"Beware the ides of March," Titus once told Julius Caesar. The Roman leader disregarded the warning — and was fatally stabbed by conspirator Brutus a few days later. Harsh. While we're hoping a similar fate doesn't befall any of the artists putting out new releases this week, in the interest of friendly competition, we've paired them off as rivals. No conniving!
Lloyd's Street Love and Musiq Soulchild's Luvanmusiq - Lloyd got some assistance from Lil Wayne, Ashanti and Ja Rule on his 2004 debut, Southside. Weezy's back to give the Atlanta R&B crooner another leg up — this time on "You" — and Nas is also climbing into the action with a spot on the album-closing remix of "I Want You." Another singer, Philadelphia's Musiq, flies totally solo on his fourth effort, which he's hoping will follow in the platinum and gold tradition of his albums past. His first item for Atlantic features "Buddy," "Today" and "Ridiculous."
Rich Boy's Rich Boy and 8Ball and MJG's Ridin High - Atlanta's Rich Boy tapped a wealth of friends for his debut: Nelly; Outkast's Andre 3000 and Big Boi, who guest on separate tracks; Jim Jones; Pastor Troy; Polow Da Don; David Banner; and even John Legend, who performs on "Ghetto Rich." Another Southern rap act, Memphis' 8Ball and MJG, are seeing stars too — their seventh outing is underscored with guest appearances by Diddy, Three 6 Mafia, Yung Joc, Juvenile, Killer Mike, 112's Slim and Notorious B.I.G.
Various artists' Radio Disney Jams 9 and Girl Authority's Road Trip - On what CD can Rascal Flatts cozy up to Gwen Stefani and Weezer? Why, on a Radio Disney Jams comp, of course — this week's installment of the popular kids' series also calls on Hilary Duff, Jesse McCartney, Daniel Powter and the cast of "High School Musical" to kick out the jams. An accompanying DVD features five clips, most notably of Hannah Montana, the Cheetah Girls and Aly & AJ. Girl Authority's new one also comes with a video disc, furthering the collection of family-friendly tunes ("The Loco-Motion," "We Are Family," etc.) as sung by nine girls. Sprinkled among the cover songs are a few new tracks written specifically for Girl Authority by none other than Vince Clarke (Erasure, Depeche Mode) and Tanya Donelly (Breeders, Throwing Muses).
The Fratellis' Costello Music and the Sterns' Sinners Stick Together - You Hear It First-ers Jon, Barry and Mince Fratelli hail from Scotland — and met while working at a carnival! — but recorded their first release in Los Angeles with Beck buddy Tony Hoffer. The Brit Award winners' LP has already charted high in their homeland, on the strength of songs like "Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night," "Got Ma Nuts From a Hippy" and "Henrietta." While all three Fratellis share that last name, only two of the four members of another act have their band's name on their driver's licenses. The Sterns rally against the Bush administration on "Supreme Girl" — written from the perspective of failed Supreme Court nominee Harriet Myers — "Papa, You're in Your Prime" and "About the Author."
William Tell's You Can Hold Me Down and Marc Ford's Weary and Wired - Tell broke from Something Corporate three years ago to pursue a solo career, and he's dishing up the 10 fruits of his labor in the form of You Can Hold Me Down. Co-produced and mixed by Thom Panunzio (U2, No Doubt), the set includes "Slipping Under (Sing Along to Your Favorite Song)" — which was featured in an "American Idol" promotional spot — and "Fairfax (You're Still the Same)." Ford also split from his former troupe, the Black Crowes — but according to a statement, he did so to stay sober. A year and a half after leaving that band, Ford dishes up his second solo entry, which features his son Elijah Ford plus "Featherweight Dreamland," "Just Take the Money" and more.
Aqualung's Memory Man and Matthew Jordan's Horizon - Matt Hales — better known as Aqualung — steps up with his second Statewide set and first since being named a VH1 You Oughta Know artist in 2005. With help from brother Ben Hales, mixer Eric Valentine (Good Charlotte, Queens of the Stone Age) and others, Matt Hales brings "Something to Believe In," "Vapour Trail" and "Broken Bones." Jordan is another solo artist with a VH1/MTV background — he was in Five for Fighting's "100 Years" video and was a finalist on MTV's "Duets" with Vanessa Carlton. His first opus features "I'm on My Way," "Eventually" and more.
Jon Rauhouse's Steel Guitar Heart Attack and Paula Frazer and Tarnation's Now It's Time - Pedal-steel genius Rauhouse is backed by Calexico, who he has collaborated with before, throughout his new release, which also features some chanteuse action courtesy of Neko Case, Kelly Hogan and Visqueen's Rachel Flotard. While Rauhouse's third effort is a mostly instrumental affair, he does step to the mic for a special occasion: to sing the theme song to "The Andy Griffith Show." Frazer gets back together with her former group, Tarnation, for Now It's Time, although Frazer handled most of the instrumentation at her Victorian house in San Francisco. The singer, the daughter of a minister, also includes her name on the release because she had "walked away from the name 'Tarnation' in order to free herself from the structure that the band concept inevitably imposed," according to a press release. In other words, they broke up.
Hubert Selby Jr.'s "It/ll Be Better Tomorrow" and Guns N' Roses' "November Rain in Paradise City" - It's doubtful you know Selby Jr. by name, but if "Requiem for a Dream" and "Last Exit to Brooklyn" ring a bell, then you're more familiar with the controversial author than you realize. Paying a visit on "Tomorrow" — a chronicle of Selby Jr.'s battles with tuberculosis, drugs and financial ruin — are Jared Leto, Henry Rollins, Lou Reed and Robert Downey Jr., who narrates. Way more unauthorized is the GN'R documentary, which traces the band's entire career — its "rise, fall and rise," if you will, in the parlance of a press release.
The Tragically Hip's World Container and Uncle Earl's Waterloo Tennessee - The Hip — who recently opened for the Who — enlisted Metallica conspirator Bob Rock for their new one, which is being powered by the top 40 single "In View." In terms of producer prestige, they'll have to duke it out with Uncle Earl, who roped in Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones to help hammer out their second offering. Jones did his best to capture every sound the Waterloo, Tennessee, band made with fiddles, banjos, mandolins, crystalline tender harmonies and wobbleboard.
Song Title of the Week:
Tie between "No Cuts, No Butts, No Coconuts" and "High School Was Like Boot Camp for a Desk Job" from Death by Stereo's Death Alive
Rosie Thomas' These Friends of Mine
Thomas is quiet and spare as usual on her fourth album, but before this goes under your radar, be aware that there's a little fellow by the name of Sufjan Stevens helping her throughout the effort. Odd for an indie stalwart like Thomas, her LP's already been getting play on TV's "Grey's Anatomy" and "Bones." The album features "All the Way to New York City," "Why Waste More Time?" and a cover of R.E.M.'s "The One I Love" with Stevens.
Ken Andrews' Secrets of the Lost Satellite
Andrews has been involved in music to varying degrees for decades — as the leader of Failure, as a member of a side project featuring members of Tool, and as a producer/mixer for Beck, Tenacious D and wife Charlotte Martin. His first solo affair as "Ken Andrews" — and the first release from his own Dinosaur Fight label — was actually produced by Beck's live musical director, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and features "Secret Things," "Write Your Story" and more.
Chuck E. Weiss' 23rd & Stout
Cuban surf guitar, lounge swing, alt-rock and other sounds come together to form "discom-bop-ulated jive," the self-described blend Weiss is responsible for. The Denver, Colorado, musician — who had the honor of playing with Lightnin' Hopkins, Willie Dixon and others — ganged up with longtime drummer Don Heffington to produce his fourth effort. It marks the first time the singer/songwriter has used the digital format and features a detective theme throughout proving that after all these years, Weiss knows what he's doing.
· 8Ball and MJG - Ridin High (Bad Boy) [Buy Now]
· Alternate Routes - Good and Reckless and True (Vanguard)
· Ken Andrews - Secrets of the Lost Satellite (digipak; Dinosaur Fight)
· Aqualung - Memory Man (Columbia) [Buy Now]
· Artimus Pyle - Artimus Venomous (Cleopatra)
· Wendy Atkinson - Pink Noise (Get to the Point)
· Baby Teeth - The Simp (Lujo)
· Black Milk - Popular Demand (Fatbeats)
· Brazzaville - East L.A. Breeze (Vendlus)
· Johnny Bush - Kashmere Gardens Mud (Icehouse)
· Cadence Weapon - Breaking Kayfabe (Upper Class)
· Death by Stereo - Death Alive (Reignition)
· Dollyrots - Because I'm Awesome (enhanced; Blackheart)
· Spencer Durham - Much More Than Words (Burnside)
· Thomas Dybdahl - Science (Rykodisc)
· SJ Esau - Wrong Faced Cat Feed Collapse (Anticon)
· Marc Ford - Weary and Wired (Blues Bureau)
· The Fratellis - Costello Music (Cherry Tree) [Buy Now]
· Paula Frazer and Tarnation - Now It's Time (Birdman)
· Marty Friedman - Loudspeaker (Shrapnel)
· David Galas - The Cataclysm (Vendlus)
· Girl Authority - Road Trip (with DVD; Zoë/Rounder)
· Grand Champeen - Dial T for This (In Music We Trust)
· Grayceon - Grayceon (Vendlus)
· Green Lizard - Las Armas del Silencio (I Scream)
· Heavenly - Virus (Locomotive)
· The Innocence Mission - We Walked in Song (Badman)
· The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Live at Oslo Jazz Festival (Alternative Tentacles) [Buy Now]
· Glenn Jones - Against Which the Sea Continually Beats (Strange Attractors)
· Matthew Jordan - Horizon (Quiet Thunder)
· Lucy Kaplansky - Over the Hills (Red House)
· Jorma Kaukonen - Stars in My Crown (Red House)
· Lloyd - Street Love (Motown) [Buy Now]
· Lodger - Hi-Fi High Lights Down Low (Rykodisc)
· Brad Mehldau - Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz Radio Rebroadcast (Jazz Alliance)
· Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau - Quartet (Nonesuch)
· Minmae - 835 (Greyday)
· Monarch - Dead Men Tell No Tales (two CDs; Crucial Blast)
· Eddie Money - Wanna Go Back (Big Deal)
· James Morrison - Undiscovered (Interscope) [Buy Now]
· Musiq Soulchild - Luvanmusiq (Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Nadja - Touched (Alien 8)
· Nakatomi Plaza - Unsettled (Reignition)
· Graham Parker - Don't Tell Columbus (Bloodshot)
· Steve Porter - Porterhouse Vol. 2 (two CDs; EQ)
· Jon Rauhouse - Steel Guitar Heart Attack (Bloodshot)
· Rich Boy - Rich Boy (Interscope) [Buy Now]
· The Roches - Moonswept (429)
· Shadetek - Pale Fire (Sound Ink)
· Alex Skolnick Trio - Last Day in Paradise (Magnatude)
· Starcastle - Song of Times (Progrock)
· The Sterns - Sinners Stick Together (Omnirox)
· William Tell - You Can Hold Me Down (New Door)
· Rosie Thomas - These Friends of Mine (Nettwerk)
· The Tragically Hip - World Container (Fontana)
· Tricky Bizzniss - Tricky Bizzniss (EsNtion)
· Type O Negative - Dead Again (SPV) [Buy Now]
Read: "Type O Negative Remember Dimebag Darrell On 'Positive' New LP"
· Uncle Earl - Waterloo Tennessee (Rounder)
· Unsane - Visqueen (Ipecac) [Buy Now]
· Chuck E. Weiss - 23rd & Stout (Cooking Vinyl)
· Hayley Westenra - Celtic Treasure (Decca)
· Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (Republic) [Buy Now]
· Various artists - If You Ain't Got the Do Re Me: Songs of Rags and Riches (Smithsonian Folkways)
· Various artists - Radio Disney Jams 9 (with DVD; Disney)
· Various artists - Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of the Beatles, Björk and Bob Marley (Baby Rock)
· Various artists - VIP 01 (two CDs; Swank)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Agnostic Front/ Discipline - Working Class Heroes (live; I Scream)
· Tracy Byrd - The Definitive Collection (MCA Nashville)
· Guy Clark - Americana Master Series: Best of the Sugar Hill Years (Sugar Hill)
· The Corrs - Dreams: The Ultimate Corrs Collection (Rhino)
· Floyd Cramer - Pop Classics - Volume One (Yell)
· Dokken - From Conception: Live 1981 (Rhino)
· Jerry Douglas - Americana Master Series: Best of the Sugar Hill Years (Sugar Hill)
· José Feliciano - Live at the Blue Note New York (Ryko)
· G.B.H - Race Against Time: The Complete Clay Recordings (three CDs; Castle)
· Gillie Da Kid - The Best of the GDK Mixtapes (Babygrande)
· Merle Haggard - The Definitive Collection (MCA Nashville)
· Holy Moses - World Chaos (Locomotive)
· Looking Forward - What This Means To Me (with DVD; Blood & Ink)
· James McMurtry - Americana Master Series: Best of the Sugar Hill Years (Sugar Hill)
· Wilson Pickett - Hey Jude (DBK Works)
· Shiner - Making Love E.P. (Sidecho)
· Tankard - Kings of Beer (Locomotive)
· Traffic - The Definitive Collection (Hip-O/UMe)
· Jack Wagner - All I Need (Friday) · Chely White - The Definitive Collection (Hip-O/UMe)
· Mark Wills - The Definitive Collection (Island/Mercury)
· Neil Young - Massey Hall 1971 (with DVD; Reprise)
· Various artists - Hollywood Hits: 70 Years of Memorable Movie Music (three CDs; Shout! Factory)
· Various artists - Northern Stars: A Canadian Singers & Songwriters Collection (Time Life)
· Various artists - Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration (two CDs; Stax)
· Big Audio Dynamite - "Live: E=MC2" (MVD Visual)
· Charms - "Easy Trouble: Bird's Eye View of a DIY Band" (MVD Visual)
· Eric Clapton - "Layla: Interviews" (MVD Visual)
· Albert Collins & the Icebreakers - "In Concert: Ohne Filter" (MVD Visual)
· Damn Yankees - "Uprising Live!" (Rhino)
· Dokken - "Unchain the Night" (Rhino)
· Egilsson, Perdersen, Darling - "Live in Vienna" (MVD Visual)
· Einstuerzende Neubauten - "Palast der Republik" (MVD Visual)
· Crystal Gayle - "Live in Tennessee" (Immortal)
· Genesis - "In Their Own Words" (with book; Classic Rock Legends)
· Guns N' Roses - "November Rain in Paradise City" (Locomotive)
· Kinks - "In Their Own Words" (with book; Classic Rock Legends)
· Led Zeppelin - "In Their Own Words" (with book; Classic Rock Legends)
· Metallica - "Phantom Puppets: Interviews" (MVD Visual)
· Oasis - "Morning Glory: A Classic Album Under Review" (MVD Visual)
· Oscar Peterson Trio - "The Berlin Concert" (MVD Visual)
· Hubert Selby Jr. - "It/ll Be Better Tomorrow" (Eclectic)
· Frank Sinatra - "Stage & Screen Collection" (Passport)
· The Smiths - "Still Ill: Interviews" (MVD Visual)
· Mary Wells - "Greatest Hits" (MVD Visual)
· Various artists - "Appetite for Deconstruction: A Punk Rockumentary" (MVD Visual)
· Various artists - "Favela Rising" (Genius Products)
· C-Murder - Screamin' 4 Vengeance (Capitol) [Preorder]
· Decemberists - "A Practical Handbook" DVD (Kill Rock Stars)
· LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (Capitol) [Preorder]
· Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (Epic) [Preorder]
· Good Charlotte - Good Morning Revival (Epic) [Preorder]
Read: "Good Charlotte Don Their Dance Shoes For Feel-Good Revival"
· Jennifer Lopez - Como Ama Una Mujer (Epic) [Preorder]
Read: "Jennifer Lopez Says New Single Came From Marc Anthony's Dream"
· Tha Dogg Pound - Dogg Ch-- (Koch) [Preorder]
· Young Buck - Buck the World (Interscope) [Preorder]
· The Academy Is ... - Santi (Atlantic) [Preorder]
Read: "The Academy Is ... Say New Album Sounds Nothing Like Fall Out Boy"
· Beyoncé - B-Day - Deluxe Edition (with bonus CD; Columbia)[Preorder]
Read: "Beyonce Turns Heads With Sports Illustrated Cover, Shakira Duet"
· Chevelle - Vena Sera (Epic) [Preorder]
· Paul Wall - Get Money - Stay True (Atlantic) [Preorder]
Read: " 'Mature' Paul Wall Still Raps About Girls, Grills With Mariah, T.I."
· Shadows Fall - Threads of Life (Atlantic) Read: "Dave Grohl's Party Calls Can't Distract Shadows Fall From Recording LP"