JAY-Z 'The Blueprint 3' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
CD: After the triumphant headline set at Glastonbury in 2008, 'The Blueprint 3' is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Led by the hit 'Run This Town' with Rihanna and Kanye West and with huge live shows with Coldplay week of release.
PORCUPINE TREE 'The Incident' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
2CD: Porcupine Tree are unquestionably one of the most difficult-to-categorise and innovative bands working today. The band are fronted by Steven Wilson, who also is well-known for his work producing other artists; from Swedish progressive metal group Opeth, to Norwegian chanteuse Anja Garbarek. He also has several other projects, including No-Man, Bass Communion, and Blackfield. Founded as a self-indulgent creative outlet for Wilson, in late 1993, the solo project became a band, as Colin Edwin [bass], Chris Maitland [drums], and Richard Barbieri [keyboards] were recruited to enable Porcupine Tree to perform live. Richard had previously been a member of one of the most experimental 80's bands, Japan, while in 2002 Gavin Harrison took over the drum stool. Their last three major label album releases 'In Absentia' and 'Deadwing', and the Grammy-nominated 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' have augmented the band's renown. Heavier than previous releases, the albums have found favour with older fans and introduced Porcupine Tree to a whole new audience. 'The Incident' is Porcupine Tree's tenth studio album and like 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' – which was an elaborate conceptual piece fuelled by a 21st century cocktail of MTV, sex, prescription drugs, video games, the internet, terminal boredom and subsequent escape – it takes the listener on a thrilling audio journey. In turns haunting, desolate, hypnotic and euphoric, its centre-piece is the title track – a stunning 55-minute musical statement that breaks down into 14 separate and often diverse [though interlinked] vignettes. The tale begins slowly with 'Occam's Razor', gaining momentum and intensity with 'The Blind House', 'Drawing The Line', and 'The Incident' itself, though the group's masterful manipulation of sounds and textures is never overlooked. The mellowness of 'The Yellow Windows Of The Evening Train', for instance, is accompanied by the gentle crackle of a needle on vinyl – for all his skill as a producer and remixer, Wilson is a staunch supporter of the 'old' ways of listening to music. Incorporating both of these styles, 'Octane Twisted' somehow batters and seduces simultaneously, while 'I Drive The Hearse', further sweetened by an uplifting guitar climax, is an intoxicating slice of melancholy with which to book-end the record's 14-piece song cycle. The seeds of the idea that led to 'The Incident' came to Steven Wilson as he became caught up in a motorway traffic jam whilst driving past a road accident. "There was a sign saying 'Police – Incident' and everyone was slowing down to rubber neck what had happened" he recalls. "Afterwards, it struck me that 'incident' is a very detached word for something so destructive and traumatic for the people involved". Additionally, Wilson delved back into incidents in his own life that had profound affected him, including a lost childhood friendship, a séance, his first love, and the day that he decided to give up secure employment to follow his dream of making music. The album's epic song, an 11-minute Pink Floyd-flavoured masterpiece called 'Time Flies', for instance, begins with the line: "I was born in 1967". 'The Incident' is completed by four standalone compositions all housed on a separate CD to stress their independence from the record's main 14-part suite.
MEGADETH 'Endgame' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
CD: It's a rare thing when a musician comes face to face with what made them great to begin with. 'Endgame' is that moment for Dave Mustaine and Megadeth. "After the smoke had cleared from personnel and label changes, I knew that regaining respect for me and for Megadeth was going to be a huge undertaking" says Mustaine of the process re-tooling Megadeth after what is considered the 'classic' line-up. Mission accomplished on 'Endgame', which is as extreme as anything Megadeth have ever recorded. The album's signature track 'Head Crusher' should not merely serve as a wake-up for old fans but also a new generation ready to keep Mustaine & Co's brand of shredding guitar and bellicose songsmanship at the forefront of today's metal scene. Over time, with album sales nearing 25 million worldwide, Mustaine has balanced rabid-dog aggression with staggering song-craft. The albums 'Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!', 'Peace Sells…But Who's Buying?', 'So Far…So Good…So What?' and 'Countdown To Extinction' remain true metal classics. To make the record he wanted, Mustaine found himself building a full-blown recording studio in San Marcos, California, just outside of San Diego, dubbed 'Vic's Garage' after Megadeth's iconic, skull-faced mascot Vic Rattlehead. Andy Sneap, metal-producer and mixer par-excellence and a Megadeth cohort from 'United Abominations', returned to work alongside of Mustaine. The result of this metal-mongering synergy speaks for itself. "It's a great relationship" says Mustaine of his ongoing dealings with the acclaimed British producer, also known for his work with Killswitch Engage and Machine Head. "I am a better guitarist, singer and producer due to my tremendous respect for Andy and my open ears when he is listening or isn't listening to my point of view". Part of Megadeth' new energies on 'Endgame' goes to the induction of guitarist Chris Broderick, who joins Mustaine, drummer Shawn Drover and bassist James LoMenzo in the Megs tightest line-up in years. Not one to keep an exactly cheery lyrical stance, 'Endgame' finds Mustaine more scalding and articulate than ever. Sure, there's '1,320', a paean to the thrills of nitro funny car racing, but from there, it grows darker and darker. The Edgar Allen Poe waxing 'The Hardest Part of Letting Go…Sealed With A Kiss' finds the narrator entombing his beloved in a wall of bricks whilst Broderick shifts from beautific acoustics to Megadeth's riffy snarl. 'Endgame's' title track is Mustaine at his darkest. "Thematically, I've never been known to be a silent bystander in a world that needs our participation'' he says. 'Endgame' specifically is a document signed into law that further strips away personal civil rights. "It's a bill that George W Bush had signed into law that could put an American citizen in a prison, much like a concentration camp" states Mustaine. Far-fetched? Surprisingly not. Musically and lyrically Dave Mustaine remains metal's true iconoclast whose latest musical offering rumbles with the intensity his career has been built on. Megadeth has come full circle. Megadeth are back to the killing business…and business has never been better.
STARDEATH AND WHITE DWARFS 'The Birth' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
CD: "New Band Of The Day – Imagine Band of Horses if they were on 90's Warp" – The Guardian Online Stardeath and White Dwarfs – the little band with the big sound and weird name. A lot has been made of the connection between Stardeath and The Flaming Lips, so let's go ahead and get that out of the way so we can move on. Yes, they are from Oklahoma, where the waving wheat sure tastes sweet, etc. And, yes, head Dwarf, Dennis Coyne, is the nephew of head Lip, Wayne Coyne.. After traversing the galaxy as the road crew for fellow Oklahomans The Flaming Lips, a strange yet melodically intoxicating band has emerged – psych/prog/experimental pop quartet Stardeath and White Dwarfs. One half stoners with nothing to do but roll joints on their King Crimson record sleeves and one-half confetti launchers/space bubble technicians, Stardeath and White Dwarfs debut their own free-floating circus with their first full-length album, 'The Birth'. A mind-trip of emotion and mood, recalling everything from 'upper' dance freak-outs to 'downer' Floyd-esque anthems, 'The Birth' celebrates a love of all things psychedelic. Lead single 'New Heat' is accompanied with an awesome video, directed by Wayne Coyne You can catch the bands incredible live show when the band are over to play at 'The End Of The Road' Festival and 'Bestival' and their own headline show at Islington Bar Academy on day of album release. The band will return to the UK in November to support The Flaming Lips on the whole of the UK tour.
THE BOXER REBELLION 'Union' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
CD: On January 13th 2009, 'Union' was pre-released in digital format via the iTunes Music Store. Lead track 'Evacuate' became the first global iTunes Single of the Week – generating a staggering 560,000 downloads in seven days. The album went Top 5 on both the iTunes US and UK Albums Charts within 48 hours of release, resulting in The Boxer Rebellion becoming the first unsigned band to break into the Billboard Top 100 Albums Chart on a digital-only release. 'Union' also knocked My Morning Jacket off the iTunes US Alternative Albums No 1 that week, and at one point was outselling the likes of Coldplay and Kings of Leon. Over the last few months, The Boxer Rebellion have been on headline and festival tours across the UK, Europe and the US, where their Los Angeles and New York debut performances sold out in a matter of days. The long awaited physical release includes two previously unheard tracks, 'Broken Glass' and 'Murder Ballad,' the latter being a free MP3 download thanks to Opendisc technology, which grants fans access to an exclusive online fan area which also features exclusive interviews, videos, photos and more.
THE BOXER REBELLION 'Exits' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
CD: Reissue of their 2005 debut album
JOSH GROBAN & CAST 'Chess In Concert' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
Highlights CD I 2CD I DVD: 'Chess In Concert', recorded live from the Royal Albert Hall in May 2008, will be released on DVD, 2 CD and a 1 CD highlights package on September 14th. The now legendary musical, which started its life as a concept album back in 1984, was performed over 2 nights with a superstar international cast, together with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The principal cast included the multi-platinum selling artist Josh Groban as Anatoly, Idina Menzel as Florence, Adam Pascal as Freddie and former Wet Wet Wet front man Marti Pellow as Arbiter. With story and lyrics from Sir Tim Rice [Evita, Joseph, Jesus Christ Superstar] and the music from Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA fame, 'Chess' has an unprecedented musical pedigree, and is a must own CD and DVD for any fan of musical theatre, not to mention those who have been introduced to their multitudinous talents through Mamma Mia and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat. The original album spawned 2 international hits, 'One Night in Bangkok', performed by Murray Head and 'I Know Him So Well', performed by Elaine Paige and Barbra Dickson. Sir Tim Rice stated that this version of Chess is the "official version", after years of different plot and song combinations.
CJ3: CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO 'King Crimson Songbook Volume 2' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
CD: The late Ian Wallace was, for many years, drummer of choice for Bob Dylan, Don Henley, David Lindley & many others. But he always maintained an affection for King Crimson, the band he played with circa 1971/72 & it was while playing with other ex Crimson members in the 21st Century Schizoid Band that he had the idea of arranging Crimson material for a jazz format: "I had so much fun playing these songs again, especially live where there was much improvisation. I thought it might be a cool idea to rearrange some of the Crimson material in a jazz format". The idea became reality when Ian was joined by accomplished musicians Tim Landers & Joey Nardone. Together they issued 'Crimson Jazz Trio Vol 1' in 2005. Of course Crimson's music has always been strong on memorable tunes, while the band remains one of the few to make space for improvisation in many of its incarnations. But if the move to a jazz context for the material is not, perhaps, entirely unexpected, the results are wholly unexpected. Even the most ardent Crimhead will be surprised by the fresh twists on (mostly) familiar pieces, while the 'Islands Suite' takes the material to a different space interweaving CJ3 originals with the material from the studio album on which Ian originally featured. The trio is also joined by fellow ex King Crimson member Mel Collins guesting on soprano & alto sax. CJ3 volume I was greeted enthusiastically by jazz fans & Crimheads alike. CJ3 – already getting rave reviews in the USA – should prove equally popular.
BARRY MANILOW 'In Concert – The Legendary 1978 Concert At The Greek Theatre' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
DVD: Barry Manilow: In Concert – The Legendary 1978 concert at the Greek Theatre captures the momentous occasion at the outset of his distinguished career which led him to perform before millions of people around the world for the next 30 years and continues today. The nearly two-hour concert spotlights pop hits, lushly arranged romantic ballads, as well as a medley of 40's boogie tunes. The concert was recorded by HBO for a TV special, near the end of Manilow's 'In Concert' tour for 'Even Now', his fourth multi-platinum album in a row. On the charts for a year, the album included the hits 'Can't Smile Without You' and the title track, both of which Manilow performed at the Greek Theatre. For 'Copacabana', another huge hit from the album, the stage is transformed into a period set. Shortly after the special was aired, Manilow received a Grammy for that song.
CHRISTOPHER GUEST, MICHAEL MCKEAN & HARRY SHEARER 'Unwigged & Unplugged: An Evening With' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
DVD: 'Unwigged & Unplugged: An Evening with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer' has the legendary musical and comedic trio performing music from heavy metal's loudest band Spinal Tap along with the folk music from A Mighty Wind, and more. "It was probably inevitable for Spinal Tap to reunite. But it's hard to imagine another reunion as charming as this one" – Variety. The 'Unwigged & Unplugged' DVD features two plus hours of songs from the original soundtrack 'This Is Spinal Tap' , the studio album 'Break Like The Wind'  and 'A Mighty Wind'  along with some special surprises and rarities thrown in. In 1979, Guest, McKean and Shearer appeared together for the first time in a Rob Reiner-produced, sketch comedy television pilot called The TV Show. It was here the world got their famous glimpse of Spinal Tap featuring lead singer David St Hubbins [McKean], guitarist Nigel Tufnel [Guest] and bassist Derek Smalls [Shearer]. In 1984, Reiner and the lads devised a way to bring the group back this time in a major motion picture, 'This Is Spinal Tap', and the rest is history, literally. In 2003, Guest, McKean and Shearer came back reincarnated for the Christopher Guest directed film 'A Mighty Wind' where they portrayed The Folksmen, a trio of folk musicians consisting of Mark Shubb [Harry Shearer], Alan Barrows [Christopher Guest] and Jerry Palter [Michael McKean]. The title track 'A Mighty Wind' was a 2004 Grammy Award Winner for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture while the song 'A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow' was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song. 'Unwigged & Unplugged' is not about funny costumes and characters, but rather three long time friends and collaborators who make each other laugh and love nothing better than to find some excuse to get together and play music. The trio commented, "With this being the 25th Anniversary of the film 'This is Spinal Tap', we thought this would be a fun and at the same time, a little challenging, as we have never performed as ourselves. Think of the evening as three old friends jamming in your living room. As opposed to OUR living rooms; we won't be home". Spinal Tap awareness is at an all time high thanks to their performance at 2009's Glastonbury and their World Tour (In One Night) at Wembley Arena this past June. 'This Is Spinal Tap' will be re-released on DVD this September in a special 25th Anniversary Edition.
PARAMORE 'Ignorance' [Release Date 14/09/2009]
PARAMORE 'Brand New Eyes' [Release Date 28/09/2009]
CD: Produced by Grammy Award-winner Rob Cavallo [Green Day, Kid Rock, My Chemical Romance] and co-produced by the band, 'Brand New Eyes' is the long-awaited follow-up to 2007s Gold certified second album, 'Riot!'. The 11-track collection is unquestionably Paramore's best and brightest album to date, fit to burst with all the exuberant melodies, breathless hooks, and irrepressible energy that has made the Nashville-based band one of the most popular rock outfits in recent memory.