Veterans Day won't be celebrated for many more months — it falls on November 11, to be precise — but with new releases from Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, k.d. lang and others dropping, it may as well be Tuesday (February 5). While those releases will likely rank high on next week's SoundScan chart, though, there are a few more-MTV-friendly artists we need to talk about first ...
Back To Back To Basics: Christina Aguilera has been milking her last studio album, big time, in the year and a half since it came out. Originally released in August 2006, Back to Basics was chased by a massive world trek; a "tour edition" re-release of the set, with a bonus DVD, that November; and now an exclusive Best Buy package containing two DVDs. The first disc has 90 minutes' worth of footage from two gigs she played at Sydney's Acer Arena in July 2007, while the second is loaded with behind-the-scenes peeks; interviews with the singer, husband Jordan Bratman, her dancers, her musical director and others; and more. SoCal fans should head to the Best Buy in West Hollywood, where Aguilera will autograph the release, marking her first public appearance since she gave birth in January.
Jack Attack: Now this is what you call going green — Jack Johnson recorded his entire new studio album in Hawaii and Los Angeles using analog tape machines powered by solar energy. The singer/songwriter, who will play his first U.S. show in support of Sleep Through the Static in Hawaii on Earth Day, April 22, said in a statement, "Some of the songs on this album are about making babies. Some of the songs are about raising them. Some of the songs are about the world that these children will grow up in; a world of war and love, and hate, and time and space. Some of the songs are about saying goodbye to people I love and will miss." Fans who preordered the album — which is a bit more electric than Johnson's previous releases — through iTunes were gifted with a bonus track, "Goodbye."
Hot Stuff: The last time we heard from Hot Chip — in 2006, when they put out The Warning — they walked away with a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Now the electro-pop collective is hoping for repeat success with Made in the Dark, which was recorded and self-produced at its London studio over the last half-year. The new songs are more rockin' than previous Hot Chip material, and fans who have caught their recent gigs are already familiar with some of them. If you're really into the band, keep an eye out for the two-disc version of Made in the Dark — it has five live-performance videos, including a pair from the Glastonbury Festival. As for the proper CD, tracks include "Bendable Poseable"; "Touch Too Much"; and "Shake a Fist," which samples a Todd Rundgren tune, if you can believe it.
Vetted: Big surprise — albums haven't been selling well in 2008 so far, with last week's Billboard albums chart champ, the "Juno" soundtrack, winding up in the throne with just under 65,000 copies sold. Well, this week will likely bring a hot sales injection into the charts, thanks to the return of some big-name veteran singer/songwriters:
· Grammys won: 10
· Studio LPs released: six
· New album title: Detours
· Takeaway quote: "This is the most honest record I've ever made," she said in a statement.
· Details: With producer Bill Bottrell — who worked with Crow on her massive 1993 debut, Tuesday Night Music Club — back onboard, it could be one of her most successful too.
· Grammys won: four
· Studio LPs released: eight
· New album title: It Is Time for a Revolution
· Takeaway quote: "I felt like a kid playing in my bedroom, and that's the most important thing you can tap into, that feeling of being free," Kravitz — who also tapped into his opposition toward the Iraq war on the disc — said in a statement.
· Details: The deluxe edition — which has a color cover, instead of a black-and-white one — comes with a bonus DVD featuring an intimate documentary.
· Grammys won: four
· Studio LPs released: 10
· New album title: Watershed
· Takeaway quote: "It's about self-examination. It's about seeing where I am in the world, and how I do or don't connect to the universe," she told New York's Daily News.
· Details: The limited deluxe edition is a Unibox with cloth wrap and embossed foil stamp, and includes photo cards, two CD sleeves — and more importantly, a bonus CD with four extra songs and an interview.
Young Brood: Superstars aside, there is also a batch of fresher faces on the singer/songwriter side this week. Here's a quick breakdown:
· Hails from: Ontario
· Studio LPs released: three
· New album title: Here's to Being Here
· Details: Fellow members of the Broken Social Scene, as well as the Stills and beyond, lent Collett their skills for the effort.
· Hails from: L.A.
· Studio LPs released: four (as a solo artist)
· New album title: Calibration
· Details: Frequent collaborator John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mars Volta bandmate Cedric Bixler-Zavala and others gave Rodriguez-Lopez a boost.
· Hails from: San Fran
· Studio LPs released: six
· New album title: Circular Sounds
· Details: "It's called Circular Sounds, which barely defeated The Glass Moustache and Prism Breakout for [the] new album title," he said in a post on his Web site.
· Hails from: Nashville
· Studio LPs released: four
· New album title: Special Company
· Details: He recently married "27 Dresses" actress Katherine Heigl!
· Hails from: London
· Studio LPs released: one
· New album title: Falling Off the Lavender Bridge
· Details: Taste-making producer Mike Mogis, in addition to members of Bright Eyes and the Faint, helped ex-Test Icicles guitarist Dev Hynes with his LP, which has already drawn raves overseas.
· Hails from: Ontario
· Studio LPs released: one
· New album title: Oh, My Darling
· Details: The Rough Trade artist teamed with producer Howard Bilerman (the Arcade Fire, British Sea Power) for the album, and one of the songs has already been selected for a Volkswagen ad.
Song Title of the Week:
"I'll Splatter You Like Jackson Pollock" from Gwen Stacy's The Life I Know
Album Cover of the Week:
HorrorPops' Kiss Kiss Kill Kill
"We really wanted to get back to the classic new wave feel that we love," singer Patricia Day said in a statement. "And I think our excitement about these songs has made a hell of difference." The movie-obsessed Danish psychobilly punks dish up "Thelma and Louise," "Hitchcock Starlet" and "MissFit" on their latest effort.
Warbringer's War Without End
The young Los Angeles thrash-metal band — which has been touring with Exodus and Goatwhore — made its debut album available for free for a limited time on MetalSucks.net. The disc was produced by Bill Metoyer (Slayer, D.R.I.) and features such titular-appropriate songs as "Total War," "Hell on Earth" and "Shoot to Kill."
Sleep Station's The Pride of Chester James
At the center of this orchestral-pop group is one David Debiak, a man who is prone to mental breakdowns and has written songs in the past about necrophilia, humans falling in love with robots and astronauts dying in outer space. This time around, he and his crew utilized an old tape machine, Hammond organs and more for songs like "Tired of Me Now," "Thunder" and "Hello Mr. Coughlin." "This record has weighed heavily on me for quite some time," he said in a statement. "Writing the songs was the easy part — they came naturally. Living and reliving them was far more difficult, but some say that the joy is in the journey."
· Air Traffic - Fractured Life (Astralwerks) [Buy Now]
· Baby Walrus - Baby Walrus (Slumber Party)
· Big Bang - Wild Bird EP (Grand Sport) [Buy Now]
· Basia Bulat - Oh, My Darling (Rough Trade)
· Caspa & Rusko - Fabric.Live 37 (Fabric)
· Nick Cave and Warren Ellis - "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" soundtrack (Mute)
· Beth Nielsen Chapman - Prism: The Human Family Songbook (two CDs; Thirty Tigers)
· Jason Collett - Here's to Being Here (Arts & Crafts)
· Chick Corea & Gary Burton - The New Crystal Silence (two CDs; Concord)
· Sheryl Crow - Detours (A&M) [Buy Now]
· Taylor Dayne - Satisfied (Adrenaline)
· Dead Meadow - Old Growth (enhanced; Matador)
· Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra - Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey)
· Gwen Stacy - The Life I Know (Ferret) [Buy Now]
· Havoc Unit - h.IV+ (Vendlus)
· Clutchy Hopkins - Walking Backwards (two CDs; Ubiquity)
· HorrorPops - Kiss Kiss Kill Kill (Hellcat)
· Hot Chip - Made in the Dark (also available with DVD; Astralwerks) [Buy Now]
· Jack Johnson - Sleep Through the Static (Brushfire)
· Kamera - Resurrection (Nettwerk) [Buy Now]
· Josh Kelley - Special Company (enhanced; DNK)
· Kenny G - Rhythm & Romance (Concord)
· Lenny Kravitz - It Is Time for a Revolution (special edition comes with DVD; Virgin) [Buy Now]
· Kronos Quartet and Wu Man - Terry Riley's "The Cusp of Magic" (Nonesuch)
· k.d. lang - Watershed (deluxe limited edition with bonus CD also available; Nonesuch)
· Lightspeed Champion - Falling Off the Lavender Bridge (Domino)
· Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Calibration (N20)
· Tera Melos - Drugs to the Dear Youth (Sargent House)
· Aidan John Moffat - I Can Hear Your Heart (Chemikal Underground)
· Bob Mould - District Line (Anti-) [Buy Now]
· Nada Surf - Lucky (limited edition comes with bonus CD; Barsuk)
· Ocrilim - Annwn (Hydra Head)
· The Partisan Turbine - The Partisan Turbine (Ferret)
· Steve Reid Ensemble - Daxaar (Domino)
· Gonzalo Rubalcaba - Avatar (Blue Note)
· Salt the Wound - Carnal Repercussions (Rotten)
· Say Hi - The Wishes and the Glitch (two CDs; Rebel Group) [Buy Now]
· School of Language - Sea From Shore (Thrill Jockey)
· Sleep Station - The Pride of Chester James (Eyeball)
· State Radio - Year of the Crow (Nettwerk)
· Kelley Stoltz - Circular Sounds (Sub Pop)
· Otis Taylor - Recapturing the Banjo (Telarc)
· Claude VonStroke - Beware of the Bird (enhanced; limited edition comes with bonus CD; Fabric)
· Warbringer - War Without End (Century Media)
· Winds of Plague - Decimate the Weak (Century Media)
· Yip-Yip - Two Kings of the Same Kingdom (S.A.F.)
· Various artists - Stronger Than All (enhanced EP; Seventh Dagger)
· Various artists - "Honeydripper" soundtrack (Rhino)
· Various artists - "My Blueberry Nights" soundtrack (Blue Note)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Bachman-Turner Overdrive - The Definitive Collection (Mercury Nashville)
· Terri Clark - The Definitive Collection (Mercury Nashville)
· Rosemary Clooney - Sings for Lovers (Concord)
· Chick Corea and Return to Forever - The Definitive Collection (Verve)
· Electric Light Orchestra - The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, Volume 2: Ticket to the Moon (Epic/Legacy)
· Billie Holiday - The Definitive Collection [Buy Now]
· J. Holiday - Back of My Lac (deluxe edition with DVD; Music Line/ Capitol)
· Lang Lang - The Magic of Lang Lang (Deutsche Grammophon) [Buy Now]
· Brian McKnight - 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection - The Best of Brian McKnight (Motown)
· Wes Montgomery - Plays for Lovers (Riverside)
· Kelly Price - 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection - The Best of Kelly Price (Island) [Buy Now]
· Salt-N-Pepa - 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection - The Best of Salt-N-Pepa (Island)
· SheDaisy - The Best of SheDaisy (Lyric Street)
· Jimmy Smith - The Definitive Collection (Verve) [Buy Now]
· They Might Be Giants - Here Come the 123s (Amazon.com exclusive comes with DVD; Disney Sound)
· Mel Tormé - Sings for Lovers (Concord)
· Paul Weller - Wild Wood - Deluxe Edition (Yep Roc)
· Various artists - New Jack Swing Gold (two CDs; Hip-O)
· Various artists - What's Happening in Pernambuco - New Sounds of the Brazilian Northeast (Luaka Bop)
· Christina Aguilera - "Back to Basics: Live and Down Under" (two DVDs; RCA) [Buy Now]
· Iron Maiden - "Life After Death" (two DVDs; Universal) [Buy Now]
· Quincy Jones & Friends - "Live at Montreux 1996 - 50 Years in Music" (Eagle Vision)
· Roxy Music - "The Thrill of It All: A Visual History 1972-1982" (two DVDs; Virgin)
· Jill Scott - "Live in Paris+" (Hidden Beach)
· Chris Smither - "One More Night" (Signature Sounds)
· Thin Lizzy - "Live and Dangerous" (UMe)
· Boy George - Sold and U Can Never B 2 Straight (Virgin)
· China Crisis - Diary: A Collection and Working With Fire and Steel: Possible Pop Songs, Volume Two (EMI)
· Cutting Crew - The Best of Cutting Crew (SIS/IKN)
· del Amitri - del Amitri (Chrysalis/EMI)
· Devastations - Yes, U (Beggars Banquet)
· Stephen Duffy - They Called Him TinTin (Virgin)
· Brian Eno - Music for Airports (Live) - Bang on a Can (Cantaloupe) [Buy Now]
· The Hooters - Time Stand Still (Megaforce)
· Ferlin Husky - Capitol Collectors Series (Capitol Nashville)
· Killing Joke - Brighter Than a Thousand Suns and Outside the Gate (Astralwerks) [Buy Now]
· Gene McDaniels - The Best of Gene McDaniels (Capitol)
· Pet Shop Boys - Alternative (EMI)
· Ursula 1000 - Undressed ... Remixed (ELS)
· Faron Young - The Complete Capitol Hits of Faron Young (Capitol Nashville)
· Michael Jackson - Thriller 25 (with DVD; Epic/Legacy) [Preorder]
· Metric - "Live at Metropolis" DVD (Last Gang) [Preorder]
· Simple Plan - Simple Plan (Lava/Atlantic) [Preorder]
· Foxy Brown - Brooklyn's Don Diva (Black Rose Entertainment/ Koch) [Preorder]
· Mike Doughty - Golden Delicious (ATO)
· Various artists - Kidz Bop 13 (enhanced; Razor & Tie)
· Erykah Badu - New Amerykah (Motown) [Preorder]
· Missy Higgins - On a Clear Night (Reprise)
· Janet Jackson - Discipline (deluxe edition comes with DVD; Island) [Preorder]