BRANDY Full Moon (Atlantic) The newlywed R&B girl explores maturer sounds, with the help of producers Rodney Jerkins and Mike City, and covers P.M. Dawn’s “I’d Die Without You,” with the help of bro Ray-J.
LO FIDELITY ALLSTARS Don’t Be Afraid of Love (Skint/Columbia) The Allstars, best known for their 1999 hit “Battle Flag,” drafted Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli to add vocals and guitar on “Somebody Needs You.”
VARIOUS ARTISTS My House in Montmartre (Astralwerks) In vogue French electronic acts like Air, Daft Punk, and Cassius unite for une fete tres chic.
BILLY BRAGG AND THE BLOKES England, Half English (Elektra) The political folksinger played the album’s first single, “NPWA” (No Power Without Accountability), to rally protestors at the recent World Economic Forum in New York City.
IN THE STUDIO
Birthday boy JOHNNY CASH (who turns 70 on Feb. 26), in Nashville and L.A., recording with producer Rick Rubin. Sources report that the still-untitled album is “about half-finished.”
Metal men PAPA ROACH, in L.A. and Atlanta, putting the finishing touches on the follow-up to their triple-platinum debut, Infest, with producer Brendan O’Brien. The disc, lovehatetragedy, is slated for a June 25 release.
Sensitive lad DUNCAN SHEIK, in L.A., beginning preproduction on his next album as he prepares to enter the studio with producer Patrick Leonard. Sheik plans a return to full-band pop format after the Nick Drake-like dreamscapes of last year’s Phantom Moon.