With the snow blowers are on display in the hardware store and the Christmas decorations already on sale at the mall, it’s time to review some of the big releases for the all-important, make-or-break fourth quarter for the music business.
Pearl Jam: Backspacer (Sunday): A short (36 minute), sharp blast of some of their best material in years. We get it on Sunday instead of the usual Tuesday because of the exclusive deal the band worked out with Target stores in the U.S.
Alice in Chains: (Sept 29): Outside of AC/DC, Deep Purple and Van Halen (the v2.0 Van Hagar years, not the Gary Cherone era), it’s tough for a band to re-emerge with a new lead singer. William DuVall isn’t Layne Staley, but he’s close. This could turn into a major surprise this fall.
Gossip: Music for Men (Oct 6): I spent some time with singer Beth Ditto in the U.K. earlier this month and I found her fun, friendly and engaging. Producer Rick Rubin has taken this Arkansas-by-way-of-Washington-State band and turned them into a good little pop group.
Kraftwerk: The Catalogue (Oct 6): As you’re paying off your Beatles box sets, make sure there’s room on the credit card for this eight-disc collection of remasters. Licensing issues has made it tough to get all these releases, so the box is the way to go.
Wolfmother: Cosmic Egg (Oct 13): Singer Andrew Stockdale fired the other two guys in the band and hired on some new help. Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Sabbath fans will be pleased.
Weezer: Raditude (Oct 27): Continuing with the fun — some may say goofy — vibe of The Red Album, Rivers Cuomo told me that the band is working on some innovative things to promote the record. Several of the songs were road-tested when the band opened for Blink 182 this summer.
U2: The Unforgettale Fire (Oct 27): Bono and Co. pick up with their expanded reissues with their fourth album from 1984. It’ll come in four forms (including vinyl) with many b-sides, alternate versions, unreleased tracks and rarities. From what I’ve seen, these editions will put the first three reissues to shame.
Creed: Full Circle (Oct 27): I once worked with a guy who had a t-shirt that read “Even God Hates Creed.” How will the world react to a resurrected Scott Stapp?