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:]Franz Ferdinand You Could Have it So Much Better Sony Album samples So now the boys have to prove themselves. Now these dapper, chiseled Scotsmen have to throw some nice threads on us, shove a drink in our hands, and take us out ... one more time. Now they’ve got to us show it wasn’t a fluke, that minor pop revolution they jump-started with their eponymous debut last year. You Could Have it So Much Better seems almost fated to repeat the trick. The four members originally titled their sophomore album simply Franz Ferdinand, the same as their first, and planed to use the exact same cover image with just a slightly different color scheme. Well, we like the new title. And if there’s any justice in the world, we’ll be shaking to another batch of Molotov pop ’til this time next year. Broken Social Scene Broken Social Scene Arts and Crafts Album samples Viewed from south of the border, Canada’s independent music scene looks more incestuous than the Bush administration’s hiring policies. But amid all that hustle ’n’ bustle, great bands (and great records) get made. Broken Social Scene and its 2002 effort, You Forgot It In People, were certainly that, and the band’s self-titled follow-up, whittled down from more than two-hundred minutes of music with the help of producer Dave Newfield’s perfectionism, should give all us stilted Americans a good reason to break an old taboo. Expect, as co-founder Kevin Drew so eloquently put it, more “raw fucking puke and love” from Broken Social Scene’s turbulent psych-swirl. Atmosphere You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having Rhymesayers Album samples White boys may not be able to jump, but they can certainly rap. Over the course of eight years and four albums, Atmosphere has played a major role in hip-hop’s recent ethnic, geographic and economic diaspora. Slug’s rhymes add a refreshing dash of self-consciousness to hip-hop’s braggadocio, and Ant’s soulful, record-store-clearing production has proved a potent mix. Tracks such as “Smart Went Crazy (The Beauty Pill)” prove an album inspired by everything from Tom Waits to infected wisdom teeth to “the women’s bathroom at the Empty Bottle in Chicago” can’t be a bad thing. Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine Epic/Clean Slate Album samples Recently, Fiona Apple’s professional life has begun to look a lot like her personal life. Label disputes, leaked albums, multiple producers -- it all has the seduction of one of the tawdry affairs Ms. Apple describes so well on record. Still, despite the drama, the chanteuse has finally finished her third LP, her first since 1999’s When the Pawn ..., with the help of hip-hop producer (!) Mike Elizondo. If you snagged one of the leaked copies don’t assume you’ve got your bases covered -- only two of the leaked version’s tunes made it through Sony’s editing room, and the ten other tracks on the official version are either re-worked or brand new. What has emerged may just make “post-cabaret” part of the new pop-music lexicon. Liz Phair Somebody’s Miracle Capitol Album samples This much is true: Liz Phair will continue to make records whether she’s talking about fucking backward on Matador or stars and planets on Capitol. Tapping the arresting honesty she deployed on her early indie releases to justify the drastic makeover initiated by 2003’s show-room polished Liz Phair, the songwriter soldiers on with her second major-label effort. If she’s lost some of her original audience, Somebody’s Miracle is her attempt to garner a whole new set of fans who are willing to believe ebullient pop hooks aren’t enemies to sexual candor. 2Pac: Live at the House of Blues (Eagle) Aiden: Nightmare Anatomy [Bonus DVD] (Victory) Amos Milburn: Amos Milburn (United States Dist) The Alchemist: 1st Infantry: Instrumental (Koch) Andrew Hill: Andrew!!! [Bonus Tracks] (Blue Note) Andrew Hill: Blue Black (Test of Time) Andy Bell: Electric Blue (Sanctuary) Andy Bell: Electric Blue (Sanctuary) Anita Baker: Christmas Fantasy (Blue Note) Atmosphere: You Can't Imagine How Much Fun Were Having (Rhymesayers) Badgerlore: Stories for Owls (Free Porcupine) Ben Harper/Blind Boys from Alabama: Live at the Apollo [CD & DVD] (Virgin) The Beta Band: Best of the Beta Band (Astralwerks) Big Tone: Drought (Abb Soul) Black Eyed Peas: Maximum Black Eyed Peas (United States Dist) Black Label Society: Kings of Damnation: Era 1998-2004 (Spitfire) The Blues Brothers: Gimme Some Lovin' and Other Hits (Rhino Flashback) Booker Ervin: Tex Book Tenor (Blue Note) Broken Social Scene: Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts) Buzzcocks: Driving You Insane (Recall) Cabinessence: Comes Back to You (Roslyn Recordings) Cerberus Shoal: Land We All Believe In (North East Indie) Charlie Byrd: Christmas Carols for Solo Guitar (Koch) Clint Black: Drinkin' Songs & Other Logic (Equity Music Group) C-Murder: Best Of (Priority) Coldplay: Maximum Coldplay (United States Dist) Cream: Royal Albert Hall: London May 2, 3, 5 & 6, 2005 (Reprise / Wea) David Bowie: Serious Moonlight: Live (Rajon) The Deadly Snakes: Porcella (In the Red) Deftones: Rarities, Covers and Videos (Rhino / Wea) Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom: Days of Mars (Astralwerks) Digable Planets: Beyond the Spectrum: The Creamy Spy Chronicles (Blue Note) Dio: Metal Hits (Rhino Flashback) Dionne Warwicke: Dionne (Spy) Dionne Warwicke: Just Being Myself (Spy) Don Cherry: Where Is Brooklyn (Blue Note) Dwele: Some Kinda (Virgin) Earth, Wind & Fire: Old School Cruzin' with Earth, Wind & Fire (Thump) Ebony Eyez: 7 Day Cycle (Capitol) Elmo Hope: Trio and Quintet (Blue Note) Elvis Presley: Elvis Presley (Strategic Marketing) Exodus: Shovel Headed Kill Machine (Nuclear Blast America) Faith No More: Epic and Other Hits (Rhino Flashback) The Fall: Fall Heads Roll (Narnack) Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine (Sony) The Fire Engines: Codex Teenage Premonition (Domino) Franz Ferdinand: You Could Have It So Much Better (Sony) Freddie Hubbard: Freddie Hubbard (Blue Note) Friends of Dean Martinez: Lost Horizon (Aero) Gerald LeVert: Collaborations (Rhino / Wea) Ghostface: 718: Stapleton to Somalia (Koch) Ghostface: Raw Footage (Fastlife) The Go! Team: Thunder, Lightning, Strike [Bonus Tracks] (Sony) Happy Mondays: Step On (Snapper UK) Hawk Nelson: Letters to the President [Deluxe Edition] (Tooth & Nail) The Human League: Crash [Bonus Tracks] (Caroline) James Blunt: Back to Bedlam (Atlantic / Wea) Jeffrey Osborne: Jeffrey Osborne (Koch) Jimmy Eat World: Stay on My Side Tonight (Interscope) Kanye West: Maximum Kanye West (United States Dist) Kirk Franklin: Hero [CONTENT/COPY-PROTECTED CD] (Gospocentric) Ladytron: Witching Hour (Rykodisc) Les Nubians: Nubians Presents Echos (Triloka) Living Things: Ahead of the Lions (Zomba) Liz Phair: Somebody's Miracle (Capitol) Lotek Hi-Fi: Mixed Blessings (Big Dada) Lou Donaldson: Artist Selects (Blue Note) The Magic Numbers: Magic Numbers (Capitol) Make Believe: Shock of Being (Flameshovel) Mark Eitzel: Candy Ass (Cooking Vinyl) Marvin Gaye: Mastercuts Presents (Mastercuts) Master P: Best Of (Priority) Master P: Ghetto D (Priority) Master P: Ice Cream Man (Priority) Metric: Live It Out (Last Gang Records) Mugison: Mugimama, Is This Monkey Music? (Ipecac Recordings) My Morning Jacket: Z (Ato) Nickelback: All the Right Reasons (Roadrunner) Nirvana: Classic Interviews (United States Dist) Original Soundtrack: Donnie Darko - Original Soundtrack & Score [IMPORT] [SOUNDTRACK] (Sanctuary UK) Pastor Troy and Nino: Pastor Troy and Nino (South Central Music) The Proclaimers: Born Innocent (Persevere) The Residents: Third Reich & Roll (Mute U.S.) Reverend Horton Heat: We Three Kings (Yep Roc) Rich Medina: Connecting the Dots (Kindred Spirits) The Righteous Brothers: Retrospective 1963-1974 (Abko) Sara Evans: Real Fine Place (RCA) Sa-Ra: Second Time Around (Sound in Color) Screeching Weasel: Weasel Mania (Fat Wreck Chords) Silkk the Shocker: Best Of (Priority) Simple Plan: Live from the Hard Rock (Lava) Sinéad O'Connor: Throw Down Your Arms (That's why there's chocolate and vanilla) Snoop Dogg: Snoopified: The Best Of (Priority) Snoop Doggy Dogg: Me and My Homies (K-Town) The Soft Machine: BBC in Concert 1972 (Hux) Solomon Burke: That's Heavy Baby 1971-1973 (Raven) Son Volt: Okemah and the Melody of Riot (Sony) The Standard: Albatross (Yep Roc) Talking Heads: Talking Heads Brick [BOX SET] [DUALDISC] (Rhino / Wea ) The Tossers: Valley of the Shadow of Death (Victory) Tragedy Khadafi: Thug Matrix (Fastlife) Trina: Glamorest Life (Atlantic / Wea) Twista: Day After (Atlantic / Wea) UnderOath: They're Only Chasing Safety [Special Edition] (Tooth & Nail) Various Artists: Girl Group Sounds: One Kiss Can Lead to Another [BOX SET] [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED] (Rhino / Wea) Various Artists: I Love Guitar Wolf: Very Much (Narnack) Various Artists: Sound of Young New York and Toronto (Plant) The Wrens/The Five Mod Four: Wrens/The Five Mod Four Split (Contraphonic) Yesterday's New Quintet: Sound Directions: Funky Side of Life (Stones Throw)
*Release dates may change. E-mail email@example.com with correction or additions.