TUESDAY TASTE: The Sonics! Death Cab! Check out the week's new releases

This weeks' new releases in music and DVDs features a light load on the movie side, but a seriously killer batch of great new tunes. At Tuesday Taste, we tell what's worth your time among all the options. To wit: 


I'm almost embarrassed to say that the new Van Halen live album is pretty high on my list of today's new releases of things I want to hear ASAP. Although, judging by the band's performance on Jimmy Kimmel last night, maybe that's not such a great idea. Besides, there are an insane number of highly anticipated albums arriving this week, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Lower Dens, NYC punk-turned-roots rocker Jesse Malin, Ron Sexsmith, Brit folk-rockers The Staves, William Elliott Whitmore and some dude named Ringo. Here are some others: 

Death Cab for Cutie starts life without sonic ace Chris Walla, who stayed around long enough to record their new album, Kintsugi, before leaving the band. How Ben Gibbard and Co.'s sound evolves from here remains a mystery, but the new tunes sound like primo Death Cab with a dash of Postal Service's electronic flourishes. Here's a taste of new tune "Black Sun:"

The Sonics are almost as much a legend as they are a band. The Tacoma garage-rockers hit in the mid-60s with a killer, aggressive sound that inspired some to proclaim them the first punk band. Cited regularly by Seattle's rock royalty as a major influence, the band is definitely something to be reckoned with, even in their reformed state. Here's a cut from their new album, This is the Sonics:

Wale's The Album About Nothing is one of the more unexpected rap collaborations in recent memory. Rapper Wale established a friendship with Jerry Seinfeld after sampling Seinfeld episodes on his The Mixtape About Nothing. Now he's back with the more "proper" recording, The Album About Nothing, and he got Jerry to record contributions that pop up throughout. Here's "The Body:"

Sufjan Stevens is back, creating some of the instantly engaging and intricate indie-pop that helped make his name. I'd assumed his new Carrie & Lowell album was somehow tied to the actress (it's not — it's partly about the loss of his mother Carrie), but I find with Stevens, it's best to not ask too many questions, instead leaning back and enjoying whatever he comes up with, like this tasty nugget, "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross:" 


Another pile of Oscar-bait flicks is being released to home video this week, including Benedict Cumberbatch's The Imitation Game, Reese Witherspoon walking, and walking, and walking some more in Wild, and Matthew McConaughey flying very, very far in the sprawling Interstellar

While there's a serious lack of indie flicks or reissues to recommend, this week does feature the DVD and Blu-Ray release of Silicon Valley, giving us non-HBO subscribers the chance to catch up on the Mike Judge comedy. I've only seen a couple of episodes, which were really good, and I'm mostly happy just to recommend anything that TJ Miller is involved with.  Here's a look at Silicon Valley