· This Tuesday the Fuel 2000 label issues a savory new retrospective of Bill Laswell's Material collective, one of the 1980s' most intriguing hybrids of avant-funk and jazz. The 13-track CD, simply titled The Best of Material, documents when participants such as Sonny Sharrock, drummer Fred Maher, Chic's Nile Rodgers, Nona Hendryx, Michael Beinhorn, Fred Frith, and Henry Threadgill floated in and out of Laswell's ever-changing electric goo, massaged by his soon-to-be-legendary dub-production wizardry. Highlights include one of Whitney Houston's earliest recordings on "Memories" from 1982's One Down album, and a cover of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti-Western classic "For a Few Dollars More" featuring Herbie Hancock, Henry Kaiser, and turntablist DST.

· Speaking of master soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone, the Cinesoundz/Reprise label has just issued Morricone RMX, an extraordinary new collection of his work remixed by an international cast of knob-twisters, including Nightmares on Wax, Fantastic Plastic Machine, Rockers Hi Fi, and the Sofa Surfers. Standout tracks include Thievery Corporation's blissful "Il Grande Silencio," Terranova's surf's-up spin of "For a Few Dollars More," and Apollo 440's creepy take on "The Man with the Harmonica" (from the rail-station scene with Charles Bronson in the film Once Upon a Time in the West), a tantalizing cascade into wicked dub exploration. Highly recommended.

· The two greatest soundtracks in the history of reggae music are being re-issued this Tuesday by Island Records. Newly re-mastered with original packaging, liner notes, and lyrics are The Harder They Come, featuring Jimmy Cliff, Toots & The Maytals, and Desmond Decker; and the 22-track Countryman soundtrack, featuring Bob Marley & The Wailers, Steel Pulse, Aswad, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Dennis Brown.

· That itch in your head from watching The Sopranos might be R.L. Burnside, as his powerful blues music has been featured prominently on the HBO television series. Well, scratch that sucker out cheap. The Fat Possum Records stable is releasing a new Not the Same Old Blues Crap budget-priced various-artists CD next week. Like a primitive backwoods blues platter, the second volume features two Burnside tracks along with Junior Kimbrough, T-Model Ford, Super Chikan, and Paul Jones. And budget priced it is, at a suggested retail of $4.98 or less.

· Britain's top-notch Q magazine has just given birth to a new 208-page bound special issue, hitting store racks this week in the UK and sparking a lot of whimsical debate over its selection of the 100 best album covers of all time. I must admit that I wholeheartedly agree with the top slots; the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen, Joy Division's beautiful Closer sleeve, Nirvana's Nevermind, and The Who's The Who Sell Out hold positions one through four. Other personal favorites that made the cut are PIL's Metal Box (number 21), Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica (number 39), and the Talking Heads' Remain in Light (number 62). But Yankees beware; the British fanboy mindset is at full twitter with the inclusion of The Stone Roses' self- titled LP as number five, Massive Attack's Mezzanine at number 11, and Pulp's Different Class at number 19. The special issue promises rare images from the album covers' development and lots of fascinating behind-the-scenes revelations. Look to Q's web site (http://www.q4music.com) for more information as well as a special listing of the 10 worst album covers. The stinker list showcases such gems as the Scorpions' Lovedrive, Ice-T's Home Invasion, and David Bowie's Never Let Me Down.

Television Alert:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosts Luther Vandross tonight and Tyrese on Tuesday; The Late Show with David Letterman welcomes PJ Harvey tonight, Moby on Thursday, and Depeche Mode on Tuesday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien features Dave Navarro on Friday overnight and Vertical Horizon on Monday overnight; and Saturday Night Live's musical guest this weekend is Nelly Furtado.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, June 26:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change.

Adam-X - Creative Vandalism (Instinct)

American Nightmare - Background Music (Equal Vision)

Anthrax - Madhouse: The Very Best of (Island) featuring a cover of Joe Jackson's "Got the Time"

The Bacon Brothers - Can't Complain (Zoe/Rounder) featuring film star Kevin Bacon

Basement Jaxx - Rooty (Astralwerks)

Bilal - 1rst Born Second (Interscope) featuring "Soul Sista"

Bionaut - Lubricate Your Living Room (Matador) compilation of out-of-print material from minimalist Jorg Burger

Bliss 66 - Trip to the 13th (Epic) just out of high school in Detroit and produced by hit-maker Glen Ballard

Blue Oyster Cult - Blue Oyster Cult, Tyranny & Mutation, Secret Treaties, and Agents of Fortune (Columbia Legacy) newly re-mastered editions of these early-1970s suburban-stoner classics with bonus tracks

Bonny Billy - More Revery (Temporary Residence) six-track EP from Will Oldham and company featuring covers of material by PJ Harvey, Bill Withers, John Holt, and Tim McGraw

Brand New Immortals - Tragic Show (Elektra)

James Brown - Live at the Apollo: Volume Two (Polydor) two-CD set

CKY - Camp Volume 1 (Island)

Norman Cook - A Break from the Norm (Restless) Fatboy Slim's personal collection of heavily sampled tracks from Bill Withers, The James Gang, and Andre Williams

Jimmy Cozier - Jimmy Cozier (J Records)

Crazy Beautiful - original motion picture soundtrack (Hollywood) with bicultural new music from Dandy Warhols, La Ley, The Pimps, Delinquent Habits, and Emiliana Torrini

Sean Croghan - From Burnt Orange to Midnight Blue (In Music We Trust) new solo album from the former Crackerbash frontman

Vanessa Daou - Make You Love (EQ8R Music)

DJ Dara - Future Perfect (Koch)

David Garza - Overdub (Lava/Atlantic) long-awaited return from this fantastic singer-songwriter

Ghostface Killah - Cuban Linx 2: Bulletproof Wallets (Starks/Epic) new from the Wu-Tang Clansman

Gregory Isaacs - The Ultimate Collection (Hip-O) 20 tracks from the Jamaican's 1974 to 1988 hit era

Jagged Edge - A Jagged Little Thrill (Columbia)

The Liks - X.O. Experience (Loud) formerly known as the Alkaholiks, with guests Busta Rhymes and Kurupt

Loverboy - Live, Loud, & Loose (Columbia Legacy) 14-track collection of concert recordings from 1982 to 1986. Can you say "The Kid Is Hot Tonite"?

Mayfield Four - Second Skin (Epic) sophomore release

Brad Mehidau - Art of the Trio: Evolution (Warner Bros) new two-CD set from the jazz pianist featuring a cover of Nick Drake's "River Man"

Ms. Toi - That Girl (Universal) best known for her vocals on Ice Cube's hit "You Can Do It"

Myra - Miracles Happen (Buena Vista) 15-year-old on tour now with Aaron Carter

Pip Proud - A Yellow Flower (Emperor Norton)

Q-Burns Abstract Message - Invisible Airplane (Astralwerks)

Ram-Z - Trickin' (TVT)

The Ramones - Around the World (Rhino) 71-minute VHS and DVD produced by Marky Ramone

Res - How I Do (MCA)

Beanie Sigel - The Reason (Roc-A-Fella) featuring guest Memphis Bleek

TSOL - Disappear (Nitro) all new from the original lineup

TSOL - Beneath the Shadows (Nitro) CD reissue from 1983

Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm - The Sun Sessions (Varese Sarabande) 20 tracks recorded in 1951

various artists - Deep House Culture (Hypnotic) three-CD set featuring DJ Skooby, DJ Nisan, and DJ Ram

White Stripes - White Blood Cells (Sympathy for the Record Industry)

Andre Williams - Bait & Switch (Norton) recorded live in NYC with guests Ronnie Spector and Rudy Ray Moore

Bill Wyman - Double Bill (Koch) all new from the Rolling Stones bassist

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