Previewing new releases from Dave Matthews Band, DJ Clue, Pearl Jam, American Hi-Fi, Mirwais, Marvin Gaye, Cheap Trick, and more.
DMB's Brand New 'Day'
Dave Matthews Band's fifth studio effort, "Everyday," turns yet another page in the famed quintet's sonic storybook. Due this week on RCA, the set finds Matthews playing primarily electric guitar for the first time, infusing the material with a renewed urgency and texture. The new sound is evident on the first single, "I Did It," which hit No. 10 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart in just three weeks.
With an album nearly completed with producer Steve Lillywhite last summer, the band abruptly switched gears and scrapped all of the sessions. Matthews says regrouping with producer Glen Ballard in Los Angeles provided the "injection of freshness" the band needed. "I think the music has a lot of movement," Matthews says. "It's got a lot of push. It's driving. It's really fresh."
Other highlights include the uptempo, melodically memorable "Dreams Of Our Fathers," "So Right," and "Fool To Think," as well as "Mother Father," a rumination about social responsibility that features Carlos Santana on guitar. A world tour begins with an April 21 benefit concert in the group's hometown of Charlottesville, Va.
DJ Clue's star-studded "The Professional Part 2" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) features appearances by Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Method Man, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Nas, and Ghostface Killah, among others. First single "Back 2 Life 2001" featuring Blige and Jadakiss is No. 64 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
The set comes on the heels of "DJ Clue Presents: Backstage-Mixtape (Music Inspired By The Film)," the Roc-A-Fella soundtrack to the Miramax "Backstage" documentary that chronicles behind-the-scenes happenings during the 1999 Hard Knock Life tour. It debuted at No. 6 on The Billboard 200 last September.
Spreading The Jam
Pearl Jam continues its authorized bootleg series by releasing the first 23 shows of its summer North American tour to retail this week via Epic. The double-disc, soundboard-sourced sets have been available from the band's Ten Club for a discounted price since last month. Five titles from the first round of European concerts set a chart record by simultaneously debuting on The Billboard 200 last fall.
Among the concerts in the first batch are two shows from New York's Jones Beach Amphitheater in August, one of which was broadcast regionally on WXRK-FM. The Aug. 25 show included seven songs from Pearl Jam's "No Code" album, the most songs from that set played at one show since late 1996.
Another 24 shows from the second leg of North American shows are now available from the Ten Club; those sets hit retail March 27.
Rockin' In 'Hi-Fi'
For the members of American Hi-Fi, their eponymous Island debut already feels like a huge success, even before the project hits retail this week -- largely because they got to work with their dream producer, Bob Rock.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Stacy Jones (formerly of Letters To Cleo and Veruca Salt) met Rock will working on Veruca Salt co-founder Nina Gordon's solo debut last year. The band is rounded out by lead guitarist Jamie Arentzen (formerly of Sky Heroes), drummer Brian Nolan (an ex-member of Figdish), and bassist Drew Parsons (who has played with Tracy Bonham).
First single "Flavor Of The Weak" is No. 19 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart this week.
'Product' Of The Times
Mirwais, who recently achieved notoriety as producer of the hit Madonna single "Music," will see his album "Production" released this week in the U.S. by Epic. The set, which has been out for some time internationally, is preceded by the hypnotic single "Naive Song," which is No. 38 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart this week.
"Production" features the European single "Disco Science," which is also on the soundtrack to "Snatch," a film directed by Madonna's new husband, Guy Ritchie. The set also includes "Paradise (Not For Me)," a collaboration with Madonna that also appeared on her Maverick/Warner Bros. album "Music," for which Mirwais produced a total of six tracks.
'Going' And Going
Marvin Gaye's seminal 1971 album "What's Going On" gets a deluxe reissue treatment this week via Universal/Motown. The full, remastered set is augmented with a previously unheard alternate mix dating from April 1971, as well as previously unreleased 1972 concert that features the bulk of the "What's Going On" tracklist. The original album is known for the smash hits "Mercy Mercy (The Ecology)," "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," and the title cut.
This week, rock veterans Cheap Trick will release "Silver," a two-disc live album recorded at the band's 1999 25th anniversary hometown concert in Rockford, Ill. More than 15,000 fans showed up at Davis Park for the band's career-spanning review, which included guest appearances by the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, Slash, Everclear's Art Alexakis, one-time Trick bassist Jon Brant, members of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and the city's Phantom Regiment Drum Corps.
"It was our way of saying, 'Here's what we've been doing lately,'" drummer Bun E. Carlos says of the show. "Also, since we have at least one song from every album, it's an education to those who only know us from our greatest hits."
Released on the band's own Cheap Trick Unlimited Records (and distributed by Proper), the set will be available through traditional retailers and the band's official Web site.
Additional titles hitting stores this week include Scandanavian teen quartet A*Teens' "Teen Spirit" (MCA); rapper Silk The Shocker's "My World, My Way" (No Limit); teen country vocalist Jessica Andrews' "Who Am I" (DreamWorks); a split-CD from eclectic pop outfits the Young Fresh Fellows and the Minus 5, "We Hate You / Let The War Against Music Begin" (Mammoth); Puerto Rican vocalist Ednita Nazario's "Sin Limites" (Sony Latin); a new album from singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik, "Phantom Moon" (Nonesuch); the latest set from U.K. electronic music mainstays the Orb, "Cydonia" (MCA); vocalist Gladys Knight's long-delayed "At Last," featuring a duet with Jamie Foxx and a cover of Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands" (MCA); and Scottish indie rock group Arab Strap's "The Red Thread" (Matador).
Also out this week is a reissue of bluesman Muddy Waters' classic concert set "Live At Newport" (MCA); famed pianists Bola Sete and Vince Guaraldi's "Jazz Casual" (Koch Jazz); a greatest hits set from reggae icon Peter Tosh, "Arise: The Best Of" (Music Club); reissues of three albums from '70s rock supergroup Traffic: "John Barleycorn Must Die," "Last Exit," and "Traffic" (Island); and a collection of solo piano tracks from such artists as David Lanz, Wayne Gratz, and Michael Jones, "20 Years Of Narada Piano" (Narada).