You can’t make Star Wars without John Williams.
From the bombastic opening theme to “The Imperial March,” the music of Star Wars is as iconic as the series. Star Wars: The Force Awakens stays close to the original motifs, while introducing new character themes. There are even supposedly clues to the identity of the new villain hidden in the score! –Diego Gonzalez
As Baroness work their way through the color spectrum (previous records include Red, Blue and Yellow & Green), they continue to drift further from their doomy, post-metal roots, arriving at Purple a fully fledged, proper rock band. Purple is modern metal in old school, stadium rock clothing replete with huge, anthemic choruses, lush arrangements and hooks for days. –Andee Connors
INDIE SUB OF THE WEEK
Stay away from the light!
Saint Louis deathcore droog Polterguts, besides boasting an awesome and ridiculous moniker, delivers a seriously skull crushing beatdown on his eponymous debut. It’s a grinding onslaught of gnarled chug, ribcage-rattling breakdowns and some surprisingly psychedelic filigree, which manifests in the form of strange drones and tones, squiggly looped melodies and hazy smears of atmospheric ambience. –Andee Connors
Tom Petty unearths bygone gems.
Like Nobody’s Children, this companion compilation harvests songs from 1973 – 1993 (previously only available on the Playback box). Through The Cracks features recordings from Petty’s old band Mudcrutch. “I Can’t Fight It” boasts trace elements of Petty’s power-pop tenure with Dwight Twilley. The “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” demo sounds surprisingly satisfying sans Stevie Nicks. –Eric Shea
Kyle Kinane returns with Sold Out, Suck It!
In a rare move for a comic, this EP arrives less than a year after Kinane’s latest, I Liked His Old Stuff Better. Featuring tracks cut from that album, Kinane muses on his mind-body relationship, the challenge of telling jokes about mass shootings and the boring dad stuff he does at parties. –Kelly Anneken
Sonic doom titans’ release first non-collaborative recording in six years.
Everybody wants a piece of Sunn O))) – Scott Walker, Boris, Nurse With Wound and even smoky voiced chanteuse Jesse Sykes have all worked with them in some capacity. Kannon is a guestless triptych that sounds like aging dragons moving tectonic plates deep under the permafrost of a perpetually wintry planet. –Eric Shea
Jean Grae flips her style to deliver some spacey R&B selections on the #5 EP.
Flexing her skills as a singer, our girl What? What? proves she isn’t just another MC. As the lines between hip hop and R&B continue to blur, established artists are trying something new and we love that! –J Boogie
One of our most anticipated country albums of 2015 came out at the very end of the year in newcomer Cam’s debut LP, Untamed. Her knowing smile is audible as she reminisces on past loves, good times and heartbreak. Real world sounds, modern production and her endearing twang combine to deliver new favorites, including Grammy-nominated “Burning House.” –Rachel Whitney