Join the Black Parade: By now you probably know about My Chemical Romance, their new LP The Black Parade and the saga it consists of, which revolves around a central character called the Patient. If this is enough to get you marching to the record store, be sure to look out for the limited-edition box-set version of the release. It comes in an 11-by-6-inch skinny container, debossed and wrapped in black velveteen. Inside you'll find a 64-page paperback with singer Gerard Way's drawings, making-of-the-album notes and more. Take that, bonus DVDs.
Watch ( to see John Norris interview the band on the eve of the release. MCR talk about the influences behind The Black Parade, comparisons to Green Day and overcoming the conflicts and crises that almost tore the band apart.
John Legend made a name for himself just two years ago when Kanye West snatched him up for his G.O.O.D. Music label, but since then he's grabbed just about every award except the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his Get Lifted LP. He's hoping for more accolades with Once Again, which features "P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)," "Where Did My Baby Go" and "Each Day Gets Better." Alas, there are no enhancements or special editions planned, but production by West, Will.I.Am and Raphael Saadiq will please those who have been jonesing for John.
Seventies Revisited ... Again: From fashion to hairstyles to cover songs and guitar techniques, young rock bands have been trying to re-create the '70s incessantly for the last five or 10 years. But the Walkmen are taking a more specific and original approach with their retro rebirth: They are retreading a fiery path intoxicatingly blazed by John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr and Keith Moon on a party-and-experimental-music binge they indulged in when Lennon separated from Yoko Ono in 1974. The Walkmen aren't redoing the resulting album, Pussy Cats, note-for-note or even song-for-song, but rather channeling the spirit of the original project and birthing a batch of their own originals. The album co-stars Ian Svenonius (Weird War, the Make-Up), Quentin Stoltzfus (Mazarin) and Alessandra Maria (Tomorrow's Friend), and they dabble with more instruments than you could name.
Current Affairs: "The future needs these wasted seeds" is the key line in "Taking Back Control," Sparta's new single. Frontman Jim Ward has said the lyric refers to children who are in war-torn areas and is his attempt to follow Neil Young's lead in criticizing the Iraq debacle. But the song title itself could refer to Ward's handle on his band: With a series of staff changes since the band formed five years ago, he's hoping new guitarist Keeley Davis (Denali, Engine Down) will bring the band back under control. A special edition of Threes will boast another political item: a short film called "Eme Nakia," which revolves around drummer Tony Hajjar and his flight from the Lebanese civil war.
A New 'Nightmare': It'll be easy to spot the reissued soundtrack to Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" -- like the theatrically re-released version of his film, it's in 3-D. The second disc to the set should also have moody-rock fans seeing triple: It features fresh slabs of macabre music by Fall Out Boy, She Wants Revenge, Marilyn Manson and Fiona Apple, as well as demos from composer Danny Elfman. The only thing it's lacking is a new track from Helloween.
Ten One-on-Ones: The Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals are duking it out on the baseball diamond this week, but there are 10 less obvious contests happening in the music racks this week:
The "Masters of Horror II" soundtrack vs. the "Saw III" soundtrack: Fear-inducing directors take turns at helming episodes of Showtime's "Masters of Horror" series, and accordingly, a procession of grisly bands shares the soundtrack honors, including Children of Bodom, Hatebreed, Lacuna Coil and the scary-sounding but ultimately goofy Eagles of Death Metal. That soundtrack faces off against the one for "Saw III," which has even more blood-curdling contributions from Lamb of God, Mastodon, Meshuggah and big names Avenged Sevenfold, Static-X and Disturbed.
Children of Bodom vs. Children of Bodom: CoB are making three appearances this week: They contribute to the "Masters" soundtrack, plus carve up a new LP, Chaos Ridden Years: Stockholm Knockout Live, and DVD of the same name. The double-CD is crammed tight with 18 songs, including "Follow the Reaper" and "Clash of the Booze Brothers," but the video has much more material: all nine videos the band has ever made, two documentaries, a photo gallery and more.
Freddie Cruger vs. Horrors: Which is more terrifying? Well, neither, really: Cruger's Soul Search is actually a reggae/disco mash-up venture, while the Horrors' self-titled EP is heavy on the garage guitar rock (but not on bass, since they don't have a bass player). Let's save the Halloween fun for next week.
Bright Eyes vs. Bright Light Fever: Sacramento, California, garage-rockers BLF are having plenty of fun on their debut, Bright Light Fever Presents the Evening Owl -- and they're sure to gain a few fans with "Papa's Got a Brand New Liver." But they're no match for one of indie rock's biggest troubadours, Conor Oberst, who's lumping 21 hard-to-find tracks onto Bright Eyes' Noise Floor (Rarities: 1998-2005).
Skid Row vs. Winger: A week after Twisted Sister quietly brought their career to a close with A Twisted Christmas, two more hair-metal greats are rearing their heads. Skid Row's first album in three years and second without singer Sebastian Bach, Revolutions Per Minute, finds them joined by a three-part string section and kicking into country-rock mode on "You Lie." But it's been almost 15 years since we've heard from Winger, so their IV -- which does feature founding member Kip Winger -- wins out.
Song Title of the Week:
"I Am Warm & Powerful" from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's Broom
+/-'s Let's Build Fire: The Death Cab for Cutie tourmates are a bit easier to verbalize than !!!, who can also be tricky to find in the record racks. But to make matters more complicated, this record by the mostly ex-Versus musicians was issued in Japan earlier this year and has since been tweaked with different tracks, remixed sound and remastering.
Converge's No Heroes: Metal and hardcore converged -- for the first time, some would argue -- with this Salem, Massachusetts, band. The group is as direct as ever as it wails through the 40-minute disc, which includes "Heartache," "Hellbound," "Plagues" -- plus a guest-vocal appearance by Only Living Witness' Jonah Jerkins.
The Curtains' Calamity: Chris Cohen spends most of his time spazzing out in Deerhoof, but he had enough energy to squeeze out 13 tracks for his other project. While he laid down the initial tracks for the Curtains' fourth release by himself, Cohen is joined by Sufjan Stevens collaborator Half-Handed Cloud, ex-Mae-Shi member Corey Fogel and others through his alternately brooding and bubble-gum pop songs.
Read: [article id="1540817"]"My Chemical Romance Unveil Black Parade Track List, Album Art"[/article]
Read: [article id="1538837"]"Sparta Return With New LP, Outlook, Tour -- And No Need For 'Hipster Points' "[/article]
Read: [article id="1539534"]"Fall Out Boy, Panic, Marilyn Manson Add To New 'Nightmare Before Christmas' Soundtrack"[/article]
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
Read: [article id="1511684"]"Ron Artest Battles In Basketball/Boxing Game, Funds His Own Rap LP"[/article]
Read: [article id="1542253"]"Deftones Plan Tour With Deadsy Before LP Drops On Halloween"[/article]
Read: [article id="1527238"]"Federline Moving Songs From The Lab To Clubs For Testing"[/article]
Read: [article id="1540922"]"Pitbull Barks About Parties, Politics On October's El Mariel"[/article]
Read: [article id="1539689"]"Army Of Anyone Want To Be Judged By Their Fifth Album, Not Their Debut"[/article]
Read: [article id="1534444"]"Fat Joe On September Release: 'Bet The Kitchen Sink On Me' "[/article]
Read: [article id="1542902"]"Game Says Song On New LP Makes Him 'The One-Man N.W.A' "[/article]
Read: [article id="1539065"]"Plus-44 Address Blink Breakup On LP, Want Fans To 'Hear The Truth' "[/article]