
- Wednesday 12/14: Common (Leno), Young Jeezy (Kimmel)
- Thursday 12/15: Dawes (Conan), Lenny Kravitz (Kimmel), My Morning Jacket (Letterman), Robin Thicke (Leno)
- Friday 12/16: Gary Clark Jr. (Letterman), Chris Cornell (Leno)
- Saturday 12/17: Michael Bublé (Saturday Night Live)
- Monday 12/19: Goo Goo Dolls (Craig Ferguson), Anthony Hamilton (Letterman), Pink Martini (Leno)
- Wednesday 12/21: Black Dub (Craig Ferguson), Johnny Mathis (Leno)
- Friday 12/23: Chris Isaak (Leno)
Recent artist and industry news
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its slate of 2012 inductees. In April, Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Small Faces/The Faces, Laura Nyro, and Donovan will officially be added to the Hall. Missing the cut were Eric B and Rakim, The Cure, Donna Summer, Joan Jett, and more. - AP
- Underworld have been selected as the music directors of the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The position will reunite the duo with director Danny Boyle, who is serving as artistic director of the ceremony.
- Would you exercise more if you had a Bon Iver workout DVD? You may have the opportunity to do so soon. - MTV Hive
- After releasing two albums, Nick Cave's Grinderman side project has called it quits. - NME
The latest music videos
Trent Reznor and Karen O, "Immigrant Song":
Fucked Up, "Turn the Season":
Major Lazer feat. The Partysquad, "Original Don":
Goldfrapp, "Yellow Halo":
Prinzhorn Dance School, "Happy In Bits":
Blitzen Trapper, "Might Find It Cheap":
Tennis, "Deep in the Woods":
Islands, "This Is Not A Song":
Foster the People, "Don't Stop (Color On The Walls)" [starring Gabourey Sidibe]:
Korallreven, "As Young As Yesterday":
Ty Segall, "Where Your Head Goes":
Matthew Dear, "Headcage":
Das Racist, "Brand New Dance":
Crystal Antlers, "Dog Days":
Kathleen Edwards, "Change the Sheets":
Young Magic, "Sparkly":
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, "Bicycle":
Holy Ghost!, "I Wanted to Tell Her" [Ministry cover]:
In the studio / coming soon
- The next album by Spiritualized will be titled Sweet Heart Sweet Light, and it arrives on March 19 in the UK and a day later in North America. - Pitchfork
- Tindersticks have announced a new album called The Something Rain for a February 21 release on Constellation; Pitchfork has more details and is streaming the album track "Medicine" (the video for which also appears above).
- Rolling Stone reports that Bruce Springsteen is nearing completion of his next album, which should arrive within a few months (and will be followed by a tour in the spring).
- Janelle Monae hopes to return with not one but two separate albums in 2012, though further details are mostly nonexistent at the moment. - Spin
- 2012 could bring a solo Jay-Z album and/or a second Throne collaboration with Kanye West. - MTV
- February 28 will bring the first album by The Dirty Three in seven years. Toward The Low Sun is also the trio's first release for new label Drag City. - Prefix
- Sleigh Bells will release their sophomore set Reign of Terror on February 14; get the tracklist at Pitchfork.
- Remember those two unreleased Radiohead tracks ("The Daily Mail" and "Staircase") that the group has been performing on TV over the past few months? An official release is finally coming via a new digital single due on December 19. - Spin
- The Stone Roses reunion has progressed to the point where the band has signed a pair of record deals (with Columbia in the U.S. and Universal worldwide), and given that the group have recently begun recording new music while rehearsing for their 2012 live return, a follow-up to 1994's Second Coming could be in the works. - NME
- Queens of the Stone Age are nearing completion of recording of their sixth album; a release is expected in early 2012. - NME
- The newly reunited Guided By Voices already have a new album, Let's Go Eat The Factory, due January 1st, but now the band has revealed that it will be followed by a second 2012 LP, to be titled Class Clown Spots A UFO. And in case you think frontman Robert Pollard is slowing down, he'll also release a solo album, Mouseman Cloud, next year. To allow enough time in the recording studio, GBV did cancel all planned 2012 live dates, however. - One Thirty BPM
- Andrew Bird's next album, Break It Yourself, arrives March 6; more info at Pitchfork.
- On February 7, Wire will release a 13-track live album, The Black Session: Paris, 10 May 2011. Prefix has the tracklist.
- British Sea Power will release a series of six EPs in the first six months of 2012 containing demo versions of newly written songs. Some of these songs will ultimately be re-recorded for inclusion on the band's next album. The first EP, BSP1, will be available on January 1, 2012 at the band's website.
- The recently married Sinead O'Connor has a new album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, planned for a February 21 release. - Rolling Stone
- Though Trent Reznor is busy scoring films these days, that doesn't mean he's done with Nine Inch Nails; NME reports that he'll spend much of next year working on new NIN material.
- Earth will return with Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II, a sequel to the 2011 album of almost the same name, on February 14. - Pitchfork
- A new Matthew Dear EP called Headcage is due January 17; Pitchfork has details and a stream of the title track (a video can be found above).
- DFA artists Prinzhorn Dance School return with their second album, Clay Class, on January 31.
- The Fresh & Onlys hope to release an LP for new label Mexican Summer in the first half of 2012. - Spin
- Stereogum interviews Rufus Wainwright about his next album, the Mark Ronson-produced Out Of The Game, which is due in the spring.
- Goldfrapp will release a 14-track singles compilation, The Singles, on February 6 in the UK; the album will contain a pair of new tracks, one of which ("Yellow Halo") already has a video that you can watch above. - NME
- Billboard reports that singer Bobby Womack is nearing completion of a new album produced by Damon Albarn with XL Recordings' Richard Russell; expect a 2012 release.
- March 6 will bring Nite Jewel's first album for Secretly Canadian, One Second of Love. - Pop & Hiss
- Jason Mraz finally looks set to release a follow-up to 2008's We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things in the first half of 2012, reports Billboard.
- Lyle Lovett's next album, Release Me, will blend covers and originals when it arrives on February 28.
- Rolling Stone reports that Rod Stewart has completed work on his first album of new material in over a decade; expect a release in the spring.
- Barry Adamson's next album is called I Will Set You Free, and is scheduled for a January 30, 2012 release.
- Next year, Fire Records will reissue 14 albums by the Jad and David Fair group Half Japanese. - Pitchfork
- Domino, meanwhile, will reissue five 1990s-era albums by Will Oldham's Palace Music (and related projects). - Pitchfork
- Are you ready for two new Michael McDonald albums? Regardless, they are happening. - Billboard
Visit Metacritic's Album Release Calendar for a full listing of upcoming release dates, updated daily.
Tours and festivals
- The Afghan Whigs will take the stage for the first time in 13 years at London's I'll Be Your Mirror festival in May. American fans will also get a chance to see the reunited band; the same festival will be held in September in New Jersey, curated by the Whigs' Greg Dulli. - Pitchfork
- Coldplay have a massive North American tour planned for the spring and summer months that will find them mostly visiting arenas, with a few exceptions (such as a pair of shows at Los Angeles' outdoor Hollywood Bowl). - Spin
- Catch Of Montreal on tour in March and April; Pitchfork has the nearly 30 dates the group has lined up so far.
- The Wedding Present have announced dates for their spring North American tour, during which the band will be performing their 1991 album Seamonsters in its entirety. More details at the official site.
- Jay-Z will host New York's Carnegie Hall's first-ever hip-hop concert series; the pair of February shows will benefit low income students. - Rolling Stone
- Danny Brown and Childish Gambino are teaming up for a North American tour beginning March 16 in Atlanta. - Prefix
- M83 are returning to North America in April, joined by I Break Horses; the schedule looks like it is set up to allow a Coachella stop. - One Thirty BPM
- Another band that looks certain to play Coachella is Neon Indian, which has a convenient West Coast break in the middle of a lengthy North American tour planned for March, April, and May. - One Thirty BPM
- Add Andrew Bird to the Coachella list as well; get the remainder of his newly announced spring dates at Pitchfork.
- Sleigh Bells have a nine-date tour of Florida with Diplo planned for February. - Pitchfork
- Maynard James Keenan will be bringing Puscifer to North American cities in February and March; Consequence of Sound has the dates.
- Singer EMA has nearly a dozen new dates scheduled for March. - Pitchfork
- The Darkness have a North American tour set for February. - Billboard
- Prefix has North American tour dates for Scotland's The Twilight Sad.
- Catch Zola Jesus in North America beginning in February. - Pitchfork
- Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty has a solo tour planned for the new year, during which he will perform and read from his new memoir, The Book of Drugs. - Pollstar
- Red Hot Chili Peppers have tacked on additional dates to their 2012 schedule. - Pollstar
- The War on Drugs have also extended their tour, with dates now stretching into April. - One Thirty BPM
- The lineup for the 2012 Noise Pop festival in San Francisco has been announced. The festival's 20th anniversary, running from February 21 to 26, will include Archers of Loaf, Craig Finn, Built to Spill, Cursive, and more. Tickets go on sale today. - Spin
- Additional artists, including Built to Spill, Metric, and the Magnetic Fields, have been added to the 2012 South by Southwest lineup. - One Thirty BPM
- A partial lineup for the June 2012 Isle of Wight festival has been revealed; headliners include Pearl Jam, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (making his first UK appearance in two decades), and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. - NME