Spoiling the Barrel: Lloyd Banks has a friend in 50 Cent -- there's no questioning that, given the three guest appearances he makes on Banks' Rotten Apple. Fellow G-Unit members Tony Yayo and Young Buck also crop up on Banks' sophomore set. But plenty of other singers take a bite out of the Apple as well: Rakim ("Dollar Bill"), Scarface ("Iceman"), Musiq Soulchild ("Addicted") and Mobb Deep ("Get Clapped"). And if you want another dose of G-Unit, don't miss Kev Samples' The Rush, a mixtape issued in conjunction with DJ Whoo Kid. The Death of R&B is just a preview of the upcoming LP debut by the singer, but it holds its own with guest spots by Jamie Foxx, T-Paine and Ray J.
Ted's Excellent Adventure: Subtitled "Look Where We Are Now," the special edition re-release of Teddy Geiger's Underage Thinking has much to flaunt. Tacked onto the end of the CD are eight extra songs: five demos, two remixes and an additional track, "As We Get Older." There's also a bonus DVD attached, and it's packed with videos for "For You I Will (Confidence)" and "These Walls," plus day-in-the-life footage, photos and a scrapbook.
Take a Bite: Their theme song "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" came and went along with the crash-and-burn Samuel L. Jackson novelty flick, but now Cobra Starship properly launch their career with While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets. A near-fatal snake bite that Uruguay-born frontman Gabe Saporta suffered in the Arizona desert nearly did him in, which inspired the band's moniker. Some of the venom might still be running through his veins, what with tracks titled "Being From Jersey Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry," "Ballad of Big Poppa and Diamond Girl" and "Church of Hot Addiction."
With next-generation metal mavens Lamb of God and Mastodon scraping the ceiling of the Billboard albums chart in recent months, Trivium might make a splash with their junior effort, The Crusade. The Orlando, Florida, posse recall Megadeth and other thrashers throughout the effort, which includes the nine-minute instrumental title track "To the Rats" and the opening tracks "Ignition" and "Detonation." Just don't be turned off by the Molly Hatchet-like cover art.
Let the Eagles Soar: While it had been reported that Eagles of Death Metal's debut DVD would be called "Death by DVD" -- a play off their latest CD, Death by Sexy -- it looks like the Eagles have landed a different name: "DVD by Sexy." Directed by Liam Lynch -- who sat behind the camera for Eagles amigos Tenacious D ("The Pick of Destiny") and Sarah Silverman ("Jesus Is Magic") -- the set is littered with rehearsal footage, five live performances and videos featuring Jack Black, Dave Grohl and more.
Road Trip: New music from across North America hits stores every Tuesday, but this week we're bothering to make a stink about it. The journey starts in Chicago, where the Baldwin Brothers have tapped Mark Lanegan and members of the Bellrays and Lo Fidelity Allstars for their second LP, The Return of the Golden Rhodes. The so-called "junk-tronica" act closes out its lounge-oriented effort with a ballad, "The Party's Over," which features Lanegan.
In the meantime, avant-pop artists Chin Up Chin Up are also serving up their second release, This Harness Can't Ride Anything. Frontman Jeremy Bolen hops into the saddle to dish about animals, Minnesota and breasts, on songs like "Blankets Like Beavers" and "I Need a Friend With a Boat." Thrill Jockey pop experimentalists Califone and Pit Er Pat also ante up with new CDs -- Roots and Crowns and Pyramids, respectively -- but as far as Chicago goes, this week really belongs to Bloodshot Records. After 12 years, the label is taking stock of its rootsy, bar-friendly indie acts with its first-ever DVD, "Bloodied but Unbowed: Bloodshot Records - Life in the Trenches." It scans through videos by Ryan Adams, Alejandro Escovedo and the Old 97's and hangs with others in a series of bonus features.
Venture next up to Toronto, where newbies Tokyo Police Club are building heavy buzz amid stints opening for Art Brut, Enon and Polyphonic Spree. Their debut LP, A Lesson in Crime, runs just 16 minutes in length but has been drawing raves from indie-rock musos. While you're in Hogtown, don't miss F---ed Up: The punks might sound a bit conventional, but they've been drawing raves from fellow Canadians the Arcade Fire. (Arcade Fire's violinist, Owen Pallett, a.k.a. Polaris Music Prize-winner Final Fantasy, contributes to FU's Hidden World.) The band's frontman is schizophrenic and cuts his face with razors, its rhythm guitarist is a transient, the lead guitarist raises chickens, and their manager refuses to see them perform. Isn't that reason enough?
Hop across the border to Buffalo, New York, where rockers This Day & Age are dropping The Bell and the Hammer. Produced by Ed Rose (Motion City Soundtrack, the Get Up Kids) and the band, its second release seems to have sprouted feet, what with tracks like "More of a Climb, Less of a Walk" and "Walking Contradictions." Trot a bit further down the state to the Big Apple, where Lower Manhattan-ites Chavez are taking a look back with Better Days Will Haunt You. The guitar-heavy band bundles its only two albums -- 1995's Gone Glimmering and the following year's Ride the Fader -- along with B-sides, compilation tracks and an unreleased cut. A DVD with a tour doc, promo clips and Easter eggs seals the deal.
Drift over to Beantown for a spell, where Protokoll were nominated for four Boston Music Awards -- but, alas, didn't win any. The band self-released its eponymous EP in August 2005, but it's finally getting a proper release through IHeartComix. Ellis Paul -- who's scooped up 13 BMAs over the years -- is being celebrated with the self-explanatory Essentials. The two-disc set also has two new songs by the philosophical troubadour.
Head south and pass by NYC, where you'll find Bitch stepping away from her Ani DiFranco project Bitch and Animal to put out a disc of her own. She plucks away at a ukulele, bass and electric violin on Make This/ Break This -- and makes an appearance in John Cameron Mitchell's new flick, "Shortbus." And then head to Long Island Shores with singer/songwriter Mindy Smith as she celebrates the Smithtown 'burb she grew up in. Her sophomore set was co-produced by Smith and longstanding Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt collaborator Steve Buckingham.
Continue south. First you'll hit Philadelphia, where metal marauders Passion blast censorship on The Fierce Urgency of Now, and after that, camp out in Washington, D.C., since there's some action there. Joe Lally has corralled Fugazi partners Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto, Scott "Wino" Weinrich and members of the Hot Snakes and Rites of Spring for Ingleside Terrace, a solo LP he's releasing under the name French Toast. In the meantime, the Drugstore Cowboys whittle down pop, crunk and hardcore into a unique blend for the long-winded Chapter 3006 of Dance Moves for the Apocalypse: If Octomaiden Was a Diabetic Joykill Addict.
Skip past Virginia and hit North Carolina, where Chapel Hill stalwarts Portastatic are still tearing it up. Laura Cantrell, Annie Hayden and Peter Holsapple guest on Be Still Please, which features "I'm in Love (With Arthur Dove)," a song devoted to the American abstract painter. Eric Bachmann -- the centrifugal force behind Chapel Hill crews Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers -- arranged the strings and horns for Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit. Hinson, who was brought up in a Christian fundamentalist household in Memphis, Tennessee, reflects on dating a Vogue cover model, going bankrupt and overcoming drug problems. One of the best-known Tennessee singers of all, Dolly Parton, finds her three recent bluegrass albums combined into The Acoustic Collection 1999-2002, a box set that also features a DVD. Don't miss the clip of Norah Jones singing with Parton.
Skulk around the South and you'll find Augusta, Georgia, rising folk star Josh Kelly delivering his third LP, Just Say the Word. Over in Athens, the New Sound of Numbers get a boost from the Elephant 6 collective -- Olivia Tremor Control's John Fernandes in particular -- to help them scatter their Liberty Seeds. Florida's Sister Hazel get a hand from Shawn Mullins and songwriter Richard Marx for their LP Absolutely, while further west, Austin, Texas' the Lovely Sparrows fuse folk with Latin sounds on their debut EP, Pulling Up Floors, Pouring on (New) Paint. And Texas-born punk-rocker Jason Bayless picked up a camera to document Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, NOFX and others on the Warped Tour, footage that's been compiled as "Wake Up Screaming."
Go all the way west to Long Beach, California, where I Am Ghost -- recruited by Brett Gurewitz of Warped Tour regulars Bad Religion -- are releasing their debut, Lovers' Requiem. Make a beeline for the north, where eclectic singer/songwriter Tommy Guerrero is stirring it up in the Bay Area with From the Soil to the Soul, which features local rapper Lyrics Born. Up in Seattle, the Blood Brothers are setting forth their fifth LP, Young Machetes, which was co-produced by the aforementioned Guy Picciotto. Also in that city -- where the trek comes to a close -- Crooked Fingers member Barbara Trentalange has compiled a Photo Album of Complex Relationships, with other members of her band lending support; Damien Jurado ushers in And Now That I'm in Your Shadow; and These Arms Are Snakes sing about "Child Chicken Play," "Hell's Bank Notes" and "Abracadabra" for Easter. And last but not least, Washington state heroes the Melvins live on with (A) Senile Animal, which features Big Business backing them. How's the odometer lookin'?
Song Title of the Week:
"Tomorrow Will Not Be Another Day" from Robert Pollard's Normal Happiness
Robert Randolph & the Family Band's Colorblind: Dave Matthews lends his pipes to "Love Is the Only Way" and Eric Clapton his guitar prowess to a cover of the Doobie Brothers' "Jesus Is Just Alright" on the latest output by the lauded pedal-steel guitarist. Randolph was nominated for a Grammy the last time around, for Unclassified -- maybe Colorblind will result in greater spoils.
120 Days' 120 Days: Purported to be the first Norwegian band to sign directly to an American label, the Vice artists were originally called the Beautiful People but changed their name after performing at Reading, Leeds and other major European fests. Their guitar-fueled brand of electronic music draws comparisons to Primal Scream and Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, and 120 Days' maiden release boasts "Sleepwalking," "Sleepless Night #3" and "Be Mine."
Nikki Sudden's The Truth Doesn't Matter: The troubled troubadour passed away in March during his U.S. tour, mere days after his final studio album and autobiography were completed. Sudden actually recorded the 15 tracks -- including "Gin Palace (Jordan's Dragoons)," "Beyond Hope" and "All This Buttoning and Unbuttoning" in Berlin late last year.
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