· The Crystal Method returns with a vengeance this Tuesday, featuring an intriguing list of guests. Joining the band on the new V2 Records album, Legion of Boom, are former Kyuss vocalist John Garcia, former Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland, Lisa Kekaula of the Bell Rays, human beat box Rahzel of the Roots, and spoken-word artist Hanifah Walidah. Look out for the first video, "Born Too Slow," directed by Gore Verbinski of The Ring fame.
· Speaking of spoken-word artists, DJ Spooky is de-constructing and re-mixing recordings from William S. Burroughs, E.E. Cummings, and Gertrude Stein on his new album Rhythm Science. Look for this brainy project on the SubRosa label later this month, along with a new CD and book issue from Irish author James Joyce.
· Modern Drummer magazine is issuing the first volume of a new CD series this Tuesday. Entitled Drum Nation, The Magna Carta Records release features world-class percussionists in all styles, from Frank Zappa alumni Terry Bozzio and Chad Wackerman to Zakir Hussain, drummer for George Harrison and John McLaughlin. Other participants include Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction, Josh Freese of The Vandals and A Perfect Circle, Stanton Moore of Galactic, and Bill Bruford of King Crimson and Yes.
· The Not Lame Records label has just announced an upcoming tribute album saluting Teenage Fanclub, with contributions by Steven McDonald of Redd Kross, The Shazam, Gigolo Aunts, Superdrag, and Counting Crows.
· In other tribute news, Spirithouse Records is prepping a The Q People: A Tribute to NRBQ for release in March. An interesting list of stars has signed up for the project, including Mike Mills of R.E.M., Yo La Tengo, Ron Sexsmith, Los Lobos, Widespread Panic, Steve Earle, and Bonnie Raitt. One weird contributor has my ears open: Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants. ... Chilled by winter's drizzle and slush? The warm-weather getaway of Montego Bay promises chilled vibes and great music the weekend of January 23, as Air Jamaica presents its 2004 Jazz & Blues Festival. Artists include India.Arie, Nancy Wilson, Alicia Keys, Bobby Womack, and Cassandra Wilson, many of whom will participate in a special tribute to Johnny Cash, who lived part-time in the area for many years.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes ZZ Top tonight, Nelly Furtado on Thursday, and Britney Spears on Friday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Ruben Studdard on Thursday and The Shins on Tuesday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien features Gov't Mule this evening overnight, North Mississippi Allstars on Thursday overnight, and Howie Day on Friday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn boasts Diane Schuur this evening overnight, The Fire Theft on Friday overnight, Ying Yang Twins on Monday overnight, and Mandy Moore on Tuesday overnight; Last Call with Carson Daly sits down with Dido on Thursday overnight, and Kelis and Stephen Lynch on Friday overnight; and Saturday Night Live's musical guest this weekend is Black Eyed Peas.
New Releases Coming Tuesday, January 13:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change
David Bowie - Black Tie White Noise (Virgin) re-issue from 1993 expanded to two CDs and a DVD
Brian Bromberg - Choices (A440) smooth jazz with guests David Benoit and Jeff Lorber
Jimmy Edgar - "Access Rhythm" (Warp) CD EP
Elbow - Cast of Thousands (V2)
The Fire Theft - "Chain" (Rykodisc) three-track CD single
The Holmes Brothers - Simple Truths (Alligator) featuring covers of songs by Hank Williams, Bob Marley, and Gillian Welch
Bruce Hornsby - Greatest Radio Hits (BMG Heritage) featuring "Go Back to Your Woods," a new collaboration with Robbie Robertson of The Band
Charlie Hunter Trio - Right Now Live (Rope-a-dope) DVD release
Laika & The Cosmonauts - Local Warming (Yep Roc)
Lying in States - Most Every Night (Flameshovel)
Magnitude Nine - Decoding the Soul (Inside Out) blistering prog-rock ascensions from Rob Johnson and former Psycho Drama frontman Corey Brown
Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force - Attack! (Red Ink/Epic) first new album in four years from the classical shredder
Minimal Compact - Returning World (Crammed) three-CD anthology
Mr. T Experience - Yesterday Rules (Lookout) all new enhanced CD
Kenny Neal & Billy Branch - Double Take (Alligator) acoustic blues featuring covers of songs by Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson
The Nice - The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack (Fuel 2000) re-issue from 1967 on CD
Shane Nicholson - It's a Movie (Virt) nice solo debut from this Australian singer/songwriter and former frontman of Pretty Violet Stain, with guest Kasey Chambers
Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson (BMG Heritage) re-mastered re-issue with bonus tracks
Our Burden Is Light - original motion picture soundtrack (Mandacy) score by bassist Nate Mendel of Foo Fighters and Fire Theft
The Pale - Gravity Gets Things Done (SideCho) from Bellingham, Washington
Paper Chase - What Big Teeth You Have (Southern) enhanced CD EP featuring covers of songs by Roger Waters and Jacques Brel
Kate Rusby - Underneath the Stars (Compass) collaboration with John McCusker, winner of the BBC's Folk Musician of the Year award
Speer - Sixes & Sevens (Random Art Music) fronted by the piano power of James Speer, this debut features music used in the FX television network show The Shield
Joel Virgel - Amour Amer (Electric Monkey) dim the lights and cast a mood with an album that translates as "bitter love" from this sensual French singer/songwriter, blending French and English lyrics into a heady rush and featuring lush covers of the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" and Serge Gainsbourg's "La Chanson de Slogan"
Frank Zappa - Does Humor Belong in Music (EMI) re-issue from 1985 on DVD