Should Kidz Beware of Dog?: All five DMX albums have debuted atop the Billboard albums chart, making the gravelly voiced rapper the Grand Champ of rap (as he titled his last LP). But while he edged past A Perfect Circle and Erykah Badu the last time around, he's locking horns with a wave of pint-sized pests for his latest effort, Year of the Dog, Again.
With four cuts spruced up by Swizz Beatz — plus one produced by Scott Storch ("Give 'Em What They Want") and an intro cut with Dame Grease — X also beckoned Busta Rhymes for "Come Thru (Move)," Jadakiss and Styles P. for "It's Personal," and Amerie for "Dog Love." Janyce also appears on the latter track, but she's not the only fresh Bloodline artist on the album, with Bzr Royale and Jinx also representing X's label.
DMX has some worthy teammates in his corner, but could he be toppled by a krew of karaoke-krazed kiddies? That's what indie label Razor & Tie is hoping for the 10th installment of its most successful venture ever, Kidz Bop. Being released barely five months after the latest entry, this one has the buggers brushing up Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You," Pussycat Dolls' "Stickwitu" and Nickelback's "Savin' Me" over the course of its 18 tracks.
But if the kids want to pick on competitors their own size, they've chosen the right week to bop heads. The Doodlebops — who have a TV show on Playhouse Disney and made their live debut at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus — have sketched out two DVDs and a CD for release this week, immortalizing such gems as "Wobbly Whoopsy," "Gibble Gobble," "Cauliflower" and "I Want to Be Bigger."
And there's yet another juvenile in the mix: Rachel Piña Trachtenburg, the 12-year-old brainchild (of sorts) who tours with her parents as the nomadic Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. The "Off & On Broadway" DVD captures day-in-the-life and performance footage from the group, which crafts songs out of old slides they find at random yard sales.
Spider Men: On a related note, garage pop-punkers the Pink Spiders are a little older than the aforementioned competitors, but they're fighting wrinkles with their major-label debut, Teenage Graffiti. The "You Hear It First" artists — who recently played a show at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium after a ballgame — worked with ex-Cars frontman/ Weezer production guru Ric Ocasek and pre-eminent mixer Tom Lord-Alge for the effort, which features "Saturday Nite Riot," "Little Razorblade" and "Pretend That This Is Fiction."
And Now for Something Completely Brutal: This week's remaining heavyweights will have kids, dawgs and insects alike ducking for cover. First up is Stone Sour, the Slipknot ancillary affair that puckers up with its first studio release in four years. The band's hoping for more Grammy nominations with Come What(ever) May, which features the first single "Through Glass," plus "30/30-150," "Reborn" and "Zzyzx Road."
Powerman 5000 have also been away for a while — about three years and two months — but with a new lineup and label, a rebirth could re-energize their fanbase. With guitarists Adam 12 and M.33 being replaced by former Alien Ant Farm-er Terry Corso and Johnny Heatley (Half Cocked), Spider One and the gang will surely deafen the Pink Spiders with Destroy What You Enjoy, which features "Return to the City of the Dead," "Murder" and "All My Friends Are Ghosts."
Also on the metal front, Ice-T is strapping on his armor again for Murder 4 Hire, the first album by his revived Body Count in almost a decade. T also revives his feud with the fuzz on "Invincible Gangsta," the leadoff track that features the phrase "F--- the Cops," but he also has a few things to say about "The Passion of Christ," "Dirty Bombs" and "Relationships."
Chicago's Kill Hannah keep up the violence with their Atlantic record Until There's Nothing Left of Us and the tracks "Black Poison Blood" and "Love You to Death," and if you're up for even more gore, don't miss Ollabelle's Riverside Battle Songs — which was crafted by Amy Helm, daughter of drum legend Levon Helm — the American Black Lung's ... And They Rode Their Weapons Into War and Towers of London's Blood Sweat & Towers.
Seeming violent but much more tame are Five for Fighting, which is actually just one dude: John Ondrasik. His Two Lights has already drawn some VH1 attention with "The Riddle," and while FFF are best remembered for the post-9/11 staple "Superman (It's Not Easy)" (which was actually written before those events), Ondrasik has a few things to say about the state of the nation on "Freedom Never Cries" and "Johnny America."
Song Title of the Week:
"George Romero Will Be at Our Wedding" from Showbread's Art of Reptiles
Various artists' Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited: Serge Gainsbourg is name-dropped left and right these days, but to many Americans, that's all he is: just a name. Michael Stipe, Franz Ferdinand, Cat Power and others are trying to change all that with this collection of reworked songs by the French neoclassical musician. Placebo, Tricky, the Rakes, the Kills and Marianne Faithfull also chime in on the disc, which has already been released overseas.
Poison vs. Journey reissues: The '80s titans go head-to-head this week with three and five revitalized albums, respectively. Poison's first three multiplatinum records — Flesh & Blood, Look What the Cat Dragged In and Open Up and Say ... Ahh! — arrive in 20th anniversary packages, with unreleased and rare bonus tracks. In the other corner, Journey's Departure, Escape and Greatest Hits also come with bonuses, while Infinity and Evolution are straight reissues.
TRS-80's Mystery Crash: The Chicago electro-rockers have been cranking out music for nearly 10 years — and hopping from label to label ever since — but they're hoping their music will get recognized beyond fleeting appearances in Coca-Cola and Nike commercials. The bandmembers — some of whom have been friends since high school — have also created tunes for NPR's "This American Life" and seen their songs used in "CSI."
- Peter Bradley Adams - Gather Up (High Wire/ Fontana)
- The American Black Lung - ... And They Rode Their Weapons Into War (Burning House)
- Body Count - Murder 4 Hire (Escapi)
- Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels - Mosaic (Concord)
- DMX - Year of the Dog, Again (Columbia)
Read: "DMX Signs With Columbia, Will Release Long-Delayed LP This Spring"
Buy Now: Year of the Dog Again (Sony)
- Doodlebops - Rock & Bop With the Doodlebops (Disney)
- Thomas Dybdahl - One Day You'll Dance for Me, New York City (Recall)
- Kahil El'Zabar - Deeper Soul Remix Project (two CDs; Deeper Soul)
- Five for Fighting - Two Lights (Columbia)
Buy Now: Two Lights (Columbia)
- FM Static - Critically Ashamed (Tooth & Nail)
- G. Love - Lemonade (enhanced; Brushfire)
Buy Now: Lemonade (Brushfire)
- Gasoline Heart - You Know Who You Are (Mono Vs. Stereo)
- Gisli - How About That? (Titan/ Pyramid)
- Grand Mal - Love Is the Best Con in Town (New York Night Train)
- Glenn Hughes - Music for the Divide (Frontiers)
- Kacey Jones - Kacey Jones Sings Mickey Newbury (Image)
- Kill Hannah - Until There's Nothing Left of Us (Atlantic)
Buy Now: Until There's Nothing Left of Us (Atlantic)
- Mars Lasar - Yosemite, Valley of the Giants (Gemini Sun)
- John McLaughlin - Industrial Zen (Verve)
- Monty Are I - Wall of People (Stolen Transmission)
- Messer Für Frau Müller - Triangle, Dot & Devil (AeroCCCP)
- Ollabelle - Riverside Battle Songs (Verve Forecast)
- Jeannie Ortega - No Place Like Bklyn (Hollywood)
Buy Now: No Place Like Bklyn (Hollywood)
- Kelly Joe Phelps - Tunesmith Retrofit (Rounder)
- Pink Spiders - Teenage Graffiti (Geffen)
Read: "Upstaging Everyone: That's What Pink Spiders Are All About"
Buy Now: Teenage Graffiti (Geffen)
- Powerman 5000 - Destroy What You Enjoy (DRT)
Buy Now: Destroy What You Enjoy (DRT)
- Michael Schenker - Tales of Rock'n'Roll: 25 Years Celebration (Locomotive)
- Derek Sherinian - Blood of the Snake (Inside Out)
- Showbread - Art of Reptiles (Tooth & Nail)
- Stone Sour - Come What(ever) May (Roadrunner)
Read: "Slipknot's Taylor Gearing Up For Stone Sour LP — And Tenacious D Tribute"
Buy Now: Come What(ever) May (Roadrunner)
- Towers of London - Blood Sweat & Towers (enhanced; TVT)
- TRS-80 - Mystery Crash (One Cell)
- Vaux - Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice (Outlook)
- Various artists - Kidz Bop 10 (Razor & Tie)
- Various artists - Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited (Verve Forecast)
- Various artists - "The Ant Bully" soundtrack (Varèse Sarabande)
- Various artists - "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" soundtrack (Lakeshore)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
- Audio Adrenaline - Adios: The Greatest Hits (Forefront)
- Count Basie - One O'Clock Jump: The Very Best of Count Basie (Columbia/ Legacy)
- Eddie Boyd - The Sonet Blues Story (Verve)
- Brecker Brothers - Sneakin' Up Behind You: The Very Best of the Brecker Brothers (Arista/ Legacy)
- Rosemary Clooney - Come On-A My House: The Very Best of Rosemary Clooney (Bluebird/ Legacy)
- Johnny Copeland - An Introduction to Johnny Copeland (Fuel)
- Snooks Eaglin - The Sonet Blues Story (Verve)
- Dizzy Gillespie - Night in Tunisia: The Very Best of Dizzy Gillespie (Bluebird/ Legacy)
- Daryl Hall & John Oates - The Philadelphia Years (Varèse Sarabande)
Buy Now: The Philadelphia Years (Varèse Sarabande)
- Billie Holiday - God Bless the Child: The Very Best of Billie Holiday (Columbia/ Legacy)
- Lightnin' Hopkins - An Introduction to Lightnin' Hopkins (Fuel) and The Sonet Blues Story (Verve)
- Journey - Departure, Escape, Evolution, Greatest Hits and Infinity (Columbia/ Legacy)
- Memphis Slim - The Sonet Blues Story (Verve)
- Ronnie Milsap - The Essential Ronnie Milsap (two CDs; RCA/ Legacy)
- Buck Owens - 21 #1 Hits: The Ultimate Collection (Rhino)
- Charlie Parker - Charlie Parker for Lovers (Verve)
- Poison - Flesh & Blood, Look What the Cat Dragged In and Open Up and Say ... Ahh! (Capitol)
Buy Now: Flesh & Blood, Look What the Cat Dragged In and Open Up and Say ... Ahh! (Capitol)
- Elvis Presley - Elvis: Live, Elvis: Movies and Elvis: R&B (BMG Strategic Marketing)
- Otis Rush - The Sonet Blues Story (Verve)
- J.D. Short - The Sonet Blues Story (Verve)
- Steely Dan - The Definitive Collection (Geffen)
- Sunnyland Slim - The Sonet Blues Story (Verve)
- Allen Toussaint - Life, Love and Faith and Southern Nights (Water)
- Sarah Vaughan - Send in the Clowns: The Very Best of Sarah Vaughan (Columbia/ Legacy)
- Dinah Washington - Dinah Washington for Lovers (Verve)
- Robert Pete Williams - The Sonet Blues Story (Verve)
- Sonny Boy Williamson - The Best of Sonny Boy Williamson (Fontana)
- Various artists - The Best of Classic Country '70s (Time Life)
- Various artists - Billboard #1s: The '70s (Rhino)
- Various artists - No Limit Records: Greatest Hits (Priority)
- Various artists - Rap It Up (three-CD box set; Thump)
- Chris Botti - "Chris Botti Live With Orchestra & Special Guests" (with CD; Columbia)
- Jimmy Buffett - "Live at Wrigley Field" (Bayside)
- The Clash - "Rude Boy" (Epic/ Legacy)
- Alice Cooper - "The Nightmare Returns" (Geffen)
- Dissection - "Rebirth of Dissection" (Escapi)
- Doodlebops - "Dance & Hop With the Doodlebops" and "Rock & Bop With the Doodlebops" (Lionsgate)
- Pitbull - "Mr. 305: The Pitbull Story" (Clanagan)
- Elvis Presley - "Aloha From Hawaii" and " '68 Comeback" (BMG Heritage)
- The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players - "Off & On Broadway" (Sarathan)
- Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor (Atlantic)
Preorder: Food and Liquor (Atlantic)
- Rick Ross - Port of Miami (Def Jam)
Read: "A Newcomer 10 Years In The Making: Rick Ross Gets Help From Jay-Z, Akon On First LP"
Preorder: Port of Miami (Def Jam)
- Slayer - Christ Illusion (Warner Bros.)
Preorder: Christ Illusion (Warner Bros.)
- Christina Aguilera - Back to Basics (two CDs; RCA)
Read: "Christina Makes Her Comeback Twice As Nice By Expanding Basics Into Double LP"
Preorder: Back to Basics (RCA)
- Obie Trice - Second Round's on Me (Aftermath)
Preorder: Second Round's on Me (Aftermath)
- Various artists - Snakes on a Plane: The Album (enhanced; New Line)
- Kelis - Kelis Was Here (Jive)
Read: "Kelis Preparing To Get 'Bossy' With Her Next 'Strong Kind Of Girl Record' "
Preorder: Kelis Was Here (Jive)
- Lamb of God - Sacrament (deluxe edition with DVD also available; Epic)
Read: "Lamb Of God Ease Up On Bush But Get Deep Musically On Sacrament"
Preorder: Sacrament (Epic)
- Method Man - 4:21 ... The Day After (Def Jam)
Read: "Method Man Drops Diddy, Seeks Clarity On New LP, 4:21 ... The Day After"
Preorder: 4:21 ... The Day After (Def Jam)
- Outkast - Idlewild (La Face)
Read: "Missing Outkast? They've Already Lined Up Three 'Idlewild' Singles"
Preorder: Idlewild (La Face)
- Paris Hilton - Paris (Warner Bros.)
Read: "Paris Hilton's Debut Merges Hip-Hop, Reggae, Rod Stewart"
Buy Now: Paris (Warner Bros.)