J. Cole leads winter release line-up

With winter break approaching, we here at Laker Review won’t be able to provide you with the same weekly music reviews until the spring. However, the music world will continue on regardless. With this in mind, here are some albums to look out for during break:

Big Boi: Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

Release Date: Dec. 11

This album is the second solo effort by the former OutKast rapper. His previous album “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty,” was met with critical acclaim and strong sales, and Big Boi looks to expand upon that with his next release. The Atlanta hip-hop artist looks to capitalize on both his indie and hip-hop credibility, as the album features a diverse set of collaborators ranging from indie noise-rock band Wavves to Swedish electronic group Little Dragon to southern rap staples UGK and T.I.

The Game: Jesus Piece:

Release Date: Dec. 11

This will be The Game’s fifth studio album. It is a quick follow up to last year’s “R.E.D Album” which debuted No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 list. The album’s lead single is “Celebration,” featuring Chris Brown, Tyga, Wiz Khalifa and Lil Wayne. Hip-Hop artists Meek Mill, Kanye West, Rick Ross, Common, Two Chainz, Jamie Foxx and fellow Compton product Kendrick Lamar are also set to appear on the album.

Ra Ra Riot: Beta Love

Release Date: Jan. 22

The Syracuse indie pop band recently split ways with cellist Alexandra Lawn, and this album is expected to mark a new direction for the now-five-piece band. As indicated by the album’s first single/title track “Beta Love,” Ra Ra Riot is shifting away from the baroque-pop style of its previous albums “The Rhumb Line” and “Orchard,” and toward a more electronic synth-pop sound. The single, released earlier this month, features a synth-heavy beat and vocalist Wes Miles singing in falsetto.

J. Cole: Born Sinner

Release Date: Jan. 28

Following the release of “Miss America,” the lead single off J. Cole’s upcoming sophomore album, the South Carolina rap artist said in an interview with Billboard Magazine that he wants to use the single to change the conversation of hip-hop. Cole hopes that the single will move hip-hop toward a more aggressive form of social commentary, while acknowledging it may not be as likely to become a radio hit. He added that he wants to focus the album around multiple forms of corruption. Cole said that the release date is currently tentative, but that his goal is to have it released early in the new year.

Local Natives: Hummingbird

Release Date: Jan. 28

Two years after their debut “Guerilla Manor” took the indie music world by storm, Local Natives is back with an album that, if the lead single “Breakers” is any indication, will feature the same harmonies and focused percussion of the first album, but in a more sharp and sleek package.

The band worked hand-in-hand on the album with The National’s Aaron Dessner, who co-produced and even allowed the band to stay with him in New York City while recording. The influence of their time touring with Dessner and The National, along with Arcade Fire, can be heard in the harmonic swells and shifting dynamics of “Breakers.” The band is currently on tour to promote the album, which will be released by Frenchkiss records.