New Releases: Beyonce Knowles, Black Eyed Peas, Michelle Branch, Gang Starr, Liz Phair & More

Releasing a solo album isn’t exactly a dangerous move for Destiny’s Child singer Beyoncé Knowles, whose guest star-studded debut, Dangerously in Love, was pushed forward two weeks in an effort to quash piracy. The disc features appearances by Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Luther Vandross, Sean Paul and Big Boi of Outkast.

Beyoncé isn’t the only artist this week to release a disc pumped with guest spots.Eclectic funk-hop group the Black Eyed Peas test both ends of the sonic spectrum on their second record, Elephunk, recruiting Justin Timberlake and hard rockers Papa Roach.

Former indie darling Liz Phair makes the full transition from naughty hipster to foul-mouthed Sheryl Crow wannabe on her fourth album, Liz Phair, which features lyrics such as “You feel like my favorite underwear/ And I’m slipping you on again tonight.” R&B singer Blu Cantrell, who once slipped out of her underwear for a photo session that ran in Blacktail, magazine, worked with Lil’ Kim, Fat Joe and Sean Paul on Bittersweet.

The Mars Volta’s De-Loused in the Comatorium is a fiery prog-rock concept album about a man who overdoses and slips into a coma. The group features former At the Drive-In members Cedric Bixler (vocals) and Omar Rodriguez (guitar). Another sonically extreme disc is the Locust’s Plague Soundscapes, which features 23 short and turbulent songs that may cause ear-bleeding.

Son Volt member Jay Farrar’s third solo album, Terroir Blues, pokes the gray matter and pulls the heartstrings with a mix of experimental instrumentals and alt-country laments. S.T.U.N., an energetic California political punk band whose name stands for Scream Towards the Uprising of Nonconformity, lash out at complacency on Evolution of Energy.

Now let’s take a look at what else is scrambling for your hard-earned cash.

Out Tuesday, June 24:

July 15: