Welcome to our weekly look at the new DVDs and album releases, in which we try to steer you toward the awesome and away from the awful. Let's do it.
There's a lot to love for classic-rock and hard-rock fans this week. First and foremost is the reissue of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, a stone-cold classic brought to new life under the knife of Jimmy Page. Also arriving this week are new sets from Kid Rock, a live album from Rob Zombie, and some Southern swamp-blues from JJ Grey.
Here, though, are some new releases that rise to the top of the pile:
Screaming Females are a New Jersey-based punk trio who have been around for about a decade, but still seem like fresh faces on the scene. Their new album, Rose Mountain, is their fourth, and marks another leap forward into more melodic songwriting. Here's a taste:
Torche is metal with plenty of hooks, including some killer vocal harmonizing few of their peers would dare to try. Their new release, Restarter, is their fourth full-length, and its easily as aggressive and heavy as their previous releases:
Gang of Four has decades of jaunty dance-rock in their past, all of it imprinted with passionate political diatribes you might not expect from such ear candy. On their latest, What Happens Next, the Kills' Alison Mosshart joins for a few songs. Here's a taste:
Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise serves as a bit of a reboot for the rapper, who stormed the Twittersphere last September with his announcement of new management (Roc Nation) by accompanying the news with four new songs — including the massive hit “I Don’t F—- With You.” Dark Sky Paradise finishes that EP’s potent thoughts, with pristine production from Kanye West, DJ Mustard, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Da Internz. The reboot proves a success, as we are finally given 50 minutes of Sean brushing up against his full potential for his finest and most cohesive work to date (TWC). To wit:
MOVIES & TV
The big mainstream release this week is Horrible Bosses 2, the unnecessary sequel that snuck into theaters during the holidays among all the awards-show fodder. And speaking of award shows...
WHIPLASH got some nice hype out of the award season, thanks primarily to the Best Supporting Actor winner at the Academy Awards, J.K. Simmons, a man you undoubtedly recognize from myriad projects (Oz, Juno, insurance commercials). Keep an eye on co-star Miles Teller — that guy could land an Oscar himself some day (rent The Spectacular Now if you haven't seen it). Here's a taste of Whiplash:
BIG HERO 6 is another Oscar winner, this one for Best Animated Feature, and it was well-deserved (even though The LEGO Movie should have been nominated. Yes, I'm still bitter about that).