British rockers Elastica top the list of this week's new rock albums with The Menace, their first album since their 1995 self-titled debut.
Also out Tuesday is an EP of rare material from hard-rockers Incubus, and a sophomore effort from (hed) planet earth, also known as (hed)pe
"Obviously, I've been through quite a lot in my life in the last four years," said Elastica singer/guitarist Justine Frischmann, who has seen her quartet lose and regain members as it evolved into a sextet over the past four years. "I think you can hear that on this record. There are a lot of mood swings. The new album embraces a much wider musical landscape and takes in a lot of the music that I've heard in the last few years. It also embraces technology as well, because I've learned to program and use a computer and use DAT players."
Songs such as "Image Change" and "My Sex" (RealAudio excerpt) highlight Elastica's newer sound, with use of keyboards and dark, ambient elements. With "Mad Dog" they exhibit the UK punk-pop that made their single "Connection" a radio hit in 1995.
Rap-rockers (hed)pe, whose following has grown after stints on Ozzfest and this summer's Tattoo the Earth tour, will release Broke, the follow-up to their 1997 debut. With the new LP, the six-piece band lightens up occasionally, as in the groove-oriented "Pac Bell" and the warm, melodic track "The Meadow."
"We're not afraid of melody like the old days, when we just wanted to come out and f--- up everybody and go to the beach," guitarist Wesstyle said, citing hip-hop and industrial rock as influences.
Singer Jahred's intense, raging vocals continue to mark the Southern California band's sound, as on album-opener "Killing Time."
Incubus' six-song EP, When Incubus Attacks, Vol. 1, includes acoustic and live versions of "Pardon Me," the single from last year's Make Yourself, as well as acoustic versions of "Make Yourself" and "Stellar," from the same album. Also on the collection is a live version of "Favorite Things," from 1997's S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and a previously unreleased studio song, "Crowded Elevator."
Sex, Art, Rock 'N' Roll
Kid Rock, Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs, Girls Against Boys' Eli Janney and funk-master George Clinton team with a lineup of adult-film stars to create the unique dance-pop collection Deep Porn. Songs such as Lordz of Brooklyn's "Titty Bar" and Black Mob Group's "Flick" feature tape-looped moaning of various porn stars melded with rapping and a musical collage.
Pop-rockers Zebrahead also capitalize on pornography to promote their second album, Playmate of the Year. The title track, also the lead single, will be distributed with a fall issue of Playboy, according to Columbia Records, and various models from the magazine will appear with the group at concerts and in-store shows.
Arty rockers Duster will release their second album, Contemporary Movement, which features a fuller pop sound than their 1998 debut, Stratosphere. The formerly murmured vocals are mixed more prominently, and the addition of a full-time drummer creates a stronger sound.
Former Twisted Sister vocalist Dee Snider will release what he is calling his final album, Don't Let the Bastards Wear You Down. The LP is a clearinghouse of songs Snider wrote but never recorded with his various bands. Songs such as "Hard Core" and "Desperado" feature upbeat hard rock with his piercing heavy-metal vocals.
Debuts From L.A. Bands
As Snider bows out, two Southern California rock bands The Killingtons and American Pearl release their first full-length albums.
The Killingtons' self-titled album comes after five years of performing extensively in the Los Angeles area with bands such as the Get Up Kids and Sunny Day Real Estate. Their only previous release, a three-song EP called American Made, featured emotional vocals over a driving bassline and explosive guitars.
American Pearl, another L.A.-area band, received national exposure with their performance at the emerging-artists stage of Woodstock '99, as well as their contribution of "Automatic" to the soundtrack to "Scream 3." The group's self-titled album features 11 sincere, emotional songs, with Kevin Runtgren singing, "I believe the sun will rise one day/ And we'll come alive and reach for something real." The band will tour as an opening act for Wind-Up labelmates Creed this fall.
Also due Tuesday are V, from prog-rockers Spock's Beard; Buffalo Tom's Asides from ... Best of Buffalo Tom; Spring Heel Jack's Disappeared; and punk-rockers the Go-Nuts' Dunk and Cover.
(Contributing Editors Mark Woodlief and Corey Moss contributed to this report.)