· A handful of "ya gotta hear this" cover twists show up this week in a most unlikely of places. The Epic label this Tuesday will release Little Wing, by new-age flamenco-guitar visionary Ottmar Liebert. And yes, that's Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing," along with exotic re-workings of the Rolling Stone's "Paint It Black" and Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir." Amazing stuff.
· Jcor Records has teamed up with Wild Pitch, the seminal hip-hop label of the mid-1980s, in a new commitment to serve up historic slabs of beats from the underground vaults. Artists who stepped up out of the Wild Pitch stable include Ultramagnetic MCs, The Coup, Chill Rob G, and Gang Starr - all collected on the new 16-track Wild Pitch Classics CD. More original CD re-issues from Lord Finesse and Main Source are scheduled all summer long with bonus CD video footage, as well as an upcoming 12-inch DJ box set.
· The indie Galactic Butt Hair label in San Francisco has just issued hip-hop's first animated film, Wave Twisters: The Movie, by turntablist and in-house wonder kid DJ Qbert. The mission for this plucky home video? To develop a full-length film based on Qbert's 1998 needle-tracking masterpiece Wave Twisters, with art direction from graffiti legend Dug 1 and a team of animators going scratch to scratch to the original LP.
· Ah, honey, do you remember your first "pit"? The young punk stalwarts at Side One Dummy Records have just released their home video The Show: Volume One featuring clips, live footage, and interview culled from the Los Angeles-based TV show, with artists like H20, Madcap, No Use for a Name, AFI, 7Seconds, and the Ataris.
· Can you smell the "Black Love" incense, dropping ashes on the dirty avocado shag wall-to-wall? Oh yeah, baby, the new funk gangsters are in the house this month on BET as Snoop Dogg and Foxy Brown guest host the cable channel's popular '70s Soul Cinema series. Blaxploitation classics like Blackula, Black Caesar, Cooley High, and Coffy are scheduled for presentation with front-row commentary.
· Speaking of Coffy (the film that made Pam Grier a soul cultural icon), the original Roy Ayers soundtrack has just been re-issued on the Polydor imprint, as well as the newly re-mastered re-issue of the Hell up in Harlem soundtrack, by Edwin Starr on Motown. Both boast restored original packaging and an audio upgrade to 24-bit technology. Starr's Hell up in Harlem set is best known by its often-sampled beats from tracks like "Easin' In" and "Big Papa," the inspiration of the late Notorious B.I.G. Live by the sword, die by the sword, big buddy.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Fuel tonight, the Black Crowes on Thursday, and Run-DMC and Everlast on Friday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Destiny's Child on Thursday and Ben Harper on Friday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien struts the return of The Go-Go's on next Tuesday's overnight; and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher features Eve, sans pit bulls, on Thursday overnight and Chuck D on Friday overnight.
New Releases Coming Tuesday, May 15:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change.
Black Heat - Declassified Grooves (Label M) two-CD collection of Washington, D.C., old-school funk from the 1970s
Ron Carter - Uptown Conversation (Label M) CD re-issue from 1970 featuring Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham
Charm - original motion picture soundtrack (5 Rue Christine) with music from The Need, Aaron Beam of Unwound, The Replikants, and more
Cowboy Junkies - Open (Zoe)
Robert Cray - Shoulda Been Home (Rykodisc) all new
Depeche Mode - Exciter (Warner Bros)
Missy Elliott - Miss E ... So Addictive (Elektra)
Fantastic Plastic Machine - Beautiful (Emperor Norton)
Aretha Franklin - Aretha's Best (Rhino) 20 best-selling hits from her Atlantic and Arista years
From Zero - One Nation Under (Arista)
Go-Go's - God Bless the Go-Go's (Beyond) with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong
Joe Henry - Scar (Mammoth) highly anticipated new album with guests Mark Ribot, Me'shell Ndegeocello, and Ornette Coleman
Joan of Arc - How Can Any Thing So Little Be Any More (Jade Tree)
Syleena Johnson - Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness (Jive)
Lies - Resigned (Kill Rock Stars)
Joey McIntyre - Meet Joe Mac (Q Records) new solo album from the former New Kid On the Block featuring - can you dig this? - a duet with Fred Schneider of the B-52's
Me First & The Gimme Gimmes - "Stevens" (Nitro) seven-inch single
Megadeth - The World Needs a Hero (Sanctuary)
Angelo Moore - Dr. Madd Vibe's Comprehensive Linkology (Asian Man) new solo work from the Fishbone helmsman
Bob Ostertag - Getting a Head (Seeland) CD re-issue of this 20-year-old experiment in tape manipulation
The Pagens - The Pink Album ... Plus! (Crypt) CD re-issue crammed to the gills with demos and rarities like covers of Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" and Pere Ubu's "Final Solution"
The Pee Wee Fist - Flying (Kimchee) named for a Hong Kong martial-arts movie about a three-foot-tall ninja
R.E.M. - Reveal (Warner Bros)
Racoon - Universal Vibes (Max Music) deep lounge chill-out grooves from this Italian trio
Ranking Roger - Inside My Head (Paras Recordings) new from the co-founder of the English Beat and General Public
Shades Apart - Sonic Boom (Republic)
Shrek - music from the original motion picture (Dreamworks) featuring covers of The Monkees' "I'm a Believer" by Smash Mouth and Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" by Halfcocked
Spearhead - Stay Human (Six Degrees) Michael Franti's new experimental concept album that features a fictitious radio station's coverage of an upcoming execution
The String Cheese Incident - Outside Inside (Sci-Fidelity)
Tool - Lateralus (Volcano/Jive)
Wendy Wall - Two Birds (Wildbird)
Weezer - The Green Album (Interscope) produced by Ric Ocasek