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    "Always Got Tonight" Chris Isaak Our price: $12.99 | You save: $5.99 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005V8ST/ncdn">...available here.
    Chris Isaak knows his strengths and he's never been one to stray far from them. His latest will feel familiar to longtime fans of the man who's often characterized as matinee-idol handsome, but who's emerging as a small-screen star; here again is a selection of the kind of seductively mournful love songs that have earned him a loyal following.

    "Forever" Cracker Our price: $13.99 | You save: $2.99 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005V5PH/ncdn">...available here.
    David Lowery brings back some of the lyrical weirdness that made his punk/hippie/kitchen-sink ensemble Camper Van Beethoven a cult favorite. In tandem with longtime sidekick Johnny Hickman, he manages to maintain the straight-ahead rock kick that has characterized Cracker's more recent work, making "Forever" a set that'll please fans from various stages of a now-underrated artist's career.

    "I Am Sam - Music From and Inspired By the Motion Picture [SOUNDTRACK]" Various Artists Our price: $13.28 | You save: $5.70
    ...available here.
    It's pretty difficult to go wrong when you take artists of the caliber of Rufus Wainwright, Aimee Mann, and Eddie Vedder and ask them to perform songs from the Beatles' songbook. The score to the Sean Penn flick delivers the goods with a set that has too many highlights to number.

    "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" Dream Theater Our price: $17.99 | You save: $6.99
    ...available here.
    Dream Theater doesn't get a lot of attention outside contemporary prog-rock circles, but the band's following has swelled significantly with each new release, a pattern that isn't likely to change with this two-disc collection. Progressive rock has more than its share of detractors, but in Dream Theater the genre now has a powerful flagship group. "Old Souls & Wolf Tickets" Chuck E. Weiss Our price: $13.99 | You save: $2.99
    ...available here.
    Chuck E. Weiss spent a couple of decades as a semi-notorious figure (he inspired Rickie Lee Jones's 1979 hit, "Chuck E.'s in Love") before finally releasing his debut, "Extremely Cool," three years back. So it's something of a surprise that he's back with this relatively sudden sophomore effort of boho stylings. Bits of blues, swing, be-bop, and Dixieland come together to create a topsy-turvy sound that'll please fans of Rickie Lee and Tom Waits.

    Take a Spin
    ...available here.
    Read up on the latest sounds in "Spin" magazine. You can subscribe to "Spin" and other publications through Amazon.com.

    "Vespertine" Bjork Our price: $14.99 | You save: $3.98
    ...available here.
    We can't wait for Bjork's newest CD, "Vespertine," to be released on August 28. It's more introspective than its full-length studio predecessor, "Post," but it's not as subdued as "Selmasongs" by any means. Just take it for granted that the disc is genre-morphing, inventive, and beautiful. It's not what you'd expect, but you'll be mighty pleased by what you hear.

    "Sword of God" Quasi Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
    ...available here.
    The Pacific Northwest-based formerly married duo of Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss deliver yet again with "Sword of God." Self-deprecating and wry lyrics collide with gorgeous, Badfinger-meets-Elliott-Smith melodies.

    "New Geocentric World Of..." Acid Mothers Temple Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
    ...available here.
    Thank God for modern-day Japanese psychedelic bands! As their new CD, "New Geocentric World Of," demonstrates, Acid Mothers Temple are clearly among the best of the bunch. Listening to "Occie Lady" is like watching Blue Cheer jam endlessly from the perspective of the Goodyear blimp, while "What Do I Want to Know (Like Heavenly Kisses, Part 2)" is a symphony played by an orchestra whose players are perpetually frozen at the moment of coming into higher consciousness. This is superb stuff.

    "Bleed American" Jimmy Eat World Our price: $12.32 | You save: $0.65
    ...available here.
    If the revved-up guitars and hearts-on-sleeves lyrical subject matter of emo is what floats your boat, then you are gonna love Jimmy Eat World's latest release, "Bleed American." Imagine a cross between the Promise Ring, Green Day, and Fugazi, and you're there.

    "Godmusic" Chocolate Genius Our price: $14.99 | You save: $2.98
    ...available here.
    Handsome, humble Marc Anthony Thompson--a.k.a. Chocolate Genius--deserves to be the golden dude of New York's savvy singer-songwriter elite. His secret weapon is a rich, expressive voice, which delivers in hoarse and sexy gutter whispers, rich crooning, and stone groove ballads. His new disc, "Godmusic," is lyrically brilliant and musically eclectic; we cannot fathom why his accessibly envelope-pushing music is not as well loved as that of Prince, or at least that of Rufus Wainwright.

    "Crystal Days 1979-1999 [BOX SET]" Echo & The Bunnymen Our price: $56.97 | You save: $3.00
    ...available here.
    Echo & the Bunnymen get the full, four-disc box-set treatment on "Crystal Days, 1979-1999." With frontman Ian McCulloch wailing his surreal lyrics over Will Sergeant's jaggedly hypnotic guitar lines like a shamanic voice in the wilderness, the Bunnymen didn't so much push rock's boundaries as redraw them entirely to their own grand specifications. Compiled with a fan's zeal and the frank circumspection of hindsight, this richly annotated box documents the Bunnymen from their awkwardly determined '79 tracks and singles through highlights from their '80s albums and a gratifying late-1990s comeback.

    "Song Yet to Be Sung" Perry Farrell Our price: $13.99 | You save: $3.98
    ...available here.
    Perry Farrell's second solo album, "Song Yet to Be Sung," is the former Jane's Addiction singer's first full-length step into the electronic world he's already inhabited for years as a DJ. The album swirls different styles--downtempo, drum & bass, techno, dub, world, and a little rock--around a softer version of Farrell's signature wail. It's an upbeat mix that swells with optimism while generating a deep musical groove.

    OUR CUSTOMERS RECOMMEND

    "When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up" Snow Patrol Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
    ...available here.
    A customer from Albany, California, recommends "When It's All Over We Still Have to Clear Up" by Snow Patrol: "While I thought "Songs for Polar Bears" was a masterpiece, Snow Patrol's second full length is equally good, if not better. This album moves along very nicely, allowing for all the songs to shine very brightly. My favorite song is "If I'd Found the Right Words to Say"--such a beautiful song, gorgeous melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Snow Patrol knows when to rock and know when to keep it simple and pretty. Think of it as Belle and Sebastian meets Sebadoh, somewhere in the misty green hills of Ireland."

    Read more
    ...available here.

    EDITOR'S CHOICE

    "Leave Here a Stranger" Starflyer 59 Our price: $14.49 | You save: $1.48
    ...available here.
    The song titles on Starflyer 59's new album, "Leave Here a Stranger," are common phrases that sensitize a reader in the same way, oddly, that SF59's music sensitizes a listener. Throughout the band's shoegazer, emo, and punk-pop periods--and now as they settle into an everything-old-is-new-again space with an '80s-influenced retro-pop album--the band's music has provided listeners with a game of spotting the musical allusion. Is that a Pixies cover? A rare My Bloody Valentine B-side? Singer-songwriter Jason Martin has an unusual ability to pull from the pop canon while missing most of the pitfalls of such referencing. This time he rifles through his "Breakfast Club"-era albums to create 10 swirly, orchestral, mid- to downtempo songs that recall nothing so much as early MTV or the music that played at public swimming pools and skating rinks circa 1985. Martin's vocals are high in the mix, turning soaring violin, harp, and keyboard into a barely there texture when he sings. A testament to the songs' power comes when he stops singing and skillfully focuses attention on the music. Notice every crescendo, bridge, and chorus? Of course you do. Because this music deserves such close listening.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    IN TOP SELLERS

    "Take Off Your Pants & Jacket [EXPLICIT LYRICS]" Blink 182 Our price: $16.99
    ...available here.
    Call it "We Aren't Family." Blink 182's studio follow-up to the zillion-selling "Enema of the State" is as angst-ridden about parent-related bad vibes as anything by Everclear. As the album's Who-like anthem "Stay Together for the Kids" has it: "We get along, so why can't they?" Other songs depict the effects of broken and near-broken homes on the twentysomethings this pop-punk trio's members have become. The opening lines of "First Date" sound very familiar nervous notes ("Do you like my stupid hair?") before the song shades over into a deeper self-loathing ("I'm not worthy for a minute of your time"). "Pants and Jacket," of course, rarely slows down at even its most torn moments: this fast and loud pop-punk is the hardest music many of Blink's fans ever listen to. And these guys haven't outgrown the urge to toss a raspberry into the face of authority figures, including the dads, moms, and grandpas who are the butts of jokes in the likes of "Happy Holidays, You Bastards." Heh heh. Butts.

    See all alternative top sellers
    ...available here.

    INDIE MUSIC SPOTLIGHT

    "Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth" His Name Is Alive Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
    ...available here.
    "Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth" is His Name Is Alive's finest release in the 10 years they have been around. It's not only a totally great CD but it's a complete change of direction for Warren Defever's mostly one-man band. Dropping much of the ethereal art rock that characterizes HNIA's early recordings, these funky and stripped-down postmodern soul songs are essentially vehicles for the sensuous and hypnotic singing of gospel diva Lovetta Pippen. It's a fascinating, gorgeous, and genre-spanning disc.

    BLAST FROM THE PAST

    "Boy Child: Very Best of 1967-70 [IMPORT]" Scott Walker Our price: $16.99
    ...available here.
    Have you ever heard Scott Walker? "Boy Child" culls Walker originals from his first five solo records, which were originally issued in the late '60s and early '70s. An American expatriate in England, Walker made his initial impact via the elegant schmaltz of Walker Brothers hits such as "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore," "After the Lights Go Out," and "Another Tear Falls." Walker never had any hits to speak of as a singer-songwriter (his interpretations of Jacques Brel's work comprised his hits as a solo artist), but cult-hero status was ensured by the tracks found on this disc. Walker's songs display little of the confessional tone popularized at the time by the James Taylors of the world. Instead, his songs tend to attempt to squeeze the existential novel into the three-minute pop-song format. While he may not always have been successful as a philosopher, he certainly made some stunningly beautiful records. "Boy Child" contains Walker's most successful early compositions: the bizarre and affecting "Montague Terrace (In Blue)," the self-explanatory "It's Raining Today," and his pop masterpiece of surrealist political commentary, "The Old Man's Back Again." "Boy Child" is the perfect place to start for those wondering where David Bowie, Marc Almond, Nick Cave, and countless others copped their crooning chops.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOADS

    The Ramones are the Beatles of punk rock. Their music sounds as fresh today as it did when they debuted over 20 years ago, and not a single pop-punk band since has surpassed their brilliance. Download a handful of Ramones tracks, including four rare demos.

    Go to download
    ...available here.

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PREVIOUS PREVIEWS

    POSTED 30 JULY 2001

    "Skin" Melissa Etheridge
    ...available here.
    The much-publicized dissolution of her lengthy relationship with Julie Cypher has prompted Melissa Etheridge to dig deep inside and pull out the most immediate and undeniable album of her career. While she has never been one to shrink from exposing her wounds, here her nakedness doesn't feel at all like rock-star posturing. This time it's personal.
    Listen to "Lover Please"
    ...available here.

    "Shangri-La Dee Da" Stone Temple Pilots
    ...available here.
    STP's fifth album is something of a summary of all that's come before in the Southern California foursome's tumultuous history. While the crushing opener, "Dumb Love," signals a return to their grunge roots, Scott Weiland and company soon branch off into poppier directions. One thing you've got to give this group: they're never short of hooks!

    Listen to "Wonderful"
    ...available here.

    "Ignition!" Brian Setzer
    ...available here.
    After reviving his career in the '90s by transforming himself from a rockabilly cat to a swinging maestro, Brian Setzer hops back in the hot rod and navigates a U-turn with his latest. Exploring the high-energy sounds that first brought him fame as the leader of the Stray Cats, Setzer shows he's not forgotten how to rock it inside out.

    Listen to "Hot Rod Girl"
    ...available here.

    "Don't Tell the Band [Digipak]" Widespread Panic
    ...available here.
    Widespread Panic have put on some muscle without losing anything in the way of limberness. The 10-year recording vets infuse their jam-happy rock with new influences in a manner that'll please their devoted followers.
    Listen to "Imitation Leather Shoes"
    ...available here.

    Joe Henry
    ...available here.
    The restless singer-songwriter's latest won't disappoint those who've come to expect the unexpected from their hero. His sister-in-law is Madonna and his latest collaborators include Ornette Coleman--and that's just how this record sounds.
    Listen to "Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation"
    ...available here.

    FROM THE VAULTS

    The Golden Age of Ricky Nelson
    Call him the original Backstreet Boy. Teen idol Ricky Nelson made high schoolers swoon in the early days, but he also produced some of the finest rock & roll albums of his time. Check out his early works along with other recent reissues and retrospectives.
    Listen to "Lonesome Town"
    ...available here.
    Rock Reissues & Retrospectives
    ...available here.

    CLASSIC ROCK

    Roxy Music, "The Best of Roxy Music"
    Art rockers of the first order in the '70s before transforming themselves into masters of seduction rock in the '80s, Roxy Music were among the most intriguing bands of their era--a contention that's ably supported by the 18 selections on this career retrospective.
    Listen to "More Than This"
    ...available here.

    Classic Rock Store
    ...available here.

    HARD ROCK & METAL

    The Staind, "Break the Cycle"
    Proving that the breakthrough success of 1999's "Dysfunction" was no fluke, the Staind have concocted an album that's harsh yet accessible. It appears there's a new contender in the heavyweight class.
    ...available here.

    Listen to "Open Your Eyes"
    ...available here.

    Hard Rock & Metal Store
    ...available here.

    RECOMMENDED

    Eve 6, "Horrorscope"
    An Eve 6 booster from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, writes of the band's most recent CD: "It's good to see a mainstream band with a little bit of talent and something in reserve. Not to mention, the hooks are lethal!"

    Listen to "Rescue"
    ...available here.

    ARTIST STORES

    The Beatles, "Live at the BBC"
    "Live at the BBC" captures the Beatles during their rockin' and rollin' days on the Beeb. Check it out in our Beatles Store. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000007MVD/ncdn">...available here.
    Beatles Store
    ...available here.

    UPSTARTS

    Scott Miller, "Thus Always to Tyrants"
    ...available here.
    Former V-Roys frontman Scott Miller sets off on his own and delivers an album that ranks with the best roots-rock records in recent memory. If you like that new Buffalo Springfield box, you'll want to check this one out.

    Bacon Brothers, "Can't Complain"
    ...available here.
    Speaking of roots-rock, the Bacon Brothers return with a third effort of bar-band rock. Despite bro Kevin's movie-star credentials, "Can't Complain" is far from Hollywood slick. Just goes to show that Russell Crowe isn't the only screen idol making music these days.
    Edwin McCain, "Far from Over"
    ...available here.
    While still occupying the lighter side of the rock spectrum, Edwin McCain toughens up a tad with his latest.

    RHINO STORE

    Find Rock Classics

    New box sets by the likes of Buffalo Springfield and the Yardbirds are among the choice nuggets (and the splendid "Nuggets II," also!) available through our new Rhino Records Store.
    ...available here.

    Listen to Buffalo Springfield's "Out of My Mind"
    ...available here.

    Visit our Rhino Records Store
    ...available here.

    ROCKSLIDE AHEAD: ADVANCE ORDERS

    * The Yardbirds, "Ultimate!"
    ...available here.

    * Perry Farrell, "Song Yet to Be Sung"
    ...available here.

    * Sam Phillips, "Fan Dance"
    ...available here.

    * Nick Lowe, "The Convincer"
    ...available here.

    * Judas Priest, "Demolition"
    ...available here.

    FREE MUSIC DOWNLOADS

    We're pleased to invite you to download live non-CD versions of Radiohead's "Pyramid Song" from the new Amnesiac and "Dollars and Cents" from Kid A.
    ...available here.

    POSTED 26 JUNE 2001

    "Poses" Rufus Wainwright
    ...available here.
    A fan from Illinois recommends "Poses" by Rufus Wainwright: "If Leonard Cohen and Ben Folds were to produce a child, Rufus Wainwright would be he. Wainwright's sophomore effort is a cotton candy confection full of pure emotions and beautiful notes that delight and perplex. Catchy-kitschy melodies like 'Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk' and 'California' stick in the head like a pleasant pick axe while darker tones, 'Shadows' and 'Grey Gardens' haunt and brood like no pop song could."

    Read more
    ...available here.

    "Take Off Your Pants & Jacket [EXPLICIT LYRICS]" Blink 182
    ...available here.
    Blink 182 guitarist Tom DeLonge says "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket" sounds harder, faster, and more "punk rock" than anything they've done so far, not a claim to be taken lightly, considering the intensity of their previous albums.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    "Oh Inverted World" Shins
    ...available here.
    The Shins' debut album, "Oh Inverted World," is hands down among the best alternative rock albums of the year. This indie-pop group mixes lyrics as strange and vivid as Jeff Mangum's with a smooth, idiosyncratic pop that recalls Built to Spill, Simon and Garfunkel, and Echo and the Bunnymen.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    "The Invisible Band [EXTRA TRACKS]" Travis
    ...available here.
    "The Invisible Band" marks no major change in direction for Travis, but that's not a bad thing; "Invisible Band" is such a natural, instantly lovable, and thoroughly unforced record, it seems churlish to knock it. Travis are the humble down-to-earth boys from next door, still singing the simplest songs and still making the mundane sound beautiful.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    "Land of the Free?" Pennywise
    ...available here.
    On "Land of the Free?"--a record inspired by the worldwide protests against the World Trade Organization--L.A. skatecore veterans Pennywise claim to have written "a soundtrack for political activists all over the world." While the politics on their seventh release might not be expressed with an eloquence as revolutionary as Pennywise clearly think it is, forget about it; this album is a testament to the sheer seismic power of punk rock.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    "White Blood Cells" White Stripes
    ...available here.
    Why are the White Stripes, a stripped-down blues-punk duo from Detroit, on everyone's lips as "the next big thing?" Singer-guitarist Jack White and his standup-drumming sis Meg sure look great in their color-coordinated red and white outfits, but their music is the true source of the freakouts. Their new album, "White Blood Cells," bursts with terrific pop songs that combine sancitified blues and dirty punk rock, all delivered with garage-band grace.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    "World Won't End" Pernice Brothers
    ...available here.
    "World Won't End," the second album by Joe Pernice's bright-eyed, decadent pop band, tackles themes of magnificent love, desperate frustration, and spirit-mangling depression. This is oddly uplifting music, however, with nods to Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson, and Big Star. The Pernice Brothers wrap the 11 tracks up in a gorgeous whirl of pedal steel, violin, and cello that's elegant, cathartic, and really nice to listen to when the sun's out.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" Bouncing Souls
    ...available here.
    As the third track on "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" makes abundantly clear, the Bouncing Souls are "True Believers," utterly uncompromising stalwarts of punk--the simple peacetime punk of kids with energy to spare. The album's all about sunny days, pretty girls, BMX bikes, and playful pogoing.

    Read more
    ...available here.

    "Persevere" Proclaimers
    ...available here.
    The Proclaimers finally have released a new album, "Persevere," which brims with bubbling folk rock. Serious numbers about Scottish history and long-gone fathers are slathered with the brothers' country-pop sweetness. If Billy Bragg gave up his acerbic rock for earnest idealism, he might get close to tugging the easy-listening heartstrings the Proclaimers are set on yanking.

    Read more
    ...available here.
    NOT YET RELEASED

    "Ancient Melodies of the Future" Built to Spill
    ...available here.
    Built to Spill drop the hippie stuff and get back to writing great, weird pop songs on their latest album, "Ancient Melodies of the Future." Not that there isn't really tasty and inventive guitar work here--this is Built to Spill, after all, one of the only bands worthy of post-punk indie guitar godhood since the demise of the Dream Syndicate, Television, and Dinosaur Jr. "Ancient Melodies" is their finest CD since 1994's gorgeous, pop-song-heavy "Nothing Wrong with Love."

    Read more
    ...available here.

    Find Alternative Classics The Ramones, Elvis Costello, INXS, Tim Buckley, Los Lobos, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Gram Parsons are among the prominent alternative artists who have been chronicled as part of Rhino Records' impressive reissue program.
    ...available here.

    INTERVIEW

    Peter Buck, chief architect for R.E.M.'s inimitable sound, chats with me about the finer points of home-recording technology, how "Reveal" achieved its consistent sound, and remaining motivated after more than two decades on the frontlines of alternative rock.

    Read more
    ...about PETER BUCK.


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Editor, Michael J. McGonigal, reviews excerpted are copyright © 2001 amazon.com & associate ncdn and CDnow, TowerRecords, Barnes & Nobel associates