A Cosmic Effort: The stars are aligning for Busta Rhymes' new album — it's his first for Dr. Dre's Aftermath imprint and has a good chance of breathing new life into Bus' career. But the stars are also aligning on the record, what with Nas, Missy Elliott, Will.I.Am, Q-Tip, Raekwon — hell, even Stevie Wonder and the late Rick James — cropping up on there. "You Can't Hold the Torch," Rhymes declares midway through the record. Let's see if he can.
Outta Sight: Be on the lookout this week, as two of the biggest music releases hitting stores are meant for the eyes, not the ears. No Doubt's "Live in the Tragic Kingdom," which found its way into a million VHS players, reaches the DVD format bundled with unreleased home movies, more performances, backstage stuff, promo clips and a slideshow.
"Chris Brown's Journey," on the other hand, is all-new material by the R&B phenom and revolves around a 25-minute documentary featurette, rather than concert footage. Still, there is some live content — two numbers from Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards party — plus three videos (with making-of segments for each), bloopers, Easter eggs and "Krumping With Chris," wherein he busts his best moves. The bonus CD has two unissued slices — "So Glad" and a remix of "Run It" — and a software device that lets you do your best Scott Storch and remix "Gimme That."
Sonic Youth probably aren't expecting Kidz Bop-like numbers with their newest opus, Rather Ripped, which is why they've been streaming all 12 tracks for free online. The band returned to what it calls its "OG nucleus" of Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Steve Shelley and Lee Ranaldo, as fifth member Jim O'Rourke was busy studying language and film in Japan. Tracks include "Do You Believe in Rapture?," "Turquoise Boy" and "Or."
Sibling Revelry: Speaking of OGs, "We O.G.'s" is the lead single from the Reyes Brothers — the long-awaited matchup of Sen Dog and Mellow Man Ace. That tune features fellow West Coasters Snoop Dogg and Warren G, while the rest of Ghetto Therapy hosts two Bishops — Lamont and Don Magic Juan — plus Sen's Cypress Hill teammate, B Real.
Also showing signs of brotherly love are Aron and Robert Mardo, whose band goes by their last name. The group's second outing, The New Gun, showcases the unit's new keyboardist and guitarist, but the deaths of nine people close to the group in one month made "The Healing" undeniably grim.
Guitarist Mato Nanji is taking a different approach: While he originally made his band Indigenous a family effort, he's since given his siblings the boot so he can focus entirely on the undertaking himself. The American Indian singer/songwriter did co-write "The Way You Shake" with his sister Wanbdi, but he left the production duties to Steve Fishell (Willie Nelson, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band).
Beyond the Stereo: Alas, a handful of this week's releases might actually make you leave your bedroom. Jam titans Widespread Panic are playing their new LP, Earth to America, in its entirety at a free show at New York's Irving Plaza on Tuesday night (June 13). While 100,000 people showed up for the band's 1998 CD release party, expect 1,000 or so of the Panic faithful to help celebrate the band's 20th anniversary.
John Fogerty will drive some fans to cineplexes Tuesday, as the release of his "The Long Road Home in Concert" DVD is being celebrated with one-night-only theatrical showings in eight major cities. Speaking of which, Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" DVD, which sold a fair number of tickets earlier this year, hits the shelves in double-disc form this week.
And so-called "multimedia art-punk terrorists" the Residents are forcing you to get off your couch if you're interested in their River of Crime project, a series of recordings that are only available at Virgin Megastores, Cordless.com or New York's Museum of Modern Art. Modeled after true-crime radio broadcasts, the five episodes were previously available online in serial form.
Spotted: Gwen Stefani sweetening up "All Nighter" on Together as One by reggae hero Elan of the Wailers; Motion City Soundtrack, Plain White T's, Nightmare of You and other pop-punk newcomers giving it up for their favorite caped hero on the Sounds of Superman compilation; Eddie Vedder, Ani DiFranco and Steve Earle showing their mugs in the bonus video content that accompanies the "Dead Man Walking" soundtrack reissue; Replacements Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars coming back together to record their first new material in 16 years for Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements; MF Grimm and Angelo from Fishbone hopping onto Krak Attack by underground hip-hop bizarro CX Kidtronik; Origin drummer John Longstreth hitting the toms on Skinless' brutal Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead; and Fountains of Wayne guitarist Jody Porter adding licks to Life in the Shade, the second album by Brookville, the latest venture of Ivy's Andy Chase.
Song Title of the Week:
"Pudgy Young Blondes With Lobotomy Eyes" from Zao's The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here
Regina Spektor's Begin to Hope: She's made a name for herself by touring with the Strokes, lending her voice to an mtvU commercial and spelling her last name slightly differently than a certain embattled record producer, but will the anti-folk antihero be able to overcome her nemesis, black-metal wizards Spektr? Their Near Death Experience drops this week as well, but expect Spektor's Begin to Hope — limited versions of which boast a five-track bonus disc — to win out.
The Futureheads' News and Tributes: Hurry, 'Heads heads, as only the initial pressings of the U.K. breakout band's second LP will have three bonus tracks that previously appeared on its Area EP. Producer Ben Hillier (Depeche Mode, Blur) holed up with the quartet in his Scarborough studio, where they crafted "Return of the Berserker," "Worry About It Later" and "Favours for Favours."
Final Fantasy's He Poos Clouds: Sometimes the track list just says it all, like this roster by Toronto's very own one-man orchestra. Each song is supposed to correlate with a level in "Dungeons & Dragons," so test your skills accordingly: "Arctic Circle," "He Poos Clouds," "This Lamb Sells Condos," "If I Were a Carp," "I'm Afraid of Japan," "Song Song Song," "Many Lives 49 LP," "Do You Love" and "Pooka Sings."
- The Acacia Strain - The Dead Walk (Prosthetic)
- Tony Allen - Lagos No Shaking (Honest Jons/ Astralwerks)
- The Alarm - Under Attack (enhanced; Eleven Thirty)
- Antler - Nothing That a Bullet Couldn't Cure (Small Stone)
- The Bleeding Alarm - Beauty in Destruction (Immortal)
- Brookville - Life in the Shade (Unfiltered)
- Sam Bush - Laps in Seven (Sugar Hill)
- Busta Rhymes - The Big Bang (Aftermath)
Read: "Busta Making An Even Bigger Bang With Em, ODB, Neptunes, Rick James"
Buy Now: The Big Bang (Aftermath)
- Regina Carter - I'll Be Seeing You: A Sentimental Journey (Verve)
- Codetalkers - Now (Collard Green)
- Compton's Most Wanted with MC Eiht - Music to Gang Bang (enhanced; Thump)
- CX Kidtronik - Krak Attack (Sound Ink)
- Dabrye - Two/ Three (Ghostly)
- Jamie Davis - It's a Good Thing (with DVD; Unity)
- Dropping Daylight - Brace Yourself (Octone)
- Elan - Together as One (Interscope)
- Every Time I Die - Gutter Phenomenon (with bonus DVD; Ferret)
- Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds (Tomlab)
- First Nation - First Nation (Paw Tracks)
- Foundry Field Recordings - Prompts/ Miscues (Emergency Umbrella)
- Frankie J - Un Nuevo Día (Columbia)
Buy Now: Un Nuevo Día (Columbia)
- Futureheads - News and Tributes (limited edition also available; Vagrant)
Buy Now: News and Tributes (Vagrant)
- The Handsome Family - Last Days of Wonder (Carrot Top)
- Hot Chip - The Warning (DFA/ Astralwerks)
- Glenn Hughes - Music for the Divide (Frontiers)
- Indigenous - Chasing the Sun (Vanguard)
- Nicki Jaine - Nicki Jaine Live (self-release)
- Billy Joel - 12 Gardens Live (two CDs; Columbia)
Buy Now: 12 Gardens Live (Columbia)
- Etta Jones - Don't Go to Strangers (Prestige)
- Keb' Mo' - Suitcase (Epic)
- Dayna Kurtz - Another Black Feather (Kismet)
- Blaine Larsen - Rockin' You Tonight (BNA)
- Lil Weavah - Underground Music (BCD)
- Mardo - New Gun (House of Restitution)
- The Del McCoury Band - The Promised Land (McCourey Music)
- Allison Moorer - Getting Somewhere (Sugar Hill)
- Morning 40 Federation - Ticonderoga (M80)
- Mr. Lif - Mo' Mega (Definitive Jux)
- The Playwrights - English Self Storage (Sink and Stove)
- Priestess - Hello Master (Red Ink)
- Joshua Radin - We Were Here (Columbia)
- The Residents - River of Crime (Cordless)
- Reyes Bros - Ghetto Therapy (Lightyear)
- Roses Are Red - What Became of Me (Trustkill)
- Satyricon - Now, Diabolical (enhanced; Century Media)
- Shadows Fall - Fallout From the War (Century Media)
Buy Now: Fallout From the War (Century Media)
- Skinless - Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead (Relapse)
- Small Sins - Small Sins (Astralwerks)
- Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped (Geffen)
Buy Now: Rather Ripped (Geffen)
- Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope (two-CD limited-edition version also available; Sire/ London/ Rhino)
Buy Now: Begin to Hope (Geffen)
- Spektr - The Near Death Experience (Candlelight)
- Strays Don't Sleep - Strays Don't Sleep (Hybrid)
- Three Days Grace - One X (enhanced; Jive)
Buy Now: One X (Jive)
- The Vibration - Amarilla (Sink & Stove)
- Waking Ashland - Telescopes (enhanced; Immortal)
- Widespread Panic - Earth to America (Sanctuary)
- David Wilcox - Vista (What Are Records)
- Trent Willmon - A Little More Livin' (Sony Music Nashville)
- Zao - The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here (limited edition with bonus DVD also available; Ferret)
- Various artists - Sound of Superman (Rhino)
- Various artists - "The Break-Up" soundtrack (Hip-O)
- Various artists - "Waist Deep" soundtrack (Def Jam)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
- Yolanda Adams - Praise & Worship (Verity/ Legacy)
- Virginia Bell Armstrong - Praise & Worship (Verity/ Legacy)
- Boston - Boston and Don't Look Back (deluxe digipaks; Epic/ Legacy)
- Toni Braxton - The Collection (La Face)
Buy Now: The Collection (La Face)
- Brandi Carlile - On Tour (Red Ink)
- Twinkie Clark - Praise & Worship (Verity/ Legacy)
- Commissioned - Praise & Worship (Verity/ Legacy)
- Daryl Coley - Praise & Worship (Verity/ Legacy)
- Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - The Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Cookbook, Vol.1 (Prestige)
- Miles Davis All Stars - Walkin' (Prestige)
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Fit to Be Tied: Great Hits by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (enhanced; Blackheart)
Buy Now: Fit to Be Tied: Great Hits by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (Blackheart)
- Jerry Lee Lewis - Legends of American Music: Jerry Lee Lewis - A Half Century of Hits (three-CD box set; Time Life)
- Barry Manilow - Live (two-CD special edition; Arista/ Legacy)
- Jack McDuff - The Honeydripper (Prestige)
- The Replacements - Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements (Rhino)
Read: "Replacements — Well, Some Of Them — Reunite For New Songs"
Buy Now: Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements (Rhino)
- RuPaul - Reworked (Ruco)
- Richard Smallwood - Praise & Worship (Verity/ Legacy)
- Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend (two-CD special edition; Volcano/ Legacy)
Buy Now: Girlfriend (Volcano/ Legacy)
- Various artists - The State I'm In (Hip-O)
- Various artists - The Very Best of Praise & Worship (Verity/ Legacy)
- Various artists - "Dead Man Walking" soundtrack (special edition with DVD; Columbia/ Legacy)
- Arcturus - "Shipwrecked in Oslo" (Season Mist)
- The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - "40th Anniversary" (Classic Rock)
- Chris Brown - "Chris Brown's Journey" (with CD; Jive)
- J.J. Cale - "To Tulsa and Back: On Tour With J.J. Cale" (Time Life)
- DMX - "Ride or Die" (Allumination)
- Extreme - "Videograffitti: The Definitive DVD" (A&M)
- John Fogerty - "The Long Road Home in Concert" (Fantasy)
- The Gipsy Kings - "Live at Kenmore House in London" (Liberation Entertainment)
- Jimi Hendrix/ Otis Redding - "Jimi Plays Monterey/ Shake! Otis at Monterey: The Criterion Collection" (Criterion)
- No Doubt - "Live in the Tragic Kingdom" (Interscope)
- Rush - "Replay X 3" (three DVDs and one CD; Mercury/ Universal)
- Therion - "Celebrators of Becoming" (six DVDs; Nuclear Blast)
- UB40 - "Live" (Eagle Vision)
- Wu-Tang Clan - "Legend of the Wu-Tang: The Videos" (CMV/ Loud/ RCA/ Legacy)
- Neil Young - "Heart of Gold" (two DVDs; Paramount)
- Various artists - "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" (widescreen edition also available; Universal)
- Various artists - "Monterey Pop: The Criterion Collection" (Criterion)
- Fefe Dobson - Sunday Love (enhanced; Island)
Preorder: Sunday Love (Island)
- Nelly Furtado - Loose (Geffen)
Read: "Nelly Furtado Hooks Up With 'Distant Cousin' Timberlake, Emerges With 'Sexy' Song"
Preorder: Loose (Geffen)
- Keane - Under the Iron Sea (Interscope)
Read: "Keane Nearly Followed Breakthrough With A Breakup"
Preorder: Under the Iron Sea (Interscope)
- Madonna - I'm Going to Tell You a Secret (with DVD; Maverick)
Preorder: I'm Going to Tell You a Secret (Maverick)
- Pearl Jam - Live at Easy Street (J)
- Obie Trice - Second Round's on Me (Aftermath)
Read: "Eminem Denies Retirement Rumors; Currently Hard At Work On Obie Trice LP"
Preorder: Second Round's on Me (Aftermath)
- Björk - Surrounded (seven-DualDisc box set; Rhino)
- Dashboard Confessional - Dusk and Summer (Vagrant)
Read: "No Reggae Emo, But New Dashboard LP Owes A Lot To Jamaica"
Preorder: Dusk and Summer (Vagrant)
- Lostprophets - Liberation Transmission (Columbia)
Read: "Lostprophets Enlist Metallica Producer But Leave 'Chugga-Chugga' Metal Behind"
Preorder: Liberation Transmission (Columbia)
- Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways (Lost Highway)
- Rise Against - The Sufferer & the Witness (Geffen)
Buy Now: The Sufferer & the Witness (Geffen)
- Hans Zimmer - "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" soundtrack (Disney)