Ready for one crazy summer? The first day of the season is still a couple of weeks away, but that isn't stopping the summer stars from busting out their sizzlin' new slabs. Grab your sunscreen, beach blanket and thong — the forecast calls for ridiculously high temps.
Summer Jams: Rihanna and Jay-Z reigned at the MTV Movie Awards with a steamy version of her "Umbrella," and she can credit the infectious track for making her Good Girl Gone Bad LP the most anticipated R&B release of the week, despite the gritty competition. Her third album in two years also features Ne-Yo ("Hate That I Love You"), "Don't Stop the Music," "Breakin' Dishes," "Question Existing" and more.
Daddy Yankee has a special delivery too: El Cartel: The Big Boss. Beyond the English-language-titled "Plane to PR," "Bring It On" and the obligatorily named "Who's Your Daddy?," the set features 18 additional tracks that are all titled in Spanish. Kicking it with Daddy Yankee — one of Time magazine's 100 most-influential people, in case you forgot — are Fergie, Akon, Jim Jones, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, Scott Storch and Will.I.Am.
T-Pain is throwing a beach party of his own, and he's also invited Akon — as well as Yung Joc, Ray and Shawnna. T-Pain — who told MTV News he's been mixing it up with Britney and Usher lately too — is counting on the wildly popular street track "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" to anchor his Epiphany, but he also makes room for "Yo Stomach," "Backseat Action" and "Shottas."
And don't forget about Carl Thomas — although he isn't too lonely these days either, from the looks of it. Brandy, E-40 and Dave Hollister are making his new album So Much Better.
Return of the Rockers: Marilyn Manson might not be the Christian Right's target du jour anymore, but that doesn't mean the thin white goth isn't still relevant — after all, his 2003 LP, The Golden Age of the Grotesque, charted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart. Manson's graphic, self-directed "Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)" clip with Evan Rachel Wood should shock fans into buying Eat Me, Drink Me, which also features "Are You the Rabbit?," "Mutilation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery" and "You and Me and the Devil Makes 3."
Chris Cornell is also getting reborn, so to speak. Following Audioslave's implosion, the frontman is redefining himself as a solo artist — which he actually did before, by releasing 1999's Euphoria Morning in between his time in Soundgarden and the 'Slave. He finds optimism again with Carry On, crooning a slow version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" — no, that's not a misprint — plus "You Know My Name," which he crafted for "Casino Royale," and more.
· Psychobilly scrappers Tiger Army have clawed their way onto mainstream-rock radio lately and are tearing it up on the Warped Tour this year. In addition to dropping a new LP this week — Music From Regions Beyond — the band crops up on the Vans Warped Tour - 2007 Tour Compilation alongside the Used, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying and more.
· Shout Out Louds cover the Pogues' "Streams of Whiskey" with the Essex Green on the Louds' new Merge EP, Tonight I Have to Leave It. Meanwhile, labelmates the Ladybug Transistor apparently Can't Wait Another Day to put out their sixth album, which features "Always on the Telephone" and "Here Comes the Rain."
· You probably know Sean Na Na — who plants Family Trees or Cope We Must this week — better as Ron Jeremy-esque funkster Har Mar Superstar.
· Expect Paul McCartney and Dream Theater also to do some chart damage next week. McCartney's Memory Almost Full is his 21st solo album but first for Hear Music, the new label formed by Starbucks and Concord Music. Dream Theater have hopped from Atlantic to the hard-rocking Roadrunner for their latest prog-rock opus, Systematic Chaos.
· Hair-metal survivors have a new reason to live: Poison belt out renditions of their favorite Cars, Stones and Bowie tunes on Poison'd! Not crazy about those covers? Try Tesla — they also pay homage to the Stones (as well as Zeppelin, the Beatles and other classic rockers) on their own set of tribute songs, Real to Reel.
· Yeah, that really is Tiffany you're seeing below. Everyone's favorite '80s carrot top is issuing Just Me on the way-indie imprint 10 Spot Record.
Uneasy Listening: Steve Albini probably isn't greasing up his bod for the summer in Chicago — even if his iconic noise-rock trio, Shellac, are trotting out their Excellent Italian Greyhound this week. The band usually takes a few years between releases — but seven could be a stretch for some (fans age, y'know). That said, this is the band's longest LP and is said to be its hardest too (we'd tell ya, but the group notoriously doesn't do press or issue promotional CDs). Fans who have dug Shellac's mantra over the years — they put much more emphasis on their LP releases compared to CDs — will be shocked to learn that Shellac are part of the digital era. That's right, this album will be available on Touch and Go's Web site.
Neurosis and Oxbow have recorded with Albini a bunch of times over the years, and both those Bay Area bands crank out their own ear-splitting releases this week. Neurosis recorded Given to the Rising with Albini, in fact, shaking up their noted sludge sound with strains of prog and psych. Don't miss singer/guitarist Scott Kelly's 29-second-long scream midway through the album.
Arguably the scariest band in the San Fran underground, Oxbow — known as much for the restraining orders they get slapped with as their music — are chasing last year's Love That's Last set with The Narcotic Story, produced by Grammy winner Joe Chiccarelli (Frank Zappa, the Raconteurs). In a statement, frontman Eugene Robinson called the band's new set, The Narcotic Story, "a disturbing stroll through a place where everything's broken." Trust us that "disturbing" is an understatement.
Pelican, who are heavily influenced by Neurosis and on the same label as Oxbow, take a turn this week with their delayed City of Echoes. Having got sick of playing extensive songs in concert, the band mixes it up with pop-radio-length tracks — although they're still way too doomy for radio. Tunes include "Spaceship Broken - Parts Needed," "Dead Between the Walls" and "A Delicate Sense of Balance."
Song Title of the Week:
"Entrails of a Rotting Sky" from Unholy's Blood of the Medusa
· 12 Girls Band - Shanghai (live; Manhattan)
· Above & Beyond - Anjunabeats Volume Five (two CDs; Ultra)
· Acoustic Alchemy - This Way (Narada)
· The Aggrolites - Reggae Hit L.A. (Hellcat)
· Belly - The Revolution (two CDs; CP)
· Big & Rich - Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace (Warner Bros.) [Buy Now]
· The Birthday Massacre - Nothing & Nowhere (Metropolis)
· Black Light Burns - Cruel Melody (I AM: Wolfpack)
· Black Strobe - Burn Your Own Church (Play Louder)
· Bonde Do Role - With Lasers (Domino)
· Bronze Nazareth - The Unknown (Wanderluxe)
· Jonathan Butler - Brand New Day (Marathana)
· Chris Caffery - Pins and Needles (Locomotive)
· Joey Calderazzo - Amanecer (Marsalis Music/Rounder)
· C-Bo - West Side Ryders III: The Southeast Connection (West Coast Mafia)
· The Cinematic Orchestra - Ma Fleur (Domino)
· Eli Cook - Miss Blues'es Child (Valley)
· Chris Cornell - Carry On (Suretone/Interscope) [Buy Now]
Read: "Chris Cornell Ready To Carry On As Solo Artist: 'I'm Best In My Own World' "
· Cowboy Troy - Black in the Saddle (Warner Bros.)
· Elvis Crespo - Regreso el Jefe (Machete)
· Critical Rhythm - Singular: Two (two CDs; MVD Audio)
· Daddy Yankee - El Cartel: The Big Boss (El Cartel/ Interscope) [Buy Now]
Read: "Daddy Yankee Hoping To Light Up Next Album With Diddy, Dre"
· Dälek - A Purge of Dissidents (with DVD; Ipecac)
· Dappled Cities - Granddance (Dangerbird)
· The Dear Hunter - The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding (East West)
· Deemi - Soundtrack of My Life (Atlantic)
· Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos (special edition also available; Roadrunner) [Buy Now]
· Eldar - Re-Imagination (Sony BMG Masterworks)
· Chris Fortier - As Long as the Moment Exists (E.Q.)
· Fourth of July - Fourth of July on the Plains (Range Life)
· Richie Furay - The Heartbeat of Love (Friday Music)
· Towner Galaher - Panorama (Towner Gallaher Music)
· Sara Gazarek - Return to You (Native Language)
· Grendel - Harsh Generation (Metropolis)
· Stefano Greppi - Technologies in House (MVD Audio)
· Meral Guneyman with Dick Hyman - Playful Virtuosity (Rykodisc)
· Tord Gustavsen Trio - Being There (ECM)
· Hallelujah the Hills - Collective Psychosis Begone (Misra)
· Daniel A.I.U. Higgs - Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot (Thrill Jockey)
· Holy Roman Empire - The Longue Durée (Hewhocorrupts)
· Iced Earth - Overture of the Wicked (EP; SPV) [Buy Now]
· In Theory - This Is It (Adrenaline)
· The Rocco John Group - Don't Wait Too Long ... (self-release)
· Junior - Are We Famous Yet? (Toucan Cove)
· Kaipa - Angling Feelings (Inside Out)
· Kamelot - Ghost Opera (two CDs; SPV)
· The Ladybug Transistor - Can't Wait Another Day (Merge)
· Leyode - Fascinating Tininess (Eastern Developments)
· The Long Blondes - Someone to Drive You Home (enhanced; Beggars Banquet)
· The Loose Salute - Tuned to Love (Graveface) · W.W. Lowman - Plain Songs (Who-Hey)
· Marilyn Manson - Eat Me, Drink Me (Nothing) [Buy Now]
Read: "Marilyn Manson Reveals He Came Close To Suicide; LP 'Was My Salvation' "
· The Martino Conspiracy - Hope in Isolation (Aspirion)
· Matriden - Matriden (Candlelight)
· Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full (deluxe limited edition comes with bonus CD; Hear Music) [Buy Now]
· Glenn Mercer - Wheels in Motion (Pravda)
· Mithras - Behind the Shadows Lie Madness (Candlelight)
· Moon Maan - Moon Maan (Catlick)
· Neurosis - Given to the Rising (Neurot)
· O.A.R. - Live From Madison Square Garden (two-CD set and two-DVD set; Everfine/Lava/Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Oxbow - The Narcotic Story (Hydra Head) [Buy Now]
· Pantheon-I - The Wanderer and His Shadow (Candlelight)
· Pelican - City of Echoes (Hydra Head) [Buy Now]
· The Phoenix Foundation - Horsepower (Young American)
· Pipettes - Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me (EP; Interscope) [Buy Now]
· Pissed Jeans - Hope for Men (Sub Pop) [Buy Now]
· Poison - Poison'd! (EMI/Capitol) [Buy Now]
· Praxis - Tennessee 2004 (ROIR)
· Quivver - Controlled Substance (MVD Audio)
· Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad (Island/Def Jam) [Buy Now]
Read: "Rihanna Loses Good Girl Image, Thanks To Jay-Z, Justin, Timbaland, Ne-Yo"
· Carina Round - Slow Motion Addict (Interscope) [Buy Now]
· Royce Da 5'9" - The Bar Exam (Traffic Entertainment) [Buy Now]
· Serena Ryder - If Your Memory Serves You Well (Back Porch)
· Sean Na Na - Family Trees or Cope We Must (Dim Mak)
· Shellac - Excellent Italian Greyhound (Touch and Go) [Buy Now]
· Shout Out Louds - Tonight I Have to Leave It (EP; Merge) [Buy Now]
· Sister Hazel - Bam! Volume One (Rock Ridge)
· Richard Smallwood - Journey: Live in New York (Verity)
· Bruce Springsteen with the Sessions Band - Live in Dublin (two CDs; Columbia) [Buy Now]
· The Start - Ciao, Baby (Metropolis)
· Stroke 9 - The Last of the International Playboys (Rock Ridge)
· Sullivan - Cover Your Eyes (Tooth & Nail)
· James Talk - Thinking Out Loud (MVD Audio)
· Tesla - Real to Reel (Tesla Electric Company)
· They Shoot Horses Don't They? - Pick Up Sticks (Kill Rock Stars)
· Carl Thomas - So Much Better (Bungalo)
· Tiffany - Just Me (10 Spot)
· Tiger Army - Music From Regions Beyond (Hellcat) [Buy Now]
· T-Pain - Epiphany (Jive) [Buy Now]
Read: "T-Pain Mixes It Up With Usher, Britney, More: 'I Dish It Out For Everybody' "
· Udo - Mastercutor (Candlelight)
· Unholy - Blood of the Medusa (Lambgoat)
· Porter Wagoner - Wagonmaster (Anti-)
· Various artists - Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash (Dualtone)
· Various artists - ArtDontSleep Presents: From L.A. With Love (Milan)
· Various artists - Vans Warped Tour - 2007 Tour Compilation (two CDs; Side One Dummy)
· Various artists - We All Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song (Verve)
· Various artists - "Ocean's Thirteen" soundtrack (Warner Bros.)
· Various artists - "Surf's Up" soundtrack (Columbia)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Afghan Whigs - Unbreakable (A Retrospective 1990-2006) (Rhino)
· David Bowie - Young Americans (special edition; with DVD; Virgin/EMI)
· James Brown - Gold (two CDs; UMe/Polydor)
· The Clash - The Singles (Epic/Legacy)
· Stewart Copeland - The Rhythmatist (A&M/UMe)
· Ella Fitzgerald - Love, Ella; Lullabies of Birdland; The Original Versions; and Sweet and Hot (Verve)
· Andrew Hill - Change (Blue Note)
· Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye (special edition with bonus CD; Domino)
· The Mugwumps - The Mugwumps (Hepcat)
· Tom Petty - Highway Companion (special edition; Lost Highway)
· The Police - The Police (two CDs; A&M/UMe)
· Elvis Presley - Elvis at the Movies (two CDs; RCA)
· Pretenders - Get Close and Learning to Crawl (Rhino)
· Marty Stuart - Compadres: An Anthology of Duets (Superlatone/Hip-O/UMe)
· Andy Summers & Robert Fripp - I Advance Masked (UMe)
· Sun Ra and His Astro Infinity Arkestra - Strange Strings (Atavistic)
· Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter & James Cotton - Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down (Epic/Legacy)
· True West - Hollywood Holiday Revisited (Atavistic)
· Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons - Jersey Beat: The Music of Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons (three CDs and one DVD; Rhino)
· Various artists - Chasing the Sun: The Greatest Songs of Summer (three CDs and one DVD; Time Life)
· Various artists - More Motown Classics - Gold (two CDs; Motown/UMe)
· Various artists - New Wave - Gold (two CDs; Hip-O/UMe)
· Andromeda - "Playing Off the Board" (MVD Visual)
· Apache Indian & the Reggae Revolution - "Time for Change Tour" (MVD Visual)
· Scott Cossu Trio - "Islands" (MVD Visual)
· Vic Damone - "On the Street Where You Live" (MVD Visual)
· Colin Dunne - "Celtic Feet" (MVD Visual)
· Eurythmics - "Sweet Dreams - The Video Album" (Lightyear)
· Gil Scott-Heron & Amnesia Express - "The Paris Concert" (MVD Visual)
· Jefferson Starship - "The Definitive Concert" (Lightyear)
· The Jesus Lizard - "Live" (MVD Visual)
· The Killers - "Leaving Las Vegas" (MVD Visual)
· Kristin Korb - "Live in Vienna" (MVD Visual)
· Frankie Laine - "That Old Lucky Sun" (MVD Visual)
· Lake - "Live!" (MVD Visual)
· Greg Lake - "Greg Lake Live" (two DVDs; Image)
· Neo - "Broadcast" (MVD Visual)
· Stevie Nicks - "Live at Red Rocks" (Lightyear)
· Pendragon - "Past and Presence" (MVD Visual)
· Lou Reed - "A Night With Lou Reed" (Lightyear)
· T.G. Sheppard - "In Concert" (MVD Visual)
· Justin Timberlake - "Just Hanging Out" (Video Music)
· U2 - "The DVD Collector's Box" (two DVDs; MVD Visual)
· Rick Wakeman - "Amazing Grace" (MVD Visual)
· Various artists - "25 Years at New Morning" (MVD Visual)
· Various artists - "Caliente y Picante: A Latino Session (Time Life)
· Various artists - "Cruisin' Hits of the 60's" (MVD Visual)
· Various artists - "Metalmania 2006" (MVD Visual)
· Various artists - "Moogfest 2006" (MVD Visual)
· Various artists - "New Morning - 25th Anniversary 1981-2006" (MVD Visual)
· Various artists - "Soulvation: The Best of Northern Soul" (MVD Visual)
· The Blue Jackets - Shadows of the City (EP; self-release)
· Surrounded - The Nautilus Years (Digital First)
· Fabolous - From Nothin' to Somethin' (Def Jam) [Preorder]
Read: "Fabolous' 'All-Stars' Jay-Z, Jeezy, Rihanna Make LP Somethin' To Be Reckoned With"
· Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris [Preorder]
· Various artists - Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur
· Mandy Moore - Wild Hope (Firm) [Preorder]
· Tomahawk - Anonymous (Ipecac)
Read: "Tomahawk Actually Starting To Sound Like An American-Indian Band"
· White Stripes - Icky Thump (Warner Bros.) [Preorder]
Read: "White Stripes Reveal Icky New Album Details"
· Beastie Boys - The Mix-Up (Capitol) [Preorder]
· Kelly Clarkson - My December (RCA) [Preorder]
Read: "Kelly Clarkson On Her Revealing New LP: 'I'm Not Even This Open With Boyfriends!' "
· Metric - Grow Up and Blow Away (Last Gang) [Preorder]