Here's a quick look at a handful of new albums, as well as a list of the rest of the stuff that's supposed to hit shelves this week:
[more:] Michael Penn Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947 SpinART
Album samples With the connections this guy has, at least you can be certain the album title is right on. Hubby to Aimee Mann, composer for director P.T. Anderson, and older brother to actors Sean (maybe you've heard of him) and Chris (maybe you haven't), Michael Penn happens to be a pretty damn solid songwriter in his own right. His new record for SpinART -- whom he shacked up with after troubles at Epic -- looks back to 1947 to draw parallels to today's world, and he suggests Googling the song titles to help connect the dots. We're not motivated enough to do that, but we will use that information to assume his brooding adult-contemporary pop is well researched and thoughtful.
Lil' Jon & The East Side Boyz Crunk Juice: Chopped and Screwed TVT
Album samples South Houston meets the Dirty South when veteran deejay Michael "5000" Watts gives the syrup treatment to Lil' Jon's manic record. (Though chopped and screwed is a south Houston creation, Watts is technically from north Houston, but that would have totally ruined our little wordplay.) This is certain to be one of the more interesting chopped-and-screwed records, if for no other reason than the slowed-down, drowsy sound is the exact opposite of the hyped-up bounce of crunk. And we're just champing at the bit to find out how long it takes Lil' Jon to say "Okayyy" in slow-mo.
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash The Legend and Keep on The Sunny Side: Her Life in Music Sony
Album samples Oh, dear Cashes, how we miss thee. The Man in Black and his talented wife share box-set release dates, so you can enjoy six more discs of music that recounts how good country was before the Toby Keiths of the world got their grubby little hands on it. Johnny's four-disc set includes a staggering 107 tracks (twelve previously unreleased) that includes big hits as well as lesser-known gems. June's two-disc, forty-track collection spans her sixty-four-year (that is not a typo) recording career and proves she wasn't just Johnny Cash's wife. We should be handing these things out on Ellis Island.
Kinski Space Launch for Frenchie and Be Gentle with the Warm Turtle Intellectual Drunks/Strange Attractors
Album samples Chris Martin is releasing another record with his bandmates? Quick, to the mall! Oops, sorry, Coldplay fans, this Chris Martin belongs to the Seattle-based instrumental-rock outfit Kinski, whose members have taken it upon themselves to bless their fans by re-releasing their first two records: their 1999 debut, Space Launch, and its 2001 follow-up, Be Gentle, both of which have long been out of print. The avant-garde quartet has earned some hefty praise for its latest release on Sub Pop, Alpine Static. Now you can see where it all began (or some other lazy writer cliché).
In Praise of Folly Means/Ends Lujo
Album samples In Praise of Folly, another Seattle band, offers its quasi-emo symphonic rock to the masses. Word is that this album is more aggressive than its 2004 predecessor, The Present Age, which is probably a function of having the studio lose half the finished tracks in the middle of the recording sessions and the band getting its gear-loaded van stolen two weeks later (the van and gear were later recovered, all surprisingly intact). We also hear their drummer plays shows standing up. Goddamn kids these days.
Al Hirt: King of Bourbon Street (Tomato Music) Alice Cooper: Dirty Diamonds (New West) Amadou & Mariam: Dimanche a Bamako (Nonesuch) Amadou & Mariam: Dimanche a Bamako (Nonesuch) Bad Moon Rising: Full Moon Collection (Melodic Symphony) Bernadette Peters: Sondheim Etc. Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (The Rest of It) [LIVE] (Angel) Black Sabbath: Best Of [Sanctuary] (Sanctuary) Blanc Faces: Blanc Faces (Melodic Symphony) Blindside: The Great Depression (Rte / Drt ) Bliss: Quiet Letters: Us Edition (Quango) Bob Brookmeyer: Bob Brookmeyer (Sony) Charles Mingus: Charles Mingus (Shout Factory) Charlie Parker: Complete Dial Sessions Master Takes (Definitive Classics) Cornbread the Unseen/J.P.: Cornbread the Unseen/J.P. (33rd Street) David Bowie: David Live [Virgin] (EMI) David Bowie: Stage [Virgin] (EMI) Deodato: Happy Hour/Motion (Wounded Bird) Deodato: Knights of Fantasy/Night Cruiser (Wounded Bird) Dexter Gordon: Manhattan Symphonie (Manhattan Symphonie) DJ Tracy Young: Danceculture (Ferosh) D'Nell: 1st Magic (BBE) Doug Pinnick: Emotional Animal (Magna Carta) Duke Ellington: Duke Ellington Presents (Shout Factory) Dungen: Ta Det Lugnt (Dig) (Kemado) Emery: Question (Tooth & Nail) Emmanuel Carella: Emmanuel (Liberation Music) Envy: Ain't It a Sin (Wounded Bird) Faith Hill: Fireflies (WEA) Generation X: The Greenhornes: East Grand Blues [EP] (V2) Hal: Play the Hits, Vol. 1 (Rough Trade) Hal: Play the Hits, Vol. 2 (Rough Trade) Hank Williams: Legend (Karussell) Imogen Heap: Speak for Yourself [IMPORT] (Universal/Absolute) In Praise of Folly: Means/Ends (Lujo) Jay Tee: He Got Game (40 Ounce) John Coltrane: Bethlehem Years (Shout Factory) John Wetton / Geoffrey Downes: Icon (Frontier) Johnny Cash: Legend (Sony) Johnny Cash: The Legend [BOX SET] (Sony) Josh Rouse: Nashville [Bonus Tracks] (Rykodisk Import) Kid606: Resilience (Tigerbeat6) Kinski: Be Gentle With the Warm Turtle (Strange Attractors) Kinski: Space Launch for Frenchie (Strange Attractors) Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz: Crunk Juice [Chopped and Screwed] (TVT) Madball: Legacy (Ferret) Michael Penn: Mr. Hollywood, Jr. 1947 (Spin Art) Miles Davis: Movin' On (Castle Pulse) Moving Units: Dangerous Dreams [Bonus Tracks] (King Japan) Natasha Bedingfield: Unwritten [ENHANCED] (Sony) Necro: Sexorcist (Psycho Logical) Neil Diamond: Essential: 2005 USA Tour Edition (Sony) Nine Black Alps: Everything Is (Universal International) North Mississippi Allstars: Electric Watermelon (Ato) Original Soundtrack: Conker [SOUNDTRACK] (Sumthing Else) Original Soundtrack: Happy Endings [SOUNDTRACK] (Commotion) Papa Reu: Life & Music (Sanctuary) Peggy Honeywell: Faint Humms (Galaxia Records) Petula Clark: Songs of My Life: The Essential (Sanctuary) Pink Floyd: London '66-'67 (Pucka) The Prom Kings: The Prom Kings (Three Kings Records) Public Enemy: Power To The People And The Beats - Greatest Hits (Def Jam) The Ramones: Adios Amigos! (MCA) Richard Hell: Spurts: The Richard Hell Story (Rhino) Saosin: Saosin EP (Phantom) Shel Silverstein: Best of Shel Silverstein (Sony) Six Feet Under: 13/Graveyard Classics, Vol. 2 (Metal Blade) Soulfuric: In the House [BOX SET] (Defected) Suffering and the Hideous Thieves: Ashamed (Lujo) Teairra Mari: Roc-A-Fella Presents (Roc-A-Fella) Thuja: Pine Cone Temples (Strange Attractors) The Time Flys: Fly (Birdman) Tristan Prettyman: Twentythree [DUALDISC] [ENHANCED] (Virgin) Vanilla Ice: Platinum Underground (Ultrax) Various Artists: Blue Note Plays Jobim  (EMI) Various Artists: Blue Note: A Story of Jazz (EMI) Various Artists: Fusion for Miles (Tone Center) Various Artists: Kidz Bop, Vol. 8 (Razor & Tie) Vocokesh: Through the Smoke (Strange Attractors) Ying Yang Twins: USA (United State of Atlanta) [Chopped and Screw] (TVT) *Release dates may change. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with correction or additions.