· Speaking of cool covers, one of the most rock-steady bands of the 1980s is back this coming Tuesday as Madness returns with its original lineup and The Dangermen Sessions Volume One. Perfectly timed to shake that current Maxwell House commercial (using the band's 1982 hit "Our House") out of my head, the nutty boys are back in their slick new Dangermen persona, this time grooving through a righteous roll of reggae classics and ska-fused covers of The Kinks' "Lola" and The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging on." The reggae selections are like a history lesson to the unschooled, with Prince Buster's "Girl Why Don't You," Desmond Dekker's "Israelites," Bob Marley's "So Much Trouble," and Max Romeo's "Iron Shirt."
· Another must-find for next week is Rock Icons, a special three-DVD box set collecting television appearances by rock royalty as they sat down on couch on The Dick Cavett Show in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Shout Factory Records has assembled these rare segments, many of which have not been seen since they first aired. Cavett's intellectual charm was a bright star in that era's talk-show arena, bringing a sense of respectability to his musical guests as they spoke on the Vietnam War and other controversial issues of the day - no one song and a quick handshake from the host as the stage lights go down! Mixing musicians and Hollywood stars in a wonderfully bizarre juxtaposition on the chat sofa, Cavett sat Janis Joplin down next to Gloria Swanson and Raquel Welch, Sly Stone of Sly & the Family Stone next to Debbie Reynolds, and Stevie Wonder next to Tex Ritter. Others featured in this terrific box set include the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, and Paul Simon.
The Late Show with David Letterman hosts The Knitters on Friday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien features Andre 3000 of OutKast on Thursday overnight, Tommy Lee on Friday overnight, and Jason Mraz on Tuesday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson boasts Tori Amos on Thursday overnight and Joe Walsh on Friday overnight; Last Call with Carson Daly gets chatty with Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing on Friday overnight, Ben Harper on Monday overnight, and Joe Perry on Tuesday overnight; and Austin City Limits presents Alejandro Escovedo this weekend. One more rocker is dipping into the television waters, with Joey Santiago of the Pixies scoring the music for Weeds, a new Showtime original comedy series.
New Releases Coming Tuesday, August 16 :
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change.
30 Seconds To Mars- A Beautiful Lie (Virgin) featuring actor Jared Leto (Panic Room and Fight Club) on guitars and vocal
311- Don't Tread on Me (Volcano)
Reneé Austin- Right About Love (Blind Pig) hot "roadhouse soul" featuring her cover of Elvis Presley's hit "That's All Right"
The BoDeans- Homebrewed: Live from The Pabst (Back Porch) two-CD set recorded this past New Year's Eve in Milwaukee
The Click Five- Greetings from Imrie House (Lava) featuring two songs written by and featuring Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, one song co-written with Paul Stanley of KISS, and guest guitarist Elliott Easton of the Cars
Shemekia Copeland- The Soul Truth (Alligator) produced by legendary R&B guitarist Steve Cropper; guests include Dobie Gray, Felix Cavaliere, and the Muscle Shoals Horns
Cowboy Junkies- Early 21st Century Blues (Rounder) featuring their covers of John Lennon's "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier," Bob Dylan's "License to Kill," and Bruce Springsteen's "Brothers Under the Bridge"
Joe Craven- Django Latino (Compass) new interpretations of the music of Django Reinhardt by the multi-instrumentalist of the David Grisman Quintet
Rodney Crowell- The Outsider (Sony) with his first new music in six years, this highly anticipated album features guests Beth Nielsen Chapman, J.D. Souther, John Prine, and Emmylou Harris - who duets with Crowell on Bob Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm"
Gabin- Mr. Freedom (Astralwerks) new from the Italian duo with guest vocalist Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice
Blind Arvella Gray- The Singing Drifter (Conjuroo) CD reissue of this rare blues-folk from 1972 by the Chicago street singer, featuring originals and traditionals "John Henry" and "When the Saints Go Marching in"
Idlewild- Warnings/Promises (Capitol) domestic issue of this UK hit
Rick James- Rick James Forever (Sanctuary Urban) with R&B crooners Howard Hewitt and Johnny Gill, this is the album of new material he was working on when he died last August
Magic Slim & the Teardrops- Anything Can Happen (Blind Pig) recorded live and featuring a cover of Muddy Waters' "Still a Fool"
Tony McManus & Alain Genty- Singing Sands (Compass) acoustic adventures of the Celtic kind, featuring French fretless bassist Alain Genty
Malcolm Middleton- Into the Woods (Chemical Underground) new from the Arab Strap co-founder with guests from Mogwai and bandmate Aidan Moffat
Pras- Win, Lose, or Draw (Universal) the second solo album from the Fugees co-founder, featuring a cover of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for"
The Ramones- Weird Tales of the Ramones (Rhino) three-CD and bonus-DVD box set featuring 85 tracks and a comic book featuring 25 hot graphic artists
The Siegel-Schwall Band- Flash Forward (Alligator) first new studio recordings in 30 years
The Stooges- The Stoogesand Fun House (Rhino) expanded CD reissues from 1969 and 1970, featuring new liner notes by Alice Cooper and Jack White
Stryper- Reborn (Big3) all new and featuring a fresh recording of "In God We Trust"
Supergrass- Road to Rouen (Pharlophone) import-only
Taproot - Blue-Sky Research (Atlantic) inviting budding filmmakers and animators to craft a QuickTime video for the song "Facepeeler" in a national contest to win a full video-production suite from Sony
Waco Brothers- Freedom & Weep (Bloodshot) excellent new album from Jon Langford of The Mekons, featuring the politically aware "Chosen One" and the not-too-sober "Join the Club"
various artists- Central Park Summer Stage: From the Heart of the City (Circular Moves) featuring Celia Cruz, Ben Folds & Guster, Burning Spear, NRBQ, and more
various artists- Hands Across the Water: A Benefit for the Children of the Tsunami (Compass) supporting Save the Children, this labor of love project features Vince Gill, Jackson Browne, Kohn Prine, Maura O'Connell, Alison Brown, and many more
various artists- Listen to Bob Dylan: A Tribute (Drive-Thru) two-CD set with cover contributions from Steel Train, RX Bandits, Cerys Matthews, Jason Mraz, and more