Wednesday , April 24 2024
Reissues, boxed sets, and holiday music galore.

New Album Releases 09/30/08: Creedence, U2, Roy Orbison, Jesus And Mary Chain, Tom Morello, Ben Folds, Todd Rundgren, Robin Thicke, T.I., James Taylor, Ani DeFranco, Dream Theater & More

You know you're getting into the Christmas season, when the reissues, boxed sets, and hits packages start coming out of the woodwork. Oh yeah, that and the holiday music too.

This week's list of artists eager to wish you a Merry Christmas in September includes Melissa Etheridge, Bela Fleck, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and…the Archies! Now there's a way to put the "cool" back In Christmas!

Meanwhile the onslaught of reissues is upon us in earnest. Heading up that list are the 40th anniversary remastered editions of Creedence Clearwater Revival's first six albums (which for some reason AMG chose to exclude from their weekly new release list). From the years 1968-1971, there wasn't a bigger band in music than Creedence, and these six original albums document the band at their commercial and creative peak. Each CD also includes new liner notes and some choice unreleased and live material.

The boxed set bonanza also begins this week with Roy Orbison's four-disc set The Soul of Rock and Roll, and Jesus And Mary Chain's The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities (also clocking in at four discs). The newly remastered Under A Blood Red Sky from U2 also is out this week, although according to Donald Gibson it offers little in the way of anything new.

Rage Against The Machine guitar whiz Tom Morello has a new album from his Nightwatchman alter-ego. The Fabled City finds Morello expanding on the acoustic sounds of his solo debut to include more electric guitar. His new songs also prove him to be no slouch in the songwriting department, and a surprisingly good storyteller to boot.

James Taylor's long-anticipated album of Covers finds the soft-rock veteran doing a variety of his favorite songs by other artists. Todd Rundgren steps out from behind the producer's chair and straps on his axe for Arena. Ben Folds does the quirky, experimental pop thing on Way To Normal. T.I. combines the gangsta with the reflective on Paper Trail. Robin Thicke serves up more sophisticated sounding R&B on Something Else.

In a rare alignment of the stars, our two "regular" NAR contributors are actually in the same place at the same time this week. Tom Johnson is here with the latest on a new live set from prog-rockers Dream Theater (including ordering tips!). Mark Saleski meanwhile is back from his one week sabbatical to talk about the new Ani DeFranco.

Saleski's Choice: Ani DeFranco – Red Letter Year

I can't help it, but I cringe when hearing that a musician has had their first child. We know what's coming. The new album where the happy new parental unit goes all gooey about this new life and how wonderful it all is.

Holy crap, that sounds cynical. Ahem….

I'm counting on Ani DiFranco to prove me wrong. If ever there was an artist who presents emotions in their pure, raw state, it's Ani. That, and I've always loved the way she abuses her acoustic guitar.

Tom Johnson's Tasters Choice: Dream Theater: Chaos In Motion

Dream Theater has become an iffy proposition for me. I still take my chances on them with each release, hoping that I'll find a diamond like I did with last year's excellent Systematic Chaos and not get another lump of coal like Octavarium. Chances are better with a live release, however, and this DVD set looks to be pretty promising in that it focuses on much of the previous album and some other material that other live sets haven't featured as prominently. It also has an extensive documentary, videos, and "stage tours" care of Mike Portnoy himself.

Whatever you say about the band, you can't say they don't cater to their fans – Portnoy has made sure fans are well taken care of with bonus content like the above, a whole slew of official bootlegs, and, in the case of this release, a special limited edition that includes three discs of the audio from the concert portion. It's not going to be easy to find, but it will likely be worth it for big fans (here's a hint: Best Buy is stocking them in some stores. Order online for store pickup like I did just a bit ago to save yourself a huge hassle.)

Here are this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:

The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities
Blanco Y Negro/Rhino
College Rock, Noise Pop, Post-Punk, Alternative Pop/Rock

Mercury Rev
Snowflake Midnight
Dream Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Roy Orbison
The Soul of Rock and Roll
Pop/Rock, Pop, Rock & Roll, Rockabilly

Todd Rundgren
Hi Fi
Album Rock, Arena Rock, Pop/Rock, Hard Rock

Paper Trail
Grand Hustle/Atlantic
Southern Rap, Gangsta Rap

Robin Thicke
Something Else
Star Trak/Interscope
Urban, Contemporary R&B, Neo-Soul

Victory Shorts
Memphis Industries
Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Country-Rock

New Surrender
Universal Republic
Indie Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

The Archies
The Archies Christmas Party
Fuel 2000
Christmas, Teen Pop

Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts
Temporary People
Lonely Astronaut
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter

Love at Thirty
Indie Pop

Boduf Songs
How Shadows Chase the Balance
British Folk, Post-Rock/Experimental, Indie Electronic

Frannk Caliendo
All Over the Place
Standup Comedy

Mary Chapin Carpenter
Come Darkness, Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas
Country-Folk, Contemporary Country

Cherryholmes III: Don't Believe
Skaggs Family
Bluegrass, Contemporary Bluegrass, Progressive Bluegrass

Roy Clark
Timeless: The Classic Concert Performances
Varese Fontana
Country-Pop, Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan, Instrumental Country

Ani DiFranco
Red Letter Year
Righteous Babe
Alternative Folk, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Anti-Folk

Donato E Seu Conjunto
Cha Dancante
Blue Note
Bossa Nova

Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia

Seven Lives Many Faces
Club/Dance, Ethnic Fusion, Neo-Classical

Melissa Etheridge
A New Thought for Christmas
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

The Fall
Imperial Wax Solvent
Post-Punk, Alternative Pop/Rock

JoAnn Falletta
Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man
Contemporary Vocal Music

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Jingle All the Way
Contemporary Bluegrass, New Acoustic, Progressive Bluegrass, Christmas

Ben Folds
Way to Normal
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop Underground, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

Morgan Geist
Double Night Time
Left-Field House, Electro-Techno, Techno

Grateful Dead
Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978
Jam Bands, Folk-Rock, Country-Rock, Album Rock

Andrew Hill/Chico Hamilton
Dreams Come True
Joyous Shout
Avant-Garde Jazz, Post-Bop

Faith Hill
Joy to the World
Warner Bros.
Contemporary Country, Country-Pop

The Iguanas
If You Should Ever Fall on Hard Times
Yep Roc
American Trad Rock, Americana

Indie Rock

Collectors' Choice
Glam Rock

Dmitri Kitayenko
Prokofiev: The Symphonies [Box Set]
Phoenix Edition
Modern Orchestral Music

Out My Window
Stones Throw
Indie Electronic, Indie Pop, Funky Breaks

WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip
Left-Field Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop, Underground Rap

Maggini Quartet
Peter Maxwell Davies: Naxos Quartets Nos. 9 & 10
Contemporary Music for String Quartet

Taj Mahal
Heads Up
Contemporary Blues, Folk-Blues, Modern Acoustic Blues

Maria McKee
Live at the BBC
Alternative Country-Rock, Country-Rock, College Rock, Roots Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Medeski Martin and Wood
Radiolatians 1
Red Ink
Jam Bands, Post-Bop, Avant-Garde Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Modern Creative, Soul-Jazz

Anthology: Set the World Afire
Speed Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash, Progressive Metal

Jason Miles
To Grover, With Love
Contemporary Jazz, Crossover Jazz, Jazz-Pop, Adult Contemporary

James Morrison
Songs for You, Truths for Me
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Murs for President
Warner Bros.
Underground Rap, Hip-Hop, Political Rap, Alternative Rap

N.W.A Family Tree
West Coast Rap, Gangsta Rap, Hardcore Rap

Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman
The Fabled City
Political Folk, Alternative Singer/Songwriter

Ralph van Raat
Magnus Lindberg: Complete Piano Music
Contemporary Piano Music

Sir Simon Rattle
Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin; Concerto for Orchestra; Piano Concertos; Violin Concerto No. 2
EMI Classics
Modern Orchestral Music

Original Soundtrack
Rock N Rolla
Original Score, Soundtracks

Kellie Pickler
Kellie Pickler
Contemporary Country, Pop Idol

We Ate the Machine
Japanese Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Experimental Rock, Japanese Pop, Noise-Rock

Populous/Short Stories
Drawn in Basic
Morr Music
Indie Electronic

Joshua Radin
Simple Times
Mom & Pop
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Pete Seeger
At 89
Traditional Folk

Semi Precious Weapons
We Love You
Razor & Tie
Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Garage Rock Revival

James Taylor
Hear Music
Adult Contemporary, Pop/Rock, Soft Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash

Tina Turner
Soul, Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary

Under a Blood Red Sky [Deluxe Edition]
College Rock, Album Rock, Post-Punk, Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Greatest Hits
Contemporary Reggae, Reggae-Pop, Adult Contemporary, College Rock, Pop/Rock

Brian Vander Ark
Brian Vander Ark
Second Motion
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Various Artists
That's Amore: Italian American Favorites
Shout! Factory
Traditional Pop, Vocal Jazz, American Popular Song, Vocal Pop, Pop, Nostalgia

We the People
Too Much Noise
Garage Rock, Psychedelic

XX Teens
Welcome to Goon Island
Indie Rock

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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