The Doggfather on his 10th album, his first tattoo, and his plans to become the next Oprah.
On This Addiction, Alkaline Trio strip their dark and stormy rock down to its punk roots—blood, spit, tattoos, and all.
Talk about a loose adaptation. In the classic poem The Divine Comedy, a timid poet reluctantly journeys through the nine circles of hell, while the video game version features Dante, a revenge-driven mercenary more interested in killing monsters than chronicling their suffering. Armed with a scythe he stole from Death and a holy cross, Dante fights his way through each horrific circle to confront Lucifer. His beef? Satan took the soul of his beloved Beatrice without asking. Along the way, he crosses history’s most infamous sinners, to whom he can offer absolution of their sins—or serve their last rites. While this bastardized take may send literature departments into a panic, the haunting depiction of hell and combat ripped out of God of War make it an action game worth checking out.
Past Lives may feature three members of the defunct act the Blood Brothers, but if you’re expecting fractured post-screamo you’re in for a surprise. On the band’s debut full-length, Tapestry of Webs, the four-piece transpose their sound into a more pop context without forsaking their avant-garde edge. The result is an album that’s teeming with ambitious, guitar-driven songs—such as “Past Lives”—that are as eerie as they are enchanting. While Tapestry lacks the aggression of Past Lives’ previous act, songs like the droning “K Hole” sound like a logical progression for these musical misfits. If the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a little too safe for you, Past Lives could be your new favorite act.
Ted Leo may be the hardest-working man in punk. Although his sixth full-length with the Pharmacists may not have any songs as infectious as “Me and Mia,” from his incendiary 2004 effort Shake the Sheets, it is probably his most consistent effort to date. While the album is teeming with plenty of politically motivated rock songs, The Brutalist Bricks also has sonic surprises, such as the half-time acoustic breakdown on “Bottled in Cork” and the dissonant introduction to the Elvis Costello–worthy anthem “Gimme the Wire.” “We all got a job to do, we’re gonna do it together,” Leo sings over a bed of pounding piano and tribal drums on “Woke Up Near Chelsea.” Leo’s doing his part—what about you?
With rampant cheating, broken leader boards, and poorly balanced weapons, the rough launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer mode sent some virtual soldiers AWOL. Bad Company 2 gives those mercenaries a new home. Melding its signature destructible environments with large, open maps and firepower-happy vehicles like choppers and tanks, Battlefield stresses tactics and teamwork over the haphazard running and gunning of its competitor. The popular Rush mode, which pits two teams against each other on an ever-shifting battlefield, is our favorite. Four-player teams can also tackle two new squad-based modes. Or you can go it alone in the new single-player campaign that finds the misfit B Company running, guns blazing, across the globe.
Don’t treat vodka like the invisible spirit in your liquor cabinet. It’s the most important booze in your bar.
Scotland is known for a lot of things, like its whiskey and … some other stuff we can’t recall. We do know that the country’s second most satisfying export is the indie rock act Frightened Rabbit, whose third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, proves they can transcend their own hype. From expertly crafted ballad “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” to the spacey “Foot Shooter,” the band incorporates more expansive arrangements into their already seasoned songwriting, and the ambient instrumentation on songs like “Skip the Youth” take the band’s sound to the next level. Although we’re guessing that, like a good whiskey, The Winter of Mixed Drinks is going to age well, we suggest filling up now.