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Sonic Boom

Band decides to hit the Street

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This Tuesday brings the new Sonic Youth album, Murray Street, influenced by the recording's interruption last fall by the September 11 attacks (see Tim Davis' review of the CD in this issue). Named for the band's lower Manhattan studio address, which was hastily abandoned after only one month's recordings, the album features dual saxophonists Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich of Borbetomagus. The CD bears the Geffen Records imprint, while vinyl purists who discovered the band 15 albums ago on wax need not worry -- the indie Smells Like Records label is issuing a nice gatefold sleeved vinyl edition... After blowing XTC fans' minds with pop rocks and fizzies in their recent A Coat of Many Cupboards box set, the Caroline Records label has begun their promised reissue campaign of 10 XTC albums that originally bore the Virgin Records imprint. This Tuesday brings the first three selections from that catalog -- Go 2 from 1978, Black Sea from 1980, and English Settlement from 1982, all digitally remastered with bonus tracks. These bonus rare tracks are extra special, considering that the box set featured nearly 70 percent previously unreleased tracks, and these gems don't cross over any of that material. A limited edition pressing of each CD will duplicate the original LP packaging, down to the green paper outer sleeve that covered the original UK pressing of English Settlement... More sugary delights are due early next month as the pop purists at Not Lame Records are finally releasing Fan Club, their much-anticipated Jellyfish box set. Clocking in at over three hours, the 4-CD set is entirely composed of outtakes and rarities that coincide with their classic Bellybutton and Spilt Milk albums. From the 44 live tracks and 37 demos, highlights include interview segments, songs written for Ringo Starr, acoustic versions recorded for Japanese television, and a 24-page booklet of essays... Similar to the budget priced sampler CDs that labels often hawk on record store countertops, Music Video Distribution releases next week a super-cheap ($7.95 or less) DVD-only collection that asks, "What the Punk?" The 21-track collection features an amazing array of artists that have branched out from the many limbs of the punk ethos. Not a throwaway collection by any means, What the Punk? features ear and eye-opening videos ranging from the Patti Smith Group's "Dancing Barefoot" and Johnny Thunder's "Born To Lose" to Psychic TV's hypnotic "Godstar" and GG Allin's "Die When You Die." Other highlights include the Butthole Surfers' "Hey" from their Blind Eye Sees All video, Richard Kern's "X Is Y," and the Dead Kennedys' "Let's Lynch the Landlord." And don't worry about the kids -- all foul language and GG Allin's bodily fluids have been deftly removed.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Alanis Morissette tonight, Natalie Merchant on Thursday, Nelly on Friday, and Rosey on Tuesday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Moby tonight, and the "smashing" And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead on Thursday; The Bravo Channel's terrific new Musicians series sits down with Wyclef Jean on Monday; and Saturday Night Live's musical guest this weekend is Kylie Minogue.

(and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change...)

Arkham -- Mahkrs (Volcom), from the parking lots of Huntington Beach, CA, to live on stage this summer on the Warped Tour

Asia -- Anthologia (Geffen), 2-CD set that collects all three of their 1980s classic albums, b-sides and rarities

Babalu -- The Ultra Wide Band Meets the Mighty Babalu Pt. 2 In Hi-Fi Lo-Tech Spaceblues (Kindercore)

Cowboy Junkies -- Open Road (Zoe), box set featuring an audio CD and a DVD of live selections

Dag Nasty -- Wig Out At Denkos (Dischord), reissue with seven bonus tracks, two of which are acoustic

Fatboy Slim -- Live On Brighton Beach (Ministry of Sound / MCA), domestic release of this live and exclusive remix set

Freestylers -- Pressure Drop (Mammoth), anticipated follow-up to their We Rock Hard debut

Greenwheel -- Soma Holiday (Island), on tour this summer with Papa Roach

John Wesley Harding -- The Man With No Shadow (Mammoth)

Juliana Hatfield -- Gold Stars: 1992-2002 (Rounder), 20-track anthology featuring four new tracks and covers of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and The Police's "Every Breath You Take"

Home Grown -- Kings Of Pop (Drive-Thru), catch them live this summer on the Warped Tour

Truth Hurts -- Truthfully Speaking (Aftermath), first woman signed to Dr. Dre's label imprint

Arto Lindsay -- Invoke (Righteous Babe), new from the Brazilian songwriter now using hip-hop production techniques

Manifesto Jukebox -- Remedy (Better Youth Organization), from Finland

Heather Myles -- Sweet Talk & Good Lies (Rounder), featuring a duet with Dwight Yoakum on "Little Chapel"

Nickelback -- Curb (Roadrunner), domestic reissue of their first album, self-produced and self-released in their native Canada

Nonpoint -- Development (MCA)

Nelly -- Nellyville (Universal), featuring guests Cedric the Entertainer, Beanie Segel and Justin Timberlake

Laura Nyro -- Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, New York Tendaberry and Gonna Take a Miracle (Columbia Legacy), three expanded reissues featuring bonus tracks and new liner notes

The Pupils -- The Pupils (Dischord), new project from Dan Higgs and Asa Osbourne of Lungfish

Rollins Band -- The Only Way To Know For Sure (Sanctuary), enhanced 2-CD set recorded live at The Metro in Chicago this past spring

Rosey -- Dirty Child (Island), touring with Melissa Etheridge this summer

Joe Satriani -- Strange Beautiful Music (Epic), featuring guest Robert Fripp of King Crimson on a cover of Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk"

Tony Scherr -- Come Around (Smells Like Records), fantastic solo debut from this bassist for Norah Jones and the Lounge Lizards, easygoing and fragile in a smoky slow motion style that's reminiscent of a soft Beck buzzing over Tom Verlaine

SHeDAISY -- Knock On Sky (Lyric Street)

Soulfly -- 3 (Roadrunner), reunited with drummer Roy Mayorga

Geoff Tate -- Geoff Tate (Sanctuary), solo debut from the Queensryche founder and vocalist

Tricky -- A Ruff Guide (Island), 17-track collection culled from five albums

Velvet Underground -- Velvet Underground & Nico (Polydor), expanded and enhanced, this 2-CD "deluxe version" features bonus tracks, an early rehearsal from Andy Warhol's The Factory, and both mono and stereo mixes of this 1967 classic

Vida Blue -- Vida Blue (Elektra), Phish bassist Page McConnell's new side project, featuring Funky Meters drummer Russell Batiste

The Waterboys -- Fisherman's Blues Part II (Razor & Tie), previously unreleased recordings from the original 1988 sessions

Wire -- Read & Burn 1 (Pink Flag), all new 6-track CD EP from the reunited original lineup

John James can be found via cyberspace at yeahyeah@one.net. *

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