• ... A heartfelt new collection of songs about the emotions of fatherhood gets my big thumbs up, washing away the cynical blues of the world. An all-star fraternity of musicians swells the project, Golden Slumbers: A Father's Love, with new originals and interpretations benefiting the National Fatherhood Initiative. Due this coming Tuesday on the Rendezvous/Hum Records imprint, the CD features contributions from dads and uncles Dave Matthews, Will Downing, Phil Collins, Solomon Burke, Loudon Wainwright III, and Buddy Jewel. The golden voice of Smokey Robinson turns in a cover of the Joe Cocker hit "You Are So Beautiful," and actor James Earl Jones offers up a spoken-word piece inspired by the Kahil Gibran poem "The Prophet."
• ... SpinART Records has a special gift for those of us who are turntable-friendly, as next week the label releases a special vinyl-only sampler of artists from its stable. Entitled ... the audible spectrum, the LP features only rare and previously unreleased songs from Head of Femur, Augie March, The Trashcan Sinatras, Clem Snide, Apollo Sunshine, and more. Limited to 1,000 copies, one cool highlight is The Pixies' Frank Black covering Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Going Down."
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Tori Amos on Thursday, Anna Nalick on Monday, and the eels on Tuesday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Gwen Stefani on Friday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien boasts Sparta on Thursday overnight, Guided by Voices on Friday overnight, and Ben Folds on Tuesday overnight; and Austin City Limits features Tracy Chapman this weekend.
New Releases Coming Tuesday, April 26:
Russell Allen - Atomic Soul (Inside Out) solo debut from the Symphony X vocalist
Marcia Ball - Live! Down the Road (Alligator)
Brain Failure - American Dreamer (Thorp) hot off tour with The Unseen, this bilingual sophomore album is sung in both English and Mandarin
Tim Burgess - I Believe (Koch) debut solo album from the Charlatans UK founder
Elvis Costello - King of America (Rhino) expanded two-CD reissue featuring a cover of Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways," and rare recordings of Costello and T-Bone Burnett as The Coward Brothers
The Cure - Pornography, Seventeen Seconds, and Faith (Elektra) re-issues expanded to two CDs
DJ Spooky vs. Dave Lombardo - Drums of Death (Thirsty Ear) the turntable genius and the Slayer drummer team up and bring a fresh perspective to a handful of Public Enemy covers and new originals, with guests Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto, and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D
Doves - Live at Eden (Capitol)
Eels - Blinking Lights & Other Revelations (Vagrant) two-CD set featuring collaborations with Peter Buck of R.E.M., John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful, and Tom Waits
Eleven Minutes Away - Arson Followed Me Home (Deep Elm) from Burlington, Ontario
Hanin Elias - Future Noir (Underground Inc) new from the Atari Teenage Riot singer, with guest Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth
Esthero - Wikked Lil' Grrrls (Reprise) excellent return of this talented trip-hop vocalist, raging on the slop on MTV in "We R in Need of a Musical Revolution"
Ben Folds - Songs for Silverman (Epic) featuring the bonus cover of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit" on the vinyl version
Halloween, Alaska - Halloween, Alaska (East Side Digital) expanded re-issue of the group's 2003 debut, heard on television's The O.C. and featuring the band's take on Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper"
Hater - The 2nd (Burn Burn Burn) new sessions from former Soundgarden members Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron, with guest John McBain of Monster Magnet
Hot Snakes - Peel Session (Swami) CD EP of four songs that became the last sessions recorded by BBC DJ John Peel before his death last fall, utilizing an amazing array of vintage equipment used by a who's who of rock royalty
Jim and Jenny & the Pinetops - Rivers Roll on By (Bloodshot)
Jake E. Lee - Retraced (Shrapnel) featuring covers of rock classics by Johnny Winter, Free, Robin Trower, and Montrose
Lyrics Born - Same $ Different Day (Quannum Projects) new tracks and remixes with guests Dan "The Automator" Nakamura, KRS One, and DJ Shadow
Magellan - Symphony for a Misanthrope (Inside Out) majestic prog-rock opus featuring the 18-minute "Cranium Reef Suite"
Joni Mitchell - Songs of a Prairie Girl (Warner Strategic) collection of 13 songs with a connection to her home of Saskatchewan, Canada, featuring a remix of "Paprika Plains"
New Order - Waiting for the Sirens' Call (London) domestic issue of this new album featuring the Scissor Sisters' Ana Matronic on "Jetsteam"
Oz Noy - Ha! (Magnatude) tasty grooves from this jazzy, soulful guitarist with bassist Will Lee and drummer Anton Fig, featuring a cover of Thelonius Monk's "Blue Monk"
Pain of Salvation - BE (Inside Out) live CD and DVD set
Porcupine Tree - Deadwing (Lava) featuring guest guitarist Adrian Belew, the new album is also available in a 5.1-channel surround-sound edition next month and a special two-disc set in a hardbound book through the band's website
John Prine - Fair & Square (Oh Boy) with guests Mindy Smith and Alison Krauss
Klaus Schulze - Dig It and In Blue (Inside Out) CD re-issues from 1980 and 1995
Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust (Columbia) featuring bonus acoustic versions and a 5.1-channel surround-sound mix on the DualDisc format
Thine Eyes Bleed - In the Wake of Separation (The End Records) brutal metalcore from Canada
Us3 - Questions (Us3 2005) all new and sample-free, featuring a bossa nova and a soul remix of the group's 1994 hit "Cantaloop"
The Vacation - Band From World War Zero (Echo) recently opening for former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, and a big favorite of Steve Jones' "Jonesy's Jukebox" radio show
Van der Graaf Generator - Present (Charisma/Virgin) the band's first new album in 27 years
Leslie West - Get Blooze (Tone Center) with drummer Aynsley Dunbar and bassist Tim Bogert
Zion-I - True & Livin' (Live Up) lyrically sharp underground hip hop with guests Talib Kweli, Aesop Rock, and Del the Funky Homosapien
various artists - Joe Meek: Portrait of a Genius (Castle) import-only four-CD box set of hits and rarities by the legendary independent record producer, know in cult circles for his wildly creative recording techniques in the 1950s for the British RGM imprint