With the bloated blimp of overspending that is Black Friday about to descend and wreak havoc on the lands, artists are booking it to the stores a few days in advance to make sure they can horn in on the commercial cornucopia before the frothing masses get there first. But don't worry about getting lost and dizzy amid the rush of rabid shoppers — here's a handy guide of highlight gifts you'll find hitting stores this week ...
Dangerously in LoveSounds?: Still need proof that compact discs are going the way of the dodo? According to BestBuy.com, three of the top five hottest-ticket music items going on sale this week aren't even CDs — they're DVDs. One of the video discs in question is "The Beyoncé Experience Live," which commemorates a tour so huge it needed two corporate sponsors in its tag line ("... brought to you by Samsung and L'Oréal Paris"). The DVD features her September 2 show at Los Angeles' Staples Center, where Jay-Z made a special appearance and Destiny's Child reunited for "Survivor." The gig went down two days before her 26th birthday, which ties in quite nicely with the fact that the show was based around her latest album, B'Day.
Best Buy's most in-demand item for the week is Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveShow - Live From Madison Square Garden" DVD — and we're guessing that has something to do with the fact that it's available only at Best Buy. The two-disc set presents his August 15 show at New York's Madison Square Garden and has song-by-song commentary from JT himself, as well as 80 minutes' worth of extra stuff, including pre- and post-show clips, chats with Timberlake and his performers, and a deeper look into the making of the show. Best Buy is actually circumventing the Tuesday-release tradition and debuting the set instead this coming Friday, which just happens to be the biggest shopping day of the year (go fig).
And in case you're wondering what the other in-demand DVD is this week, it's "Crossroads: Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2007," which also features John Mayer, Sheryl Crow and more.
Very Ape: Gorillaz are taking after themselves this week — the duo chased their 2001 self-titled debut with their G-Sides compilation the following year, and now they're following up 2005's Demon Days with a similar collection, D-Sides. Fans will drool over a new version of "Hong Kong"; demo versions of "Dare" and "Don't Get Lost in Heaven"; and a bonus CD that boasts remixes by DFA, Hot Chip, Jamie T and others. There's also a special dual-box version that comes with badges, stickers, a patch and exclusive artwork by Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett.
Nine Inch Nails have their own item to tide people over with until they release a new studio album: Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D, which, if you sub in the E's for 3's and the A for an 4, actually makes a whole lotta sense as the follow-up to April's Year Zero. Released by Interscope — despite Trent Reznor declaring his freedom from the label and promising to leak the remixes himself earlier this year — the disc features songs reworked by the Faint, Interpol's Sam Fogarino, Stephen Morris (Joy Division, New Order) and others. More striking is that the package comes with a DVD-ROM containing the master tracks for every Year Zero tune, allowing customers to rearrange them through Apple GarageBand or Ableton Live. Reznor has also promised that a new site, Remix.NIN.com, will be erected in conjunction with the release of Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D, so even more remix fun might be in store.
Rap Roundup: There's no stopping Trent Reznor, and there's no stopping JR Writer, either — with the release of his second LP, this week's Writer's Block 5, the New York MC now has three more chapters in his ongoing mixtape series than he does studio albums. This time around, he's brought Cam'ron, Jim Jones, the Diplomats and Juelz Santana along for the ride.
Speaking of rides, Philadelphia's Freeway is hoping to make sure Roc-A-Fella's fall stays red-hot with the release of his own sophomore effort, Free at Last. For the forever-in-the-works LP — Free previously told Mixtape Monday that it was supposed to drop July 4, 2005 — the up-and-comer attracted a few people you might have heard of: Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Scarface and Jadakiss, among others.
In other collabo news, Timbaland's head-scratching hookup with MySpace faves One Republic resurfaces this week: A remix of "Apologize," which previously appeared on April's Timbaland Presents Shock Value, is tacked onto the end of the rock band's Dreaming Out Loud. And last but not least, Cormega called on a few buddies — Dwele and Keek Da Sneak among them — to participate on the soundtrack to his autobiographical flick "Who Am I?," which is dropping as a DVD/CD combo.
Jordan's Flow: Don't try to pin down Jordin Sparks on her debut — "It's hard to make everything fit together," the "American Idol" winner admitted to MTV News last month of the various pop, R&B, country and hip-hop strains found on the self-titled disc. It's stamped with her two singles, "Tattoo" and "This Is My Now" — but Sparks has a lot of work to do to measure up to Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, given that the songs haven't cracked the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Look for bonus songs on the Wal-Mart, Sony and iTunes editions.
Rating the Reissues: While we're on the bonus-track tip, here's a quick peek at this week's top re-releases, to see if they're worth your while:
Fall Out Boy's Infinity on High
· What's new: bonus CD with five songs, including three live tracks and two B-sides
· Worth it?: Thnks fr ncldng bns mtrl! A CD can hold more than five songs, ya know.
Bloc Party's A Weekend in the City (digital only)
· What's new: one new track, "Flux," which is also being made available via a new EP of the same name
· Worth it?: This one's pretty simple. Don't own the CD? Get the new digital version. Got the CD? Buy the new track or the EP.
Nirvana's "Unplugged in New York" DVD
· What's new: the band's performances of "Something in the Way" and "Oh Me," which did not appear in the original broadcast but were featured on the subsequent CD, plus five previously unreleased rehearsal performances, MTV News interviews with the band and audience members, and a 14-minute documentary called "Bare Witness"
· Worth it?: A bonus hour of archival Nirvana footage is to rock fans what the TV equivalent of an hour's worth of bonus "Seinfeld" material is to TV junkies.
Amy Winehouse's Frank
· What's new: nada
· Worth it?: Earlier this year, U.S. retailers selling import copies of the singer's 2003 debut were forced to remove it from their shelves after receiving a letter from Universal Republic threatening legal action prior to this domestic release. Maybe all that would have been avoided if the label had simply added some bonus content to the reissue.
U2's Joshua Tree
· What's new: Unreleased photos and new liner notes on the single disc, a bonus disc of B-sides and demos from the original album sessions on the deluxe edition, and a DVD of Joshua Tree Tour footage and other rare clips on the limited-edition box set.
· Worth it?: Now this is a reissue done up right.
Mystery Men: Shedding light on some of this week's less familiar notable artists:
· Doug Neumann: A.k.a. "Uncle Doug," he is the general manager of Crush Management, home to Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, etc. On Doug Does Decaydance, Neumann dishes up jazzy covers of songs by those artists and others.
· Bonnie "Prince" Billy: A.k.a. Will Oldham, Palace, etc., he is one of indiedom's most treasured folk/country crooners — and he mastered the art of the ironic cover song waaay before it became cool. On Ask Forgiveness, he reinterprets tracks by R. Kelly, Danzig, Frank Sinatra and more.
· Joe Lally: Bassist for Fugazi, he hit up bandmates Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto — as well as other Dischord Records-related artists like Ben Azzara (the Capitol City Dusters) and Eddie Janny (Rites of Spring) — for his second effort, Nothing Is Underrated.
· James Murphy and Pat Mahoney: Members of LCD Soundsystem, they dig into classic New York disco and funk sounds — and slip in their own group's "Hippie Priest Bum-Out" — on FabricLive.36.
What's This, Isis?: A few of this week's underground heavy-rock sludge-slingers have a little something in common ...
MGR: Instrumental side project by Isis's Mike Gallagher
Tusk: Experimental band featuring three-quarters of Pelican, who have toured extensively with Isis
Boris and Merzbow: The Japanese rock band and extreme-noise composer have teamed many times in the past, including in 2005, when they made Sun Baked Snow Cave. The CD, which consisted of one 62-minute track, came out courtesy Hydra Head Records, the label founded by Aaron Turner, frontman of ... Isis.
Song Title of the Week:
"Stabbin' Daggers" from Sebastian Bach's Angel Down
Album Cover of the Week:
Various artists' The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, and Brit-Pop Gems of the Last Millennium
Rivaling The Heavy Metal Box for most badass packaging of the year, this four-CD collection doesn't just come in any old packaging — the discs are housed in a miniature red telephone box, fitting for the 1985-2000 era it revolves around. Fans of Coldplay and Snow Patrol who need a brush-up on history should look no further than this set, which rakes together chestnuts from the Smiths, Placebo — and all the relevant acts in between.
Opeth's The Roundhouse Tapes
Eighteen months into touring in support of 2005's Ghost Reveries, the Swedish death-metal masters played a gig at the Camden Roadhouse in London and documented this show, which took place November 9, 2006. Opeth are signed to powerhouse metal label Roadrunner but, keeping their karma intact, they're releasing it through their former label Peaceville "for helping us back in the day," frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt said in a statement. There are only nine songs featured on the set, but the fact that it takes two CDs to contain them should give you an idea of the kind of epics that are in store.
Six Organs of Admittance's Shelter From the Ash
Comets on Fire guitarist Ben Chasny is back with his 10th dose of droney electronic/acoustic music via his side project. For the eight-song release, the improv-happy artist banded together with the F---ing Champs' Tim Green, the Magik Markers' Elisa Ambrogio, Will Oldham (see above) collaborator Matt Sweeney and Comets on Fire's Noel Harmonson. Fans of minimalism, surrealism and other arty "isms" take note.
· Ayo - Joyful (Interscope)
· Sebastian Bach - Angel Down (Merovingian/ Get Off My Bach) [Buy Now]
· B-Legit - Throwblock Muzic (SMC)
· Blut Aus Nord - Odinist (Candlelight)
· Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Ask Forgiveness (Drag City)
· Boris with Merzbow - Rock Dream (two CDs; Southern Lord)
· British Sea Power - Krankenhaus? (EP; Rough Trade) [Buy Now]
· Cloudland Canyon and Lichens - Exterminating Angel (Holy Mountain)
· Cormega - "Who Am I?" soundtrack (Legal Hustle) [Buy Now]
· Coyote - Outsides (Hot Dog City)
· Doro - All We Are: The Fight (with DVD; Locomotive)
· Melissa Etheridge - The Awakening Live (with DVD; Island) [Buy Now]
· Ex-Boyfriends - In With (Absolutely Kosher)
· The Foreshadowing - Days of Nothing (Candlelight)
· Freeway - Free at Last (Roc-a-Fella) [Buy Now]
· Golden Death Music - Ephemera Blues (Helmet Room)
· Haram - Drescher (Lovitt)
· Javaughn - Superstar (Tuff Gong/ Ghetto Youths)
· Bela Karoli - Furnished Rooms (Helmet Room)
· Joe Lally - Nothing Is Underrated (Dischord)
· Limbonic Art - Legacy of Evil (Candlelight)
· Mago de Oz - A Costa Da Morte (two CDs; Locomotive)
· Major Stars - Mirror/Messenger (Drag City)
· MGR - Wavering on the Cresting Heft (Conspiracy)
· James Murphy & Pat Mahoney - FabricLive.36 (FabricLive)
· Doug Neumann - Doug Does Decaydance (Decaydance)
· Nine Inch Nails - Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D (with DVD; Interscope) [Buy Now]
· NOFX - They've Actually Gotten Worse Live (Fat Wreck Chords) [Buy Now]
· October File - Holy Armour From the Jaws of God (Candlelight)
· One Republic - Dreaming Out Loud (Interscope)
· Opeth - The Roundhouse Tapes (two CDs; Peaceville)
· Pole - Steingarten Remixes (EP; Scape)
· Pure Inc. - Pure Inc. (Locomotive)
· Sear Bliss - The Arcane Odyssey (Candlelight)
· Sentai - Full Representation (Ruffian)
· Seven Witches - Deadly Sins (Locomotive)
· Six Organs of Admittance - Shelter From the Ash (Drag City)
· Jordin Sparks - Jordin Sparks (19 Entertainment/ Jive) [Buy Now]
Read: " 'American Idol' Champ Jordin Sparks Puts Finishing Touches On Debut, Considers Acting"
· Statehood - Lies and Rhetoric (Statehood)
· Keith Sweat - A Christmas of Love (Rhino) [Buy Now]
· Too Pure to Die - Confidence & Consequence (Trustkill)
· Tusk - The Resisting Dreamer (Tortuga)
· The Valerie Project - The Valerie Project (Drag City)
· JR Writer - Writer's Block 5 (Babygrande)
· Various artists - Pink 2 (Swank)
· Various artists - "Alvin and the Chipmunks" soundtrack (Razor & Tie)
· Various artists - "Enchanted" soundtrack (Disney)
· Various artists - "Fred Claus" soundtrack (Reprise)
· Various artists - "Halo 3" soundtrack (Sumthing Else)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· Anberlin - Lost Songs (Tooth & Nail)
· Bulldozer - The Day of Wrath; The Final Separation; IX: Circle of Hell; and Neurodeliri (Metal Mind)
· Nat King Cole - Remixes (D-Rom Ltd)
· Cyclone - Brutal Destruction (Metal Mind)
· Dead Poetic - The Finest (Tooth & Nail)
· Donald Fagen - Nightfly Trilogy (box set with four CDs and three MVI DVDs; Rhino)
· Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High (deluxe edition with bonus CD; Island) [Buy Now]
· Fight K5 - The War of Words Demos (Metal God)
· Floodgate - Penalty (Metal Mind)
· Gang Green - I Can't Live Without It; Older ... Budweiser; and You Got It (Metal Mind)
· Genesis - 1983-1998 (box set with five CDs and five DVDs); and CD-plus-DVD reissues of Calling All Stations; Genesis; Invisible Touch; and We Can't Dance (Rhino)
· Gorillaz - D-Sides (two CDs; glossy-box limited edition also available; Virgin) [Buy Now]
· Great Kat - Beethoven on Speed and Worship Me or Die (Metal Mind)
· Ed Harcourt - Until Tomorrow Then: The Best Of ... (limited-edition version comes with bonus CD; Astralwerks)
· The King Khan & BBQ Show - The King Khan & BBQ Show (In the Red)
· MC5 - I Can Only Give You Everything (Get Back)
· Newsboys - The Greatest Hits (Sparrow)
· Phish - 08.13.93: Murat Theatre - Indianapolis, IN (three CDs); 10.21.95: Pershing Auditorium - Lincoln, NE (three CDs); 11.14.95: University of Central Florida Arena - Orlando, FL (three CDs); 12.01.95: Hersheypark Arena - Hershey, PA (two CDs); 12.29.97: Madison Square Garden - New York, NY (three CDs); Colorado '88 (three CDs); and Vegas 96 (two CDs and one DVD; Jemp)
· Django Reinhardt - The Electric Years (two CDs; Avid Jazz)
· The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack (Cleopatra)
· Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes - The Jukes (Hip-O-Select)
· Traveling Wilburys - The Traveling Wilburys Collection (deluxe edition with two CDs and one DVD; Rhino)
· U2 - Joshua Tree (deluxe edition has extra CDs; super-deluxe edition has two CDs and one DVD; Island) [Buy Now]
· Keith Urban - Greatest Hits (special edition comes with DVD; Capitol Nashville)
· Randy VanWarmer - Beat of Love/ Things That You Dream and Warmer Terraform (Collectors' Choice)
· Amy Winehouse - Frank (Universal Republic) [Buy Now]
· Various artists - The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, and Brit-Pop Gems of the Last Millennium (four-CD box set; Rhino)
· Various artists - Psychobilly Box: Rockabilly Roots and Hootenanny (two CDs; Cleopatra)
· Various artists - Putumayo Kids Presents: Celtic Dreamland (Putumayo Kids)
· Various artists - Rock 'N' Skiffle: Brit Beat Beginnings (four-CD box set; Proper Box/ City Hall)
· Various artists - The Rubble Collection: Volumes 11-20 (10-CD box set; Fallout)
· Various artists - "Wild Style!" Soundtrack - 25th Anniversary Edition (two CDs; Mr. Bongo)
· Beyoncé - "The Beyoncé Experience Live" (Columbia)
· Cowboy Mouth - "The Name of the Band Is Cowboy Mouth" (Valley Entertainment)
· Fight - "War of Words - The Film" (digipak comes with bonus DVD; Metal God)
· Genitorturers - "Live in Sin" (Retribution)
· Kaada/Patton - "Live" (Ipecac)
· Kiss - "Kiss Loves You" (8th Grade)
· Jonny Lang - "Live at Montreux 1999" (Eagle Vision)
· Paul McCartney - "Ecce Cor Meum" (EMI Classics)
· Meat Loaf - "3 Bats Live" (two DVDs; Hip-O)
· Negativland - "Our Favorite Things" (Other Cinema)
· Nirvana - "Unplugged in New York" (Geffen)
· Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - "Greatest Hits Live" (Quantum Leap)
· Queen - "Under Review 1946-1991: The Freddie Mercury Story" (Chrome Dreams)
· The Rolling Stones - "Under Review 1967-1969" (Chrome Dreams)
· Sigur Rós - "Heima" (digipak; limited deluxe edition comes includes book; XL Recordings)
· Tegan and Sara - "It's Not Fun, Don't Do It!" (Sire)
· Justin Timberlake - "FutureSex/LoveShow - Live From Madison Square Garden" (two DVDs; available exclusively at Best Buy, starting Friday)
· Vader - "And Blood Was Shed in Warsaw" (Metal Mind)
· Wolfmother - "Please Experience Wolfmother: Live" (Interscope)
· Joe Zawinul - "A Musical Portrait" (Arthaus Musik)
· Various artists - "A Very Special Christmas: 20th Anniversary Music Video Collection" (Victory Multimedia)
· Various artists - "Crossroads: Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2007" (two DVDs; Rhino)
· Various artists - "Fuzz: The Sound That Revolutionized the World" (Brink)
· Various artists - "Glade Electronic Music Festival" (Groove Zone)
· Various artists - "Opry Video Classics: Legends" (Time Life)
· Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City (reissue with bonus material; Vice) and Flux (EP; Vice)
· The Format - B-Sides and Rarities (Vanity Label)
· Idlewild - A Distant History: Rarities 1997-2007 (EMI)
· Inner City - Good Life: The Best of Inner City (EMI)
· Nils Lofgren - Nils Lofgren (Hip-O Select)
· Katy Perry - Ur So Gay (EP; Capitol)
· Christina Aguilera - "Back to Basics: Live" DVD (RCA)
· Common - ThisIsMe Then: The Best of Common (Relativity/Legacy)
· Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds: Deluxe Edition (with DVD; Jive)
· Daft Punk - Alive 2007 (limited-edition version comes with bonus CD; Virgin)
· Ghostface Killah - The Big Doe Rehab (Def Jam)
· Godsmack - Good Times, Bad Times: 10 Years of Godsmack (also available with DVD; Republic)
· Wyclef Jean - Carnival II: Memoirs of an Immigrant (Columbia)
Read: "T.I. Kick-Starts Wyclef Jean's LP; Mary J. Blige, Akon Tagging Along"
· Styles P - Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) (Koch)
· Bow Wow and Omarion - Face Off (also available with bonus DVD; Columbia)
Read: "Bow Wow Says His Face Off With Omarion Will Mean A 'Whole Bunch Of #1 Records' "
· R. Kelly - "Trapped in the Closet, Chapters 1-22" DVD (Jive)
· Mario - Go (J)
Read: "Mario Gets Back To Making Music With Akon, Timbaland, Neptunes"