Feature ·

[July 17, 2007] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

Each week, we preview a handful of notable albums scheduled to hit the shelves, plus offer a full list of the current new releases.



Bottom of the Hudson

Fantastic Hawk

Absolutely Kosher

An indie-rock band from Brooklyn? Get out! But like many other scruffy young groups that have set up shop in that borough, Bottom of the Hudson originally come from elsewhere. The endeavor began as the bedroom pop project of Eli Simon, who added the other band members when he moved to Brooklyn. This is the band's second full-length. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.bottomofthehudson.com/

Label: http://www.absolutelykosher.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/bottomofthehudson 

The Chemical Brothers         

We Are the Night


The formula for a new Chemical Brothers album is pretty well known at this point: Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons bring the big, danceable beats while other artists bring the interesting guest appearances. Who shows up on We Are the Night? Texas prog-rockers Midlake, helping close the album on "The Pills Won't Help You Now." Nu-ravers the Klaxons guest on "All Rights Reversed." One time Pharcyde rapper Fatlip adds verses to "The Salmon Dance." Singer-songwriter Willie Mason croons on "Battle Scars." And Ali Love handles vocals on "Do it Again." ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.thechemicalbrothers.com/

Label: http://www.astralwerks.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thechemicalbrothers

The Cribs

Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever

Warner Bros.

What better way to get attention for your upcoming album than having the video for the first single feature a topless woman? That's the route this British punk trio went with the clip for "Men's Needs." But that's not all the album has going for it. Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos produced the record, and it was mixed by Andy Wallace, who has also done studio work for Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. And Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo guests on one song. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.thecribs.com/

Label: http://www.warnerbrosrecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thecribs

Minnie Driver



There might not be anything with a worse track record than "actress turned singer." But you might be willing to give Minnie Driver's sophomore album a chance once you learn who she surrounded herself with on it. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals appear on four songs. Liz Phair sings on "Sorry Baby." Wallflowers keyboardist Rami Jaffe tickles the ivories on some songs. And the album's producer, Marc "Doc" Dauer, has also done work with Tom Petty. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.minniedriver.com/

Label: http://www.zoerecords.net/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/minniedriver 

Eastern Conference Champions



Eastern Conference Champions isn't a new group formed by LeBron James and his teammates but a shambolic indie-rock band from Los Angeles. But the band members aren't natives; they originally hail from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The band Illinois is also from there, and Eastern Conference Champions' music is similarly eclectic. This is the band's debut full-length, after last year's Southampton Collection EP. Ameritown was produced by Own Morris, who has also worked with the Verve and Oasis. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.easternconferencechampions.com/

Label: http://www.easternconferencechampions.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/easternconferencechampions


The End Has a Start


This year has seen a string of second albums from the current wave of British rock bands: Arctic Monkeys, Art Brut, Maximo Park. Next up to try to avoid the sophomore slump is Editors. The End Has a Start has been available overseas since last month but is only now landing on these shores. The band recorded the album with Jacknife Lee, who has worked with U2, Bloc Party, and Snow Patrol and is currently doing studio duty with R.E.M. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.editorsus.com/

Label: http://www.thefader.com/fader/faderlabel

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/editorsmusic  


It's Whateva


For all the attention hyphy brought back to the Bay Area, local trio Federation could seriously endanger that renewed interest. Rappers Doonie Baby, Stresmatic, and Goldie echo the hook-heavy, party-centrism of Southern nadir Dem Franchize Boyz. The regional connection makes sense, considering the group's close ties with producer Rick Rock, with whom they first collaborated with in Alabama roughly a decade ago. Except for one tiny detail: These three cats are some cheeky bastards. Sure, their lead single "College Girl" repeats the familiar Girls, Girls, Girls theme, but they do so with an unusual wit that suggests a (very) mild subversion of the misogynistic trope. So, never mind that one of the members is/was also called Doon Coon, and get over the Ritalin-addled mania of "18 Dummy": Federation ups the ante like a truck ghost-riding a truck. ~Dan Nishimoto



Band: http://www.federationmusic.net/

Label: http://www.repriserecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thefederation 

Mick Harvey

Two of Diamonds


Two of Diamonds is the second solo album for Mick Harvey, a man probably better known for other projects he's been in. He's long played with Nick Cave, both in the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds. Two of Diamonds, the follow-up to 2005's One Man's Treasure, was recorded Down Under with musicians including Rob Ellis, a longtime P.J. Harvey collaborator, and fellow Bad Seed James Johnston. Among the album's dozen songs is Mick's take on Lou Reed's iconic "A Walk on the Wild Side." ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.mickharvey.com/

Label: http://www.mute.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/mickharvey  

Hector Lavoe

El Cantante: The Originals


He's finally coming. Although Hector Lavoe is unequivocally regarded as a legend in salsa circles, his influence is strongest in his adopted hometown of New York City. However, with the help of Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez's high-profile turns in the upcoming biopic El Cantante, Lavoe may finally receive his fair cut. In conjunction, the reactivated Fania has collected this package of Lavoe hits ("Che Che Colé," "Periódico De Ayer," "Mi Gente"), all of which will be featured in the film. A small bonus is a Lil' Louie Vega remix of "Mi Gente" -- appropriate not just for Vega's unquestionable stature as a dance-music producer, but also for his familial ties with the late Lavoe (Vega is his nephew). ~Dan Nishimoto



Band: http://www.hectorlavoe.com/

Label: http://faniarecords.com/fania

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/elcantantehectorlavoe 


Beautiful Targets

Tee Pee

Hopewell is led by Jason Russo, once a member of shoegazing space rockers Mercury Rev. He left the band after 1998's Deserters Songs, which in retrospect was smart, because Mercury Rev has only descended into the maudlin after that landmark. Hopewell has garnering accolades for The Curved Glass (2000) and Hopewell and the Birds of Appetite, which was named 2005's best album by influential Seattle radio station KEXP. The band recorded Beautiful Targets in their native backwoods of upstate New York with the help of producers Max Avery Lichtenstein and Bill Racine, who have worked with Mercury Rev, Mates of State, and Rogue Wave. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.hopewell.tv/

Label: http://www.teepeerecords.com/

Audio: http://myspace.com/hopewell  

The Meat Puppets

Rise to Your Knees


Old, seminal alterna-rock bands seemingly never die, they just go through a lot of crazy intrapersonal shit before getting back together. Frank Black breaking up the Pixies via fax has nothing on the strange saga of the Meat Puppets. If you haven't been keeping tabs on the brothers Kirkwood since they famously guested on Nirvana's Unplugged, you've missed a sad, frightening story. Cris Kirkwood spiraled scarily into drug addiction, losing his wife to an overdose, assaulting and being shot by a bank security guard, and spending a year and a half in prison. But he's now clean and ready to make music again. Rise is the first time he's recorded with his brother Curt since 1995. Joining the siblings on the new album is new drummer Ted Marcus, who became a member of the band during the process of also serving as an audio engineer for a documentary about the album. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://meatpuppets.com/

Label: http://www.anodynerecords.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/themeatpuppets  

The Magic Numbers

Those the Brokes


It's a big week for Astralwerks bringing albums stateside that have been available overseas awhile. The new Chemical Brothers record has only been floating around for a few weeks, but this Magic Numbers newbie dates all the way back to last year. Its North American release got delayed in some of the restructuring Astralwerks was going through earlier this year. But now here it is, in all its sunny, poppy, Beatles-esque glory. The Magic Numbers go orchestral with some of the new tunes, and others feature female members Angela Gannon and Michele Stoddart assuming lead vocal duties for the first time. Those the Brokes was recorded by Robert Kirby, who was in the studio when Nick Drake was creating Bryter Later. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.themagicnumbers.net/

Label: http://www.astralwerks.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/themagicnumbers 

Wise Intelligent

The Talented Timothy Taylor

Shaman Works

How did Wise Intelligent and his former crew, Poor Righteous Teachers, manage to get left off the New Jersey Drive soundtrack while artists like Coolio and MC Eiht shone? Oh, yes: Poor Righteous Teachers was never about spitting that thug shit. That said, coming up in the era of Public Enemy and X-Clan, a group like PRT once had a place. Even when frontman Wise Intelligent broke out as a solo artist in the mid- to late '90s, he still caught the nascent conscious revival. But times have since changed, and Black Star's words ring truer each year: It's kinda dangerous to be an emcee. So, while Oprah leads the next crusade to save (us from) hip-hop, Wise Intelligent returns to drop his long-awaited second solo record, The Talented Timothy Taylor. Why now? Why the fuck not? HavKnotz produces most of the jawn, and the assistance of Oh No and Poor Righteous Teacher producer Tony D provokes a welcome raised eyebrow. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.intelligentmuzik.com/

Label: http://www.shamanwork.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/wiseintelligent

Suzanne Vega

Beauty and Crime

Blue Note

Writing talents like Suzanne Vega are often taken for granted as the years pass. The singer-songwriter debuted in 1985 (!) with an exceptionally perceptive voice and has matured through her career (though she still may be best known for long-ago hits "Tom's Diner" and "Luka." After being dropped by A&M, Vega jumped to the gently expanding Blue Note roster; Beauty and Crime is her eighth album (not counting 2003's Retrospective collection). Like PJ Harvey's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, Vega turns to New York City for her latest inspiration; the album includes such songs as "Ludlow Street" and "New York Is a Woman." ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.vega.net/

Label: http://www.bluenote.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/suzannevega

*Release dates may change. E-mail brandon@prefixmag.com with corrections or additions.

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