With Amazon's new DRM-free digital-music store up and running — and the first flurry of holiday releases descending on stores — we thought we'd pull together our own virtual record warehouse for all the music lovers out there. Happy hunting!
Dashboard Confessional, a.k.a. Chris Carrabba, is already 16 songs into his next LP, but first he has his fifth album, The Shade of Poison Trees, to worry about. The effort finds him returning to his earlier acoustic sound and was recorded over the course of 10 days in Florida with producer Don Gilmore (Good Charlotte, Linkin Park).
But it's doubtful DC will have much on Bruce Springsteen, who is kicking it with the E Street Band on disc for the first time with Magic. The Boss slipped out a vinyl version of his 15th studio outing last week, presumably so it would get Grammy Award consideration, however he made another last-minute adjustment by tacking "Terry's Song," a tune dedicated to recently deceased longtime assistant Terry Magovern, onto the CD.
Matchbox Twenty are hoping their hits collection Exile on Mainstream can climb into a decent spot on the Billboard albums chart — to give it some extra oomph, Rob Thomas and the crew have tacked six new Steve Lillywhite-produced tracks onto the set in the form of a bonus EP. Still, it's fair to say that some music fans are happy now that one of the most ubiquitous bands of the last 10 years has finally been "exiled."
And do the Cult still have appeal? They're about to find out as their first album in six years, Born Into This, hits stores. Don't be scared off by the "Savage Edition" of the disc — it has five bonus cuts ... and a sticker!
It's hardly Kanye West vs. 50 Cent, but given the dearth of rap releases this week, we'll settle for a lesser hip-hop face-off. Boyz N Da Hood — whose self-titled debut made a big splash upon its release in 2005 — are counting on Yung Joc to help their new one equal those heights. The Atlanta squad's Back Up N Da Chevy has a couple of guest spots by Joc, and Rick Ross and Ice Cube also rear their heads.
Meanwhile, Soulja Boy is shooting for strong numbers with his solo debut, the clunky-titled Souljaboytellem.com. The rap/dance sensation — who managed to slip a performance of his red-hot "Crank That" tune into the VMAs — also features "Soulja Girl," "Bapes" and "Yahhh" on his first disc.
Another rookie is stepping out this week: J. Holiday, who has already been riding two singles: "Be With Me" and "Bed." The crooner is also trying to make the ladies swoon with "Laa Laa" and "Betcha Never Had" — could Tuesday (October 2) turn out to be his new holiday?
Trey Songz is hoping to have his own Trey Day at record stores as his second LP drops. The singer gets help from some friends in high places, including Jim Jones, Danjahandz, Bryan-Michael Cox, Dre & Vidal and R. Kelly, who helps Trey get his "Grub On" by producing the hilariously named track.
Last but not least, Sharon Jones has a few years on her R&B peers — she's 51! — but the Georgia singer is finding herself in the limelight thanks to her Dap-Kings backing band recently lending its skills to Amy Winehouse and Kanye West. Their 100 Days, 100 Nights album is saddled with an hourlong bonus disc playfully titled Binky Griptite's GhettoFunkPowerHour.
PJ Harvey has been on a major label, Island, for almost her entire career, but she's nevertheless regarded as one of the most revered queens in indie rock. She takes a turn on her first studio outing since 2004's Uh Huh Her, forgoing electric guitar altogether and writing the entire album on piano. Harvey is shadowed by Eric Drew Feldman (Frank Black, the Polyphonic Spree) and Dirty Three drummer Jim White over the course of the 11 songs, which include "Dear Darkness," "When Under Ether" and "Grow Grow Grow."
While Harvey is deep into her career, Chicago psych-pop squad the 1900s are only getting started — they're stepping up with their Cold & Kind debut this week. Oddly enough, the septet's violin player, Andra Kulans, is also a part of the Quartet Parapluie, who have performed with everyone from Kanye West to Clay Aiken. The Fleetwood Mac-esque band features keys, piano, strings and more.
But if you're starving for some throwback indie rock, look no further than Hungry Beat, a compilation surrounding '80s Scottish post-punks Fire Engines. Listed by Franz Ferdinand as one of their biggest influences, the short-lived but recently reunited band's entire output can be found on the 16-track set, which encompasses their short LP, three singles and alternate takes.
Rhino has put together one of the most symbolic metal releases ever: The Heavy Metal Box, a limited-edition set that has four CDs but, better yet, comes in a faux amplifier box with a Marshall knob that turns up to 11. Fitting for the nod to Spinal Tap, the package also features a song by the band, in addition to a litany of classics by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Slayer.
While its packaging pales in comparison, Megadeth's Warchest is even more extensive, as it too has four CDs but tosses in a DVD as well. With more than six hours of tuneage by Dave Mustane's band of ever-revolving bros, the set — adorned by a 3-D ammunition belt on the front — boasts 33 unreleased cuts.
On the new-metal front, Om put on the brakes with Pilgrimage, its latest slice of doom. Recorded by Steve Albini and mastered by his Shellac bandmate Bob Weston, the album features just four songs — the fourth is actually a reprise of the first! — and enough chanting to make you think you've been transported to Tibet.
There's something in store for everyone this week, even fans who love listening to movie music. The "Dan in Real Life" soundtrack has 11 new compositions by Norwegian folk/pop luminary Sondre Lerche, including seven cue cuts from the Steve Carell comedy, as well as a collabo between Lerche and Regina Spektor ("Hell No") and a song by A Fine Frenzy ("Fever").
And hard-core muzos are frothing over the re-release of David Bowie's very rare 1993 effort, The Buddha of Suburbia, which he made as a complement to the BBC-produced miniseries based on the novel of the same name. While only the title song — featuring Lenny Kravitz on guitar — was used in the miniseries, Bowie said in a recent press release, "This album may well have been one of the most enjoyable projects that I've been involved with."
Tempting as Carnie Wilson's Christmas With Carnie and Vickie Winans' Happy Holidays From Vickie Winans may sound, if you're in the market for holiday music, look no further than Oh Santa!: New and Used Holiday Classics From Yep Roc Records. Tracks by the Apples in Stereo, Cities and Minus 5 will keep your indie cred in check as you're slapping bows onto gift bags.
Here are few more tips to keep in mind while you're stocking up on new discs:
Don't Count Your Vines Before They Hatch
· Remember "Get Free"? How about warbling Vines frontman Craig Nicholls? If you do, you probably recall critics dubbing them "the next Nirvana" — well, it looks like "the next Strokes" would have been more appropriate, as their former label Capitol has assembled the portentous The Best of the Vines.
Ungdomskulen Aren't as Scary as They Sound
· Sure, the Norwegian band is raucous and has a new album that sounds equally threatening — Cry-Baby — but its name actually means "middle school" in Norwegian.
Don't Mix Up Siouxsie and Mariee Sioux
· Siouxsie, who has collaborated in the past with the Banshees and Creatures, is dropping her first full-fledged solo release, Mantaray. Mariee Sioux is a folk singer/songwriter whose Faces in the Rocks is coming out through Grass Roots.
Don't Judge an LP by Its Cover
For the Kids Three! looks like a soft children's album, but it's actually loaded with some choice artists. Of Montreal, O.A.R., Moby, Blitzen Trapper and Rogue Wave also contribute to the disc, which is helping benefit the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.
Song Title of the Week:
"Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus" from Emery's I'm Only a Man
Album Cover of the Week:
The Most Serene Republic's Population
The Canadian collective started making a name for itself by touring with Feist and Broken Social Scene, and the band is teeing up its next release on the Arts & Crafts label that is also home to those other acts. Produced by the band and inspired by its hometown of Milton, Ontario, the album features 13 tracks that seem to have a colorful story behind each, like "Sherry and Her Butterfly Net," "The Men Who Live Upstairs" and "Humble Peasants."
Ryan Bingham's Mescalito
The 25-year-old Texas singer/songwriter has found himself rubbing elbows with Ryan Adams and Willie Nelson as part of the Lost Highway roster, and now he's hoping to measure up to some high expectations with his first-ever album. Produced by and featuring guitar work by former Black Crowes member Marc Ford, the LP features "Ghost of Travelin' Jones," "Take It Easy Mama" and "Southside of Heaven" — not to be mistaken with Slayer's "South of Heaven," of course.
Demander's The Unkindness of Ravens
The Hold Steady tourmates hail from New York and have already made their mark with a five-song EP and an intriguing animated video, for their song "Hollis." Now it's time for the requisite debut album, The Unkindness of Ravens, which sounds like a proggier version of Sleater-Kinney or Fugazi. Tracks include "GMT," "Baixo," "Elijah" and "TKO Ravens."
· The 1900s - Cold & Kind (Parasol)
· The 5 Browns - Browns in Blue (Sony Classics)
· Amplified Heat - How Do You Like the Sound of That (Arclight)
· Apollo Heights - White Music for Black People (Manimal Vinyl)
· Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Scared Famous (Hall of Records)
· Ryan Bingham - Mescalito (Lost Highway)
· Boyz N Da Hood - Back Up N Da Chevy (Bad Boy)
· The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Bringing It All Back Home Again (The Committee to Keep Music Evil)
· Bring Back the Guns - Dry Futures (Feow!)
· Brooks & Dunn - Cowboy Town (Arista)
· Peabo Bryson - Missing You (Peak)
· Care Bears on Fire - I Stole Your Animal (available on iTunes and CDBaby.com; Daisy Explosion)
· Cross Canadian Ragweed - Mission California (Universal South)
· The Cult - Born Into This ("Savage Edition" comes with five bonus tracks and a sticker; Roadrunner/ New Wilderness)
· Will Dailey - Back Flipping Forward (CBS)
· Dashboard Confessional - The Shade of Poison Trees (digipak; Vagrant) [Buy Now]
· Demander - The Unkindness of Ravens (self-release)
· Division Day - Beartrap Island (Eenie Meenie)
· Emery - I'm Only a Man (Tooth & Nail)
· Erasure - Storm Chaser (EP; Mute)
· Falling Up - Captiva (BEC)
· Felix Da Housecat - Virgo Blaktro and the Movie Disco (Nettwerk)
· Five O'Clock Heroes - Bend to the Breaks (High Wire)
· John Fogerty - Revival (Fantasy)
· Ari Gold - Transport Systems (Gold 18)
· Merle Haggard - The Bluegrass Sessions (McCoury Music)
· PJ Harvey - White Chalk (Island) [Buy Now]
· Richard Hawley - Lady's Bridge (Mute)
· J. Holiday - Back of My Lac (Capitol)
· Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights (with bonus CD; Daptone) [Buy Now]
· Junius - Junius (Radar/S.A.F.)
· Rob Kendt - I'm Not Sentimental (Ruby)
· Stacey Kent - Breakfast on the Morning Tram (Blue Note)
· Annie Lennox - Songs of Mass Destruction (Arista)
· Darlene Love - It's Christmas. Of Course (Shout! Factory)
· Kevin Michael - Kevin Michael (Atlantic)
· Mobius Band - Heaven (Misra)
· The Most Serene Republic - Population (Arts & Crafts)
· Nightwish - Dark Passion Play (Roadrunner)
· Om - Pilgrimage (Southern Lord)
· Over the Rhine - Snow Angels (Great Speckled Dog)
· The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes (Cherry Tree)
· Prong - Power of the Damager (13th Planet)
· Chuck Prophet - Soap and Water (Yep Roc)
· Raccoon - Another Day (Another Label)
· John Ralston - Sorry Vampire (Vagrant)
· Rosetta - Wake/Lift (digipak; Nocturnal)
· The Sadies - New Seasons (Yep Roc)
· Saint Bernadette - In the Ballroom (Exotic)
· Mariee Sioux - Faces in the Rocks (Grass Roots)
· Siouxsie - Mantaray (Decca)
· Skeletonwitch - Beyond the Permafrost (Prosthetic)
· Soldiers - End of Days (Trustkill)
· Soulja Boy - Souljaboytellem.com (Interscope)
· The Spill Canvas - No Really, I'm Fine (Sire)
· Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Magic (Columbia)
· Sunburned Hand of the Man - Fire Escape (Smalltown Supersound)
· Take - Earthtones & Concrete (Inner Current)
· Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez - Live From the Ruhr Triennale - October 2005 (Train Wreck)
· Trey Songz - Trey Day (Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Trolleyvox - Your Secret Safe/ Luzerne (two CDs; Transit of Venus)
· Ungdomskulen - Cry-Baby (Ever)
· Nico Vega - No Child Left Behind (EP; MySpace)
· Frankie Valli - Romancing the '60s (Motown)
· We Are Wolves - Total Magique (Dare to Care)
· We the Kings - We the Kings (S-Curve)
· Phil Wickham - Cannons (INO/Columbia)
· Tim Williams - When Work Is Done (Dovecote)
· Carnie Wilson - Christmas With Carnie (B3E)
· Vickie Winans - Happy Holidays From Vickie Winans (Destiny Joy)
· Zimbabwe Legit - House of Stone (pH Music/ Pro Se)
· Various artists - For the Kids Three! (Nettwerk)
· Various artists - Global Drum Project (Shout! Factory)
· Various artists - Oh Santa!: New and Used Holiday Classics From Yep Roc Records (Yep Roc)
· Various artists - "Dan in Real Life" soundtrack (Capitol)
· Various artists - "The Heartbreak Kid" soundtrack (Plan R)
· Various artists - "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" soundtrack (Atlantic)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· David Bowie - "The Buddha of Suburbia" soundtrack (Capitol/EMI)
· David Byrne - Live From Austin TX (New West)
· Cake - B-Sides and Rarities (Upbeat)
· J.J. Cale - Rewind: Unreleased Recordings (Time Life)
· Chicago - The Best of Chicago: 40th Anniversary Edition (limited-edition two-CD set; Rhino)
· Charlotte Church - The Charlotte Church Collection (three CDs; Sony Classics)
· Depeche Mode - Exciter and Ultra (each set comes with DVD; Rhino)
· Celine Dion - These Are Special Times: Collector's Edition (with DVD; Columbia/Legacy)
· Bob Dylan - Dylan (also available as a three-CD box set and a limited-edition three-CD box set with red cloth; Columbia/Legacy)
· Fire Engines - Hungry Beat (Acute)
· Eliza Gilkyson - Live From Austin TX (New West)
· Amy Grant - Greatest Hits (special edition comes with DVD; Sparrow/ EMI America)
· Faith Hill - The Hits (special edition comes with DVD; Warner Bros. Nashville)
· Mick Jagger - The Very Best of Mick Jagger (deluxe edition comes with DVD; Rhino)
· Matchbox Twenty - Exile on Mainstream (with bonus EP; Atlantic)
· Martina McBride - White Christmas (RCA)
· Megadeth - Warchest (box set with four CDs and one DVD; Capitol/EMI)
· Buddy Rich - Time Out (Lightyear)
· Robin Trower - Bridge of Sighs (Capitol/EMI)
· Ike & Tina Turner - The Ike & Tina Turner Story: 1960-1975 (three-CD box set; Time Life)
· The Vines - The Best of the Vines (Capitol)
· Various artists - The Heavy Metal Box (limited-edition four-CD box set; Rhino)
· Various artists - Welcome to Miami: 30 Sizzling Dance Tracks (two CDs; Water Music)
· Trace Adkins - "Greatest Video Hits" (Capitol)
· Asia - "Fantasia: Live in Tokyo" (Eagle Vision)
· The Beatles - "The Unseen Beatles" (BBC Warner)
· Dierks Bentley - "Video Hits" (Capitol)
· David Byrne - "Live From Austin TX" (New West)
· Glen Campbell - "Good Times Again" (Time Life)
· Celtic Woman - "A Christmas Celebration: Live From Dublin" (Manhattan)
· Elton John - "Elton 60: Live at Madison Square Garden" (two DVDs; Island/Mercury)
· Mahavishnu Orchestra - "Live at Montreux 1974-184" (Eagle Eye)
· Ramones - "It's Alive: 1974-1996" (two CDs; Rhino)
· Various artists - "Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story" (Stax)
· Various artists - "Stax/Volt Revue: Live in Norway" (Stax)
· Scott Walker - And Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball? (limited-edition CD hits stores October 9; 4AD)
· Kid Rock - Rock N Roll Jesus (Atlantic)
· Jennifer Lopez - Brave (Epic) [Preorder]
· She Wants Revenge - This Is Forever (Geffen)
· Eve - Here I Am (Geffen)
· Jimmy Eat World - Chase This Light (Interscope)
· Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Vols. I & II: Fire & Water (Vagrant)
· Seether - Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces (Wind-Up)
· Serj Tankian - Elect the Dead (Serjical Strike/ Reprise)
· Carrie Underwood - Carnival Ride (Arista)