New Releases: Killers, Beck, Evanescence, Jet, Sleepy Brown & More

Also due Tuesday: Monica, Pepper, Decemberists, Sean Lennon, Kooks, Pixies, DFA Remixes: Chapter Two.

Sam’s Sons: The Killers choked four singles out of their debut, Hot Fuss, which went on to become the longest-running rock album on the Billboard top 50 in 2005 — even though it was released in June 2004. Producers Flood and Alan Moulder are together again for the first time since they worked on Smashing PumpkinsMellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and with some amusing cowboy imagery à la Muse, the Las Vegas posse is hoping to mine more gold in Sam’s Town. Songs include: “Bling (Confession of a King),” “Why Do I Keep Counting?” and “This River Is Wild.”

Beck’s Back: He’s already put out more videos for his new album than some bands put out in their entire careers, but now it’s time for Beck to finally deliver The Information. A bonus DVD that comes with copies of the Nigel Godrich-produced disc features all those videos — 15 in total, one for each track — plus stickers to help you build your own album cover. Songs include: “Strange Apparition,” “1000BPM” and “Horrible Fanfare/ Landslide/ Exoskeleton.”

Girl’s Next Door: Amy Lee has some pretty big shoes to fill — her own. Having sold more than 14 million copies worldwide of their debut, Fallen, Evanescence are probably feeling the “Weight of the World,” as one of their new songs puts it. You’ve probably already heard “Call Me When You’re Sober,” the first single from The Open Door, but keep an ear out for a string section on “Good Enough” — and don’t expect a Nirvana cover on Evanescence’s similarly titled “Lithium.”

Take Off: There’s myriad import versions of Jet‘s Shine On flying around out there. The version issued in their Australia homeland has five extra cuts — including two that appear, oddly enough, at the beginning of the track list. Japanese editions come with a different bonus cut, “Hold On,” while most territories also have a limited digipak run, which you should be able to identify by the shrink-wrap.

Don’t Sleep: He’s cropped up on some major Outkast hits over the years (“The Way You Move,” “So Fresh, So Clean”), but it’s finally time for Sleepy Brown to rouse the masses with his solo debut. Mr. Brown comes through Big Boi‘s Purple Ribbon imprint and features a guest spot from the ‘Kast member on “Margarita,” which Pharrell also supports. Outkast proper appear on the last track, “I Can’t Wait,” while other songs include “Me, My Baby & My Cadillac,” “One of Dem Nights” and “Till (Your Legs Start Shaking).”

Indie-Rock Till You Drop: This is another packed Tuesday for new releases — and one of the most rock-heavy ones in months — but it could also prove to be a watershed week for underground acts on the verge, so to speak. Here are the top 10 indie-rock releases to look for:

  • The DecemberistsThe Crane Wife: Probably the most established indie-rock band putting out new material this week, this Portland, Oregon, troupe is actually doing so on a major label: Capitol. Based on a Japanese children’s folk tale, the conceptual LP — co-produced by Death Cab for Cutie‘s Chris Walla — actually delves into dark tales of murder on songs like “You’ll Not Feel the Drowning.”
  • Various artistsThe DFA Remixes: Chapter Two: While various artists are indeed represented here — Nine Inch Nails, N.E.R.D., Hot Chip, Goldfrapp — the emphasis is clearly on the two-man combo that is Death From Above. Many of these mixes by the heralded underground duo are seeing commercial release for the first time.
  • The KooksInside In/ Inside Out: These Brighton, England, lads have already put out five singles in the U.K., before even issuing their maiden release in the U.S. This LP has already gone double-platinum in the Kooks’ homeland, and they’ve sold out four headlining tours. As Stan Lee would say, ’nuff said.
  • The DearsGang of Losers: Scrolling over to yet another part of the globe, these Montreal musicians actually put three tracks not available on the Canadian version of their LP on the U.S. edition. The band — which openly cites Serge Gainsbourg as a major influence — has shed most of the orchestral elements from 2004′s No Cities Left in favor of more basically structured songs, which include “Sinthtro,” “Ballad of Humankindness” and “There Goes My Outfit.”
  • Ad Astra Per Aspera‘s Catapult Calypso: The Lawrence, Kansas, post-punks actually infuse their songs with some Latin and roots sounds on their full-length debut, which features “Scatter Baby Spiders,” “The Romantic One” and the epic closer “Flannery’s Coming Home.” Plus it boasts one of the most colorful album covers hitting stores this week.
  • CitiesVariations: AAPA have some competition on the post-punk front in this Chapel Hill, North Carolina, gang, which is putting out a remix disc only months after issuing its debut. Ladytron put an electro touch on “Writing on the Wall,” while lesser-known acts like Free the Robots and Daedelus also do some retooling. A second remix of “A Theme” was contributed by Mike Westbrook, who got a spot on the disc after winning a contest on the Yep Roc Records Web site.
  • Thunderbirds Are Now!‘s Make History: Detroit may have had some bad news over the weekend, what with its Tigers having lost their grip on the AL Central division title, but hopefully the city will find some recompense in the latest opus from these spazz-outs. That it was produced by Enon‘s John Schmersal and mixed by Les Savy Fav‘s Syd Butler should give you an idea of what to expect: 11 tracks of odd fits and starts, burps and farts.
  • The Meeting PlacesNumbered Days: Recorded in conjunction with the Ship — an Elephant 6-like group of Los Angelinos that includes Earlimart — the band’s second album was captured by Grandaddy‘s Jim Fairchild. Blending piano and glockenspiel with kraut sounds and noise-pop, Numbered Days includes “Cardboard Robot,” “Love Like the Movies” and “Mumble.”
  • Planes Mistaken for StarsMercy: Hop over to Denver for a louder dose of rock on songs like “Killed by Killers Who Kill Each Other,” “Little Death” and “To Spit a Sparrow.” Produced by Matt Bayles of Mastodon and Isis note, the CD is also adorned with glorious artwork by Pig Destroyer collaborator Chris Taylor.
  • The Hold Steady‘s Boys and Girls in America: No, proceeds from this disc do not go toward the Boys & Girls Club — the title is actually a line from Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” — but don’t let that stop you from picking up these 11 passels of spunky rock. This CD actually serves as the masthead for BoysandGirlsinAmerica.com, an online community through which the band is encouraging fans to submit video about “Your first date to your worst date, your party fouls and your massive nights.”

Song Title of the Week:

“Melody With Balls” from Warpig‘s Warpig

Other Notables:

Pepper‘s No Shame: With their single “Your Face” figuratively blowing up at radio, the Los Angeles-via-Hawaii band is ready for its frenzied fanbase to spice up the mainstream. Recent tours with 311 and the Wailers surely planted some seeds of interest among reggae-rock aficionados, but in case that didn’t do the trick, Nick Hexum produced the effort, while No Doubt‘s Tony Kanal lends some bass parts.

Sean Lennon‘s Friendly Fire: Boasting contributions from such random guests as Jon Brion, Bijou Phillips and Cibo Matto‘s Yuka Honda, perhaps the only thing stranger about this set is the motley crew that appears on the companion DVD’s short film: Carrie Fisher, Asia Argento and Lindsay Lohan. Lennon covers Marc Bolan and conjures images of “Dead Meat” on his first album in eight years, but plays fewer instruments than he did on his solo debut, Into the Sun.

Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3‘s Olé! Tarantula: Hitch recruited one-half of R.E.M.Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey — for what he’s calling the “rockingest record I’ve made in years.” Kurt Bloch of the Fastbacks acts as engineer, while many other guests are also along for the ride: Soft Boys Morris Windsor and Kimberly Rew, plus members of Harvey Danger and Presidents of the United States of America. Those who preordered were gifted with a bonus disc with live tracks and more.

New Releases:

Notable Reissues and Archival Material:

  • Tim Buckley – The Best of Tim Buckley (Rhino)
  • Captain Beefheart – Doc at the Radar Station and Ice Cream for Crow (Astralwerks)
  • Ray Charles – Ray Charles With the Voices of Jubilation (Medialink) and Ray Sings, Basie Swings (Concord)
  • Chicago – 16 and 17 (Rhino)
  • Darkest Hour – Archives (A-F)
  • Desmond Dekker – This Is Desmond Dekker (Trojan)
  • Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame, Some Great Reward and Songs of Faith and Devotion (two-CD deluxe editions; Rhino)
    Buy Now: A Broken Frame, Some Great Reward and Songs of Faith and Devotion (Rhino)
  • Earth, Wind & Fire – In the Name of Love (Kalimba)
  • Gloria Estefan – The Essential Gloria Estefan (two CDs; Epic/Legacy)
    Buy Now: The Essential Gloria Estefan (Epic/Legacy)
  • The Future Sound of London – Teachings From the Electronic Brain (The Best of FSOL) (Astralwerks)
  • Journey – Captured, Frontiers, Raised by Radio and Trial by Fire (expanded digipaks; Columbia/Legacy)
    Buy Now: Captured, Frontiers, Raised by Radio and Trial by Fire (Columbia/Legacy)
  • John Kay & Steppenwolf – Live in London (Rainman)
  • Chris LeDoux – The Ultimate Collection (two CDs; Capitol)
  • Steve Perry – For the Love of Strange Medicine, Greatest Hits and Street Talk (expanded digipaks; Columbia/Legacy)
  • Pet Shop Boys – PopArt (two CDs; Capitol)
    Buy Now: Pop Art (Capitol)
  • Pink Floyd – Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd (two-CD special edition; Capitol)
  • Elvis Presley – Elvis Christmas (RCA/BMG)
  • Pretenders – Pretenders and Pretenders II (two-disc sets; Rhino)
    Buy Now: Pretenders and Pretenders II (Rhino)
  • Boz Scaggs – Hits! (Columbia/Legacy)
  • Sons of the Pioneers/ Roy Rodgers – The Republic Years (Varèse Sarabande)
  • Bruce Springsteen – We Shall Overcome: The Pete Seeger Sessions – American Land Edition (special edition with DVD; Columbia)
    Buy Now: We Shall Overcome: The Pete Seeger Sessions – American Land Edition (Columbia)
  • Dakota Staton – Dynamic! (Blue Note)
  • UT – In Gut’s House and Griller (Blast First/ Mute)
  • Joe Williams – A Man Ain’t Supposed to Cry (Blue Note)
  • George Winston – Ballads and Blues 1972 – The Early Recordings: Special Edition (expanded digipak) and Complete Solo Piano Recordings: 1972-2004 (10-CD box set; Windham Hill/ Legacy)
  • Various artists – Nick Jr Winter Wonderland (Nick)
  • Various artists – Paint It Black (Virgin)
  • Various artists – What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977) (four-CD box set; Rhino)
  • Various artists – Windham Hill Holiday Guitar Collection (Windham Hill/ Legacy)

Music DVDs:

  • Phil Collins – “Classic Albums: Face Value” (Eagle Vision)
  • Elvis Costello & the Imposters – “Club Date: Live in Memphis” (Eagle Vision)
  • Robert Earl Keen – “Live at the Ryman: The Greatest Show Ever Been Gave” (Koch)
  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono – “Give Peace a Song” (Hip-O)
  • Level 42 – “Live at Wembley” (Koch)
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers – “Classic Albums: Catch a Fire” (Eagle Vision)
  • Meat Loaf – “Classic Albums: Bat Out of Hell” (Eagle Vision)
  • Pat Metheny Group – “The Way Up – Live” (Eagle Vision)
  • Moe – “Live From the Fillmore” (Fat Boy)
  • Pixies – “Live at the Paradise in Boston” (Eagle Vision)
  • Pretty Ricky – “Live Concert: Live From the 305 (Volume 1)” (Atlantic)
  • Steely Dan – “Classic Albums: Aja” (Eagle Vision)
  • STS9 – “Live as Time Changes” (Sci Fidelity)
  • James Taylor – “A MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute” (Rhino)
  • U2 – “Classic Albums: The Joshua Tree” (Eagle Vision)
  • The Who – “Classic Albums: Who’s Next” (Eagle Vision)
  • Various artists – “Moments to Remember: The Golden Hits of the 50s and 60s” (Shout! Factory)

Coming Attractions:

October 10:

October 17:

October 24: