We”re in a bit of a summer lull this week, but that doesn”t mean there aren”t plenty of tasty releases. M.I.A. and Korn are this week”s biggest names to release albums on July 13, but there is a lovely, haunting effort from Danger Mouse & Sparklehouse, as well as the return of Morcheeba with original singer Skye Edwards.
Crowded House, “Intriguer” (Fantasy/Concord): Australian band returns with second album since Paul Hester”s death. Produced by Jim Scott, the album includes many songs the band road-tested in order to give them a more lived-in feel.
Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse, “Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse Present ‘Dark Night of the Soul”” (Capitol): Conceived along with director David Lynch, who shot a number of photographs based on the songs” themes, the project includes songs written by Sparklehorse (the late Mark Linkous) that he wasn”t comfortable singing, so the pair enlisted such guest vocalists as Iggy Pop, the Flaming Lips, the Strokes” Julian Casablancas, the Shins” (and Danger Mouse”s Broken Bell”s partner) James Mercer and the late Vic Chesnutt.
Hellyeah, “Stampede” (Epic): Members of Pantera, Mudvayne, Nothingface and Damageplan come together for this heavy metal hoe-down.
Korn, “Remember Who You Are” (Roadrunner): This Jonathan Davis-led band is one of the few nu-metal bands still standing, in part because, unlike many of its mid-90s contemporaries, it makes music that transcends the genre. Korn has a new label, but returned to the studio with Ross Robinson, who produced the first two albums. Davis described the record to Billboard as “a stripped down record with just the four of us.”
M.I.A., “Maya” (N.E.E.T./Interscope): Motherhood has done little to tame M.I.A.-and thank goodness for that-although she does try to reconcile the various sides of her expanding life here. Anyone who saw the video for “Born Free” knows the U.K.-born Sri Lankan is still spitting mad and creating some of the most creative, beat-driven music around. Read review here.
Morcheeba, “Blood Like Lemonade” (PIAS America): Trip-hop trio makes first album with original vocalist Skye Edwards since she left the group in 2003. Sort of… because she has a small child, Edwards recorded in her home after the band”s Paul and Ross Godfrey sent her tracks.
The Newsboys, “Born Again” (Inpop): Grammy-award nominated contemporary Christian rock group”s new album features a new lead singer, Michael Tait, formerly of dc talk. He replaces Peter Furler, who decided to focus on his songwriting and producing duties within the band. Other changes include the departure of guitarist Paul Colman and the return of guitarist Jody Davis.