With just a few more summer weeks remaining, this week will give you plenty of excuses to slip out to the club at least one more time — Swizz Beatz, M.I.A. and Talib Kweli have dealt brand-new bangers sure to keep the floor shaking. That said, this week's biggest release might actually be something for your eyes and ears to feast on. ...
Kells' Bells (and Whistles): If you were worried about R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" series coming to a close, you can sleep a little easier — his latest batch of "alien" installments won't be the last, he said at a screening last week. In chapters 13-22, the always-baffling Kells dresses up as a grumpy old man, stuttering pimp and more. He packs in some bells and whistles, too: The DVD is bolstered by a recap of the preceding chapters as well as a featurette with behind-the-scenes peeks.
Marching to the Beatz: Kelly isn't only on the DVD racks this week, though — he crops up on the remix to "It's Me B---hes" that caps Swizz Beatz' solo debut. The esteemed producer also couldn't turn down Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss, Drag-On and Coldplay's Chris Martin, which might mean great things for Swizz's One Man Band Man album but kinda renders its title meaningless. The Ambassador of Music for World Peace to the United Nations piled those artists onto the LP, which features "Big Munny," "Bust Ya Gunz" and "You Know Your Boy Did That."
M.I.A. Rediscovered: M.I.A.'s first two albums could be considered an Adam and Eve of sorts — the crossover rapper named her first album, Arular, after her father, and she has done the same for her mother with the second one, Kala. Recorded in India, Australia, London, Baltimore and beyond, the set features a cameo by Timbaland and a New Order sample among its 12 tracks. And just in case the music isn't enough for you, the disc comes with a free ringtone and cell phone wallpaper to boot.
Lend Him an Ear: Talib Kweli sure knows how to throw a party — Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, UGK, Norah Jones and loads more drop by on Ear Drum, his first album through Warner Bros. and Talib's own Blacksmith label. The rapper re-examines his relationship with religion on the two-part "Hostile Gospel" and delivers many more sermons: "Country Cousins," "My Weather Report," "Soon the New Day" and beyond.
Indie Race: Fear not, indie-rock fans — this week isn't all about the beats. Like Talib Kweli, Rilo Kiley are making their Warner Bros. debut, with Under the Blacklight, which features "Smoke Detector," "Angels Hung Around" and "Dreamworld." Vying against them for the biggest indie-rock release of the week are the New Pornographers and their fourth effort, Challengers. Those who pre-ordered the disc have access to a ton of extras, depending on which configuration they chose: a CD of B-sides, demos and other rarities; a concert disc called "Live From the Future"; and/or a DVD containing videos and photos.
Earlimart's Mentor Tormentor, their fifth LP, will come out via Majordomo Records, the Los Angeles band's new imprint with Shout! Factory. And former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk is going even further under the radar by issuing his fourth solo set, The Missing Link, through the small indie label 567 Records out of Boca Raton, Florida.
Go to the other corner of the country and you'll encounter Seattle's Kinski, who are making their new CD, Down Below It's Chaos, available in three different colors. Pre-orders came with a limited-edition CD-R of the band performing a live score in June at the Seattle International Film Festival.
But if it's variety you're after, look no further than This Is Next: Indie's Biggest Hits, Volume One, the Now-style comp series that assembles together Bloc Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Spoon and 12 more indie luminaries. The self-explanatory "SXSW Live 2007" DVD has a good medley of acts as well, with Polyphonic Spree, Peter Bjorn and John, and Mando Diao among them.
· Andre 3000, Prince, Jill Scott, Talib Kweli and more surface on "Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations," a socially conscious-music project conducted by famed Princeton University Professor Cornel West.
· Speaking of Ivy League cred, Milton & the Devils Party, who issue How Wicked We've Become this week, are English professors from the University of Pennsylvania.
· Ladybirds, who are putting out Regional Community Theater this week, are a side project by Gym Class Heroes keyboardist Tyler Pursel.
· Calling to mind Richard and Linda Thompson, the Mendoza Line's 30 Year Low — which comes with a second disc, The Final Remarks of the Legendary Malcontent — revolves around bandmates Tim Bracy and Shannon McArdle's failed marriage and marks the end of McArdel's involvement with the band.
· S.O.D.'s last CD, Rise of the Infidels, is a 24-track EP — one of the longest in recent memory.
Song Title of the Week:
"A Catastrophe of Epic Proportions" from Through the Eyes of the Dead's Malice
Album Cover of the Week:
As I Lay Dying's An Ocean Between Us
The San Diego metalcore marauders are trying to best their last effort, 2005's Shadows Are Security, which peaked at #35 on the Billboard albums chart — and they'll likely get a boost from their recent appearances on the Warped Tour. That said, they didn't wait around for the official release date to put out An Ocean Between Us — the sucker has been streaming on As I Lay Dying's MySpace page since Friday, and they even went so far as to post the lyrics on their blog too.
The Austerity Program's Black Madonna
If you're up for an extra dose of frustration this week, look no further than the experimental hard-rockers' disc, which contains eight unnumbered songs. Well, they're not exactly unnumbered, but with a list of song titles that reads, " 'Song 12,' 'Song 17B,' 'Untitled,' 'Song 19,' " etc., they may as well be. "The Austerity Program would prefer it if you filed this detail under 'your problem' as opposed to 'their problem,' " reads a press release for the disc. Impressive, however, is the fact that the group actually built on its own the studio in which it recorded the album.
Patrick Park's Everyone's in Everyone
The Los Angeles singer/songwriter crafted this effort while on tour with My Morning Jacket and Grandaddy, and you might recognize one of the tracks — "Life Is a Song" — as the last tune heard on "The OC." Producers Dave Trumfio (OK Go, Wilco), Rob Schnapf (Beck, Foo Fighters) and Chris Stamey (Yo La Tengo, Ben Folds) all participated on the effort, which includes "Saint With a Fever," "One Body Breaks" and "Pawn Song."
· Adema - Kill the Headlights (Immortal) [Buy Now]
· Aiden - Conviction (Victory) [Buy Now]
· Lindsay Anderson - If (Minty Fresh)
· Angels of Light - We Are Him (Young God)
· Architecture in Helsinki - Places Like This (Polyvinyl)
· As I Lay Dying - An Ocean Between Us (Metal Blade) [Buy Now]
· The Austerity Program - Black Madonna (Hydra Head)
· Bald Eagle - Hot Shoulders (Emergency Umbrella)
· Bedouin Soundclash - Street Gospels (Side One Dummy)
· Benzino - The Antidote (7th Floor)
· Joe Bonamassa - Sloe Gin (Premier Artists)
· Greg Brown - Yellow Dog (Earthwork)
· Peter Buffett - Staring at the Sun (BeSide)
· Caribou - Andorra (Merge) [Buy Now]
· Cartel - Cartel (Epic) [Buy Now]
Read: "Pop-Punks Cartel Show Off Grandma's Digs, Borrow Benz For 'Cribs' "
· Stephen Cochran - Stephen Cochran (Aria/Quarterback)
· Colette - Push (Om)
· Devil Wears Prada - Plagues (Rise)
· David Dondero - Simple Love (Team Love)
· Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan - On the Jimmy Reed Highway (Ruf)
· Earlimart - Mentor Tormentor (Majordomo)
· Jeremy Enigk - The Missing Link (567)
· Fall of the Leafe - Aerolithe (Firebox)
· Ryan Ferguson - Only Trying to Help (Better Looking)
· Foreign Born - On the Wing Now (Dim Mak)
· Full Blown Chaos - Heavy Lies the Crown (Ferret)
· Galactic - From the Corner to the Block (Anti-) [Buy Now]
· Golden Dogs - Big Eye Little Eye (Yep Roc)
· Darren Hayes - This Delicate Thing We've Made (Powdered Sugar)
· Peter Himmelman - The Pigeons Couldn't Sleep (with DVD; Himmasongs)
· Imperial Teen - The Hair the TV the Baby & the Band (Merge)
· Kaskade - Bring the Night (Ultra)
· Kinski - Down Below It's Chaos (Sub Pop)
· KMFDM - Tohuvabohu (Metropolis)
· Talib Kweli - Ear Drum (Reprise) [Buy Now]
Read: "Stung By Criticism Of Last LP, Talib Kweli Promises No Sting Samples This Time"
· Ladybirds - Regional Community Theater (enhanced digipak; Creep)
· Madball - Infiltrate the System (Ferret)
· Miko Marks - It Feels Good (Aspirion)
· Nathaniel Mayer - Why Don't You Give It to Me? (Alive)
· Ronnie McCoury - Little Mo' McCoury (McCoury Music)
· Mekons - Natural (Quarterstick)
· The Mendoza Line - 30 Year Low/ The Final Remarks of the Legendary Malcontent (two CDs; Glurp)
· M.I.A. - Kala (Interscope)
Read: "M.I.A.'s New LP May Be Smoother — But Her Words Are No Less Controversial"
· Milton & the Devils Party - How Wicked We've Become (Transit of Venus)
· Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice (Suicide Squeeze)
· Mobile - Tomorrow Starts Today (Militia Group)
· Monster in the Machine - Butterfly Pinned (Emotional Syphon)
· Monte Negro - Cicatrix (Adrenaline)
· Travis Morrison Hellfighters - All Y'All (Barsuk)
· DJ Muggs vs. Sick Jacken - The Legend of the Mask and the Assassin (Universal Latino)
· New Pornographers - Challengers (Matador)
· Joe Nichols - Real Things (Universal South)
· Numbers - Now You Are This (Kill Rock Stars)
· Operator - Soulcrusher (Atlantic)
· Over the Rhine - The Trumpet Child (Great Speckled Dog)
· Patrick Park - Everyone's in Everyone (Curb Appeal)
· The Pietasters - All Day (Indication)[Buy Now]
· Poets & Pornstars - Poets & Pornstars (Adrenaline)
· Raintime - Flies & Lies (Bieler Bros.)
· Dax Riggs - We Sing of Only Blood or Love (Fat Possum)
· Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight (Warner Bros.)
· Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (with bonus EP; Sony BMG)
· Tom Russell - The Wounded Heart of America (Hightone)
· The Section Quartet - Fuzzbox (Decca)
· Shock Cinema - Our Way Is Revenge (Kanine)
· Nikki Sixx - "The Heroin Diaries" soundtrack (Eleven Seven)
· S.O.D. - Rise of the Infidels (EP; Megaforce)
· Soulstice - Dead Letter Perfect (Vivid Sound)
· Stereo Total - Paris-Berlin (Kill Rock Stars)
· Stuporhero - Last Star Shining (Basement Tape)
· Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra - Come Share the Wine (Rounder)
· John Surman - The Spaces in Between (ECM)
· Swizz Beatz - One Man Band Man (enhanced; Motown) [Buy Now]
Read: "Beyonce Hitmaker Swizz Beatz Defies Radio Rules With Two-Minute Single"
· Luke Temple - Snowbeast (Millpond)
· Terhen - Eyes Unfolded (Firebox)
· Through the Eyes of the Dead - Malice (Prosthetic)
· Travis Tritt - The Storm (Category 5)
· The Waterboys - Book of Lightning (W14 Music /Decca) [Buy Now]
· Cornel West & BMWMB - Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations (Hidden Beach)
· Various artists - Dear Mr Fantasy Featuring the Music of Jim Capaldi & Traffic: A Celebration for Jim Capaldi (two CDs; Eagle)
· Various artists - This Is Next: Indie's Biggest Hits, Volume One (Vice)
· Various artists - "Halloween" soundtrack (Hip-O)
· Various artists - "The Nanny Diaries" soundtrack (Adrenaline)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Arthur Alexander - Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter (Hacktone)
· Louis Armstrong - Live at the 1958 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival) [Buy Now]
· The Black Keys - Magic Potion (with DVD; Bomp)
· Blackfoot - Rattlesnake Rock 'N' Roll: The Best of Blackfoot (Rhino) [Buy Now]
· The Blues Brothers - The Definitive Blues Brothers Collection (Rhino)
· Brand Nubian - Time's Runnin' Out (Traffic)
· Garth Brooks - Fresh Horses; Garth Brooks; No Fences; and Ropin' the Wind (Pearl)
· Coalesce - There Is Nothing New Under the Sun (Hydra Head)
· Miles Davis - Evolution of the Groove (EP; Columbia/Legacy)
· Miles Davis Quintet - Live at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival)
· Firefall - Greatest Hits (Rhino) [Buy Now]
· Ella Fitzgerald - The Very Best of the Duke Ellington Songbook and The Very Best of the Gershwin Songbook (Verve)
· Roberta Flack - Softly With These Songs: The Best of Roberta Flack (Rhino)
· Dizzy Gillespie - Live at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival)
· Monique Haas - Monique Haas Plays Debussy & Ravel: Les Enregistrements Erato (six-CD box set; Warner Classics)
· Jethro Tull - Live at Montreux 2003 (two CDs; Eagle Eye)
· Ben E. King - The Very Best of Ben E. King (Rhino)
· Love - Greatest Hits (Rhino) [Buy Now]
· Bobby Matos - The Best of Bobby Matos (Cubop)
· MC5 - The Big Bang! The Best of the MC5 (Rhino)
· Thelonious Monk - Live at the 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival)
· The Rascals - The Very Best of the Rascals (Rhino)
· Ratt - Tell the World: The Very Best of Ratt (Rhino)
· Testament - Greatest Hits (Rhino)
· Conway Twitty - #1s: The Warner Bros. Years (Rhino)
· Sarah Vaughan - Live at the 1971 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival)
· Vee-Gee - The Definitive Collection (four-CD box set; Shout! Factory)
· Bryan White - Greatest Hits (Rhino)
· Various artists - 40 Most Beautiful Classical Anthems (two CDs; Warner Classics)
· Various artists - Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival: Highlights, Vol. 1 (Monterey Jazz Festival)
· The Flaming Lips - "U.F.O.s at the Zoo: The Legendary Concert in Oklahoma City" (MVI DVD; Warner Bros.) [Buy Now]
· Jethro Tull - "Live at Montreux 2003" (Eagle Eye)
· R. Kelly - "Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 13-22" (Jive) [Buy Now]
Read: "R. Kelly Screens New 'Trapped In The Closet' Chapters, Calls Series 'An Alien' "
· Loreena McKennitt - "Nights From the Alhambra" (with two CDs; Verve)
· Son Seals - "A Journey Through the Blues: The Son Seals Story" (Sagebrush)
· Various artists - "SXSW Live 2007" (Shout! Factory)
· Frank Black - Live Session (EP; exclusively on iTunes)
· Blanche - Little Amber Bottles (Original Signal; in terrestrial stores October 23)
· Nina Hynes and the Husbands - Flutter & Wow (Kitty-Yo)
· The Teeth/ Raccoon - Christmas City EP (Park the Van)
· Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass (Def Jux)
· Ice Water - Raekwon Presents: Ice Water - Polluted Water (Babygrande)
· Yung Joc - Hustlenomics (Bad Boy) [Preorder]
· Every Time I Die - The Big Dirty (Ferret) [Preorder]
· Megadeth - That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires (two CDs; Image) [Preorder]
· Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (limited-edition three-CD reissue; Capitol)
· 50 Cent - Curtis (G-Unit/Interscope) [Preorder]
Read: "50 Cent Explains Last Week's Blowup, Says 'I Will Be #1 On September 11' "
· Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam (Domino)
· Hot Hot Heat - Happiness Ltd. (Reprise) [Preorder]
· Kenna - Make Sure They See My Face (Interscope)
· Kanye West - Graduation (Roc-A-Fella) [Preorder]
Read: "Kanye West And Lil Wayne Counting On 'Barry Bonds' For A Hit Single"