With new CDs drenching us last week and another dam about to break wide open June 5, this week's dry spell is more than welcome. There are so few new releases, in fact, that we can give some of the underdogs a little more lovin' than usual. Before we do that, though, there's some catching up to do with a little album called Double Up.
Pied in the Sky: R. Kelly has gotta be on cloud nine this week — with the competition nice and quiet, his two-CD release Double Up is bound for victory. On it you'll find a remix of "I'm a Flirt" — the song you might not have found before, since it appeared as a hidden cut on Bow Wow's LP from last year, The Price of Fame — that features T.I. and T-Pain (but not Bow Wow, natch). Those are hardly the only guests featured on Double Up: Swizz Beatz backs up Kells' claim that he's "Champ" on the first track; Snoop brings the title song to fruition by making a guest appearance on it; Nelly is "Trying to Get a Number"; Chamillionaire likes to "Get Dirty"; Usher goes after the "Same Girl"; Keyshia Cole and Polow Da Don vie to be the Pied Piper's "Best Friend"; and Kid Rock and Ludacris play the "Rock Star." Oh, and someone's "Havin' a Baby" too, apparently.
Party On, Perry: Ex-Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell is throwing a shindig of his own with his new project Satellite Party, which finally drops this week. He's going to the Extreme with Nuno Bettencourt on their Ultra Payloaded debut, with Fergie, Flea, New Order's Peter Hook and — sure, while we're at it, why not? — the late Jim Morrison also on the guest list. The song titles are consummately Farrellian: "Wish Upon a Dog Star" (Keanu 4 eva!), "Only Love, Let's Celebrate" and "Milky Ave." If that roster doesn't rock you out of orbit, WTF? renditions of songs by the Bee Gees and Rare Earth surely will.
Digging for Danzig: While we're talking weirdo covers, let's toss Danzig's out-of-left-field versions of T. Rex's "Buick McKane," David Bowie's "Cat People" and the Germs' "Caught in My Eye," all of which appear on their two-disc The Lost Tracks of Danzig. The heavy set is loaded with 26 unreleased cuts — some of which were only in demo form until Glenn Danzig recently added his unholy touch — as well as his track-by-track commentary in the liner notes. Don't miss the acoustic version of "Come to Silver," which Glenn originally wrote for Johnny Cash but wound up recording with Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell.
Even More Weirdness: As if this week's releases couldn't get any more bizarre, we also have Sleepytime Gorilla Museum to deal with — if you're into Swans or Mr. Bungle, you've found your new favorite band. Listening to the avant-garde experimentalists alone doesn't do them justice — their live shows sometimes involve scientific presentations (ran-dom!) and the band employs a 7-foot bass with piano strings, found objects from restaurant kitchens and something called the "Electric Pancreas." AS ringleader John Kane said cryptically in a recent press statement, "Nothing should be left undone which might contribute to its demise." Pre-orders of the band's new LP In Glorious Times — which features "Helpless Corpses Enactment," "Greenless Wreath" and "Salt Crown" — came with a four-color silkscreen print.
If Sleepytime need another opening act for their current tour, they should give Destructo Swarmbots a call — those loons have a new disc out this week as well. The New York collective, which has remixed Isis and Dälek in the past, is hooked on white noise and loves decimating equipment onstage. The four-year-old 'Bots chalk up four songs on their new effort Clear Light: "Banta," "Phases," "Fireberry" and "Sipping on the Fog."
Up for more wacky stuff? Try Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo, the latest mind-bender from Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. This is one of four albums O-Rod wrote and recorded while living in Amsterdam two years ago — take that, Axl! — and a song from it, "Rapid Fire Tollbooth," has cropped up repeatedly in Volta concert sets. The disc features six instruments and three tracks with vocals, and the artwork was crafted by Damon Locks of the Eternals.
There's one more experimental crew, and it's taking a more balls-to-the-wall approach: Cephalic Carnage. This week the Denver extreme-metal grinders excrete Xenosapien, which includes "Let Them So Long as They Fear," "Megacosm of the Aquaphobics" and "G.lobal O.verhaul D.evice."
Song Title of the Week:
"Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is in the Dose" from Circa Survive's On Letting Go
Cary Brothers' Who You Are
"Garden State" fans might recognize this fellow (yeah, it's just one guy) as the author of the song "Blue Eyes," which appeared on the film's soundtrack. (His songs have been featured in "Scrubs" and "Smallville" too.) Now the Los Angelino has an album all to himself, and it includes "Loneliest Girl in the World," "If You Were Here" and "The Glass Parade." Unfortunately there aren't any Zach Braff duets.
Magic Bullets' A Child but in Life Yet a Doctor in Love
Also making its debut is this San Francisco sextet, which is enamored with new wave and post-punk. The Bullets, who have toured with the Cold War Kids, are led by Philip Benson; he observes on "Heatstroke": "People refuse to make do when they lose/ Sometime they thought they'd never find again/ They refuse to remember way back when/ That something it did not belong to them." Deep stuff.
Jonathan Lukens has been around a while longer — since 1998, in fact — and he steps away from his previous synth, kraut and pop leanings with this bluesier release. Retconned's fifth album was recorded in Atlanta with Keith Vogelsong, who has his own alias (the Blue Hour), and it includes "Opposed Thumb," "Survival System Same" and "The Cars That Go Boom."
· Jason Aldean - Relentless (enhanced; Broken Bow)
· Cary Brothers - Who You Are (Procrastination/Bluhammock)
· Cephalic Carnage - Xenosapien (Relapse)
· Circa Survive - On Letting Go (Equal Vision)
· Destructo Swarmbots - Clear Light (Public Guilt)
· Juliana Hatfield & Frank Smith - Sittin' in a Tree ... (EP; Ye Olde) [Buy Now]
· The Len Price 3 - Rentacrowd (Wicked Cool)
· Gary Moore - Close as You Get (Eagle Rock)
· Magic Bullets - A Child but in Life Yet a Doctor in Love (Words on Music)
· Johnette Napolitano - Scarred (Hybrid)
· R. Kelly - Double Up (Jive) [Buy Now]
· Holly Ramos - Racehorse (Drop Dead)
· Retconned - Unhappenings (Stickfigure)
· Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo (GSL)
· Satellite Party - Ultra Payloaded (Columbia) [Buy Now]
· Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - In Glorious Times (The End)
· Jay Soto - Stay Awhile (Nu Groove)
· Richard Thompson - Sweet Warrior (Shout! Factory)
· Viarosa - Where the Killers Run (Tarnished)
· Various artists - Finest Worksongs: Athens Bands Play the Music of R.E.M. (Iron Horse)
· Various artists - "Transformers" soundtrack (Volcano/Legacy)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Herb Alpert - Rise (Shout! Factory)
· John Anderson - 2 (American Beat)
· Lou Ann Barton - Old Enough (American Beat)
· Black Oak Arkansas - Live! Mutha (American Beat)
· Danzig - The Lost Tracks of Danzig (two CDs; Megaforce)
· Ray Price - The Essential Ray Price (two CDs; Columbia/Legacy)
· The Smithereens - Green Thoughts (American Beat)
· The Spinners - Love Trippin' (American Beat)
· Russell Watson - The Voice: The Ultimate Collection (Decca)
· Zebra - No Tellin' Lies/3.V (American Beat)
· Les Claypool - "Fancy" (Prawn Song)
· Dinosaur Jr. - "Live in the Middle East" (Image)
· Steve Reich - "City Life" (Kultur)
· Paul Rodgers - "Live in Glasgow" (Eagle Vision)
· UB40 - "Live at Montreux 2002" (Eagle Vision)
· Various artists - "The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation - 2004 Induction Concerts" (SRO)
· Chris Cornell - Carry On (A&M) [Preorder]
· Marilyn Manson - Eat Me, Drink Me (Nothing) [Preorder]
· O.A.R. - Live From Madison Square Garden (two-CD set and two-DVD set; Everfine/Lava/Atlantic) [Preorder]
· Fabolous - From Nothin' to Somethin' (Def Jam) [Preorder]
· Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris [Preorder]
· Various artists - Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur
· Mandy Moore - Wild Hope (Firm) [Preorder]
· Tomahawk - Anonymous (Ipecac) [Preorder]
· White Stripes - Icky Thump (Warner Bros.) [Preorder]