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Tuesday Reviewsday: Paul McCartney, TLC, Bad Things and more

Chilli and T-Boz of TLC Stop By Music Choice's
Chilli and T-Boz of TLC Stop By Music Choice's "You & A" on October 14, 2013 in New York City.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Chilli and T-Boz of TLC Stop By Music Choice's
Sir Paul McCartney performs at Times Square on October 10, 2013 in New York City.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

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Now it's time for Tuesday Reviewsday our weekly new music segment. Shirley Halperin, music editor of The Hollywood Reporter, and Chris Martins, senior writer with Spin Magazine join us today.

Shirley's Picks

Artist: Paul McCartney
Album: New
Release Date: Oct. 15
Songs: “New,” “Queenie Eye 1”

At 71 years old, McCartney is not yet done blowing our minds. He’s still touring — playing both to his biggest and smallest crowds — and he’s still holding the public’s attention and fascination and he continues to put out “records” in the classic sense. 

"New" is his 16th album as a solo artist yet it has moments that feel like they could have been written in 1972. Take, for instance, the Beatle-esque charm of the title track.

That song was produced by Mark Ronson, who’s best known for his work with Amy Winehouse and for bringing back that retro-cool sound, which has been embraced by scores of pop artists, from Cee Lo Green to Bruno Mars. 

The second track also sounds like a throwback:

McCartney has explained that Queenie Eye is a Tag-like game that the neighborhood kids used to play. Paul Epworth, who worked on Adele’s "21," including “Rollin in the Deep,” produced that one and did a stellar job, but it’s the lyrics that fascinate me more. It’s almost like McCartney has to go that far back, to childhood, to find a relatable topic or some sense of normalcy. Because the last 50 years had no such thing.
Artist: Bad Things
Album: Self-titled
Release Date: Oct. 29
Songs: “Caught Inside”

Confession: I took this disc home and had only skimmed over the promotional material. What stuck out: a rock band with “choirboy backing harmonies,” that Grantland had written a fawning, in-depth feature on the band after seeing them at Lollapalooza this summer, production by Rob Schnapf, who worked with Elliott Smith and the Vines and is based here in Silver Lake. 

I listened to “Caught Inside” and it sounded good – anthemic, like a band raised on healthy helpings of Radiohead, Blur and Muse. Somehow I missed the part that said Shaun White, Olympic gold medalist for  skateboarding and snowboarding, plays lead guitar in the Bad Things. Cue: the judgment. And it’s really not fair. These guys made a radio-friendly album that nods to power pop and arena-era U2 and I can’t disparage anyone for doing that. Check out the song “Anybody” to get my drift. Shaun White’s dayjob is the half-pipe, but who says he can’t have a night shift? Classic overachiever.

Chris's Picks

Artist: TLC
Album: 20 (best of compilation)
Release Date: October 15
Songs: "Meant to Be" ; J. Cole's "Crooked Smile"

"Meant" is TLC's first new song since 2005 and is perfect TLC comfort food — an easy-to-love ballad with positive vibes. The group actually re-emerged on J. Cole's "Crooked Smile," a sweet song about body-image positivity.

TLC emerged in the early '90s and were central to the R&B movement that's now being channeled back into the musical zeitgeist. Not just folks like Frank Ocean and Miguel, but that sound been embraced in dance-pop, with artists like Katy B, Jessie Ware, & others mixing that with house music.

Artist: Luke Temple (of Here We Go Magic)
Album: Good Mood Fool
Release Date: October 15
Songs: "Florida" ; "Katie"

Luke Temple is a NYC singer/songwriter/producer with David Byrne's restless art/pop ear. He rose to indie prominence with his group Here We Go Magic, who indeed owe to Talking Heads. His new work is very soulful, also very '80s indebted, with lush synth sounds and New Age ambience.

What I like to call "Gallery Funk," a style I love that we're also hearing from artists like Ducktails, DIANA, Julia Holter, Nedelle Torrisi, and Destroyer, who kinda kicked it all off.