Wednesday , February 21 2024
Christmas may be months away, but for the record business its time to let the games begin.

Tuesday New Album Releases 9/25/07: This Week It’s All About Joni (Plus Foo Fighters, Miles,, Chaka Khan, And More)

Christmas may be months away, but for the record business it actually began a few weeks ago. The opening shots of what is the most crucial time of year — for an industry that could use all the help it can get right about now I might add — were actually fired with the much ballyhooed release, and subsequent competition, between Kanye West and 50 Cent.

Now, nobody actually believes 50 Cent is going to retire, even though Kanye looks to be wiping the floor with him at the moment. But you can bet the record industry was watching the numbers of those two releases — as well of those of country boy Kenny Chesney — that week, and will continue to do so right up until Santa comes down the chimney in December.

So, let the games begin.

You see, the record industry — and by that, I mean the people who still actually sell CDs — does most of its retail business for the year in the last quarter during Christmas time. This year is especially crucial, since pretty much everybody seems to sense that change (to say the least) is in the air, as far as the future of the CD is concerned.

So that means, for the next several weeks leading into Christmas, you are going to see the labels rolling out all their big guns as far as new releases are concerned. Next week it’s Springsteen, the week after that it’s Neil Young, the next it’s — well, you get the picture.

This week however, it’s all about Joni Mitchell, who releases her first album of brand new material in nearly a decade with Shine.

This is also Mitchell’s first album for Starbucks Records — err, I mean Hear Music — where she joins labelmate Paul McCartney on the coffee counter’s new music imprint. I’ve actually been sitting on a review copy of Shine for about a week, but was waiting for a special moment to sit down with a nice glass of wine (or at least a cold microbrew), to properly savor it. I also for some reason thought that it wasn’t coming out until October. Which means I better order up that microbrew pronto, since today’s actual release means the review was technically due something like yesterday.

So I haven’t heard Shine yet, but it has a real pretty cover and the buzz is that Mitchell was artistically invigorated when she recorded it. I’ve also been told that her voice sounds better here than it has in years. I do know that it has an updated version of her classic song “Big Yellow Taxi.”

Personally, I’ve always liked Mitchell’s so-called “jazz period” best, when she was making albums like The Hissing Of Summer Lawns and Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, in the seventies with people like Jaco Pastorius and The Brecker Brothers. For that reason, I’m pretty excited about this week’s release of Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters, where the jazz keyboard great does an entire album of music either written or inspired by Mitchell. Hancock is joined on the album by musicians like Wayne Shorter, as well as vocalists Norah Jones, Leonard Cohen, and even Joni herself.

A week or so ago, Pico wrote such a great review here of this week’s Miles Davis boxed set release of The Complete On the Corner Sessions, that there really isn’t a lot I can add to it. Judging by what I read there, this sounds like an absolute must for any Miles Davis, or any serious jazz fan period for that matter. But don’t take my word for it, just read Pico’s very insightful and comprehensive review instead.

The advance word on Chaka Khan’s Funk This, is that this is a return to her seventies funkified greatness, that has Chakaholics around the world salivating for it’s release today. Chaka is said to sound better than she has since the days of Rufus here.

The Foo Fighters are reunited with producer Gil Norton (who produced their 1997 hit The Colour And The Shape) for Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Dave Grohl and company once again mix up the rockers with more acoustic sounding folk-rock here, continuing the musical expansions they began exploring on their last album, which was a two record set.

Finally, Kanye West and 50 Cent may have to make room at the top of the charts for’s Songs About Girls, which is the hip hop artist and producer’s first solo outing for a major label. The album is led by the humorous, and quite hooky single “I Got It From My Mama.”

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

Devendra Banhart
Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
Lo-Fi, Alternative Folk, Acid Folk

Miles Davis
The Complete On the Corner Sessions
Sony Legacy
Jazz-Rock, Fusion, Jazz-Funk, Free Funk, Funk

Foo Fighters
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Post-Grunge, Alternative Pop/Rock

Herbie Hancock
River: The Joni Letters
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Jazz, Jazz-Pop, Pop, Modern Creative

Iron & Wine
The Shepherd’s Dog
Sub Pop
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock

Joni Mitchell
Hear Music
Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Jazz
Songs About Girls
Pop-Rap, Party Rap, Contemporary R&B, Urban, Hip-Hop

Beyond the Neighbourhood
Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental

The Bird and the Bee
Please Clap Your Hands
Blue Note
Indie Electronic, Indie Pop

Michael Ian Black
I Am a Wonderful Man
Comedy Central
Observational Humor, Standup Comedy

Chris Botti
Smooth Jazz, Standards, Instrumental Pop, Crossover Jazz, Contemporary Jazz

Birdie Busch
Penny Arcade
Bar None
Singer/Songwriter, Indie Pop

The Cave Singers
Invitation Songs
Neo-Traditional Folk, Folk-Rock

The Cheetah Girls
Teen Pop

Keyshia Cole
Just Like You
Urban, Contemporary R&B

Damon & Naomi
Within These Walls
Dream Pop, Indie Rock

Natalie Dessay
Bellini: La Sonnambula
Virgin Classics
Romantic Opera

The Dethalbum
Williams Street
TV Soundtracks, Heavy Metal, Death Metal/Black Metal

Pat DiNizio
Pat DiNizio
Famous Monsters
Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Power Pop

Steve Earle
Washington Square Serenade
New West
Alternative Country, Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Roots Rock

Melissa Etheridge
The Awakening
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock

Bill Evans
The Interplay Sessions
Modal Music, Cool

Amp Fiddler
Afro Strut [US Version]
Play It Again Sam Us
Neo-Soul, Contemporary R&B, Funk, Soul

Kevin Fowler
Bring It On
Contemporary Country, Honky Tonk

Future Future Future Perfect
Synth Pop, Dance-Pop

Georgie James
Saddle Creek
Indie Pop, Indie Rock

José González
In Our Nature
Sadcore, Indie Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter

The Heliocentrics
Out There
Now Again
Post-Bop, Jazz-Funk, Modern Creative, Funk

Billie Holiday
Lady Day: The Master Takes and Singles
Vocal Jazz, Traditional Pop, Swing, Standards, Torch Songs, Ballads, Classic Female Blues

Charlie Hunter/Bobby Previte as Groundtruther Featuring John Medeski
Thirsty Ear
Free Improvisation, Avant-Garde Jazz, Experimental, Free Jazz, Post-Bop, Modern Creative

The Intelligence
In The Red
Experimental Rock, Noise-Rock, Lo-Fi

Jagged Edge
Baby Makin’ Project
So So Def/Island Urban Music
Urban, Contemporary R&B

Janine Jansen
Bach: Inventions & Partita
Baroque Orchestral Music

Donell Jones
The Best of Donell Jones
Contemporary R&B, Urban

Chaka Khan
Funk This
Burgundy/Sony BMG
Contemporary R&B

Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Pre Rahsaan
Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Modern Creative

Hallucination Guillotine
Electronic, Post-Rock/Experimental

Bettye LaVette
The Scene of the Crime
Northern Soul, Soul

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Brazil [Hybrid SACD]
Modern and Contemporary Music for Guitar Quartet

Magik Markers
Ecstatic Peace
Experimental Rock, Noise-Rock

Matt Pond PA
Last Light
Chamber Pop, Indie Pop, Indie Rock

Nellie McKay
Obligatory Villagers
Hungry Mouse
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Cabaret, Alternative Pop/Rock

Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy
Indie Electronic, IDM, Electronica

Meshell Ndegeocello
The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams
Post-Bop, Psychedelic Pop, Contemporary R&B, Neo-Psychedelia, Urban, Funk, Soul, Fusion, Downtempo

New York Polyphony
I Sing the Birth
Music for Vocal Ensemble

A Night at the Ritz
New Line
Indie Rock, Pop Underground, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Martin Rost
Organ Landscape: Estonia
Estonian Music for Organ

William Stromberg
House of Frankenstein [Complete 1944 Score]
Film Music

Original Soundtrack
The Darjeeling Limited
Indian Folk, Film Music, Soundtracks, Indian Art Film Music, Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock, British Invasion

Rahsaan Patterson
Wines & Spirits
Neo-Soul, Contemporary R&B

Queen Latifah
Trav’lin’ Light
Verve Labels
American Popular Song, Adult Contemporary, Contemporary R&B

Rascal Flatts
Still Feels Good
Lyric Street
Contemporary Country

Red Krayola/Art & Language
Sighs Trapped by Liars
Drag City
Experimental Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental

Jimmy Reed
Best of the Vee Jay Years
Shout! Factory
Blues Revival, Electric Harmonica Blues, Electric Chicago Blues, R&B

Jill Scott
The Real Thing: Words and Sounds, Vol. 3
Hidden Beach
Neo-Soul, Contemporary R&B

Brian Setzer Orchestra
Wolfgang’s Big Night Out
Retro-Rock, Retro Swing, Rockabilly Revival

Billy Joe Shaver
Everybody’s Brother
Americana, Outlaw Country, Honky Tonk, Singer/Songwriter, Country-Rock, Progressive Country

Shocking Pinks
Shocking Pinks
Indie Pop, Indie Electronic, Dream Pop

Rob Sonic
Sabotage Gigante
Definitive Jux
Underground Rap, Hip-Hop

Soul Asylum
Welcome to the Minority: The A&M Years 1988-1991
College Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard 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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