New albums from pop singer Hoku and pop-rock acts the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Billy Joel are among the highlights of this week's releases.
Also this week, Dwayne Wiggins, former guitarist for pop/R&B group Tony Toni Toné, will release his debut solo album.
Boston ska-rock stalwarts the Mighty Mighty Bosstones embrace straightforward guitar-rock on much of their new album, Pay Attention, which includes the single "So Sad to Say" (RealAudio excerpt).
"It contains 16 brand-spanking-new songs that I consider to be our best overall collection of ska-drenched, ass-shaking, bone-breaking, earth-shaking, no-faking songs to date," frontman Dicky Barrett said in a statement on the band's Web site (www.bosstones.com).
Billy Joel's live 2000 Years The Millennium Concert is culled from Joel's New Year's Eve show at Madison Square Garden. It features more than two hours of music, mixing hits with personal favorites and an eclectic range of covers.
The album begins with a snippet of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. From there, Joel delivers such hits as "My Life" (RealAudio excerpt of studio version), "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" and "We Didn't Start the Fire" while sliding in an occasional cover, including the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman" and Sly & the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music."
Hoku, a teenage singer from Hawaii, will release her self-titled debut. The album, mostly danceable teen pop, includes the hit single "Another Dumb Blonde" (RealAudio excerpt), which was originally released as part of the soundtrack to the movie "Snow Day."
Dwayne Wiggins' Eyes Never Lie (Real Audio excerpt of title track), includes guest appearances from guitarist Carlos Santana and Hootie & the Blowfish vocalist Darius Rucker.
Wiggins mixes styles on the album, venturing into rock on "Move With Me," which he wrote with Santana, who laces the song with heavily distorted guitar riffs.
Wiggins lays down his own guitar licks on the instrumental "Tribecca" and gets into some Sly & the Family Stonestyle funk-rock on "Music Is Power" (Real Audio excerpt).
"I was in a different frame of mind for this project," the guitarist said recently.
(Contributing Editor Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen contributed to this report.)