New albums from three veteran acts arty British rockers the Mekons, acoustic indie-rockers the Violent Femmes and rappers the Jungle Brothers top off this week's slate of new releases.
(Click here for a full listing of Tuesday's releases.)
The Jungle Brothers' V.I.P., the group's first album in three years, was produced by Alex Gifford of the UK big-beat group the Propellerheads.
"I wanted the music to sound like a fat, organic hip-hop track, and be able to play some uptempo dance stuff, as well as some funk and soulful jazz," Jungle Brothers rapper Afrika said in a statement. "Alex had all those things in the package."
The resulting album mixes the Brothers' jazzy hip-hop sounds with up-to-the-minute electronica.
The Mekons' new album, meanwhile, is a cohesive work marked by dark settings, confused characters and moody, textured sounds. It comes 21 years after the release of the band's debut album, The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained.
Journey to the End of the Night closes with the uptempo "Last Night on Earth," but opens with the quiet, mysterious "Myth," a track that juxtaposes scenes from New York's Lower East Side with the journeys of the Greek figure Heracles.
"It's about heroic endeavors," singer/guitarist Jon Langford said recently. "Getting through the night. It's about making a sacrifice. Every night you go out and make a sacrifice. It's like a ritual, isn't it? ... You're meant to go out and be tested."
The Violent Femmes' Freak Magnet is the first new studio album from the Wisconsin band since 1994's New Times. The band continues its tradition of minimalist arrangements and quirky lyrics on such tracks as the first single, "Sleepwalkin'."
New York rapper Black Rob, who has a club hit with his single "Whoa!" (RealAudio excerpt), will release his debut album, Life Story, this week.
"When you buy this album, you gonna get an assortment of rhymes, nothing sounding the same," Black Rob said. "The beats are so crazy. And I'm not talking that everyday thing that brothers is talkin' about. So Black Rob is unique in his own way."
Also releasing new albums this week are thrash-punkers the Dwarves, Norwegian teen-pop duo M2M, metal band Crowbar and joke-rockers Nerf Herder, best known for their 1996 novelty hit "Van Halen."
(Senior Writer Chris Nelson contributed to this report.)