JUNE 13 RELEASES
Busta Rhymes, The Big Bang (Aftermath/Interscope)
It’s bang or bust time for the recently troubled Rhymes (an associate was killed on the set of his latest video shoot). There’s no shortage of boldfaced names on board, however: producers Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and the Neptunes, plus Stevie Wonder, Eminem, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott, and the late Rick James (!).
The Futureheads, News & Tributes (Vagrant/StarTime International)
They burst onto the scene with their debut, last year’s excellent display of XTC-esque pogoing power-pop, but can anything beat the British quartet’s awesome-ized cover of Kate Bush’s ”Hounds of Love”?
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Sinner (Blackheart)
Rock’s original girl badass is tough enough to take on the Vans Warped Tour crowds this summer; on her first studio album in nearly a dozen years, she gets help from another fierce lady — Bikini Kill/Le Tigre banshee Kathleen Hannah.
Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped (Geffen)
Perhaps the greatest argument for rock relevance after the age of 50, the fearless vets return with one of their best-buzzed-about records in years.
Regina Spektor, Begin to Hope (Sire)
The quirky onetime Strokes tourmate continues to produce her unique Perestroika piano pop; those who consider Tori Amos idiosyncratic have likely never seen Spektor in action.
Sam Bush, Laps in Seven (Sugar Hill)
A front-runner on the bluegrass revival scene, and a man with friends in high places: Emmylou Harris and Buddy Miller both guest.
Elan, Together as One (Vagrant/StarTime International)
Rock-steady dancehall and raggae riddims courtesy of the former Wailers frontman — and his boldfaced producer, No Doubt’s Tony Kanal.
Three Days Grace, One X (Jive)
Not to be confused with 3 Doors Down (they’re Canadian alt-metal, not Mississippi pop-rock) nor with Ugly Kid Joe (though both bands had hits with songs titled ”I Hate Everything About You”).
Widespread Panic, Earth to America (Widespread/Atlantic)
Hackey-sack jams and Southern-fried jazz — it’s all on these rootsy road rockers’ 17th disc, which they’ll be supporting on the road all summer long. So what are you waiting for? Get in the van, man.
Tony Allen, Lagos No Shaking (Astralwerks)
Just in time for the Western Hemisphere’s hot days and warm nights, a mellowed-out Afrobeat adventure recorded over a week and a half in the titular Nigerian city.
JUNE 20 RELEASES
Frank Black, Fastman/Raider Man (Back Porch)
Black Francis returns, and he brought some buddies — guests include PF Sloan, Reggie Young, Cheap Trick’s Tom Peterson and Steve Cropper. Though not, alas, any of his recently reuinited Pixies.
Nick Cannon, Stages (Can I Ball/Motown)
The subject of much ire on ex-girlfriend Christina Millian’s album last month (he cheated! a lot!), the actor-rapper tells his own story on a record produced by Kanye West and über-studioman Scott Storch.
Nelly Furtado, Loose (Geffen)
The album’s called Loose, the single’s ”Promiscuous”…is Nelly trying to tell us something? Actually, the former folkie’s Timbaland-produced third release is more about self-empowerment than sexuality — which doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of belly button in the video.
Keane, Under the Iron Sea (Island)
Piano-laden Brit lullabies for those who think Coldplay’s just a little too hard. But they’ll have the last laugh — the trio has sold over 4 million albums worldwide.
Pearl Jam, Live at Easy Street (J)
Eddie Vedder & Co. augment their recent new release with a live EP recorded at a tiny record store in their Seattle hometown; three of the seven tracks are never-before-heard covers, including ”New World,” which features its originator, former X-man John Doe.