5 Albums Coming Out This Week That Don’t Suck

As fun as it is to complain about “music these days,” and how it’s all been downhill since The Chronic came out, it’s even MORE fun to listen to — wait for it — good music. Every Tuesday, a.k.a. Music Release Day, we’ll highlight five albums worth (legally) downloading or driving to the local Best Buy (lolz) for. (Banner via)

Today, we’ve got selections from Wu-Block, Alicia Keys, and more.

Upright, Love by Blue Kid

Think the cabaret stylings of Scissor Sisters without any of their camp, Upright, Love is a smoky, theatrical album that ought to appeal to Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor fans everywhere.

Wu-Block by Wu-Block

For more on the team-up of Ghostface Killah and Sheek Louch, check out the Smoking Section.

Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys

Old school is the only school, goes the message on Alicia Keys’s new album, her first since 2009’s disappointing The Element of Freedom. For the most part, Keys resists the temptations of what a pop star is supposed to have on their album in 2012; bleating dubstep and blurry dance remixes are replaced by a welcome amount of jazzy, soulful numbers punctuated by effectively bombastic anthems (assistance from Jamie xx, John Legend, and especially Maxwell helps, too.) If you’ll forgive the obviousness of the following statement: Girl on Fire never fully goes ablaze, but after a lost couple of years, at least Alicia is beginning to smoulder again.

True by Solange

Unless you’re a die-hard of all things Destiny’s Child, you’d be hard-pressed to recall Solange Knowles’ 2002 debut, Solo Star, a messy, blustering album from Beyonce’s baby sister that’s memorable only for its terrible production. Ten years later, 26-year-old Solange has ditched her last name and released True, an independent EP (out via Terrible Records, a label founded by Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear, the group she famously took her sister and Jay-Z to go see a couple of years) that’s far more adventurous and diverse than Solo Star would have anyone believe.

Solange’s voice is smaller than Beyonce’s, but she’s willing to take risks that Blue Ivy’s momma would never attempt, like on the bewitching “Losing You,” which sounds both primal and immaculately arranged. In other words: the Knowles family is too talented and MUST BE STOPPED.

Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet by Big Dipper

Quirky indie rock from four Boston-based lifers who could write an engaging power pop hook in their sleep.