Memorial Day was established to honor Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War. But the holiday isn't too civil to record stores, pretty much stymieing anything of interest from hitting the racks.
OK, that's a little harsh. There are some records you might care about as you recover from the long weekend:
Peeping Tom's self-titled record is classic Mike Patton. The Tomahawk/ Fantômas/ Lovage mastermind overextends himself yet again with this long-in-the-works project, which slipped out a much-prized bootleg demo years ago but hasn't made a peep since. Yanking the unconventional pop group out of obscurity is Norah Jones, who graces the second-to-last track, "Sucker." Patton's typically unpredictable guest list also includes Massive Attack, Bebel Gilberto, Dan the Automator, Kool Keith, Amon Tobin, Kid Koala and Dub Trio, who put out an album of their own last week. If you're looking for Patton product that isn't alienating, this is it.
Death Becomes Them: Just in case you didn't hear them screaming their faces off the first time around, Thine Eyes Bleed are reservicing their debut LP, In the Wake of Separation, in time for their tour in support of Slayer (TEB's bassist is the brother of Slayer's Tom Araya). The refreshed version has the bonus cut "Better Off Dead," which was only available in Japan, and the video for "Cold Victim." And Florida death-metal vets Morbid Angel -- who are heavily influenced by Slayer -- are reaching back even further with the re-release of 1989's Altars of Madness, which comes with three remix tracks and a bonus DVD featuring the band's gig at the U.K.'s Nottingham Rock City in '89.
Victory Scores: One label isn't getting much rest this weekend: punk imprint Victory Records. Its so-called "Super Tuesday" marks the arrival of In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, the second effort by pop duo the Forecast; Questions and Answers, the second one by angsty New Yorkers the Sleeping; 18 Candles: The Early Years, which packs in 18 retrospective tracks -- including concert cuts and remixes -- by Canadian post-hardcore act Silverstein; and The Great Compromise, a colorful record by cheerleading three-piece the Junior Varsity that features "Left Foot Right Foot," "Peter Cottontail and the Demise of the Carrot Tree" and more.
Don't Forget to Preorder: In case you haven't learned your lesson, here are two more reasons to plan ahead: preorders of Minutes to Miles by New Jersey newcomers Crash Romeo came with limited-edition tees, while early copies of Terror's three-hour "The Living Proof" DVD was bundled with a stencil and poster.
That's So Yesterday: It's like 1981 all over again this week, what with the 25th anniversary of psych-experimentalists Legendary Pink Dots. Their Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves follows up 2004's The Whispering Wall and includes "Stigmata (Part 4)" and "The Made Man's Manifesto." Celtic Frost have an equally impressive milestone with Monotheist, the hugely influential metal band's first record in 13 years.
'80s Hits Stripped culls acoustic tracks by Billy Idol, Rick Springfield, the Go-Go's and other yesteryear greats, and the label's so jazzed for the release that it's throwing a party at Johnny Depp's Viper Room on Hollywood's Sunset Strip. Blasters honcho Dave Alvin recaps John Fogerty, Jerry Garcia, Brian Wilson and other Left Coasters on West of the West, while blues-rocker George Thorogood and the Destroyers run through tunes by Bob Dylan, Fats Domino and more on The Hard Stuff. And if you're a Motörhead fan, you'll no doubt recognize the cover of "Killed by Death" that appears as a bonus cut on the debut LP by all-female Swedish quartet Crucified Barbara, who have already made waves back home.
You've definitely heard the Von Bondies' "C'mon C'mon" by now; the title track to "Rescue Me" kicks off the show's soundtrack, which also features Wolf Parade, the Brian Jonestown Massacre and other decidedly noncommercial acts. And if you're an ardent Zero 7 fan, you've probably already heard Sophie Barker's Earthbound, which dropped in the U.K. last year but is finally getting a U.S. release. And Finnish psychedelic minimalists Kiila issued their Heartcore five years ago in other territories, but it's finally dropping Stateside this week.
Chatham County Line -- a rootsy project out of Raleigh, North Carolina, that incorporates fiddle, banjo and more -- are churning out their third effort, the playfully titled Speed of the Whippoorwill. Singer/guitarist Dave Wilson says the bandmembers "see ourselves more like a rock band without a drummer and cables than a 1940s traditional bluegrass band." But debuting Chicago sextet the 1900s are more than happy to be lodged in the last century. The band's Plume Delivery EP calls to mind the New Pornographers and the Kinks and boasts "Bring the Good Boys Home" and "Flight of the Monowings."
If you want something really archaic, look no further than Wes Montgomery's "Live in Europe 1965," a DVD that captures the famed jazz guitarist in his prime. And while we're on the subject of age, let's give it up for Ralph Stanley, the bluegrass immortal who is putting out A Distant Land to Roam: Songs of the Carter Family at the tender age of 79.
Song Title of the Week:
"Don't Forget to Set the House on Fire Before You Crawl into Bed" from Junior Varsity's The Great Compromise
Les Claypool's Of Whales and Woe: The Primus bass whiz has been busier than ever with a new feature film ("Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo"), novel and everlasting tour. His latest solo outing includes "Robot Chicken," the theme to the cartoon show of the same name; "Back Off Turkey," which showcases his two kids banging on various objects; and "Iowan Gal," a paean to Claypool's wife.
Quietdrive's When All That's Left Is You: These Minneapolis rockers have "buzz" written all over them, what with a red-hot MySpace page and raves from The Los Angeles Times. They get an additional boost from Avril Lavigne producer Butch Walker and heralded mixer Chris Lord-Alge on the LP, which features "Rise From the Ashes," "Take a Drink With Me" and "Maybe Misery."
Asobi Seksu's Citrus: Their name means "playful sex" in Japanese and they've topped mtvU's Dean's List, and if you're in the mood to dream, Asobi Seksu have your number. The group's bilingual, keyboard-laced sophomore disc includes "Pink Cloud Tracing Paper" and "Nefi+Girly" and will fit in comfortably next to your Lush and My Bloody Valentine CDs.
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