Previewing new albums from Joey Ramone and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura, the "Queen of the Damned" soundtrack, the latest set of Elvis Costello reissues, and more.
No Need To 'Worry'
Joey Ramone's posthumous debut solo album, "Don't Worry About Me," arrives this week via Sanctuary. The set features musical contributions from Dictators bassist Andy Shernoff, and drummer Frank Funaro (Cracker, Del Lords), as well as Joey's former bandmate, Ramones drummer Marky Ramone. Also featured is a guest appearance by the Damned's Captain Sensible on the track "Mr. Punchy." The album was produced by guitarist and frequent Ramones collaborator Daniel Rey.
Among the standout cuts on the set is "Venting," which finds the punk icon lashing out about society's ills, and a cover of Iggy Pop's "1969." "Don't Worry About Me" was preceded in December by a single featuring two non-album cuts: the pre-Ramones track "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)" and "I Couldn't Sleep At All," both recorded with Ramone's brother, Mickey Leigh.
Prior to his death last April, Ramone previewed some of the songs during his occasional solo performances. At a notable October 2000 gig at New York's legendary punk club CBGB's, he offered a revved-up pop take on Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" and "Maria Bartiromo," his homage to the CNBC "Business Center" co-host.
You're My 'Queen'
Marilyn Manson, Disturbed's David Draiman, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, Static-X's Wayne Static, and Orgy's Jay Gordon have been drafted to sing five tracks co-written by Korn's Jonathan Davis and multi-instrumentalist Richard Gibbs for Warner Bros. "Queen of the Damned" soundtrack. The film, starring the late Aaliyah and based on the novel by Anne Rice, arrives Feb. 22 in U.S. theaters.
"Queen of the Damned" also stars Stuart Townshend as the vampire Lestat, who becomes a rock star with the band Satan's Night Out. Contractual restrictions prevented Davis from voicing the tracks himself on the soundtrack (but not in the film), and his parts were originally set to be reproduced by hard rock vocalist Jeff Scott Soto.
On the soundtrack, Manson sings the track "Redeemer," Draiman sings "Foresaken," Bennington sings "System," Static sings "Not Meant for Me," and Gordon sings "Slept So Long." The "Queen of the Damned" soundtrack will also sport previously released cuts from Papa Roach, Tricky, Deftones, Papa Roach, and Godhead, among others, but no songs from Aaliyah. The first single is Static-X's "Machine."
The Art Of 'Attraction'
Rhino continues its reissue program of Elvis Costello's back catalog this week with expanded editions of three albums from three different eras of the artist's work with his longtime backing band, the Attractions -- "This Year's Model" (1978), "Blood and Chocolate" (1986), and "Brutal Youth." (1994). Each one features the album in its originally issued form plus a bonus disc of rarities, as well as a 28-page booklet with new liner notes by Costello, song lyrics, rare photos, and reproductions of memorabilia from the era.
"They're the beginning, middle, and end of the Attractions as a rock'n'roll band," Costello told Billboard last May. "They all sort of relate to the band blueprint. It's a sound we checked in with about every eight or nine years."
Costello's second album, "This Year's Model," marked the debut of the Attractions -- keyboardist Steve Nieve, bassist Bruce Thomas, and drummer Pete Thomas. The Rhino edition features 13 bonus tracks, eight of which are previously unreleased. Among the goodies is an early demo recording of "Radio, Radio," an alternate version of "(I Don't Want To Go to) Chelsea," and a live recording of the Everly Brothers' "Price of Love."
The new version of "Blood & Chocolate" is bolstered by 15 bonus tracks, 11 of which are previously unreleased, including "Leave My Kitten Alone," as well as alternate versions of such songs as "Battered Old Bird" and "Blue Chair." "Brutal Youth" contains 15 bonus cuts, many available for the first time in the U.S., including "Life Shrinks" and "Abandon Words."
Producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura is best known for his contributions to such eclectic outfits as Gorillaz, Deltron 3030, and Handsome Boy Modeling School. But his varied taste in music is now taking center stage, thanks to his new mix album "Wanna Buy a Monkey." The 15-track set, which pairs hard-to-find Automator productions with tracks by acts such as Tortoise, Doves, and De La Soul, is due this week as the first release on new New York label Sequence.
Keeping with Nakamura's off-kilter sense of humor, the album is titled after a line uttered by David Letterman in the cult favorite comedy "Cabin Boy." Among the oddities making their first U.S. appearances via the CD are Nakamura's France-only remix of Air's "Le Soleil Est Pres De Moi," an English-language version of the Gorillaz track "Latin Simone" (previously available in the U.S. only on an import 12-inch EP), and a never-before-issued Black Rob demo, "Smoothness," which was one of Automator's first major production assignments.
"'Smoothness' is the hardest one to get, because it doesn't exist," Nakamura says. "That's a demo me and him made in 1992 that no one has. He was probably the first rapper I ever worked with who was a true, natural talent. It was probably for me, and maybe for him in a lot of ways, a big turning point from doing stuff at home -- or not at all -- to making something that is of reasonably good quality."
Additional titles hitting stores this week include:
-- Q-Tip's self-produced "Kamaal the Abstract" (Arista), featuring guest spots by Kenny Garett and Kurt Rosenwinkle.
-- French electronic duo Air's "Everybody Hertz" (Astralwerks), including rare tracks and remixes.
-- former Belly frontwoman Tonya Donnelly's "Beautysleep" (4AD/Beggars Banquet)
-- singer/songwriter Josh Rouse's "Under Cold Blue Stars" (Rykodisc).
-- country/soul collective Lambchop's "Is a Woman" (Merge).
-- DJ Dimitri From Paris' "After the Playboy Mansion, Vol. 2" (Astralwerks).
-- modern rock outfit Local H's "Here Comes the Zoo" (Palm).
-- veteran Australian rock band Midnight Oil's "Capricornia" (Liquid 8).
-- a best-of from hip-hop act the Beatnuts, "Classic Nuts, Vol. 1" (Loud), with two new tracks.