Jamming the Airwaves: Pearl Jam's "World Wide Suicide" has been holding strong at modern-rock radio, and with J Records ruler Clive Davis backing the band, expect big things from the group's first studio disc in four years. The once-enigmatic Eddie Vedder tears into President Bush on the new single with the lyrics "A handsome face that the president took for granted/ Writing checks that others pay," but he doesn't stop there, chewing out the administration on "Army Reserve," "Unemployable" and "Inside Job." The band's nurtured a political bent over the years, but this time people will probably be listening.
Married to the Mobb: While Pearl Jam are hoping for a rebirth after aligning themselves with a new music mogul, so are Mobb Deep with 50 Cent. In a week bristling with major rock releases, Mobb are carving out some space for beats with Blood Money, their first release for 50's G-Unit Records. Prodigy told MTV he had to shave some blasphemous lyrics off "Pearly Gates" at the label's request, but the duo did sneak a couple of unlisted tracks onto the disc: "Have a Party," featuring 50 Cent and Nate Dogg, and a remix of 50's "Outta Control" featuring Mobb Deep. In fact, the record may as well be listed as a joint release between Mobb and G-Unit, what with Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks and Young Buck all making featured appearances. And toward the end of the record — which Havoc partially devotes to his fallen brother, Todd "T.J." Muchita — they hook up with Mary J. Blige for "It's Alright."
Tool Time: Never ones to miss the opportunity for biting sarcasm, Tool may have titled their first album in almost five years 10,000 Days because of how long it's taken to crank out the thing — but, if we're splitting hairs here, it's only been a mere 1,448. While rock competitors Pearl Jam are caught up in the so-called "post-9/11 world," Tool don't seem to be, even if this is their first release since the monumental event — in classic Tool style, the record presses the compact disc up against its 80-minute mark and features darkly mystical tracks like "Jambi," "Lipan Conjuring" and "Rosetta Stoned."
Spare a Dime: Fans still mourning "Dimebag" Darrell may find some healing with the release of a CD and DVD featuring the departed Pantera guitarist, which are being released on brother/ Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul's own Big Vin Records a few weeks later than first anticipated. The title of Pantera's 1990 album, Cowboys From Hell, finds new meaning with the project Rebel Meets Rebel, which partnered reuniting Darrell, Paul and Pantera bassist Rex Brown with Willie Nelson/ George Jones songwriter David Allan Coe. It's a record, as Paul says in a press release, that Darrell once joked he hoped to put out "before the old man [Coe] kicks the bucket." The DVD "DimeVision, Vol. 1: That's the Fun I Have" is more straight-up Darrell, a visual tribute that cobbles together unseen archival concert footage with "Jackass"-style home-video antics and more.
Thursday Comes Two Days Early: Sure there are some big releases dropping this week, but what about all that scrumptious enhanced content? Well, look no further than Thursday's A City by the Light Divided, which finds the band drifting away from that emo thang and, with the addition of a permanent keyboard player, moving into broader territory. The limited-edition digipak will have some video goodies, while those who downloaded the record on iTunes got a bonus track, and the ones who shelled out for it at Tower Records were gifted with a free 7-inch.
Jewel of the Pile: Like a diamond in the rough, Jewel's sixth record, Goodbye Alice in Wonderland, may very well be drowned out by this week's louder releases. But give her some rock credit where it's due: She did re-record the LP with Green Day producer Rob Cavallo after she wasn't happy with the first go-round, even if, on "Satellite," she says rock and roll can't mend her broken heart.
Aussies Vs. Brits: This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Statute of Westminster, a measure that officially cut off most of the constitutional connections between Australia and the United Kingdom (technically it wasn't adopted until 1942). But that doesn't mean there can't be some good-natured rivalry between the commonwealth and its mother country.
And while we're on the subject of mothers, Wolfmother and their self-titled debut lead this week's pack — hardee har har — of Aussie releases. Fresh off a Coachella performance that got them some front-page notice in Sunday's edition of The Los Angeles Times, the power trio keep it feral on tracks like "Where Eagles Have Been" and "White Unicorn." Also busting out from the Land Down Under are Lostep, a Melbourne two-piece who have been enmeshed in the Global Underground DJ community but are finally stepping out with their debut, Because We Can. Decoder Ring — six musicians and a live projectionist who makes live montages with three concurrent projectors — provide the soundtrack for "Somersault," a coming-of-age movie set in New South Wales, as their first U.S. release. And singer/songwriter Audrey Auld Mezera is chiming in with In the House, a two-disc live set she recorded in Sebastopol, California, late last year with Nina Gerber.
On the other side of the world, Gomez chalk up How to Operate, their first studio effort for Dave Matthews' ATO Records, which they crafted with producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Pixies). Charlatans UK head out with the reggae-heavy Simpatico, their first U.S. release in five years. The band has said the disc was heavily influenced by Joe Strummer and Gram Parsons, and it's already cracked the charts in their homeland. Lewes singer/songwriter David Ford's I Sincerely Apologize for All the Trouble I've Caused was also released first overseas, but it's getting a major-label push in the U.S., even though Ford recorded the whole thing on his G4. English duo the Boy Least Likely To, who have been getting heavy play on Los Angeles tastemaking radio station KCRW-FM, are taking the humble route by releasing their word-of-mouth The Best Party Ever at a low price in Coalition of Independent Music Stores. It comes with a bonus disc containing two extra tunes, "Rock Upon a Porch With You" and "Grubby Little Memory." And World Party's Dumbing Up is also notable: Frontman Karl Wallinger opted to issue the LP on Seaview Records after breaking his previous label contract when he discovered the label, his former band and U.K. megastar Robbie Williams created an alternate version of his song "She's the One," which subsequently won Single of the Year at the Brit Awards.
Song Title of the Week:
"You Suck! But Your Peanut Butter Is OK" from None More Black's This Is Satire
Ministry's Rio Grande Blood: Al Jourgensen's calling the latest blast from his band "an all-out aural assault against the occupying forces of demagoguery and complacency." He dishes the anti-GW dirt on "The Great Satan," "Fear (Is Big Business)" and "Lieslieslies," enlisting comrade Jello Biafra for "Ass Clown" and, more surprisingly, a retired drill sergeant named Sergeant Major for Jourgensen's salute to soldiers, "Gangreen."
Brian Littrell's Welcome Home: The Backstreet Boy's new label isn't making many overt references to his affiliation with the boy band, instead focusing on his rebirth as a Christian artist. In a recent press release, the CEO of Provident Music Group said: "Brian [is] a forthright, sincere person of God. This is what Brian was built to do." Like-minded songs include "Grace of My Life," "Angels and Heroes" and "Jesus Loves You."
The Black Keys' Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough: Akron, Ohio's only pair of white guys playing swamp blues resurface with a six-song set devoted to their muse, the late Mississippi blues great Junior Kimbrough. Guitar/singer Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney rework their 'brough's "Work Me," "Have Mercy on Me" and "Meet Me in the City."
Roy Hargrove's Nothing Serious and the RH Factor's Distractions: Hargrove's double-dipping this week. Nothing Serious is the hard-bopper's first acoustic-jazz set in six years, and he works with a backup quintet on songs like "A Day in Vienna" and "Devil Eyes"; the RH Factor is his neo-soul group, and they run through four chapters of "Distractions," plus "Kansas City Funk" and "Bullsh--."
- Merrie Amsterburg - Clementine & Other Stories (Q Division)
- Apiary - Lost in Focus (Metal Blade)
- Andrey Dergatchev - "The Return" soundtrack (ECM)
- Jon Auer - Songs From the Year of Our Demise (Pattern 25)
- Baby Dayliner - Critics Pass Away (Brassland)
- Nik Bärtsch's Ronin - Stoa (ECM)
- Beethoven's Wig 3 - Many More Sing-Along Symphonies (Rounder)
- The Black Keys - Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough (digipak EP; Fat Possum)
- Blue Dogs - Live at Workplay (Black River)
- The Boy Least Likely To - The Best Party Ever (Too Young to Die; with bonus disc; available only at Coalition of Independent Music Stores)
- Brandtson - Hello Control (digipak; The Militia Group)
- The Charlatans UK - Simpatico (Sanctuary)
- Clear Static - Clear Static (Maverick)
- Court & Spark - Hearts (Absolutely Kosher)
- Billy Cox & Buddy Miles - The Band of Gypsys Return (Image Entertainment)
- D-Block - Mix Tape (with DVD; Koch)
- Decoder Ring - "Somersault" soundtrack (Bella Union)
- Devotchka - Curse Your Little Heart (EP; Ace Fu)
- Phil Driscoll - Drops of Praise (Koch)
- Dysrhythmia - Barriers & Passages (Relapse)
- The Elms - The Chess Hotel (Universal South)
- Enslaved - Run (Candlelight)
- Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror (Back Porch)
- First Blood - Killafornia (enhanced; Trustkill)
- David Ford - I Sincerely Apologise for All the Trouble I've Caused (Red Ink)
- Gadget - Funeral March (Relapse)
- Gomez - How We Operate (ATO)
- Roy Hargrove - Nothing Serious (Verve)
- Homeless J. - Three Seconds to Gaze (Selectric)
- Izzy - In Awe of You (Koch)
- Jewel - Goodbye Alice in Wonderland (Atlantic)
- Greg Joseph - American Diary (digipak; High Wire)
- Brian Littrell - Welcome Home (Reunion)
- Lostep - Because We Can (Global Underground)
- Rockie Lynne - Rockie Lynne (Universal South)
- Robin McKelle - Introducing Robin McKelle (Cheap Lullaby)
- Audrey Auld Mezera & Nina Gerber - In the House (two CDs; Reckless)
- Ministry - Rio Grande Blood (digipak; 13th Planet/ Megaforce)
- Mobb Deep - Blood Money (Interscope/ G-Unit)
Read: "Throwback: Mobb Deep"
- Mon Frere - Blood Sweat & Swords (Cake)
- Gary Moore - Old New Ballads Blues (Eagle)
- Greg Murray - Tymes Ten (Bus Stop)
- Marykate O'Neil - 1-800-Bankrupt (digipak; Nettwerk/ 71 Recordings)
- None More Black - This Is Satire (Fat Wreck Chords)
- Gregory Page - Love Made Me Drunk (digipak; Seedling)
- Glen Phillips - Welcome Home (digipak; High Wire)
- Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam (J)
- Glen Phillips - Mr Lemons (digipak; High Wire)
- Rebel Meets Rebel - Rebel Meets Rebel (Big Vin)
- The RH Factor - Distractions (Verve)
- Sadus - Out for Blood (Mascot)
- Scar Symmetry - Pitch Black Progress (Nuclear Blast America)
- Soil - True Self (DRT)
- Starkweather - Croatoan (Candlelight)
- Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming (digipak; Absolutely Kosher)
- Thursday - A City by the Light Divided (digipak due same day; Island)
- Andy Timmons Band - Resolution (Favored Nations)
- Tool - 10,000 Days (Volcano)
- Ralph Towner - Time Line (ECM)
- Up Bustle & Out - City Breakers: 18 Frames Per Second (Collision Cause Chap)
- The Warning - All Systems Dead (Punk Core)
- Carnie Wilson - A Mother's Gift: Lullabies From the Heart (Big 3)
- Wolfmother - Wolfmother (Interscope)
- World Party - Dumbing Up (with DVD: Seaview)
- Yyrkoon - Unhealthy Opera (Osmose)
- Zombi - Surface to Air (Relapse)
- Various artists - Before the Rise (three CDs; BCD)
- Various artists - The Royal Dan: A Tribute (Tone Center)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
- Chi-Lites - The Ultimate Chi-Lites (Brunswick)
- Eric Clapton - Guitar Legend: The Very Best of the Early Years With the Yardbirds/ The Immediate All Stars/ John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (Metro)
- Nat King Cole - The Very Best of Nat King Cole (Capitol)
- Deep Purple - Live at Montreux 1996 (Eagle)
- Manu DiBango - The Very Best of Manu DiBango: African Soul (Fontana)
- Eleven Hundred Springs - Bandwagon (Palo Duro)
- Al Green - The Belle Album: Expanded Edition (Capitol)
- Albert Hammond - Albert Hammond/ 99 Miles From L.A. (BGO)
- Hirax - Not Dead Yet (Black Devil)
- Humble Pie - The Best of the Immediate Years (Metro)
- Furry Lewis - Fourth and Beale (Fontana)
- Wes McDonald - Guest (Skybucket)
- Molly Hatchet - The Deed Is Done (Gott Discs)
- Morrison-Williams - Morrison-Williams (Palo Duro)
- Helen Reddy - The Woman I Am: The Definitive Collection (Capitol)
- Django Reinhardt - Memorial (two CDs; Empire Musicwerks)
- Roswell Rudd/ Toumani Diabate - Malicool (Fontana)
- Darryl Lee Rush - Llano Ave. (Palo Duro)
- John Stewart - An Introduction to John Stewart (Fuel)
- Taste - Taste (Fontana)
- Phil Vassar - Greatest Hits (Arista)
- Jackie Wilson - The Ultimate Jackie Wilson (Brunswick)
McHouston Baker - Mississippi Delta Dues (Fontana)
- Deep Purple - "Live at Montreux" (Eagle Vision)
- Dimebag Darrell - "DimeVision, Vol. 1: That's the Fun I Have" (Big Vin)
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer - "The Birth of a Band - Isle of Wight Festival, Saturday, August 29 1970" (Eagle Vision)
- The Four Tops - "From the Heart - 50th Anniversary Celebration" (Image Entertainment)
- Howard Jones - "20th Anniversary Greatest Hits" (Koch)
- Transatlantic - "Building the Bridge/ Live in America" (Metal Blade)
- Willowz - "See In Squares" (Sympathy for the Record Industry)
- Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere (Downtown)
- The Isley Brothers - Baby Makin' Music (Island)
- Korn - Live & Rare (Epic)
- Nick Lachey - What's Left of Me (Jive)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (two CDs; limited edition with DVD also available; Warner Bros.)
- Snow Patrol - Eyes Open (A&M)
- Ashley Parker Angel - Soundtrack to Your Life (Universal)
Buy Now: Soundtrack to Your Life (Universal)
- Cam'ron - Killa Season (limited-edition version with DVD and two bonus tracks also available; Rap-a-Lot)
Read: "Mixtape Monday: LL Cool J Stays Hungry, Cam'ron Delivers A Preview"
Buy Now: Killa Season (Rap-a-Lot)
- Hoobastank - Every Man for Himself (Island)
Read: "Hoobastank Find Inspiration For New LP In Scott Weiland's Cold Shoulder"
Buy Now: Every Man for Himself (Island)
- Christina Milian - So Amazin' (enhanced; Def Jam)
Buy Now: So Amazin' (Def Jam)
- The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers (V2/ Third Man)
Read: "Jack White: Don't Call The Raconteurs A Side Project"
- Rock Kills Kid - Are You Nervous? (Reprise)
Read: "Rock Kills Kid Bring Music From Windowless Room To Radio"
- Angels & Airwaves - We Don't Need to Whisper (Geffen)
- The Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way (Columbia)
- Pink - "Live in Europe" (La Face)
- The Walkmen - Hundred Miles Off (Record Collection)