Previewin new albums from Bruce Springsteen, Guided By Voices, Big Punisher, Run-D.M.C., Ginuwine, and more.
Livin' It Up
"Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band: Live In New York City," the concert album for which fans have been clamoring, is due Tuesday from Columbia, just four days before a nearly two hour live special premieres on HBO.
The two-disc set is a soundtrack of sorts to the HBO special, as it will feature the 14 songs from the broadcast, plus six that are exclusive to the CD release. All were recorded at New York's Madison Square Garden last summer during the final two shows of Springsteen's worldwide reunion tour with the E Street Band.
"Live" feature several Springsteen classics -- including "The River," "Atlantic City" and "Badlands" -- as well as new songs that were premiered on the tour, such as "Land Of Hope And Dreams" and "American Skin." The latter song, inspired by the tragic shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo by New York police, drew fire in New York when law enforcement officers were called to boycott Springsteen's 10-night stand at the Garden.
Return From 'Isolation'
Rock'n'roll runs deep through Robert Pollard's veins. Indeed, the 43-year-old front man of Dayton, Ohio-based underground icons Guided by Voices has been single-handedly trying resurrect the glory days of rock radio for more than 15 years. His band's new album, "Isolation Drills," might give him his best shot yet.
"Isolation Drills," due April 3, is GBV's second set for TVT after a long, productive tenure with Matador. And while its predecessor, 1999's Ric Ocasek-produced "Do the Collapse," brought the band to a greater level of visibility than ever before, its slick studio polish at times obscured the stripped-down rock power and oddball narratives GBV fans have come to call holy.
Luckily for devotees, both are back in full force on "Isolation Drills," which was produced by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith) and recorded at New York's Loho Music. Pollard, who was a fourth-grade teacher in the Dayton public schools until 1994, admits with a laugh that "it's weird for the 12th album to be the one where the band matures." But his uncharacteristically introspective lyrics provide an intriguing, seldom-seen glimpse at the men behind the music.
Just over a year after his death of a suspected heart attack, Loud Records pays tribute to its fallen soldier Big Punisher with "Endangered Species," a 24-track set that features the rapper as its centerpiece. The collection includes classic songs from his first album (1998's "Capital Punishment"), guest appearances, previously unreleased material, and new songs.
First single "How We Roll" is one of the new tracks; offered in two versions, the original samples Janet
Jackson's "Let's Wait Awhile," while Irv Gotti's light-hearted remix is tailor-made for radio. The album also features Big Pun favorites such as his appearance on the Beatnuts' "Off The Books." Tracks featuring Kool G. Rap, Brandy, Joe, and Ricky Martin demonstrate the crossover potential Big Pun wasn't fully able to realize in his lifetime.
Run-D.M.C's oft-delayed "Crown Royal" (Arista) features guest appearances from Fred Durst, Kid Rock, Everlast, and Method Man. It's the group's first album since 1993's "Down With The King," which debuted at No. 7 on The Billboard 200. "Making the album was fun because [I came up with] a lot of the concepts on the road," says Joseph "Run" Simmons.
Among the other high-profile accomplices featured on "Crown Royal" are Jermaine Dupri, Nas and Prodigy of Mobb Deep, and Jagged Edge. Run, group member Jam Master Jay, DJ Lethal, Dante Ross, and DJ Homocide all handled production.
This 'Life' Forward
After a tumultuous year of changes and adjustments, Ginuwine is gearing up for what he calls his most personal project to date. His third Epic solo album, "The Life," builds upon the crooner's signature style and aspires to reach the crossover crowd.
After establishing a strong, mostly female fan base with 1996's "The Bachelor" (which has sold 1.6 million U.S. units, according to SoundScan), the Washington, D.C.-based artist upped the ante with 1999's equally strong sophomore album "100% Ginuwine," which moved 1.7 million copies.
The artist begins a short tour April 2 in Philadelphia. First single "There It Is" is No. 27 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart this week.
'Now' You Hear It
The sixth U.S. installment of the "NOW That's What I Call Music!" compilation series will feature a host of current pop, R&B, and modern rock hit singles from the likes of the Backstreet Boys, U2, Britney Spears, Lenny Kravitz, Destiny's Child, Shaggy, Jennifer Lopez, Coldplay, R. Kelly, and Creed, among others.
A trio of tracks on the set were Billboard Hot 100 chart toppers -- Destiny's Child's "Independent Woman Pt. 1," Creed's "With Arms Wide Open," and "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy featuring Ricardo "RikRok" Ducent. Along with Creed's cut, two other tracks -- Fuel's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" and Incubus' "Drive" topped Billboard's Modern Rock survey.
Distributed by Epic, "NOW That's What I Call Music! 6" is a cooperative effort of the Sony, Universal, EMI, and Zomba label groups.
An Open 'Diary'
Shelby Lynne, Robbie Williams, Geri Halliwell, and Lucinda Williams appear on the soundtrack of "Bridget Jones's Diary," out this week on Island. The film, starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant, hits theaters April 13.
Robbie Williams turns in a cover of Frank Sinatra's "Have You Met Miss Jones?," while Halliwell offers her take on Weathergirls' "It's Raining Men." Lynne's "The Killing Kind" is tentatively set as the soundtrack's first single, while in the U.K., the first single will be Gabrielle's "Out Of Reach." Other acts appearing on the album include Texas, Rosey, and Tracy Bonham.
After 25 years, 26 top-10 singles, and countless performances in venues from Texas to Germany to New Caledonia, no one could fault the Bellamy Brothers if they decided to kick back on their Florida ranch. However, Howard and David Bellamy have other ideas.
The duo will celebrate a quarter of a century in the music business this year with two new CDs, a Great American Country (GAC) TV special, and a new affiliation with Nashville-based DeltaDisc Records, which will distribute their Bellamy Brothers Records.
The initial project released under the new agreement is "The Bellamy Brothers 25 Year Collection." The first CD is due this week, with a second volume to follow in late August. Each CD will contain 20 cuts, among them two new songs and three live recordings of previous hits. Of the four new songs on these anniversary CDs, David wrote two. One is a Randy Newman song, "Big Hat, No Cattle," and the first single, "What'll I Do," was written by George Terry, a veteran writer/musician whose songwriting credits include the Eric Clapton hit "Lay Down Sally."
Additional titles hitting stores this week include Wu-Tang clan rapper Cappadonna's "The Yin & The Yang" (Epic); a new album from rock veterans Journey, "Arrival" (Columbia); German hard rock outfit Rammstein's "Mutter" (Republic/Universal); a new album from Canadian pop/rock act Crash Test Dummies, "I Don't Care That You Don't Mind" (Cha-Ching); rock outfit Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "B.M.R.C." (Virgin); an album from singer/songwriter Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire, "The Swimming Hour" (Rykodisc); famed DJ Paul Oakenfold's "A Voyage Into Trance" (Hypnotic/Cleopatra); punk veterans the Melvins' "Colussus Of Destiny" (Ipecac); indie rock trio Karate's "Unsolved" (Southern); singer/songwriter Lloyd Cole's "The Negatives" (W.A.R.?); and singer/songwriter Jonny Polonsky's "There Is Something Wrong With You" (EggBERT).