Wasting No Time: It's only been eight months since Def Jam princess Rihanna stepped out with her Music of the Sun debut, but that's not keeping the singer from already pumping out her second record. Look for "Break It Off," a duet with Sean Paul, and "Dem Haters" (featuring Dwayne Husbands) — or, if you're in a collectible mood, check out the import-edition bonuses "Coulda Been the One" and "Who Ya Gonna Run To" (Japan), the original versions of "If It's Lovin' That You Want" and "Pon De Replay" (U.K.), and the "Full Phatt Remix" of "Pon De Replay."
Taking Back Take Over: Despite having sold more than 1.4 million copies of their two indie-label releases, Taking Back Sunday are hoping for even bigger numbers with their Warner Bros. debut, Louder Now. The punk band's "Liar (It Takes One to Know One)" is a lot darker than what fans are used to, while singer Adam Lazzara has called "What It Feel Like to Be a Ghost" a song about "a pre- pre-midlife crisis."
Folked Up: Everyone knows Bruce Springsteen is one boss rocker, but he's spending his 21st record sowing his folk roots on We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, featuring 13 traditional tracks affiliated with acoustic legend Pete Seeger. The E Street Band are nowhere to be found on songs like "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep" and "Froggie Went A-Courtin'," but Bruce introduces his new set of players in the half-hour's worth of video content on the flipside. The DualDisc version also has a special booklet with notes from the big guy, plus the bonus tracks "Buffalo Gals" and "How Can I Keep From Singing."
Oh God: For his band's fourth studio effort, Godsmack singer Sully Erna holed up in his Spiral Recordings Studio in Los Angeles — not Boston, where they're from — to sit at the decks and twiddle the knobs for the first time. The dudes sifted through 40 songs and settled on 11, including the first single, "Speak"; "Livin' in Sin"; and "Voodoo Too," a quasi-sequel to the 1998 tune "Voodoo." Wicca awesome.
Streets Hits the Pavement: The Streets is the latest artist to stream his entire album, Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, for free on MySpace prior to its store release, and he's gone a step further by throwing some new videos on there too. Mike Skinner comes clean about everything from speeding around Vegas in a Ferrari without a license to sleeping with an unnamed female pop star on songs like "Pranging Out," "Never Went to Church" and "Fake Streets Hats."
California Civil War: If L.A. and San Fran ever wanted to duke it out musically, this'd be the week. From the Southland comes the Vacation's self-titled American Recordings debut, originally titled Band From World War Zero and released in the U.K. last year but now spruced up by Rick Rubin; "Betty Blowtorch and Her Amazing True Life Adventures," an expanded edition of the DVD chronicling the ill-fated potty-mouths; and the 13-song The Stories Are True digipak by street punks Time Again, who tread the path blazed by Rancid and TSOL.
From the Bay is Pick a Bigger Weapon, the latest batch of controversial tunes by leftist hip-hoppers the Coup that includes "Babyletshaveababybeforebushdosomethingcrazy" and "My Favorite Mutiny" and features guest spots by Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello, Talib Kweli and Jello Biafra; pure-pop collective Push to Talk's colorful eponymous first release; the self-explanatory Bay Area Funk 2: Funk and Soul Essentials From San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Area, featuring Project Soul, Mary Love and Soft Touch; the dronish Conference of the Birds by meditative metallers Om; and the Invaders compilation, which features sludge-meisters High on Fire. The North wins this civil war too.
Fighting for a Cause: A handful of comps try to bring attention to important topics this week, beginning with Voices From the Frontline, a 24-track journal of spoken-word confessions and songs by U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. The frank recordings include love letters back home, existential musings and harrowing near-death experiences with improvised explosive devices. Part of the proceeds go to Operation AC, a nonprofit group that provides soldiers with noncombat supplies.
The two-disc audio-and-video set "Red, Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter" doubles, oddly enough, as both a salute to the eminent American composer and a benefit for AIDS research and relief. U2, Tom Waits, Sinéad O'Connor and the Neville Brothers redo classic compositions on the CD — which originally came out as a standalone set — while directors Jonathan Demme, Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch contribute clips that address the impact of AIDS on the DVD, also featuring interviews with Richard Gere and John Malkovich. All proceeds from the set go to the Red Hot Organization.
Last but not least is Unexpected Dreams - Songs From the Stars — no, not Dreamz — a 14-track set that gives actors Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Garner, Teri Hatcher and Ewan McGregor an excuse to belt out a few choice numbers with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. John Stamos singing "Goodnight My Angel" should be reason enough to nab this gem, which supports the Philharmonics' educational arm, Music Matters.
Meet the Metalheads: There's a deluge of heavier-than-thou debuts this week, including threatening Sacramento, California, metalheads Abominable Iron Sloth's nine-track self-titled LP; doom-lovin' Black Cobra's Bestial; Austin, Texas, heavy rockers Cardinale's 31:13; and German classic-metal mavens Motorjesus' Deathrider. Enjoy.
Song Title of the Week:
"The Song We Used to Call 'Wasting Time' " from the Riverboat Gamblers' To the Confusion of Our Enemies
The Secret Machines' Ten Silver Drops: The New York psych-otics nod to avant-gardists Kraftwerk and La Dusseldorf on their second outing, which consists of eight songs revolving around isolation that were mixed by Alan Moulder (Nine Inch Nails, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). The eight-minute "Daddy's in the Doldrums" highlights the set of effects-heavy tunes, which also features the slightly more upbeat "Lightning Blue Eyes" and "I Hate Pretending."
Amel Larrieux's Morning: Larrieux hails from L.A., but her third opus melds straight-up R&B and soul with Middle Eastern and West African sounds. The Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and Groove Theory member spends the title track ruminating on insomnia, uses innovative sound delays on "Mountain of When," and devotes the last track, "Weary," to hardworking bachelors everywhere.
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's Live Slew: The exhaustively named Austin, Texas, post-rockers have an even more exhaustive heap of limited-edition live discs this week, including 12 individualized 2005 gigs from their hometown, Detroit, San Francisco and Boston. Call it pulling a Pearl Jam.
- 10 City Run - Somethin' Else (Universal South)
- Abominable Iron Sloth - Abominable Iron Sloth (Goodfellow)
- ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Axis Nightclub - Boston, MA 4/12/05, 'Canes - San Diego, CA 5/28/05, Canopy Club - Urbana, IL 4/21/05, Emo's - Austin, TX 4/30/05, Fillmore - San Francisco, CA 5/25/05, First Ave - Minnesota, MN 4/25/05, Granada Theater - Lawrence, KS 4/27/05, Gypsy Tea Room - Dallas, TX 4/29/05, Irving Plaza - New York NY, 4/10/05, Majestic Theater - Detroit, MI 4/20/05, Metro Smart Bar - Chicago IL 4/22/05, Sokol Auditorium - Omaha NE 4/26/05 (limited-edition sets; Instant Live)
- Natacha Atlas - Mish Maoul (Beggars)
- Avant - Director (Geffen)
Buy Now: Director (Geffen)
- Bob Belden - "Three Days of Rain" soundtrack (Sunny Side)
- Tab Benoit - Brother to the Blues (Telarc)
- Black Cobra - Bestial (At a Loss)
- Blanco Diablo - Paper Poison Revolution (Rock Ridge)
- The Cardinal Sin - Hurry Up and Wait (Grey Flight)
- Cardinale - 31:13 (Arclight)
- Chas Mtn - Hugs (Western Vinyl)
- Christ.O - Vanden Plas (Inside Out)
- Clan of Xymox - Breaking Point (Metropolis)
- The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon (Epitaph)
- The Drips - The Drips (White Drugs)
- Eleventh Dream Day - Zeroes and Ones (Thrill Jockey)
- Elf Power - Back to the Web (Rykodisc)
Buy Now: Back to the Web (Rykodisc)
- Fermata - Vessel (EP; Dough Main)
- The Fever - In the City of Sleep (Kemado)
Buy Now: In the City of Sleep (Kemado)
- Filastine - Burn It (Soot)
- Freeheat - Back on the Water (Planting Seeds)
- Godsmack - IV (Republic)
Read: "Godsmack Finishing Up 'Killer' Fourth LP, Working On Football Theme"
Buy Now: IV (Republic)
- The Golden Gods - ... The Thorny Crown of Rock and Roll (Control Group)
- Goo Goo Dolls - Let Love In (Warner Bros.)
Buy Now: Let Love In (Warner Bros.)
- Eddy Grant - Reparation (Ice)
- Groove Collective - People People Music Music (digipak; Savoy Jazz)
- Günther - Pleasureman (digipak; Rhino)
- Danielle Howle - Thank You Mark (Valley)
- Jehro - Jehro (Recall)
- Jeff Healey & the Jazz Wizards - It's Tight Like That (Stony Plain)
- Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris - All the Roadrunning (Warner Bros.)
- Gregg Kowalsky - Through the Cardial Window (Kranky)
- Amel Larrieux - Morning (Bliss Life)
Buy Now: Morning (Bliss Life)
- The Late Cord - Lights From The Wheelhouse (EP; 4AD)
- Cheikh Lô - Lamp Fall (Nonesuch)
- Michy Mano - Cool Side of the Pillow (Enja Justin Time)
- Rose Melberg - Cast Away the Clouds (Double Agent)
- MercyMe - Coming Up to Breathe (Columbia)
- Paolo Mojo - Balance 009 (two CDs; EQ)
- Moonspell - Memorial (special edition; Steamhammer/ SPV)
- Motorjesus - Deathrider (Locomotive)
- Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See (Mush)
- The Obsessed - Lunar Womb (Meteor City)
- Om - Conference of The Birds (Holy Mountain)
- One Bad Son - This Aggression Will Not Stand (Versailles)
- OSI - Free (Inside Out)
- Push to Talk - Push to Talk (Doghouse)
- RadioVipers - The Morning Sunburst (Versailles)
- The Rakes - Capture/ Release (V2)
- Rihanna - A Girl Like Me (Def Jam)
Read: "Rihanna Getting In Touch With Her Rock Side For Next LP"
Buy Now: A Girl Like Me (Def Jam)
- Rin' - Inland Sea (Domo)
- Riverboat Gamblers - To the Confusion of Our Enemies (Volcom)
- Rachael Sage - The Blistering Sun ... (Mpress)
- The Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops (Reprise)
- Shooting at Unarmed Men - Yes Tinnitus (Too Pure/ Beggars)
- Silent Civilian - Rebirth of the Temple (Mediaskare)
- Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (DualDisc also available; Columbia)
Buy Now: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (Columbia)
- Starlight Mints - Drowaton (digipak; Barsuk)
Buy Now: Drowaton (Barsuk)
- Stars and Stripes - One Man Army (I Scream)
- The Streets - Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living (Vice)
Buy Now: Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living (Vice)
- Jimmy Sturr - Greatest Hits of Polka (Rounder Select)
- Survivor - Reach (Frontiers)
- Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now (Warner Bros.)
Read: "Taking Back Sunday Say Debuting At #800 Wouldn't Bother Them"
Buy Now: Louder Now (warner Bros.)
- Michael Talbott & the Wolfkings - Freeze-Die-Come to Life (Antenna Farm)
- The Terms - Small Town Computer Crash (Maple Jam)
- Irma Thomas - After the Rain (Rounder)
- Time Again - The Stories Are True (digipak; Hellcat)
- Nestor Torres - Dances, Prayers & Meditations for Peace (Heads Up)
- The Vacation - The Vacation (American/ Warner Bros.)
Read: "Meet The Vacation: A Band Not Afraid To Bleed For Rock"
- Tom Verlaine - Around and Songs and Other Things (Thrill Jockey)
- Violet Nine - Any Wonder (PKG Entertainment)
- Voices & Organs - Orphanage (Western Vinyl)
- The Waybacks - From the Pasture to the Future (Compass)
- Various artists - Bay Area Funk 2: Funk and Soul Essentials From San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Area (Luv N'Haight)
- Various artists - Invaders (Kemado)
- Various artists - It's So Easy: A Millennium Tribute to Guns N' Roses (Versailles)
- Various artists - The Projekt Almost Free CD (digipak; Projekt)
- Various Artists -- Unexpected Dreams - Songs From the Stars (Rhino)
- Various artists - Voices From the Frontline (Crosscheck)
- Various artists - "Halo 2 Original Soundtrack: Volume 2" (Sumthing Else)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
- Agoraphobic Nosebleed - PCP Tornado (three-inch CD with second CD; Hydra Head)
- Rance Allen - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Ass Ponys - Okra Years (two CDs; Shake It)
- Booker T & The MG's - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Cinderella - Gold (Mercury/ Universal)
- The Cowsills - Painting the Day: The Angelic Psychedelia of the Cowsills (Él)
- Marianne Faithfull - Fuel Presents an Introduction to Marianne Faithfull (Fuel)
- Feist - Open Season: Remixes and Collabs (Arts & Crafts)
- Eddie Floyd - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Helloween - Chameleon (two CDs with seven bonus tracks), Pink Bubbles Go Ape (with four bonus tracks) and Walls of Jericho (two-CD reissue with Helloween EP and bonus track) (Sanctuary Classics)
- k.d. lang - Reintarnation (digipak; Rhino)
- Howard Keel - Fuel Presents an Introduction to Howard Keel (Fuel)
- Doug Kershaw - Fuel Presents an Introduction to Doug Kershaw (Fuel)
- Albert King - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Little Milton - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Mama's Boys - Power & Passion (Gott Discs)
- Otis Redding - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Frankie Ruiz - Gold (two CDs; Universal Latino)
- Rush - Gold (Mercury/ Universal)
- Scorpions - Gold (two CDs; Hip-O)
- Solas - Reunion: A Decade of Solas (with DVD; Compass)
- Johnnie Taylor - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Ten Tenors -- Tenology (Rhino)
- Carla Thomas - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Rufus Thomas - Stax Profiles (Stax)
- Various artists - Classic African-American Ballads From Smithsonian Folkways (Smithsonian Folkways)
- Various artists - Disco Remixed 2 (Empire Musicwerks)
- Various artists - Hip-Hop Gold (Hip-O)
- Various artists - Jazz Vocalists: Hear & Now (Concord)
- Various artists - Moments to Remember: The Golden Hits of the '50s and '60s (three CDs; Shout! Factory)
- Various artists - That's Entertainment! The Ultimate Anthology of MGM Musicals (six CDs; Rhino)
- After the Fire - "Live at Greenbelt" (Music Video Distributors)
- Bernard Allison - "Energized - Live in Europe" (Music Video Distributors)
- Anti-Flag - "Death of a Nation" (Music Video Distributors)
- Arena - "Smoke & Mirrors" (Music Video Distributors)
- The Beatles - "Liverpool" (two DVDs; Arts Magic)
- Betty Blowtorch - "Betty Blowtorch and Her Amazing True Life Adventures" (Cinema Libre)
- Cam'ron - "Killa Season" (Asylum/ Rap-a-Lot)
- Candido - "Hands of Fire" (Music Video Distributors)
- Captain Beefheart - "Under Review" (Sexy Intellectual)
- Mariah Carey - "Unauthorized: Definition of a Diva" (Music Video Distributors)
- Rosemary Clooney - "Great Women Singers of the 20th Century" (Kultur)
- DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist - "Freeze" (Freeze)
- D.O.A. - "Positively D.O.A.: Live" (Cherry Red)
- Exodus - "A Ray of Sunshine" (Music Video Distributors)
- Gun Club - "Live at the Hacienda" (Cherry Red)
- Head Cat - "Rockin the Cat Club: Live From the Sunset Strip" (Cleopatra)
- Joe Pro - "Still Crunk" (Joe Pro)
- Landmarq - "Turbulence: Live in Poland" (Music Video Distributors)
- Likehell - "The Unbelievably True and Amazingly Accurate Story Behind Rock's Most Legendary Supergroup" (S.O.S. Productions)
- Metallica - "Kill Em All to St. Anger: The Ultimate Critical Review" (Classic Rock Legends)
- Nico - "All Tomorrow's Parties: Nico Live" (Cherry Red)
- Joel Plaskett Emergency - "Make a Little Noise" (Maple)
- Refused - "Refused Are F---ing Dead" (Epitaph)
- Steel Pulse - "Introspective" (United States Distributors)
- Turbo - "The History: 1980-2005" (Music Video Distributors)
- The Velvet Underground - "Under Review" (Sexy Intellectual)
- Various artists - "Black History Part 1" and "Part 2" (Music Video Distributors)
- Various artists - "Cornbread Presents Street Heat, Volume 17: Got Drank? Hosted by Bun B" (Cornbread)
- Various artists - "Dancehall Boom Dynamite" (Iriedvd.com)
- Various artists - "Groupies: The Movie" (Cleopatra)
- Various artists - "Heartbeat Video Culture Splash" (Heartbeat)
- Various artists - "Island Explosion '06 Part 1" and "Part 2" (Music Video Distributors)
- Various artists - "King of Kings: Unite the People" (Music Video Distributors)
- Various artists - "Metal's Dark Side, Volume 1: The Hard and the Furious" (Music Video Distributors)
- Various artists - "Original Dancehall Jam Jam Part 1," "Part 2" and "Part 3" (Music Video Distributors)
- Various artists - "Punk Icons: The Ultimate Collection" (Classic Rock Legends)
- Various artists - "Red, Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter" (with CD; Shout! Factory)
- Various artists - "Street Dogg 2: The Adventure Continues" (Music Video Distributors)
- Various artists - "Unity Splash Part One" and "Part Two" (Music Video Distributors)
- Various artists - "West Kingston Jamboree Part 1" and "Part 2" (Music Video Distributors)
- Mobb Deep - Blood Money (Interscope)
Read: "Mobb Deep, 50 Cent Get Tattoos To Prove Their Loyalty"
Buy Now: Blood Money (Interscope)
- Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam (J)
Read: "Pearl Jam, Post-'Therapy': 'The Sex Is Better Than Ever!' "
- Thursday - A City by the Light Divided (Island)
Read: "Thursday Frontman Says He Doesn't Want To Exploit My Chemical Romance, But ..."
Buy Now: A City by the Light Divided (Island)
- Tool - 10,000 Days (Volcano)
Buy Now: 10,000 Days (Volcano)
- The Isley Brothers - Baby Makin' Music (Island)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (two CDs; limited edition with DVD also available; Warner Bros.)
Read: "Chili Peppers Stoked About New Album, Possible Kanye Tour"
Buy Now: Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros.)
- Snow Patrol - Eyes Open (A&M)
Read: "Snow Patrol Turn 'Candy-Assed' Music Into Beastly Arena Rock"
Buy Now: Eyes Open (A&M)
- Ashley Parker Angel - Soundtrack to Your Life (Universal)
Buy Now: Soundtrack to Your Life (Universal)
- Cam'ron - Killa Season (limited-edition version with DVD and two bonus tracks also available; Rap-a-Lot)
Read: "Mixtape Monday: LL Cool J Stays Hungry, Cam'ron Delivers A Preview"
Buy Now: Killa Season (Rap-a-Lot)
- Hoobastank - Every Man for Himself (Island)
Read: "Hoobastank Find Inspiration For New LP In Scott Weiland's Cold Shoulder"
Buy Now: Every Man for Himself (Island)
- Christina Milian - So Amazin' (enhanced; Def Jam)
Buy Now: So Amazin' (Def Jam)
- The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers (V2/ Third Man)
Read: "Jack White: Don't Call The Raconteurs A Side Project"
- Rock Kills Kid - Are You Nervous? (Reprise)
Read: "Rock Kills Kid Bring Music From Windowless Room To Radio"