Robyn Hitchcock's I Wanna Go BackwardsNext week the Yep Roc Records imprint releases the five-disc I Wanna Go Backwards box from Robyn Hitchcock, the first of twin sets that pluck three choice albums from his catalog, slather each with associated outtakes and demos, and ice the layer cake with two CDs of B sides. Selecting three fan-favorite albums of solo work, the offering includes Black Snake Diamond Role from 1981, the pensive I Often Dream of Trains from 1984, and the haunting Eye from 1990. Hitchcock's wit and image associations are socially progressive, brutally honest, and seductively mad. Too timid to slide into the full box set or the eight-LP vinyl version? All three expanded albums are being reissued individually.

Like a time machine back to the Wild West days of New York City's art and music worlds colliding in 1980, Recall Records is releasing the soundtrack to the documentary film Downtown 81, staring the young, wildly talented artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Featuring 21 strobe-light and avant-garde memories, highlights include the wet and stinky "I'm a Doggy" by The Lounge Lizards, Liquid Liquid's influential hip-hop seed of "Cavern," and James Chance, Tuxedomoon, Lydia Lunch, Melle Mel, and Kid Creole & the Coconuts.

David Byrne - The Knee Plays Two corporate brands are looking to snuggle up with taste-making young consumers with new CDs. Toyota's Scion line has always been serious about its factory-installed sound systems, and now its audio/visual department has teamed with five hip record labels - Ninja Tune, Vice, Light in the Attic, Greensleeves, and Strictly Rhythm Records - for a series of pumping remix discs. Letting each label's stable of artists cut loose on a label-mate's work, highlights include knob-twisting from Modeselektor, Max Glazer & Federation of Sound, and Holy Ghost.

Down at the Sea HotelDo you remember the book-and-seven-inch-single sets for children, with each page turned to the ring of a bell? The publishers at The Secret Mountain are continuing that nifty idea. Next week a new book-and-CD set, Down at the Sea Hotel, is released, developed from a single song by Greg Brown, illustrated into a full book by Mireile Levert, and then fleshed out into an accompanying 14-track audio CD. Featuring a wonderful collection of lullabies written by Tom Waits, Don Henley, Bruce Cockburn, Nanci Griffith, Steve Earle, Marc Cohn, and more, the album's mood is sewn together by the cast of Americana artists that cover the selections, including roots luminaries John Gorka, Eliza Gilkyson, and Guy Davis. Two highlights shine bright: The Wailin' Jennys' grace through Neil Young's "Barefoot Floors" and Lucy Kaplansky's beautiful sway in Billy Joel's "Goodnight, My Angel." Benefiting the Breast Cancer Fund, the project is available two ways: in a traditional hardcover book with the CD tucked inside, or as a cardboard digipak CD with bonus files of all the music charts, illustrations, and lyrics.

About a GirlIt's a woman's world in two upcoming CD tribute projects that benefit breast-cancer support and awareness. Later this month New Jersey's Face Down Records will release About a Girl, collecting cover contributions from Philadelphia-area artists taking aim at songs with a woman's name in the title. AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" is found within, covered by Beretta 76, as is the Jukebox Zeroes' spin on The Sonics' "Cinderella" and the Creeping Weeds' hand at Arthur Alexander's "Anna." With proceeds benefiting the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the disc also includes covers of Elvis Costello's "Allison," Weezer's "Suzanne," The Kinks' "Victoria," and the AM-radio nugget by The Looking Glass, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)."

Robert Pollard, the former captain of the starship Guided by Voices, is just as busy as a solo artist with two new albums next week, and hitting the halfway point in his monthly seven-inch-single series. Merge Records is behind all the wax love, as both the "pop" CD, Coast to Coast Carpet of Love, and the "rock" CD, Standard Gargoyle Decisions, will be available in a limited edition of 1,500 180-gram vinyl LPs. Pollard has been showing off a few cards from both decks for the past few months in his Happy Jack Rock Records Singles Series, issuing a 45-RPM single roughly every 30 days, featuring an A side from one of the two albums and a exclusive B-side bonus. This coming Tuesday, look around your local vinyl-proud record shop for this month's single, "Shadow Port," or last month's single, "Pill Gone Girl."

Seattle, Washington's Sonic Boom Records is kicking off its 10th anniversary this month with lots of live in-stores, a commemorative T-shirt designed by James McNew of Yo La Tengo, and a CD collection of new tunes. Customers have the best chance of scoring one of the two-disc sets, featuring Built to Spill, Animal Collective, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Jeremy Enigk, Spoon, The New Pornographers, Rilo Kiley, and more.

Song of America Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno presents a grand, glorious history of this land in Song of America, a (literally) red, white, and blue three-CD set that opens with a "Lakota Dream Song" from 1492 and travels all the way to the Civil Rights movement and beyond. Rather than drag out scratchy 78s, Reno enlisted a train car of today's finest to join the nation in songs that defined us. Highlights include John Wesley Harding's "God Save the King," Marah standing over "John Brown's Body," Jake Shimabukuro's ukulele transformation of "Stars & Stripes Forever," Suzy Bogguss putting on the gloves of "Rosie the Riveter," and Devendra Banhart's suburban tour of "Little Boxes." Modern classics are represented as well, from Ben Taylor's cover of Neil Young's "Ohio" to The Dynamites' funk of James Brown's "Say It Loud (I'm Black & I'm Proud)."

The Johnny Cash TV Show Airing 58 episodes from 1969 through 1971, The Johnny Cash TV Show is brought back alive in a new two-DVD set next week from the Columbia Legacy imprint. Sixty-six performances are collected, showcasing a magnificent lineup highlighted by Bob Dylan. Joni Mitchell, Merle Haggard, the Everly Brothers, Tammy Wynette, Ray Charles, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Ann WilsonHeart vocalist Ann Wilson returns with Hope & Glory, her debut solo album showcasing a new, serious-minded original and 11 cover selections. More somber and earthy than preachy, the themes in Neil Young's "War of Man," Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," and Jesse Colin Young's "Darkness, Darkness" are stirred by these troubled times. More clouds and thunder come in a spooky-cool run at Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Sky," a down-home front-porch hootenanny of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" with guest Gretchen Wilson, and a call to "Get Together" with The Youngbloods' summer-of-love hit. Other guests include Elton John on his own "Where to Now Saint Peter," and k.d. lang riding shotgun on the road to Lucinda Williams' "Jackson." Closing out the Zoe Records release, Wilson's new song "Little Problems, Little Lies" was written from the perspective of an American soldier in Iraq, "a-bleedin' in a bombed-out SUV," and succeeds where 90 percent of pop music today fails - asking the listener to slow down a little, breathe deeply, and listen to the words.