There are just two weeks left in 2016, and even if most of the music world is fully in year-end mode (including us -- check out our list of the 20 best emo/punk albums of 2016 and stay tuned for more), that isn't stopping major releases like the first LOX album in 16 years. That's here of course, followed by a young '90s-loving rock band who are well worth your time.

Check out my picks below. What was your favorite release of the week?

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    The LOX - Filthy America... It's Beautiful (D-Block / Roc Nation)

    Sheek Louch, Styles P and Jadakiss started releasing music together again as The LOX in 2013 (which so far resulted in two EPs), and all of them have been active on their own too (Jadakiss is featured on one of the year's best rap albums). Now for the first time in 16 years, there's a new LOX album, Filthy America... It's Beautiful, and these guys sound as ferocious as they did in '98. The year's biggest rap comeback album, the Tribe Called Quest album, is a passing-the-torch moment, but The LOX don't sound like they give a fuck about passing the torch to anyone. Filthy America is a reminder, both in the lyrics and in how damn fun it is to listen to, what The LOX were always and are still capable of. On "What Else You Need to Know," Jada reminisces about being cool with B.I.G. IRL and brags that the streets still love him. On "Don't You Cry," Sheek holds his veteran status above the head of a younger gun. On "The Family," Jada boasts, "There haven't been nothin' like us since us." Beats from Pete Rock and DJ Premier and guest verses from Mobb Deep only further reinforce the album's dedication to golden age New York.

    The LOX aren't here to attack today's Top 40 rap though. They've got a hook from auto-tuned sing-rapper Fetty Wap on "The Agreement" and they end the album with a trap song featuring Gucci Mane. Hopefully that'll put The LOX in the hands of some new listeners who wouldn't have otherwise heard them. Still, for anyone who's a little tired of auto-tuned sing-rapping, this album hits refreshingly hard. There's not an ounce of filler, the album is over and done with in no time (it's by far their shortest LP), and nearly every verse demands your attention.

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    Spill - Top Ten (No Sleep)

    Back when the whole '90s rock revival was still kind of taking off, one of the more promising albums was Placeholder's 2013 LP I Don't Need Forgiveness. That band unfortunately broke up before ever making a followup, but singer Brandon Gepfer is now fronting Spill, who pick up right where Placeholder left off. After getting things started with an EP last year, Spill signed to the trusty No Sleep Records and they're finally putting out their debut album, Top Ten. It's a clear step up from the EP. The hooks are bigger, the band sounds tighter. And if you dig anything from Weezer to Japandroids, you're likely gonna think this is a pretty fun album. It's 10 songs in 27 minutes, and all rippers.

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