· My favorite chill-down record of the moment is the just released Last Night, a soulful, sweet funky breeze from the eclectic entity known as His Name Is Alive. Initially a somber, dark sound experiment by Warren Defever, the outfit has re-invented itself with each album on the 4AD label, this time taking a left into funky café jazz and soft acoustic soul.

The new album is mesmerizing under the spell of new-soul diva Lovetta Pippen, discovered by Defever while recording a gospel choir for the Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth album in 1995. Pippen's voice is honey sweet, shimmering and mature, dipping slow like a sly Sade backed by Steely Dan at one moment and fresh and innocent the next, like on the group's cover of Eddie Grant's "Teardrops." Another genre-shifting smoker is "I Have Special Powers," a satisfying guitar-driven track reminiscent of Neil Young's "Down By the River," raw and sailing.

· System of a Down on Tuesday is releasing Steal This Album, a new collection of previously unreleased material, and is making a bold statement about the state of the record industry with more than its album title. Other than the 50,000 limited-edition copies for which each of the four band members has personally designed cover artwork, all "regular" copies of the CD are reported to be housed in sleeves that mimic a home-burned disc, with only the band's name and title scrawled across the cover. In another interesting twist, no booklet or lyric sheet is included, only available to print via a Web site. Not to be considered a handful of B sides, the 16-track American/Columbia Records release collects songs recorded at various sessions since 1995.

Television Alert:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne tonight, Norah Jones on Thursday, and Tim McGraw on Monday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Ice Cube on Thursday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien features Steve Earle this evening overnight; and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn sits down with LL Cool J on Friday overnight.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, November 26:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change

Adaptation - original motion picture soundtrack (Astralwerks) featuring a score by Carter Burwell and an exclusive Fatboy Slim re-mix

Jello Biafra - Machine Gun in the Clown's Head (Alternative Tentacles) all-new three-CD or three-LP spoken-word rant from the Dead Kennedys founder and incendiary pundit

Noam Chomsky - New War on Terrorism (Alternative Tentacles) new spoken-word CD from this highly esteemed lecturer and political pundit

John Cunningham - Happy Go-Unlucky (Parasol)

Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Volume 5: Live 1975 - The Rolling Thunder Revue (Columbia Legacy) official two-CD release after years of inferior bootleg versions, also in a limited-edition version with a bonus DVD featuring songs from his film Renaldo & Clara

Flickerstick - Causing a Catastrophe: Live in Deep Ellum (226 Records) recorded in Dallas and featuring a cover of "Fade into You" by Mazzy Star

Fish - Kettle of Fish (U.S.D.) from the former Marillion vocalist comes this DVD collection of all his videos, including a collaboration with Tony Banks of Genesis

Richie Hawtin & Sven Vath - The Sound of the Third Season (Nova Mute) recorded at this past season of DJ nights at Amnesia in Ibiza

Heart - The Essential (Epic Legacy) two-CD set

Whitney Houston - Just Whitney (Arista)

Iron Maiden - Eddie's Archive (Columbia) box set of rarities

Bap Kennedy - Long Time Comin' ... Story So Far (Catfish Records) all new from the Belfast singer-songwriter with guests Steve Earle and Nancy Griffith

Kool G. Rap - The Giancana Story (Rawkus/Koch) with guest Michael Stipe of R.E.M.

Jennifer Lopez - This Is Me (Epic) featuring guests Jadakiss and Styles

Paul McCartney - Back in the U.S. (Capitol) two-CD or DVD set of 35 classic songs recorded on his recent Driving Rain Tour

Mortal - Nu-En-Jin (Tooth & Nail)

Kelly Osbourne - Shut Up (Epic) ohhh, don't tempt me ... .

Mike Peters - Acoustic Works 1981-1986 and Acoustic Works 1987-1991 (U.S.D.) two new unplugged CDs from the Alarm singer/songwriter

Primal Scream - Evil Heat (Epic) with guests Robert Plant, Kevin Shields, Jim Reid, Kate Moss, and more, and featuring a bonus 45-minute DVD

The Raveonettes - Whip It on (Orchard)

Busta Rhymes - It Ain't Safe No More (J Records)

The Roots - Phrenology (MCA) with guests Jill Scott, Talib Kweli, Nelly Furtado, Musiq, and more

Snoop Dogg - Paid tha Cost to Be the Bo$$ (Doggystyle/Capitol) with Jay-Z and Redman

Sum 41 - Does This Look Infected (Island) featuring a bonus DVD in the first pressing

Sybarite - Nonument (4AD) new percolating electronic landscape wanderings from Xian Hawkins

various artists - The Annual 2003 (Ministry of Sound) two-CD set featuring Moby, Amber, Mary J Blige, DJ Tiesto, DJ Encore, and more

various artists - Four Old Toxic Shock 7 Inches (Dr. Strange) 21-track CD collecting early rare seven-inch singles from 1982-4

various artists - GO Kart vs. the Corporate Giant (Go Kart) jam-packed with previously unreleased material, this low-priced sampler features G.B.H., Toxic Narcotic, The Varukers, 46 Short, and more

various artists - MetalliCLASH (Lakeshore) an electronic tribute to Metallica with The Zipperheads, Bunny Fluffer, and Powerbook Army

various artists - Paws Across America (Tigerbeat) new and unreleased tracks from Electric Company, Stars as Eyes, Cex, and more

various artists - Rhythm of the Mountains (CMH) fantastic two-CD set exploring the roots of bluegrass, featuring The Osbourne Brothers, Grandpa Jones, Lester Flatt, and Fiddlin' Red Herron

Howard Zinn - Artists in a Time of War (Alternative Tentacles) new spoken-word CD recalling the words of Mark Twain and Langston Hughes

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