Well, music lovers, hopefully you're happy with the releases you snatched up this year, because from here on out, it's going to be mostly slim pickings till late January. But that doesn't mean all is quiet on the music front — here are this week's top players and the other suspects worth keeping tabs on ...
Back to the Future: Justin Timberlake fans who scooped up his Best Buy-exclusive "FutureSex/LoveShow - Live From Madison Square Garden" DVD last week are going to need a little more green on hand — the singer has slapped together a fresher version of his sophomore album too. FutureSex/LoveSounds: Deluxe Edition has a trio of bonus tracks: a new take on "Until the End of Time" that features vocals by one Miss Beyoncé, as well as alternate takes of "SexyBack" and "Sexy Ladies." The heftier price tag is also due to an extra DVD containing videos for three tunes — "SexyBack," "What Goes Around ... Comes Around" and "LoveStoned/ I Think She Knows" — as well as making-of elements and concert clips. For the sake of fans' bank accounts, let's hope Timberlake has worn out this album.
The Bark, Not the Bite: Miami MC Pitbull got some limelight love last year with a featured spot on DJ Khaled's "Born N Raised" — a tribute track to Miami-Dade County that also featured Trick Daddy and Rick Ross. Well, it seems Pitbull has learned that it helps to have friends: For his third studio LP, The Boatlift, he snagged T-Pain, Jim Jones, Twista, Lloyd, Trick Daddy, Don Omar, Frankie J, Lil Jon and more. And in case you were wondering if the album title had anything to do with the immigration debate, you wondered right: As Pitbull said in a press release, "Most immigrants that came to this country came through some type of boatlift. This is my way of taking everybody on a ride through my eyes; this is my boatlift — my way of bringing them to freedom through the universal language of music." Enjoy the ride.
Soul Train: Chuck D is always ready to take on a good cause — his latest release, The Peeps of SoulFunk: Tribb to JB, is an obscurely titled tip of the hat to departed Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Brown. By D's side is former Air America Radio pal Kyle Jason — who was featured on Public Enemy's 2004 effort, There's a Poison Goin' On — and other peeps from D's Slam Jamz label. Together, the crew redoes Brown staples like "Say It Loud (I'm Black and Proud)" and "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved." Something smells funky indeed.
Do "Look" Back: Now that Incubus have wrapped their extensive Light Grenades jaunt, it's time to take stock of their travels with a new DVD. Fans who preordered the 120-minute "Look Alive" were gifted with bonus audio downloads of four songs performed in concert: "Anna Molly," "Megalomaniac," "Oil And Water" and "Dig." But everyone will be able to enjoy Incubus footage from their July 25 gig at Chicago's Northerly Island, as well as performances from other places across the globe. The 17-song main dish has a few other appetizers as well: rehearsal clips, documentary footage and original music interludes crafted by guitarist Mike Einziger.
Simply the Best: Common has been busy hyping his latest release, Finding Forever, and its four accompanying singles, but in the meantime, one of his former labels, Relativity, is pumping out a greatest-hits disc via Sony's archival division, Legacy. ThisIsMe Then: The Best of Common doesn't really live up to its name, since it only showcases the Chicago rapper's primo product from 1994-'97, but it does feature hookups with Lauryn Hill ("Retrospect for Life") and Cee-Lo ("G.O.D. [Gaining One's Definition]"), among others. The enhanced CD is rounded out by four bonus videos, for "Take It Ez," "I Used to Love H.E.R.," "Invocation" and the aforementioned "Retrospect for Life."
Taking a much different approach at retrospection are Mudvayne, who asked fans to pick the selections for their aptly titled By the People, for the People. Along with live recordings of their vintage songs, Mud also sling forth demos, rarities and two recently recorded cuts: "Dull Boy" and a cover of the Police's "King of Pain." By the way, fans should fret neither the release of this non-studio album nor frontman Chad Gray's participation in metal all-star squad Hellyeah — Mudvayne are threatening a new studio LP next year.
Four for Fore: If you think Thrice are biting off more than they can chew with their four-part Alchemy Index series, wait till you hear what Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman has in store: a quartet of conceptual EPs he's putting out all by himself. Fall — to be followed next year by Winter, Spring and, you got it, Summer — comes out in digital form this week, although it will be issued as a two-disc set with Winter the day the latter effort is released, on January 15. "Because of the autobiographical nature of these songs, they became a self-portrait that was far too personal for a band to release," Foreman said in a statement. "The rest of the band [has] been pushing me to get these types of songs out there for years. So I decided to let them go." But while the rest of Switchfoot are taking a back seat for the releases, the EPs are nonetheless christening the band's own lowercase people records.
Song Title of the Week:
"Trombone Gulch" from Audience's Lunch
Album Cover of the Week:
Jesse Dayton & Brennen Leigh's "Holdin' Our Own" and Other Country Gold Duets
Haven't heard of so-called "turbo country" artist Dayton? Well, maybe you're familiar with a guy named Waylon Jennings or a band called the Supersuckers — he's played lead guitar for both over the years. Dayton has also worked with Willie Nelson and, on a slightly more bizarre note, was tapped by Rob Zombie to be part of the fake band Banjo and Sullivan for his flick "Devil's Rejects." Now he's teamed with 23-year-old singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leigh for this oddly titled collection of country faves and original tunes like "Something to Brag About With You" and "Two Step Program."
T.H. White's The Private Spotlight
The New York multi-instrumentalist was all the rage at the city's CMJ Music Marathon last month — he's been named a "Band to Watch" on Stereogum.com too — and now the distinctively urban artist churns out his second album. Look out for the seven-minute "Blue + Cream," as well as guest-vocal appearances by Meghan Wolf, whose debut album White is co-writing and producing for release next year.
The Rumble Strips' Alarm Clock EP
In the mood for some Thin Lizzy? OK, then how about an indie-rock take on Thin Lizzy? OK, then how about an indie-rock take on Thin Lizzy that involves trumpets and saxophones? Glad we piqued your interest. The U.K. up-and-comers tackle their fellow Britons' best-known song, "The Boys Are Back in Town," and chalk up five more songs on their first Stateside release. The Rumble Strips snuck videos for "Alarm Clock" and "Oh Creole" onto the disc as well, so let's get ready to ... oh, never mind.
· Bear Hands - Golden EP (Freedom in Exile)
· Chuck D featuring Kyle Jason and the Banned - The Peeps of SoulFunk: Tribb to JB (Slam Jamz)
· Jesse Dayton & Brennen Leigh - "Holdin' Our Own" and Other Country Gold Duets (Stag)
· Brittney Elizabeth - Breathe In (Desert Sunrise)
· Rob Jungklas - Gully (Madjack)
· Pitbull - The Boatlift (TVT) [Buy Now]
· The Rumble Strips - Alarm Clock EP (enhanced; Kanine)
· T.H. White - The Private Spotlight (Sky Council)
· Renée Zawawi - Legends (Sapiens, Inc.)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Alcoholics Unaminous - 20 Years of Tanked Up Tunes (Steel Cage)
· Common - ThisIsMe Then: The Best of Common (enhanced; Relativity/Legacy) [Buy Now]
· Ian Gillan - Gillan's Best (Great American Music)
· Freddie King - Texas in My Blues (Great American Music)
· Mudvayne - By the People, for the People (Epic) [Buy Now]
· Os Mutantes - Everything Is Possible: The Best of Os Mutantes (Luaka Bop/ Redeye)
· Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds: Deluxe Edition (with DVD; Jive) [Buy Now]
· Various artists - Guys and Dolls: A Musical Fable of Broadway (Blue Moon)
· Various artists - Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Pop and Contemporary R&B (Shout! Factory)
· Various artists - "At Last the 1948 Show" soundtrack (él)
· Incubus - "Look Alive" (Epic) [Buy Now]
· The Irish Tenors - "The Irish Tenor Christmas" (Trinity)
· Keane - "Live at the O2" (Universal) [Buy Now]
· Simply Red - "Stay: Live at the Royal Albert Hall" (Universal)
· Dusty Springfield - "Live at the BBC" (Universal)
· Various artists - "Bickershaw Festival: North West England 1972" (Ozit)
· As Tall as Lions - Into the Flood (available Thursday; EP; Triple Crown/ East West) [Buy Now]
· Audience - Lunch (Virgin) [Buy Now]
· Bats for Lashes - What's a Girl to Do? (EP; iTunes exclusive; Caroline)
· Bracken - We Cut the Tapes and Scatter (Steinbeck Ultramagnetic Remix by Buddy Peace) (Anticon)
· Burnside Project - Burnside Project (Fraga)
· Flogging Molly - Alive Behind the Green Door; Drunken Lullabies; Swagger; Whiskey on a Sunday; and Within a Mile of Home (Side One Dummy) [Buy Now]
· Jon Foreman - Fall (EP; lowercase people/ Credential)
· The Michelles - Sober Rain (Kitty-Yo)
· Daft Punk - Alive 2007 (limited-edition version comes with bonus CD; Virgin) [Preorder]
· Ghostface Killah - The Big Doe Rehab (Def Jam) [Preorder]
· Godsmack - Good Times, Bad Times: 10 Years of Godsmack (also available with DVD; Republic) [Preorder]
· Wyclef Jean - Carnival II: Memoirs of an Immigrant (Best Buy edition comes with three Rhapsody Original bonus tracks; Columbia) [Preorder]
· Styles P - Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) (Koch) [Preorder]
· Bow Wow and Omarion - Face Off (also available with bonus DVD; Columbia)
· R. Kelly - "Trapped in the Closet, Chapters 1-22" DVD (Jive) [Preorder]
· Mario - Go (J) [Preorder]
· Wu-Tang Clan - The 8 Diagrams (Best Buy edition comes with exclusive DVD; Def Jam) [Preorder]
· Christina Aguilera - "Back to Basics: Live and Down Under" (RCA) [Preorder]
· Mary J. Blige - Growing Pains (Geffen) [Preorder]
· Chamillionaire - Mixtape Messiah 4 (Universal) [Preorder]
· Rivers Cuomo - Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (Geffen)
· Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's the Cool (Atlantic) [Preorder]
· Rick Ross - Trilla (Def Jam) [Preorder]