Young Jeezy’s USDA, Plus Maroon 5, Ozzy Osbourne, Stars & More, In New Releases

Also due Tuesday: Tim Armstrong, 40 Cal., Battles, Bravery, KRS-One, Used, Kraak & Smaak, H.I.M.

A few years ago — well, back in 334 B.C., actually — Alexander the Great’s Greek army defeated Persian King Darius III in the Battle of the Granicus. Now, on the Tuesday (May 22) anniversary of that feat, a fierce battalion of new releases barrel their way into stores. Lower the drawbridge — this week is going to be one serious battle royal.

Expect the most damage to be done by top generals in three genres, with Young Jeezy and his USDA crew representing the rap set, Maroon 5 suiting up (ever-spiffily) for the pop denizens, and Ozzy Osbourne rising from his coffin once again to power up the metalheads.

Here’s the battle plan:

It’s Getting Cold in Herre: Young Jeezy Presents USDA: Cold Summer is pretty much all about them — at last, Jeez Louise is getting to introduce his obligatory rap group, which also features Slick Pulla and Blood Raw. The only featured guests of note are Jadakiss and Bun B, who surface on a bonus-track remix of “Go Getta.” Other ice-cold tracks include “Corporate Thuggin’,” “Quickie” and “I Keep Tellin’ Myself.” No indication yet of which member is telling himself what.

Color Them Sadd?: At first glance, Maroon 5 don’t seem particularly thrilled to be back — their sophomore LP is led by “If I Never See Your Face Again” and also features “Not Falling Apart” and “Better That We Break.” But there are signs of hope on It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, which follows their ridiculously auspicious debut (read: four times platinum), Songs About Jane: Frontman Adam Levine — who croons, “Give me something to believe in,” on the band’s “Makes Me Wonder” single — has promised that the album is more upbeat. So what about the LP title? “It can mean whatever you want it to mean, but don’t spend too much time thinking about it,” the band said in a statement. Roger, loud and clear.

Ozzsome: Ozzy‘s studio-album sales have been slipping in recent years — 1995′s Ozzmosis went double platinum and its successor, 2004′s Down to Earth, only pushed about a million copies. But the Ozzman is packing some extra insurance this time around: Inside limited copies of his Black Rain is a ticket code that should make your entry to Ozzfest — oops, sorry, FreeFest — easier. While we’d kill to see Osbourne reprise either Michael Douglas or Andy Garcia‘s New York cop roles in a remake of the 1989 flick of the same name, we’ll be satisfied with Ozzy’s musical deluge instead. Only Joan Osbourne and her Time Life release Breakfast in Bed stand in his way.

Would They Lie to You?: The Used finally delivered their live CD/DVD package Berth in February — a year or so late — but they’re back just three months later with Lies for the Liars, their first studio effort in two and a half years. This one is padded with a bonus DVD too — well, the special edition is, at least (it has special casing and a larger booklet as well) — but has high expectations to measure up to: Its predecessor, 2004′s In Love and Death, sold more than 3 million copies. In case that isn’t enough Used goods for you, the band’s going to cough up a yet-untitled EP of Lies outtakes in the coming months.

Strange Connections: AFI, who are often mentioned in the same breath as the Used, are surreptitiously connected to a couple of releases this week. Jade Puget, who has played guitar for the band for almost a decade, helped produce the debut album by AFI tour partners the Dear & Departed. Another act hailing from Orange County, California, the Appearance, are also stepping up this week with their first effort — which was recorded with AFI producer/engineer Chris Fudurich.

Also cropping up this week — even though they don’t have any new original material out — are Metric. They chalk up a reworked version of Stars‘ “He Lied About Death” for the band’s Do You Trust Your Friends? comp, which also features Apostle of Hustle, the Dears and the Stills. Frontwoman Emily Haines is slipping out her new EP, What Is Free to a Good Home? exclusively on iTunes this week, with a CD version dropping July 24. The set features five songs that didn’t make the cut on her Knives Don’t Have Your Back debut LP, as well as a remix of the album track “Mostly Waving.” And tour pals the Death of a Party pipe up from San Francisco to christen Double Negative Records with the first album released by either party, The Rise and Fall of Scarlet City.

Who Are You?: Expect to find a few people you might know in a few places you might not expect this week. If you’re a Wolf Parade fan, don’t overlook Handsome FursPlague Park — the Vancouver, British Columbia, duo is actually WP co-founder Dan Boeckner and his fiancee. Likewise, Ramones aficionados should take a peek at Uncle Monk, the introduction to the bluegrass two-piece of the same name, which features Tommy Ramone. Fiction Plane, who churn out Left Side of the Brain, are fronted by Sting‘s son Joe Sumner, while Young James Long is actually a new disguise for underground stalwart P.W. Long — he gets a hand from Taylor Young of the Polyphonic Spree on You Ain’t Know the Man.

Elsewhere, Mike Gordon and Gordon Stone put a Phish shine on Adrienne Young‘s Room to Grow; and members of Get Up Kids, the New Amsterdams, Hot Rod Circuit and more help ex-Anniversary member Josh Berwanger with his Only Children‘s Keeper of Youth. Oh, and a couple of artists are leaving familiar folds so they can make their own solo outings: Meg Baird takes a breather from Espers to push her first opus, Dear Companion. And Tim Armstrong finally puts out his A Poet’s Life — which has been available for free online since mid-April — in CD form (with a bonus DVD so you can get your money’s worth).

Out of Sight: Deeper within the dense thicket of this week’s releases lie a handful of titles that won’t be screaming at you from the ends of the record racks. Metal spazz-out fiends the Number Twelve Looks Like You crank out a limited-edition four-track EP through Hot Topic featuring the new song “Sleeping With the Fishes, See?” Equally far-out electro-experimentalist Cex ekes out just 1,000 copies of his new Sketchi LP through Temporary Residence. Mont de Sundua — a clangy rock project courtesy My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James and members of the Insects — issue an eponymous LP that’s only available at select Think Indie consortium record stores. And if you’re into the whole multi-channel thing, Mobile Fidelity has a treat for you: The Super Audio CD version of the Pixies‘ watershed album, Surfer Rosa.

Song Title of the Week:

“Guess the Baby’s Weight” from Young KnivesWeekends and Bleak Days

Other Notables:

BattlesMirrored
After four warm-up EPs, the New York band comprising members of Tomahawk, Helmet and Don Caballero has finally mustered up the guts to put out a proper album — and The Guardian and Pitchfork have been falling head over heels for it. The band incorporates lyrics for the first time on the math-rock release, which features “Leyendecker,” “Prismism” and “Ddiamondd.”

The National‘s Boxer
Battles’ fellow New Yorkers the National are a bit further along in the game — they’re dropping their fourth album this week. The indie rockers have also been getting lots of Pitchfork love, and they primed their new material on MTV’s 24-hour “Human Giant” marathon Saturday morning. The ever-prolific Sufjan Stevens notches another album credit on the full-length, which includes “Mistaken for Strangers,” “Racing Like a Pro” and “Fake Empire.”

Boris with Michio Kurihara‘s Rainbow
After hooking up with doom-metallers SunnO))) and a fleet of their Japanese experimental-noisemaking peers, including multiple stints with Merzbow, it’s only right that Boris finally set up camp with Ghost guitarist Kurihara. The U.S. version of the album has a different closing song than the Japanese edition — we get “No Sleep Till I Become Hollow,” they got “… And, I Want.”

New Releases:

· 40 Cal. – Broken Safety 2 (Babygrande)
· Amandine – Solace in Sore Hands (Fat Cat)
· Amber Pacific – Truth in Sincerity (Hopeless)
· American Catapult – Trees of Mystery (Cooking Vinyl)
· The Appearance – Lost in Aurora (Adrenaline)
· Tim Armstrong – A Poet’s Life (with bonus DVD; Hellcat)
· Meg Baird – Dear Companion (Drag City)
· Battles – Mirrored (Warp)
· Beardfish – Sleeping in Traffic: Part One (Inside Out)
· Ben + Vesper – All of This Could Kill You (Sounds Familyre)
· Benni Hemm Hemm – Kajak (digipak; Morr)
· Bergraven – Dödsvisioner (Hydra Head)
· Birds of Avalon – Bazaar Bazaar (Volcom)
· Black Moth Super Rainbow – Dandelion Gum (Graveface)
· Boris with Michio Kurihara – Rainbow (Blue Chopsticks)
· The Bravery – The Sun and the Moon (Island) [Buy]
· Michael Brecker – Pilgrimage (Heads Up)
· Brimstone Howl – Guts of Steel (Alive)
· Carnal Forge – Testify for My Victims (Candlelight)
· Cex – Sketchi (limited to 1,000 copies; Temporary Residence)
· Chick Corea and Bèla Fleck – The Enchantment (Stretch)
· The Dear & Departed – Something Quite Peculiar (Record Collection)
· Death Before Dishonor – Count Me In (Bridge Nine)
· Ediblered – Welcome to My Bad Behavior (Select)
· Erasure – Light at the End of the World (limited edition features two bonus tracks; Mute) [Buy]
· Fiction Plane – Left Side of the Brain (Bieler Bros.)
· Foghat – Live II (Metro City)
· Funker Vogt – Aviator (limited edition comes with bonus CD: Metropolis)
· Handsome Furs – Plague Park (Sub Pop)
· Hayseed Dixie – Weapons of Grass Destruction (Cooking Vinyl)
· Hiroshima – Little Tokyo (Heads Up)
· Holly Dolly – Pretty Donkey Girl (Capitol)
· Raheem Jamal – Boombox (Brick)
· Kraak & Smaak – The Remix Sessions (two CDs; Quango)
· KRS-One and Marley Marl – Hip Hop Lives (Koch)
· Ladyhawk – Fight for Anarchy (EP; Secretly Canadian)
· Amel Larrieux – Lovely Standards (Bliss Life)
· Chris Lowe – Black Life II (The Next Think Smokin’) (Nature Sounds)
· The Maccabees – Colour It In (Geffen)
· Manes – How the World Came to an End (Candlelight)
· Marduk – Rom 5:12 (Regain)
· Maroon 5 – It Won’t Be Soon Before Long (Octone) [Buy]
Read: “Maroon 5 Back With ‘Harder’ Album After Adam Levine Gets Sick Of Partying”
· Miracle Fortress – Five Roses (Secret City)
· Mont de Sundua – Mont de Sundua (self release; only available at Think Indie consortium record stores)
· Motor – Unhuman (Mute)
· The National – Boxer (Beggars Banquet)
· Octavia Sperati – Grace Submerged (Candlelight)
· The Only Children – Keeper of Youth (Side Cho)
· Joan Osbourne – Breakfast in Bed (Time Life)
· Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain (limited copies come with Ozzfest ticket codes; Epic) [Buy]
Read: “Never Say Die: Ozzy Says He Wants To Make Another Sabbath LP”
· Judith Owen – Happy This Way (Courgette)
· Parts & Labor – Mapmaker (Jagjaguwar/Brah)
· Planet X – Quantum (Inside Out)
· Point One – Unlucky Stars (Adrenaline)
· Jean Luc Ponty & His Band – The Acatama Experience (Koch)
· Sherman Pore – For My Lady Love (Z-Entertainment)
· Reckless Tide – Helleraser (Locomotive)
· RedCloud – Hawthorne’s Most Wanted (Syntax)
· Poncho Sanchez – Raise Your Hand (Concord)
· Arturo Sandoval – Rumba Palace (Telarc)
· Shapes and Sizes – Split Lips, Winning Hips, a Shiner (Asthmatic Kitty)
· Silent Force – Walk the Earth (Locomotive)
· Stars – Do You Trust Your Friends? (Arts & Crafts)
· Suidakra – Caledonia (Locomotive)
· Paul Taylor – Ladies’ Choice (Peak)
· Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers – Solid Ice (Telarc)
· Ultra Naté – Grime Silk Thunder (Tommy Boy)
· Uncle Moe’s Space Ranch – Moe’s Town (Tone Center)
· Uncle Monk – Uncle Monk (Airday)
· USDA – Young Jeezy Presents USDA: Cold Summer (Def Jam) [Buy]
Read: “Jay-Z, Fabolous Hear Jeezy’s New Project — But When Will Xtina Holla Back?”
· The Used – Lies for the Liars (also available with DVD; Reprise) [Buy]
· Voxtrot – Voxtrot (Playlouderecordings/ Beggars Group)
· Loudon Wainwright – Strange Weirdos: Music From and Inspired by the Film “Knocked Up” (Concord)
· We Are the Fury – Venus (One Big Spark/ East West)
· Wheat – Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square (Empyrean)
· White Rabbits – Fort Nightly (Say Hey)
· Adrienne Young – Room to Grow (Addie Belle)
· Young James Long – You Ain’t Know the Man (EP; Southern)
· Hans Zimmer – “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” soundtrack (Walt Disney)
· Various artists – Just One More: A Musical Tribute to Larry Brown, a Great American Author (Bloodshot)
· Various artists – Roots Man Dub (two CDs; Heartbeat)
· Various artists – Super Cool California Soul 2 (Luv N’ Haight)
· Various artists – “La Vie en Rose” soundtrack (EMI Classics/ EMI Music Catalog Marketing)
· Various artists – “Once” soundtrack (Canvasback/ Columbia/ Sony Music Soundtrax)
· Various artists – “Wild Tigers I Have Known” soundtrack (Jnana)

Notable Reissues and Archival Material:

· The Beach Boys – The Warmth of the Sun (Capitol/EMI)
· Jeff Buckley – So Real: Songs From Jeff Buckley (Legacy)
· James Chance – Soul Exorcism Redux (Roir)
· Maynard Ferguson – The Essential Maynard Ferguson (two CDs; Columbia/Legacy)
· Benny Goodman – The Essential Benny Goodman (two CDs; Bluebird/Legacy)
· H.I.M. – Uneasy Listening Vol. 2 (Universal Republic)
· iiO – Reconstruction Time: The Best of iiO Remixed (Made)
· Lujuria – Lo Mejor De (Locomotive)
· Charles Mingus – Charles Mingus in Paris: The Complete America Session (two CDs; Sunny Side) and Tijuana Moods (RCA/Legacy)
· Modern English – Everything Is Mad (High Times)
· Nina Simone – Just Like a Woman: Nina Simone Sings Classic Songs of the ’60s (RCA/Legacy)
· Squealer A.D. – Confrontation Street (Locomotive)
· Various artists – Motown Remixed Vol. 2 (Motown)

Music DVDs:

· Elvis Costello – “The Juliet Letters” (Rhino) [Buy]
· Doro – “20 Years: A Warrior Soul” (two DVDs and one CD; Locomotive)
· Jerry Lee Lewis – “Greatest Live Performances of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s” (Time Life)

Digital Releases:

· Emily Haines – What Is Free to a Good Home? (EP)
Available on iTunes; CD digipak due July 24
· The Young Knives – Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer) (EP)

Coming Attractions:

May 29:
· Les Claypool – “Fancy” DVD (Prawn Song)
· Danzig – The Lost Tracks of Danzig (two CDs; Megaforce) [Preorder]
Read: “Glenn Danzig Preps ‘Final’ Tour, Film, Box Set And, Uh, Dolls”
· R. Kelly – Double Up (Jive) [Preorder]
Read: “New R. Kelly LP Includes Akon, Jeezy, ‘Flirt’ — But No ‘Closet’ Till July”

June 5:
· Chris Cornell – Carry On (A&M) [Preorder]
Read: “Chris Cornell Ready To Carry On As Solo Artist: ‘I’m Best In My Own World’ “
· Marilyn Manson – Eat Me, Drink Me (Nothing) [Preorder]
Read: “Marilyn Manson Reveals He Came Close To Suicide; LP ‘Was My Salvation’ “
· O.A.R. – Live From Madison Square Garden (two-CD set and two-DVD set; Everfine/Lava/Atlantic)

June 12:
· Fabolous – From Nothin’ to Somethin’ (Def Jam) [Preorder]
Read: “Fabolous’ ‘All-Stars’ Jay-Z, Jeezy, Rihanna Make LP Somethin’ To Be Reckoned With”
· Queens of the Stone Age – Era Vulgaris [Preorder]
· Various artists – Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur