New albums from John Wesley Harding, Jets to Brazil and Samiam top this week’s rock releases.
On Tuesday, British folk-rocker Harding will release The Confessions of St. Ace, an album with a fuller sound and more of a pop outlook than his other recent work. Harding (born Wesley Stace) explored traditional British folk music on last year’s Trad Arr Jones.
“I’m Wrong About Everything” (RealAudio excerpt), which appeared on the soundtrack to “High Fidelity,” is typical of the songs on the new album, employing keyboards, country guitar and a chorus of backing vocalists.
The LP, recorded in Nashville and Britain, also includes guest appearances from Steve Earle, who duets with Harding on “Our Lady of the Highways,” and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, who adds vocals to “Bad Dream Baby.”
Jets to Brazil, fronted by former Jawbreaker singer Blake Schwarzenbach, will release Four Cornered Night, the follow-up to 1998’s Orange Rhyming Dictionary. The new LP showcases a mature pop-rock sound on its 13 tracks, using piano, organ and cello to enhance the guitar/bass/drums assemblage.
The songs range from the gentle “In the Summer’s When You Really Know” to the edgier “Mid-day Anonymous” and the rocking “Milk and Apples” and “Orange Rhyming Dictionary.”
Samiam will issue Astray, their follow-up to 1998’s You Are Freaking Me Out, which took several years to release because of problems with Atlantic Records. The ever-touring group enlisted producer Tim O’Heir (J. Mascis, Throwing Muses) for Astray, which will be released on the band’s new home, Hopeless Records.
Samiam guitarist Sergie Loobkoff’s ex-Knapsack bandmate Blair Shehan will issue the debut self-titled EP from his new project, the Jealous Sound, on Tuesday. The five-song disc features such tracks as the bouncy pop number “Quiet Life” and “What’s Wrong Is Everywhere,” which switches off between dreamy keyboards and crunching guitar.
German hard-rockers the Scorpions will release their collaboration the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Moment of Glory. The two teamed up earlier this year to record the 10-song LP, which features eight Scorpions hits, including “Winds of Change” and “Hurricane 2000″ (RealAudio excerpt), a reprise of their 1984 hit “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The album’s title track (RealAudio excerpt) was composed as a theme song for this summer’s Expo 2000 in Berlin.
The Sunshine Fix is the latest project of Bill Doss, frontman of pop-rockers Olivia Tremor Control. The Future History of a Sunshine Fix EP expands on the fuzz-pop sound of the Elephant 6 bands by delving into country on songs such as “Last Night I Had a Dream” and a soulful sound on “The Sounds Around You.”
Singer/guitarist Chris Lee’s self-titled debut album, with eight soulful pop-rock tunes, takes a more lyrical, introspective approach on songs such as “The Art of Self-Destruction” and “I Can’t Make Love to You Anymore,” which mixes new-wave rock with a funk bassline.
Wichita, Kan., rap-rockers Shuvel add to the list of debut albums, with Set It Off. The band’s bass-heavy songs, such as “When I Think” and the title track, include politically charged lyrics, in the style of Rage Against the Machine.
Veteran goof-punks the Vandals will release their 10th album, Look What I Almost Stepped In, and cult rock veterans Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks will release their first album in almost 25 years, Beatin’ the Heat. Hicks, once a member of San Francisco Bay Area rockers the Charlatains, features support from the likes of Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Bette Midler and Brian Setzer.
Also hitting stores Tuesday are the Teen Idols’ Full Leather Jacket, The Juliana Theory’s Emotion Is Dead, The Wisdom of Harry’s House of Binary, K.G.B.’s The Space Cadet EP, and a self-titled full-length from Caviar.