It's no surprise the spotlight doesn't appear to suit James Lavelle. As the primary creative force UNKLE, he's pulled together three albums behind the scenes "Oz" style, integrating the sounds of some

It's no surprise the spotlight doesn't appear to suit James Lavelle. As the primary creative force UNKLE, he's pulled together three albums behind the scenes "Oz" style, integrating the sounds of some of the decade's most fascinating artists into his work.

Now, Lavelle is revving up interest for UNKLE's third album, "War Stories," out this week in North America via his new label, Surrender All. After years with majors, most recently Island in the United Kingdom, the founder of the now-defunct Mo' Wax label is glad to be back on his own. "I wanted complete control," Lavelle says. "I had seeming disasters working with majors over the last 20 years. I have the best time working on my own."

Recorded in the Joshua Tree desert, "War Stories" had production help from Richard File and Queens of the Stone Age producer Chris Goss. They started from scratch and left the desert with 35 songs. Fourteen made the album, which features Queens Of The Stone Age's Josh Homme, Massive Attack's 3D and the Cult's Ian Astbury on vocals.

Unlike its predecessors, the instrumentals on "War Stories" are mostly live, a change that delivers an expansive psychedelic charge. "The goal was to set out a different record, which was more organic," Lavelle says. "I wanted to do something completely different from the beginning."