New albums from rock groups Sleater-Kinney, Primal Scream and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are among the highlights of this week's releases.
Also, Billy Joel will release a live album, and willfully weird rockers Ween will release White Pepper, which has been hailed as their most accessible album to date.
Sleater-Kinney's All Hands on the Bad One (RealAudio excerpt of title track) finds the Olympia, Wash., trio again taking up political topics after last year's more personal The Hot Rock.
On songs such as "#1 Must Have," the band tackles the commercial co-optation of riot grrrl politics and imagery over their trademark intertwined guitars and vocals.
"I think a lot of the ways we've been treated is like: Politics is something you grow out of," singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein said. "I think that we tried to reiterate it and make it more holistic in a way that it's integrated in our music. It's part of who we are."
British rockers Primal Scream take an equally political approach on their new album, XTRMNTR.
The album's dark, noisy sound of is indicative of the band's anger with social conditions in the UK, according to frontman Bobby Gillespie.
"We were expressing how I felt it's a high-energy, angry rebel record," Gillespie said. "We want to make it beautiful even if it's claustrophobic and violent-sounding."
While XTRMNTR is dominated by electronic sounds on songs such as "Swastika Eyes" (RealAudio excerpt), Gillespie said that he still considers it a rock album. "I don't differentiate between an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and a synthesizer it's all music."
Boston ska-rock stalwarts Mighty Mighty Bosstones, meanwhile, embrace straightforward pop-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.
(Sonicnet.com Editor in Chief Michael Goldberg contributed to this report.)