New This Week: Arcade Fire, Alice Cooper, Vic Mensa, and More

Wendy Geller
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Searching for something to listen to this weekend? Yahoo Music has you covered with a rundown of some of this week’s biggest and buzzing releases, including Arcade Fire, Alice Cooper, Vic Mensa, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.

Arcade Fire, Everything Now (Columbia). Montreal indie-rockers Arcade Fire took a cynical route in this era of “fake news” by creating a much-cited fake record review for their latest. Although it’s a harsh (if fake) take on the set, the truth is, the band draw from a variety of sources on their fifth album — disco, dub synth, new wave, etc. — creating a fresh direction that is truly not half-bad.

Alice Cooper, Paranormal (earMUSIC). Cooper has long been known as the granddaddy of shock-rockers, and he continues this legacy admirably on his 27th release (and first in six years) — a set filled with an assortment of odd vignettes, dark humor, and twisted tales. Guest appearances by members of U2, ZZ Top and Alice’s original band round out the weird fun.

Vic Mensa, The Autobiography (Roc Nation). Rapper Mensa is known for his innovation, which is displayed in fine form via his song that interpolates ’90s alt-rock luminaries Weezer’s “The Good Life,” of all things. Guests Pharrell Williams, Chief Keef, The-Dream, Ty Dolla $ign, and Pusha T keep things even fresher.

Joe Nichols: Never Gets Old (Red Bow). Joe Nichols is dependable for old-fashioned country music, the kind that offers up a good dose of strong singing, strong melodies, and strong thematic lyrics. Here he doesn’t disappoint. On his ninth album, he explores life and love in a straightforward, affecting manner, with some of the best vocal work he’s done in years.

Prong, Zero Days (Steamhammer/SPV). Looking for something intense, fierce, and in your face? Look no further this week than the latest from Prong. This is their 12th release and they are nothing if not consistent, with an expected — in a good way — dependence on their blend of industrial, thrash, and hardcore.

Manchester Orchestra: A Black Mile to the Surface (Loma Vista Recordings/Concord). The band was inspired here by scoring the movie Swiss Army Man. After it, Manchester Orchestra decided to take an exploratory path to discover just what they could do in terms of stretching the boundaries. A sensory and imaginative experience overall.

Bronski Beat, The Age of Reason (UK-Cherry Red). This innovative release is a reworking of the band’s landmark 1984 debut album, The Age of Consent, plus three new songs; it features singer Stephen Granville and was produced by Ian Donaldson and Steve Bronski. This is the first disc we’ve had from them in 22 years, and it’s a nice reintroduction to the past plus a hint at their future.

Aminé: Good For You (Republic). Critically acclaimed Portland, Oregon, rapper Aminé blew away crowds with a showstopping set at Bonnaroo last month. Now he is releasing his eagerly awaited debut. As per usual for hotshots, he boasts an impressive guest list: Charlie Wilson, Nelly, Ty Dolla $ign, Kehlani, and Offset.

Herb Alpert: Music Vol. 1 (Herb Alpert Presents). Alpert is a seasoned pro, so there’s not much bad that can be said about much he attempts. His latest includes a brand-new single, “Flamingo,” as well as his welcome takes on iconic covers such as “Unforgettable,” “Cheek to Cheek,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Juiceboxxx: Freaked Out American Loser (Dangerbird). Brooklyn-based rap-funk artist Juiceboxxx keeps receiving comparisons to the iconic Beastie Boys; on this release it’s easy to see why. He’s a master at this particular retro style. Expect a few Beck references to sneak in as well.

Cage the Elephant: Unpeeled (RCA). These retro-lovin’ garage-rockers celebrate their live-show prowess with a semi-acoustic album recorded in Los Angeles, Washington, Knoxville, and Nashville. The set features 18 songs that span their career, and it adds three cover songs just for good measure.

Ben Gibbard: Bandwagonesque (Canvasback Music/Turntable Kitchen). Death Cab for Cutie singer-songwriter Ben Gibbard remakes Teenage Fanclub’s career-making 1991 album track by track — he says it’s his favorite record of all time, and it better well be, for him to take on such a project. That said, he adds a pleasant sheen of warmth to the power-pop classic without altering the soul of the work overall.