If you ever wish your favorite rock gods would just rawk out like they used to, the Hold Steady aims to satisfy. The Brooklyn, N.Y., quintet is an indie-rock sensation by championing and recreating the big, dumb sounds of the ’70s and ’80s. Their new album is more of the same.
Like Common, Mos Def or Talib Kweli, Nas occupies that murky ground between commercial hip-hop and the brainier purveyors of its better nature. On his new album, “Untitled,” the highly acclaimed rapper steers away from settling juvenile street beefs to step up his comments on the hip-hop public’s level of political engagement.