Does the thought of one more boy band, blond baby-doll girl singer, or pent-up rap-metalist make you want to hit somebody one more time? If so, your eardrums will be consoled this fall by some of the resourceful bands and musicians operating in the land of indie labels (i.e., record companies not affiliated with online services or beverage conglomerates). Britain’s Badly Drawn Boy, otherwise known as Damon Gough, arrives on U.S. shores with his first full album, The Hour of Bewilderbeast (XL Recordings/Beggars Banquet, 10/3), a quietly inventive song cycle that chronicles the desperate passions of a relationship, from stalking to sorrow. Amy Rigby’s The Sugar Tree (Koch, 9/26) is sex in the city of Nashville, with the singer-songwriter setting her wry lyrics (”You’ve got a lot of balls/You don’t even care/Wish I could grow a pair”) to a spunky twang. Irish DJ David Holmes (Bow Down to the Exit Sign, 1500, 10/24) and Japanese sonic collage artist Nigo (Ape Sounds, Mo’ Wax, 10/17) mix and match sundry singers (Ben Lee, Martina Topley-Bird, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie), beats, and genres into a sonic smorgasbord. The U.K. quartet Coldplay’s astonishing Parachutes (Nettwerk America, 11/7) benefits from the magical tenor of Chris Martin, whose falsetto swoops in to steal the hearts and souls of Radiohead fans. If you prefer your twisted kicks south-of-the-border-style, the Mexican combo Plastilina Mosh’s Juan Manuel (Astralwerks, 10/17) makes you wonder how a rave would sound in a bordello.
Jazz stars, both young and old, plan to play out the year strong. Fusion guitar pioneer John McLaughlin aims for strength in numbers with the simultaneous release of The Heart of Things Live and The Believer (10/3); clarinetist Don Byron interprets everyone from Sondheim to Stevie Wonder on A Fine Line: Arias & Lieder (11/7); pianist Keith Jarrett bounces back from a recent illness with the live trio recording Whisper Not (10/10); jazz fusion funketeers Medeski Martin & Wood return with special guests for The Dropper (10/24); and veteran jazz diva Abbey Lincoln works her inimitable vocal magic on Over the Years (10/24).
HITS AND BOXED SETS
The countdown to Christmas brings the usual easy-to-wrap compilations … and the hottest cross-generational stocking stuffer will be Beatles One (a tie-in to the publication of the Beatles’ first-ever autobiography), due 11/14. The set list? All the singles that reached No. 1 — in the U.K. or Stateside — on a 27-track single disc. The four-CD Jimi Hendrix Experience contains 56 rare tracks (9/12). Little Feat get feted on the four-disc Hotcakes & Outtakes: 30 Years of Little Feat (9/19). Jazzophiles will rejoice with boxed sets from Max Roach (9/25), Bill Evans (10/10), and Charlie Parker (10/24), and the five-CD companion to the upcoming PBS documentary Ken Burns’ Jazz: The Story of American Music (11/7). Other hits discs are due from … The Band, Kenny Chesney, Soul Asylum (9/26); Billy Idol, Lenny Kravitz, Megadeth, Psychedelic Furs, Spin Doctors (10/24); Los Lobos and James Taylor (11/7).
Fall Music Preview
WRITTEN AND REPORTED BY:
David Browne, Rob Brunner, Rossiter Drake, Steve Futterman, Beth Johnson, Michele Romero, Fred Schruers, Craig Seymour, Tom Sinclair, Marc Weingarten, and Chris Willman.