April 6 one of those release dates that”s more interesting than star-studded. There are some fine albums coming out from very talented folks like David Byrne, Slash, and Jakob Dylan, but few are likely to make a mark in the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 next week.
Melissa Auf der Maur, “Out of Our Minds” (Phi Group): Former member of Hole beats her old boss, Courtney Love, to the punch by releasing her album first. This is Auf der Maur”s second solo album, and first in six years. She told Billboard that the album, as well as the accompanying film and comic book, were “part of a multidisciplinary Viking-themed project.” I have no comeback for that.
Cary Brothers, “Under Control” (INgrooves): Singer/songwriter best known for his inclusion in soundtrack for “The Garden State” returns with second set. You can also find the Hotel Café poster boy on Tiesto”s new record, “Kaleidescope.”
Solomon Burke, “Nothing”s Impossible” (EI Entertainment): If you don”t know who Solomon Burke is, you need to. He has more soul than anyone you”ll ever know. He first recorded for Atlantic Records in the ’50s and he”s still going strong. Simply a legend.
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim, “Here Lies Love” (Todomondo/Nonesuch): In what has to be one of the strangest themed projects coming down the pike (other than Auf der Maur”s Hagar the Horrible project), Byrne and Fatboy Slim have joined together for this two-disc set that plumbs the depths of Imelda Marcos” rise and fall. The set includes an astonishing array of guest vocalists on the 22 tracks, among them Tori Amos, Santigold, Natalie Merchant, Florence Welsh (Florence + the Machines), Martha Wainwright, Nellie McKay, Steve Earle, Cyndi Lauper, Sia and Roisin Murphy.
Dr. Dog, “Shame, Shame” (Anti-/Epitaph): Philadelphia-based group often gets compared to Flaming Lips crossed with Wilco. Check them out for yourself on their debut for Anti or during their eight-week headlining tour that starts April 14.
Jakob Dylan, “Women & Country” (Columbia): Wallflowers” leader Dylan reunites with producer T Bone Burnett for his second solo album. He”s also joined by Neko Case and Kelly Hogan, who sing back-up on eight tracks. The largely acoustic album builds on the themes Dylan first broached on his solo debut, “Seeing Things.”
Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus Three,” Propellor Time” (Sartorial): Revered British singer/songwriter recruits fellow Brits Nick Lowe, Johnny Marr and John Paul Jones for his latest.
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, ” I Learned the Hard Way” (Daptone): Will this be the album that propels Sharon Jones, a former prison guard, into superstardom? Her last set certainly got her half way there. Her incredible voice and soulful, funky songs are an irresistible combination.
Slash, “Slash” (Dik Hard/EMI Label Services). Do you really need to know anything else about this set other than the name of Slash”s label? Well, sure you do because Slash and his 10-year-old sense of humor are joined by such luminaries as Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Kid Rock and, improbably enough, Fergie on this solo set.
Various Artists, “Songs of the Spectrum” (SingSOS): Artists such as Jackson Browne, Jonatha Brooke, Teddy Geiger and Dar Williams lend their talents to this album of songs co-written by New York Times editor John O”Neil, whose son has autism. April is Autism Awareness Month. Proceeds from the album benefit a number of autism organizations.