Chamillionaire Takes H.I.M. On; Plus U2, James Blunt, Twista & More, In New Releases

Also due Tuesday: Havoc, Motion City Soundtrack, New Found Glory, Ben Lee, Les Savy Fav, Babyface.

Twenty-four years ago Tuesday (September 18), Kiss went on MTV and unmasked themselves for the first time. The stunt coincided with the band’s Lick It Up LP and had fans of the glam-rockers salivating all over again. So in commemoration of that revealing day, here are this week’s new releases, unmasked.

Resurrecting the Cham-P: It’s unlikely Chamillionaire will be ridin’ his way to the top of the Billboard albums chart anytime soon, given the sales aftershocks that are likely to result after last week’s epic showdown between Kanye West and 50 Cent. But that isn’t to say the Houston rapper didn’t try to live up to the title of his second album, Ultimate VictoryLil Wayne, Devin the Dude and UGK‘s Bun B and Pimp C all rear their heads on the effort, as does Slick Rick, who is featured on the lead single, “Hip Hop Police.” But that track hasn’t made a huge impact at radio, so maybe the MC should start thinking in terms of thousands and not millions …

Let’s Be Blunt: But Cham isn’t the only one sweating the sophomore slump this week — James Blunt has even more to measure up to with All the Lost Souls. That album chases 2004′s Back to Bedlam, which went twice platinum in the U.S. and had an even bigger impact elsewhere in the world. The album’s collage cover is comprised by hundreds of small images of Blunt, but the negative reviews the LP has been garnering might be even more dizzying for the artist.

Oh, H.I.M.: Moody Finnish goth-rockers H.I.M. might surprise everyone by making Venus Doom the highest-charting Billboard debut among this week’s contenders — despite such gloomy songs as “Dead Lovers’ Lane,” “Sleepwalking Past Hope” and “Love in Cold Blood.” The group’s latest LP has fewer keyboards than previous releases, and the limited-edition version comes with a DVD boasting remixes and more.

From Them 2U: It’s been almost 10 years since U2 stirred a sports stadium full of fans at Mexico City’s Foro Sol venue, so what better time to revisit the landmark event with a spiffy new DVD? “PopMart Live From Mexico City” is hitting the format for the first time and has been shined up with revitalized video and audio. A special limited-edition version takes it one step further by adding a bonus disc with unreleased concert material, plus four documentaries, a tour-visuals montage, wallpapers, screensavers and more.

That’s a Rap: Speedy MC Twista roped Pharrell onto “Give It Up,” the first single from his seventh studio album, Adrenaline Rush 2007 — but he also convinced R. Kelly, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Cee-Lo, E-40, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Kanye West to lend their skills as well. Mobb Deep‘s Havoc went the underground route for The Kush, his solo debut, going light on featured artists and crafting the project on his own. Beyond his Mobb mate Prodigy, “I did not want a bunch of big stars on [The Kush], as it would have taken away from the real objective of the LP, which is grimy and down to earth.” Watch him clue in MTV News’ Shaheem Reid about the disc:

Also this week, there’s a raft of artists cropping up in places you wouldn’t expect, and a few more under-the-radar surprises too:

· Fall Out Boy‘s Patrick Stump, Taking Back Sunday‘s Adam Lazzarra, Dashboard Confessional‘s Chris Carrabba, Cartel‘s Will Pugh and Lisa Loeb (!) help New Found Glory burn through their favorite soundtrack songs on From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II.

· Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson pay unexpected visits on Reba McEntire‘s Duets — the country singer’s 25th album, impressively.

· Jay-Z gets an unexpected shout-out on “What Would Jay-Z Do?,” a track featured on the new album by Ben Lee. Ripe, the singer/songwriter’s sixth opus, also bristles with guest spots by Benji Madden, Mandy Moore, Rachael Yamagata and more. (Let’s see how Lee’s Ripe fares against Alvin Lee‘s Saguitar.)

· Elvis Costello chalks up a surprise cover of Christina Aguilera‘s “Beautiful” while Sarah McLachlan touches up XTC‘s “Dear God” on the “House” soundtrack. Even more eyebrows will be raised when people hear a cover of the Rolling Stones‘ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” that features the show’s star, Hugh Laurie, performing alongside Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”), Bob Guiney (“The Bachelor”) and more.

· Speaking of TV stars taking to the mic, Rosie O’Donnell does a duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Barry Manilow on his The Greatest Songs of the Seventies. OK, that one might be too much for anyone to handle.

· Eddie Vedder steps away from Pearl Jam for a sec to conjure up the soundtrack to Sean Penn‘s “Into the Wild” flick — “no other voice flows, bleeds or rejoices the young American’s land and heart so passionately as Vedder’s,” Penn said in a statement.

· Babyface is using his 11th album, Playlist, as an opportunity to reimagine some of his favorite songs — and they’re probably not what you’d expect. Kenny Edmonds puts his R&B polish on Bob Dylan‘s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Eric Clapton‘s “Wonderful Tonight” and Jim Croce‘s “Time in a Bottle,” among other selections.

· Angie Stone and Anthony Hamilton share their gifts with urban-jazz saxophonist Boney James on his Christmas Present.

· Carlos Santana and — sure, why not? — actor Andy Garcia surface on Gloria Estefan‘s 90 Millas.

· Celtic punks the Dropkick Murphys go green on their The Meanest of Times LP, reining in the PoguesSpider Stacy and former Dubliners singer/guitarist Ronnie Drew.

Song Title of the Week:

Slash in the Snake Pit” from Pre‘s Epic Fits

Album Cover of the Week:

Drug Rug’s Drug Rug

Other Notables:

Kevin Drew‘s Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew – Spirit If …
Don’t be confused by all those guest spots by Broken Social Scene members and affiliates — this is in fact a solo release by the Toronto collective’s frontman. Recorded at Do Make Say Think multi-instrumentalist Ohad Benchetrit‘s house over the past two years when BSS were on break from touring, the songs are more stripped down than the ones typically found on the band’s releases. Also participating in the affair are Dinosaur Jr.‘s J Mascis, Scott Kannberg (Pavement), Metric‘s Joules Scott-Key and more.

Les Savy Fav‘s Let’s Stay Friends
The colorful New York post-punks barrel back with their first album since 2001′s Go Forth, bringing some unlikely homies along for the ride: “Saturday Night Live” actor Fred Armisen, who plays drums on two tracks, plus fellow arty spazz-outs Enon, Metric‘s Emily Haines and members of Modest Mouse, Fiery Furnaces and more. The album, which leaked online last month, features “The Year Before the Year 2000,” “What Would Wolves Do?” and “Scotchguard the Credit Card.”

Rogue Wave‘s Asleep at Heaven’s Gate
After releasing two albums on Sub Pop, the Bay Area indie-rockers hopped over to Jack Johnson‘s Brushfire Recordings for their third one, which was produced by Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney). The band’s music has been featured on “Heroes,” “Weeds” and other TV shows, but lineup changes, health problems and other developments have tripped up the band a bit lately. Maybe this album — and its guest appearances, including ones by John Vanderslice and Nada Surf‘s Matthew Caws — will help get Rogue Wave flowing smoothly again.

New Releases:

· A Life Once Lost – Iron Gag (Ferret)
· A.A. Bondy – American Hearts (digipak; Superphonic)
· Ahleuchatistas – Even in the Midst … (Cuneiform)
· Akron Family – Love Is Simple (with DVD; Young God)
· A-Sides – Silver Storms (digipak; Vagrant)
· Sérgio & Odair Assad – Jardim Abandonado (Nonesuch)
· Athletic Automaton – A Journey Through Roman’s Empire (Skin Graft)
· Babyface – Playlist (Mercury) [Buy Now]
· Bella – No One Will Know (Mint)
· Between the Buried and Me – Colors (Victory)
· James Blunt – All the Lost Souls (Custard/Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Doyle Bramhall – Is It News (Yep Roc)
· Chamillionaire – Ultimate Victory (Motown) [Buy Now]
Read: “Chamillionaire Ditches Bad Attitude; Hooks Up With Snoop, Busta For LP”
· Alison Chesley – Helen Money (available at MusicStem.com; self-release)
· Cipes and the People – Conscious Revolution (KG2 Music)
· Billy Clyro – Puzzle (Roadrunner)
· Dan Colehour – Straight to the Highway (digipak; MCA Nashville)
· The Donnas – Bitchin’ (Purple Feather) [Buy Now]
· Kevin Drew – Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew – Spirit If … (Arts & Crafts)
· Dropkick Murphys – The Meanest of Times (Born & Bred) [Buy Now]
· Drug Rug – Drug Rug (Black & Greene)
· Gloria Estefan – 90 Millas (Sony BMG/ Burgundy)
· Jeremy Fisher – Goodbye Blue Monday (Wind-Up)
· Flugente – Flugente (Mootron)
· Four Year Strong – Rise or Die Trying (I Surrender)
· Mary Gauthier – Between Daylight and Dark (Lost Highway)
· Tom Gillam – Never Look Back (Burnside Distribution Corporation)
· The Grey Race – Give It Love (Unfiltered)
· Gringo Star – Gringo Star (EP; self-release)
· Hard-Fi – Once Upon a Time in the West (Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Havoc – The Kush (Nature Sounds) [Buy Now]
· Health – Health (Lovepump United)
· Hezekiah – I Predict a Riot (Rawkus/Soulspazm)
· High on Fire – Death Is Our Communion (Relapse)
· H.I.M. – Venus Doom (limited edition comes with bonus DVD; Sire) [Buy Now]
· Holler, Wild Rose! – Our Little Hymnal (Backlight)
· Jesca Hoop – Kismet (Red Ink)
· Hope Waits – Hope Waits (Radarproof)
· Jana Hunter – Carrion (Gnomonsong)
· Michael Hurley – Ancestral Swawp (Gnomonsong)
· Boney James – Christmas Present (Concord)
· The Jazz June – The Scars to Prove It (comes with DVD; MVD Audio)
· Robert Leo Johnson and Gregg Bendian – Who Knew Charlie Shoe? (Cuneiform)
· Kids in the Way – Love Hate Masquerade (Flicker)
· Mark Knopfler – Kill to Get Crimson (Warner Bros.)
· Jim Lauderdale – The Bluegrass Diaries (Yep Roc)
· Christine Lavin – Happydance of the Xenophone (Yellow Tail)
· Alvin Lee – Saguitar (Rainman)
· Ben Lee – Ripe (New West) [Buy Now]
· Leiana – No Going Back (Page)
· Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends (French Kiss)
· The Lucky Tomblin Band – Red Hot From Blue Rock (with DVD; Texas World)
· Magnet – The Simple Life (Filter)
· Barry Manilow – The Greatest Songs of the Seventies (deluxe-edition DualDisc due same day; Arista)
· Mannequin Men – Fresh Rot (Flameshovel)
· Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free (Mint)
· Jonah Matranga – And (Limekiln)
· Reba McEntire – Duets (MCA Nashville)
· Metro Station – Metro Station (Red Ink)
· Ingrid Michaelson – Girls & Boys (Red/ Original Signal)
· Ministry – The Last Sucker (13th Planet/ Megaforce) [Buy Now]
· Pat Monahan – Last of Seven (Columbia)
· Thurston Moore – Tress Outside the Academy (Ecstatic Peace)
· Mother and the Addicts – Science Fiction Illustrated (Chemikal Underground)
· Motion City Soundtrack – Even If It Kills Me (Epitaph) [Buy Now]
· Mt. St. Helens – Of Others (Two Thumbs Down)
· New Found Glory – From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II (Drive-Thru) [Buy Now]
· Plasticines – LP1 (Caroline)
· Pre – Epic Fits (Skin Graft)
· The Project – The Truth Today (Amalgam)
· Radio Massacre International – Rain Falls in Grey (Cuneiform)
· Rammstein – Volkerball (with DVD; Interscope)
· Rogue Wave – Asleep at Heaven’s Gate (Brushfire) [Buy Now]
· Schoolyard Heroes – Abominations (Stolen Transmission)
· John Scofield – This Meets That (Emarcy)
· Jake Shimabukuro – My Life (EP; Hitchhike)
· Alina Simone – Placelessness (54º 40′ or Fight!)
· Sleeping States – There the Open Spaces (Misra)
· Strings of Consciousness – Our Moon Is Full (Central Control)
· Sultan – Yoshitoshi Montreal Mixed by Sultan (Yoshitoshi)
· Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Swampblood (Yep Roc)
· Thousand Foot Krutch – The Flame in All of Us (Tooth & Nail)
· Time of Orchids – Namesake Caution (Cuneiform)
· KT Tunstall – Drastic Fantastic (deluxe edition with DVD available same day; Virgin) [Buy Now]
· Twista – Adrenaline Rush 2007 (Atlantic)
Read: “Twista Raps For ‘My People In My ‘Hood’ On New LP With R. Kelly, Pharrell”
· Matt White – Best Days (Geffen)
· Zerobridge – Havre de Grace (EP; Third Life)
· Various artists – Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler (Cuneiform)
· Various artists – The Simpsons: Testify (Shout! Factory)
· Various artists – “Across the Universe” soundtrack (Interscope)
· Various artists – “House” soundtrack (Nettwerk)
· Various artists – “Into the Wild” soundtrack (J)

Notable Reissues and Archival Material:

· Bee Gees – Greatest (two CDs; Reprise) [Buy Now]
· John Coltrane – Interplay (five-CD box set; Prestige)
· The Crystal Method – Vegas – Deluxe Edition (two CDs; Geffen/UMe) [Buy Now]
· Emmylou Harris – Songbird: Rare tracks & Forgotten Gems (box set with four CDs and one DVD; Rhino)
· Kurious Jorge – A Constipated Monkey (Amalgam)
· Diana Krall – The Very Best of Diana Krall (Verve)
· Various artists – Song of America (three CDs; Spiritrock/Thirty One Tigers)

Music DVDs:

· Deep Purple – “In Concert With the London Symphony Orchestra” (Eagle Rock)
· DJ Krush – “History of DJ Krush” (three-DVD box set; Red Ink)
· D.O.A. – “Smash the State: The Raw Original D.O.A. 1978-81″ (Sudden Death)
· Marianne Faithfull – “Dreaming My Dreams” (Eagle Rock)
· Marvin Gaye – “Greatest Hits: Live in ’76″ (Eagle Rock) [Buy Now]
· David Gilmour – “Remember That Night: Live at the Royal Albert Hall” (Columbia)
· Roger Hodgson – “Take the Long Way Home: Live in Montreal” (Eagle Vision)
· Bert Jansch – “Fresh as a Sweet Sunday Morning: Live at Sheffield Memorial Hall” (MVD Visual)
· Elton John – “Someone Like Me” (Eagle Rock) [Buy Now]
· Dennis Locorriere – “Unique Voice of Dr. Hook: Hits and History Tour Live” (MVD Visual)
· Pink Floyd – “The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story – Deluxe Edition” (two DVDs; MVD Visual) [Buy Now]
· The Polyphonic Spree – “Live From Austin TX” (New West)
· U2 – “PopMart Live From Mexico City” (limited edition come with bonus DVD; Island/Interscope/UMe) [Buy Now]
· Vital Remains – “Evil Death Live” (MVD Visual)
· Various artists – “The 25th Anniversary of the Marquee Club” (MVD Visual)
· Various artists – “All My Loving” (MVD Visual)
· Various artists – “Selena” (with bonus DVD; Warner Home Video)

Digital Releases:

· Edit – Certified Air Raid Material (Alpha Pup)
· Bo Diddley – I’m a Man: The Chess Masters (Hip-O-Select)
· Plastique De Reve – Jeux Sans Frontieres (Kitty-Cuts)

Coming Attractions:

September 25:
· Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (RCA) [Preorder]
Read: “Dave Grohl May Be Fond Of String Quartets, But Foo Fighters Haven’t Gone Soft”
· PJ Harvey – White Chalk (Island) [Preorder]
· Hell Rell – For the Hell of It (Koch)

October 2:
· Dashboard Confessional – The Shade of Poison Trees (digipak; Vagrant) [Preorder]
· J. Holiday – Back of My Lac (Capitol) [Preorder]
· Soulja Boy – Souljaboytellem.com (Interscope) [Preorder]

October 9:
· Kid Rock – Rock N Roll Jesus (Atlantic) [Preorder]
· Jennifer Lopez – Brave (Epic) [Preorder]
· She Wants Revenge – This Is Forever (Geffen) [Preorder]