It's monsters-of-rock time at the nation's record stores this week, with new releases on their way Tuesday from Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis and AC/DC, as well as veteran jazz-rockers Steely Dan, who will put out their first studio album in 20 years.
Also Tuesday, rappers Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will release their first album in three years, BTNH Resurrection.
(Click here for a full listing of Tuesday's releases.)
On tracks such as "Heavy Metal Machine" (RealAudio excerpt), the Pumpkins' new album, MACHINA/the machines of God, marks the band's return to a hard-rock sound after the electronic excursions of their previous release, Adore.
Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan said recently that the band has struggled throughout the years to find innovative ways of rocking hard.
"Rock 'n' roll has always been ... in a weird way almost an Achilles heel. We keep going back to the altar of it, and it's obviously the touchstone of the power [of our band]," Corgan said. "But it's so daunting to us. I mean, how the f--- do you top Led Zeppelin or [Black Sabbath]?"
The album, which marks the return of drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, also explores pop and electronic sounds on such tracks as "The Sacred and Profane" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Sunshowers."
"I went through some weird art transformation courtesy of [producer] Flood and found some synchronicity," Corgan said. "It seemed to open a door for me that took me into a world where there were no rules, no limitations."
British rockers Oasis also include electronic sounds looped
beats, sound-bite samples on their new album, Standing on
the Shoulder of Giants.
The disc's first single, "Go Let it Out!" (RealAudio
excerpt), features looped drums driving a jangling midtempo
song that is squarely in the tradition of past Oasis hits such as "Wonderwall."
The record also features "Little James," which marks the songwriting debut of the band's singer, Liam Gallagher his brother Noel Gallagher is Oasis' main songwriter.
AC/DC, a band led by another pair of brothers, guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young, return to their heavy-rock roots on their new LP, Stiff Upper Lip (RealAudio excerpt of title track).
Bluesy album tracks such as "Can't Stand Still" (RealAudio excerpt) evoke early rock 'n' roll artists such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard, while "Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll" is the latest in a long line of pro-rock anthems from the band.
"We just wanted to make a good, solid, hard rock 'n' roll album," lead guitarist Angus Young said. "I wasn't concerned with being commercial."
On Two Against Nature, the first Steely Dan studio album in 20 years, the jazzy rock duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker return to their roots of carefully crafted, jazzy pop-rock.
The album's title track (RealAudio excerpt) is spiced with a hip-hop beat, but as a whole the LP embraces the sound of such classic Steely Dan albums as Aja.
Also continuing a musical tradition is rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, whose signature sound of chanted, R&B-flavored hip-hop is evident on such tracks on their new album as "Resurrection (Paper, Paper)."