Jimmy Hoffa, head of the Teamsters Union, went missing 32 years ago Tuesday (July 31). So, in the spirit of the anniversary, here are the artists you should be keeping an eye on this week:
The Big Five:
Common's Finding Forever
For his seventh studio effort, the smooth Chicago MC partnered with the expected (Kanye West), the unexpected (Lily Allen), the ubiquitous (Will.I.Am), the hard-to-find (D'Angelo) — and even the recently passed (J Dilla). Showing even more variety, Com proves he is like no other by sampling 2Pac, Gil Scott-Heron and Mountain all over the course of one track: "The People." Other tunes include "Black Maybe," "Break My Heart" and the album-closing "Forever Begins" (shouldn't that be the first track?).
The last album the band owes Virgin Records is littered with 13 songs, including "Innocent Bystander," "Hushabye" and "B---h We Got a Problem" — which, surprisingly, didn't get the album-title honor as well. But if you're the type of Korn fan who always wants seconds, make sure you gobble up the deluxe edition — it's packed with a fold-out poster, postcards and a bonus DVD with behind-the-scenes clips and photos. Plus, if you're in need of an extra shirt after seeing the band play at the Family Values Tour, there's a tee that buyers of the deluxe edition can redeem online too.
Various artists' Kidz Bop 12
This franchise has nothing on the Now series — roughly half the installments from the latter, including the recent 25th volume, have debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart. But Kidz Bop has held its own, with its chapters often earning gold certification. This one's got Avril Lavigne ("Girlfriend"), Kelly Clarkson ("Never Again"), Maroon 5 ("Makes Me Wonder"), Daughtry ("It's Not Over" and "Home") and more.
The Starting Line's Direction
After an album on Drive-Thru and another on Geffen, the Pennsylvania pop-punk band is switching gears again with its first effort for Virgin. While frontman Kenny Vasoli has said he looked to Bob Dylan and James Brown for inspiration (cough, cough), modern-rock production pro Howard Benson took the gang under his wing for the effort, which includes "Way With Words," "Something Left to Give" and "Somebody's Gonna Miss Us."
Keith Murray's Rap-Murr-Phobia (Fear of Real Hip-Hop)
Convoluted album title aside, the vet is back in a big way this week — his fifth studio LP (and first in four years) was executive produced by Erick Sermon and features Tyrese and Junior (on the first single, "Nobody Do It Better"); plus Method Man, Redman, his Def Squad troupe and more. It could be his most beautifullest album yet.
Mandisa's True Beauty
Little more than a year after getting the boot from "American Idol," the former finalist is getting love from the Christian-music market with her first album. The set includes a rendition of gospel group Mary Mary's "Shackles (Praise You)" — Mandisa covered it on "Idol" too — as well as another gospel track, "Only the World," but True Beauty is generally being considered an R&B release.
Sean Kingston's Sean Kingston
With 50 Cent and Rihanna collaborator J.R. Rotem producing every track on this effort, you might mistake it for a rap or R&B album — but front to back, this is a pure reggae release. Hear the 17-year-old Kingston — and nephew of reggae hero Buju Banton — chilling out on "That Ain't Right," "Got No Shorty" and "Take You There."
Placebo's Extended Play '07
Chalk this one up to smart marketing: Knowing full well that many of the young fans on the Projekt Revolution tour probably aren't familiar with the 10-year-old band, Virgin has lumped together five of the group's classic songs in the form of a new introductory EP. But the fans get appeased too — rounding out the disc are three unreleased live recordings.
DevilDriver's The Last Kind Words
Dez Fafara and his band of groove metallers just hopped onto this year's Ozzfest — perfect timing to promote their third release for Roadrunner. In case "Head on the Heartache (Let Them Rot)," "Monsters of the Deep" and "Horn of Betrayal" aren't heavy enough for you, Last Kind Words copies sold at Hot Topic have an extra track — "Damning the Heavens" — while a live rendition of "Grinf---ed" comes with iTunes orders.
Song Title of the Week:
"For Evan's Sake" from Weedeater's God Luck and Good Speed
Album Cover of the Week:
After Glasgow rocker John McKeown burned out on his other projects the Yummy Fur — which boasted members who went on to join Franz Ferdinand, by the way — and the Girls and the Mars Hotel, he channeled his energy into this new squad. For their debut set, the former Strokes and Babyshambles tour partners came up with "See You at the Lights," "Pollokshields" and "You're Supposed to Be My Friend."
Alan Vega's Station
The man better known as one-half of seminal experimental-punk duo Suicide tracked his 10th studio LP in New York from 2004-2006, playing all the instruments and recording the whole shebang on his own. Tracks on the politically charged album include "Warrior, Fight Fa Ya Life," "13 Crosses, 16 Blazin' Skulls" and "Freedom's Smashed."
Entombed's Serpent Saints
And in case that's not enough impious music for you in one week, look no further than these Swedish metallers and their first album in four years. Indisputably uplifting songs include "The Dead, the Dying and the Dying to Be Dead," "Warfare Plague Famine Death" and "The Kingdom Coma."
· 1990s - Cookies (Rough Trade)
· A Shoreline Dream - Coastal (EP; Latenight Weeknight)
· Bat for Lashes - Fur and Gold (Caroline)
· Luka Bloom - Tribe (Cooking Vinyl)
· Budos Band - The Budos Band II (Daptone)
· Tammy Cochran - Where I Am (Shanachie)
· Common - Finding Forever (Universal) [Buy Now]
· Crionics - Neu Throne (enhanced; Candlelight)
· Dave Davies - Fractured Mindz (Koch)
· DevilDriver - The Last Kind Words (Roadrunner)
· Duo Dynamic - Unrest for Peace (River Bend)
· Ellegarden - Eleven Fire Crackers (Nettwerk)
· Entombed - Serpent Saints (Candlelight)
· Five Finger Death Punch - Way of the Fist (Firm)
· Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding - It's Now or Never (Rykodisc)
· Charlie Hunter Trio - Mistico (Fantasy)
· Jeff Kashiwa - Play (Native Language)
· Kia Shine - Due Season (Universal) [Buy Now]
· Sean Kingston - Sean Kingston (Epic) [Buy Now]
· Korn - Untitled (deluxe edition with bonus DVD also available; Virgin) [Buy Now]
· Mandisa - True Beauty (Sparrow)
· Keith Murray - Rap-Murr-Phobia (Fear of Real Hip-Hop) (Koch) [Buy Now]
· Naked Eyes - Fumbling With the Covers (Oglio)
· Chase Pagan - Oh, Musica! (Militia Group)
· Polly Paulusma - Fingers & Thumbs (One Little Indian)
· The Phantom Family Halo - The Legend of Black Six (Cold Sweat)
· Powerspace - The Kicks of Passion (Atlantic)
· Josh Rouse - Country Mouse, City House (Nettwerk)
· Shivaree - Tainted Love: Mating Calls and Fight Songs (Zöe/Rounder)
· Soulive - No Place Like Soul (Stax)
· The Starting Line - Direction (Virgin)
· Tokyo Rose - The Promise in Compromise (Sidecho)
· Alan Vega - Station (deluxe edition; Mute)
· Weedeater - God Luck and Good Speed (Southern Lord)
· Whitechapel - Somatic Defilement (Candlelight)
· Yo-Yo Ma - New Impossibilities (Sony Classics)
· Various artists - Kidz Bop 12 (Razor & Tie)
· Various artists - "Arctic Tale" soundtrack (Bulletproof)
· Various artists - "Hot Rod" soundtrack (Legacy)
· Various artists - "The Bourne Ultimatum" soundtrack (Decca)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· 40 Below Summer - Rain (Crash)
· Bizzy Bone - The Best of Bizzy Bone (Real Talk)
· Deep Purple - Come Taste the Band; Made in Europe; and Stormbringer (Friday)
· Dr. Hook - Greatest Hooks (Capitol/EMI)
· Ella Fitzgerald - Love Letters From Ella (Concord)
· Jimmy Eat World - Clarity and Static Prevails (Capitol/EMI)
· Bob Marley and the Wailers - Roots, Rock, Remixed (Quango/Fontana)
· Placebo - Extended Play '07 (Virgin)
· Elvis Presley - Viva Las Vegas (RCA)
· Raspberries - Live on Sunday Strip (deluxe version comes with bonus CD and DVD; Rykodisc)
· Johnny Rivers and His L.A. Boogie Band - Last Boogie in Pars: The Complete Concert (Shout! Factory)
· Various artists - Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1: 1967 (five-CD box set; Hip-O Select)
· Various artists - Down Home Saturday Night (Smithsonian Folkways)
· Various artists - Old Town School of Folk Music Song Book, Vol. 2 and 3 (two CDs; Old Town School)
· David Bowie - "Glass Spider" (limited-edition set with two CDs; Virgin/EMI)
· The Lovin' Spoonful - "Do You Believe in Magic: The Music of John Sebastian & the Lovin' Spoonful" (Standing Room Only)
· Ratt - "Videos From the Cellar: The Atlantic Years" (Rhino)
· Various artists - "Los Zafiros - Music From the Edge of Time" (Shout! Factory)
· Various artists - "Rap Sheet: Hip-Hop and the Cops" (Universal)
· Constantine Maroulis - Constantine (6th Place)
· Okkervil River - The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar)
· UGK - Underground Kingz (two CDs; Jive) [Preorder]
· Blaqk Audio - Cexcells (Interscope)
· Wayne Wonder - Foreva (VP)
· Various artists - "High School Musical 2" soundtrack (Disney)
· As I Lay Dying - An Ocean Between Us (Metal Blade) [Preorder]
· Cartel - Cartel (Epic) [Preorder]
· Talib Kweli - Ear Drum (Reprise) [Preorder]
· New Pornographers - Challengers (Matador)
· Swizz Beatz - One Man Band Man (enhanced; Motown) [Preorder]