Previewing new albums from DMX, Incubus, Dilated Peoples, Bush, Gov't Mule, and more.
Rapper DMX's fourth album, "The Great Depression," arrives this week via Def Jam. The 17-track set follows last year's "And Then There Was X," which debuted on top of The Billboard 200 and Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and has sold more than 4.4 million copies in the U.S.
Guests on the new set include Faith Evans, who is featured on the track "I Miss You"; Mysonne and Drag-On, who appear on "Problem Child"; Mic Geronimo and Big Stan, who crop up on "Sh*t's Still Real"; and drummer Brendan Buckley (Shakira), who plays on "Bloodline Anthem." The album also features Stephanie Mills reprising the vocals of the title track of her 1979 album "What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'" on DMX's "When I'm Nothing." The track also features a sample of Mills' original song.
A bevy of producers contributed their talents to "Depression," including Damon "Grease" Blackman, who co-wrote several of the album's tracks with DMX. Other producers who were involved are Black Key, Kidd Kold, Melvin "Hip" Armstead, P.K., Just Blaze, Swizz Beatz, Chad Elliot, and Javonn Alexander, Dollar Bill, and DMX himself. The rapper's free Hoodstock tour concludes Nov. 1 in Atlanta.
When Brandon Boyd looks back on the making of Incubus' new Epic album, "Morning View," the band's frontman says he sees it as an unforgettable experience shared with his best friends. Over a period of six months, Incubus' five members lived together at a Malibu, Calif., beach house where the set was written and recorded.
"Every day, we'd wake up, eat breakfast, sit in the sun, and then walk into the living room, pick up our instruments, and play sort of at our leisure," Boyd says. "We'd do it every day because we wanted to. It couldn't have been any better." From its opening strains to the closing chorus, "Morning View" melds hard rock slashes with melodic ballads to create a multi-tiered listening experience.
"Just a Phase" is an unpredictable track with multiple tempo and stylistic shifts, while Asian cultural influences and lilting lyrical delivery mark "Aqueous Transmission." First single "I Wish You Were Here" is off to a big start at rock radio, and is No. 2 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 5 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart this week. The group's North American tour runs through early December.
The title of Dilated Peoples' sophomore Capitol album, "Expansion Team," plays on the Los Angeles-based trio's musical philosophy. "We've gone from performing in a tiny L.A. club to traveling all over the world," says Rakaa Taylor, aka Iriscience. "It's about expanding and stretching the whole game -- coming in and forcing it to make room for what we do. We're making major-label music. As far as skills and production quality go, our record could hang with any pop record out there."
Rounding out the trio are MC Evidence (aka Michael Perretta) and DJ Babu (aka Chris Oroc). Initially signed to Immortal/Epic in 1994, the trio switched to Capitol and released its 2000 debut, "The Platform." To date, the project has sold 159,000 units, according to SoundScan.
Among the standout tracks on the new set are the Babu-produced "Hard Hitters," featuring the Roots' Black Thought; "Trade Money," produced by Da Beatminerz; and the Evidence-produced "Heavy Rotation," a potential single on which Tha Liks and Dilated Peoples get buckwild.
'State' Your Claim
U.K. rock outfit Bush returns to the spotlight this week with "Golden State," the first fruit of a new deal with Atlantic. The 12-track set, recorded in London with producer Dave Sardy (Marilyn Manson, Dandy Warhols) and mixed in Los Angeles, is led by the single "The People That We Love," which is No. 11 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart this week.
Frontman Gavin Rossdale says the new set "has more in common with the first record [than our recent efforts]. After doing 'Sixteen Stone,' I didn't even want to try to copy that record -- that gets you in tons of trouble. Now [that] we've had our maverick journey through the landscape of rock records, this one has come back full circle."
No tour plans are finalized, but Bush may play some European dates before the end of the year, and will likely return to North America in February.
A New 'End'
What began as a tribute rooted in fantasy to late Gov't Mule bassist Allen Woody has become "The Deep End, Vol. 1" (due this week via ATO) and "The Deep End, Vol. 2" (due out in spring 2002) -- two new Mule sets featuring performances by such bassists as John Entwistle (the Who), Jack Bruce (Cream), Chris Squire (Yes), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Les Claypool (Primus).
The 13-track set is comprised of nine songs written or co-written by Haynes and four covers including a take of Grand Funk Railroad's "Sin's a Good Man's Brother" recorded with Woody before his death.
"When you lose someone as close as Allen was to both Matt and I -- both musically and personally -- you go through all these emotions, and you feel like nobody in the world has ever felt that way before," Haynes says. "But we started realizing that we weren't alone and that maybe we could get past it and keep the music alive. And that became our mission." Gov't Mule is on tour through an Oct. 27 appearance at New Orleans' Voodoo Music Festival.
Additional titles hitting stores this week include a new album from Irish rock act the Cranberries, "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee" (MCA); a concert disc from chart-topping rock outfit Dave Matthews Band, "Live in Chicago 12/19/98" (RCA); electronic pioneer Richard D. James' latest album as Aphex Twin, "Drukqs" (Sire); a holiday-themed album from Toni Braxton, "Snowflakes" (Arista); Mavericks frontman Raul Malo's "Today" (Yep Roc); saxophonist Boney James' "Ride" (Warner Bros.); blues veteran R.L. Burnside's "Burnside on Burnside" (Fat Possum); two new albums from pianist Harry Connick Jr.: the New Orleans-leaning "30" and the big-band set "Songs I Heard" (Columbia); a best-of from singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett, "Anthology, Vol. 1: Cowboy Man" (Curb/MCA); Swedish rock outfit the (International) Noise Conspiracy's "A New Morning, Changing Weather" (Epitaph); teenage vocalist Lindsay Pagano's "Love&Faith&Inspiration" (Warner Bros.); and ex-Mazzy Star vocalist Hope Sandoval's "Bavarian Fruit Bread" (Rough Trade).
Also out this week is an album from rapper Saul Williams, "Amethyst Rock Star" (American); rap outfit Thug Law's "Thug Life and Outlawz, Chapter 1" (DNA); an album featuring members of indie rock groups Trans Am and the F*ckin Champs, "Trans Champs" (Thrill Jockey); female rapper La' Chat's "Murder She Spoke" (Hypnotize Minds/Koch); a self-titled album from country act Tracy Lawrence (Atlantic); R&B vocalist Regina Belle's "This Is Regina" (Peak/Concord); a reissue of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1984 album "Milk and Honey" (Capitol); an album from DJ Rap, "Propa Classics, Vol. 1" (Solar -Intuit); and a new best-of from country star Reba McEntire, "Greatest Hits, Volume III: I'm a Survivor" (MCA).