· 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.
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