· Plea for Peace: Take Action is a new compilation benefit CD that will be released this coming Tuesday in support of the National Hopeline Network, a coast-to-coast suicide/crisis counseling organization. The two-CD set bears the imprints of the Asian Man and Sub City Records labels and features rare, live, or previously unreleased tracks from the Selby Tigers, Alkaline Trio, At the Drive-In, TSOL, Thursday, and more. The discs also contain suicide-prevention training and a depression-screening test. The release is well-timed, as a Plea for Peace/Take Action tour begins next month with Jimmy Eat World, Common Rider, Lawrence Arms, Le Tigre, The Promise Ring, and more.

· This Tuesday the long-awaited dual albums from Frank Black & The Catholics are released on the Spin Art label, one entitled Black Letter Days and the other Devil's Workshop. Each album contains a few twists, such as a cover of Tom Waits' "The Black Rider" on Black Letter Days and guests Stan Ridgway of Wall of Voodoo and former Pixies bandmate Joey Santiago on Devil's Workshop.

· My pick of the week is this Tuesday's release of Blacklisted, the third album from alternative-country vocalist Neko Case. Like an Americana roots Mazzy Star, Case's voice has a soft, heartbroken wail that transcends the corn-fed into darker, more haunting realms. Her backing band and guests are no strangers to that fertile strip of land worked by both the country- and alternative-music communities, with label-mate Kelly Hogan, the mysterious Mary Margaret O'Hara, and members of The Sadies, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, and Giant Sand. The album marks her strength as a songwriter, with all songs by Case except for two covers: "Look for Me (I'll Be Around)" by Guy Wood & Sylvia Dee, and "Running Out of Fools" by Kay Rogers. Easy like a Sunday morning of pensive yearning, the album bears the terrific Bloodshot label.

· Speaking of guests musicians, a handful of upcoming projects are chock full of interesting possibilities in the month of September. Peter Gabriel is finally ready to release Up, his first studio work in 10 years, with a wide range of guests like original Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The new Low album, entitled Trust (on the Kranky label), features - dig this - Gerry Beckley of America on two tracks. Paul Weller of the Jam has a September date for his Illumination set with guests Noel Gallagher of Oasis and Kelly Jones of Stereophonics. Former J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf drops Sleepless on the Artemis imprint, featuring guests Steve Earle and the Glimmer Twins, a.k.a. the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Due in October is the second solo album from former Verve vocalist Richard Ashcroft, entitled Human Condition, and featuring the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, DJ Shadow, and Talvin Singh.

Television Alert:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosts Snoop Dogg on Friday; The Late Show with David Letterman welcomes Dolly Parton on Thursday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien features Oasis on Thursday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn gets wacky with Tenacious D on Friday overnight; and Last Call with Carson Daly sits down with Lit on Monday overnight.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, August 20:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change

Eric Bachmann - Short Careers: Original Score for the Film Ball of Wax (Merge) new atmospheric adventures from the former Archers of Loaf frontman

Berlin - Voyeur (iMUSIC/Artist Direct) all new from Terri Nunn and company

Black Sabbath - Past Lives (Divine/Sanctuary) domestic issue of this live 1980 document, now expanded to two CDs with an 18-minute version of "Wicked World" and more

Kristen Candy - Another Sweet Mess (Escalator/Liquid 8) with guests Johnny Hickman of Cracker and David Immergluck of Counting Crows

Capitol D & The Molemen - The Writer's Block (All Natural)

Eva Cassidy - Imagine (Blix Street) previously unreleased covers such as John Lennon's "Imagine," Sandy Denny's "You've Changed," and Little Willie John's "I Can Only Be Me"

Julee Cruise - The Art of Being a Girl (Water Music)

Dexter's Laboratory - The Hip-Hop Experiment (Rhino) new tunes from the Cartoon Network kitchen with Coolio and De La Soul

Dub Pistols - Six Million Ways to Die (Geffen) with guests Terry Hill of the Specials and Horace Andy of Massive Attack

Everclear - White Trash Hell (Fire Records) re-issue of this demos-and-rarities collection

Explorers Club - Raising the Mammoth (Magna Carta) with guest guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Terry Bozzio

Fairweather - Alaska (Equal Vision)

Future Bible Heroes - Eternal Youth (Instinct) now with vocalist Claudia Gonson

Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights (Matador) fantastic debut from this NYC quartet that channels predecessors such as Joy Division and the Buzzcocks into a dark, driving affair

Iron Maiden - Rock in Rio (Sanctuary) live concert DVD filmed last year with 14 cameras

Lava Baby - Big Muff (Liquid 8) featuring a cover of Split Enz's "I Got You"

Liars - They Threw Us All in a Trench & Stuck a Monument on Top (Blast First/Mute) soon on tour with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Lillian Axe - Live 2002 (Red and Gold International) two-CD set recorded in May

David Massengill - My Home Must Be a Special Place (Gadfly) new from the singer and storyteller

Mecca Normal - The Family Swan (Kill Rock Stars) a return to the duo's one-voice-and-one-guitar sound

Mekons - OOOH! (Quarterstick) touring now in celebration of the group's 25th anniversary

Alison Moyet - Hometime (Sanctuary) all-new import-only CD from the Yaz vocalist

Mudhoney - Since We've Become Translucent (SubPop) featuring guest Wayne Kramer

Tara Jane O'Neil & Daniel Littleton - Music for a Meteor Shower (Tiger Style) instrumental collaboration

Orbital - Work 1989-2002 (FFRR) 14-track collection

The Ramones - End of the Century, Pleasant Dreams, Too Tough to Die, and Subterranean Jungle (Rhino) expanded CD re-issues with lots of bonus material

Rasputina - My Fever Broke (Instinct) EP of re-mixes from Chris Vrenna of Nine Inch Nails with a cover of Belle & Sebastian's "The Fox in the Snow"

Schneider TM - Zoomer (Mute) light and chirpy Euro-synth pop from Dirk Dresselhaus

Signer - Low Light Dreams (Carpark) atmospheric landscapes soon on tour with Pan-American and Radian

Sleater-Kinney - One Beat (Kill Rock Stars)

Rose Smith - Dawn Raiding (Paras) harmonic down-tempo chill featuring a cover of Donovan's "Get Thy Bearings"

Nikki Sudden - Crown of Thorns (Secretly Canadian) re-issue of this rare live Italian import, split into acoustic and electric discs

Nikki Sudden & The French Revolution - Groove (Secretly Canadian) featuring his cover of Neil Young's "Captain Kennedy" and Nick Drake's "Time Has Told Me"

various artists - I Hear Voices (Record Makers/Astralwerks) collection of new French music via Air's native record label

various artists - Urban Renewal Program (Chocolate Industries) the first of a four-part series of urban art, music, and storytelling, featuring Mr. Lif, DJ Food, Mos Def, Tortoise, Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, and more

Kelly Willis - Easy (Rykodisc) with guests Chuck Prophet of Green on Red and Ian McLagen of the Small Faces

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