By Carlos Gomez
"Top of the World"
Due: August 14, 2012
The Ocean Beach sextet returns with their seventh studio album, releasing 21 tracks of unmistakable summer/partying/smoke-out listening.
Miles, Kyle and company deliver much of their signature blend of reggae, rock, blues and punk via ganja-enthusiast party tracks like "We Don't Wanna Go," "Ska Diddy" and the quite 'blunt' "Marijuana," featuring Jamaican reggae legend Don Carlos.
The album does include a few departures from the ordinary, like the more psychedelic, socially conscious jam "Just Thinking" (featuring Chali 2na of Jurassic 5) and the Police-ish crooning of the Springsteen cover, "I'm on Fire."
While there are stretches where songs sound a little too similar, die-hard fans will be happy to know the band stays true to form - even if their latest effort doesn't put them on top of the music world.
Catch the boys live (with 311 and special guest SOJA), August 25 at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.
"O.N.I.F.C." (Only N---- in First Class)
Due: August 28, 2012
Pittsburgh-reppin' rapper Wiz Khalifa (born Cameron Jibril Thomaz) marks his sophomore studio outing with "O.N.I.F.C."
The title may refer to the fame and success following his 2010 release, "Black and Yellow," but Khalifa makes a point of not actively seeking out another hit with his latest effort.
The new album's first single, "Work Hard Play Hard," delivers the typical braggadocio exhibited by more commercial rappers on the heels of a big hit - talk of a bigger bank account, for example - while also acknowledging what it takes to maintain wealth and avoid the myriad pitfalls that come with it.
"It's Nothin'," which features up-and-comer 2 Chainz, represents the album's pinnacle (using the term loosely) of silly, over-the-top bravado, incorporating lines like: "What my swag is, retarded. What I'm drivin', Ferrari. What I'm rockin', Armani, Gianni, Versace, huh."
One plus for Khalifa is the laundry list of collaborations he's conjured for "O.N.I.F.C.", including Pharrell, Cam'ron,
and The Weeknd.
He's also (wisely) chosen to bring back Stargate - the production duo that handled his first hit - so the new release has a good shot at being a mainstay on radio waves and dance floors this summer.
Due: August 28, 2012
Baltimore-based Dan Deacon is known for his classically-composed electronic music and engagingly intimate live shows.
On his follow-up to 2009's "Bromst," Deacon sticks to his modus operandi of the chaotic-meets-beautifully-slow-building sound.
The single "Lots" tastes like his familiar fare of frenzied percussions, progressive looping and fuzzy vocals that are sure to piss off die-hard lyric transcribers.
The standout track has got to be "True Thrush." Evoking an ethereal, Postal Service-esque feel, the track steadily climbs through nearly five minutes of mesmerizing, dreamy electro pop while Deacon's subdued vocals croon, "Spread those wings wide and take me along. Now show me the sky and tell me I'm on."