Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Fergie, Smash Mouth...
The usually elusive Will Oldham has finally decided to raise his mysterious Palace profile under his latest alter-ego, Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Not only did he get professional production help for his new Drag City disc, The Letting Go (Bjork’s Icelandic producer pal Valgier Sigurdsson was brought on to oversee the project), but he’s actually playing Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight. And the release of the album itself was preceded by the release of the single “Cursed Sleep” back in July, followed by a promo tour of record stores. Palace don’t do singles, much less promo tours. . .
Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Chingy, on the other hand? He does singles. The St. Louis rapper brought in Jermaine Dupri, Pauly Paul, Timbaland, Trak Starz, and Kwame just to make sure there was plenty in the way of radio-ready fare on his new Hoodstar (Universal). And, sure enough, the Dupri-produced lead single “Pullin' Me Back” has been making waves on radio since July. Expect more where that came from. . .
It’s been over a decade since DJ Shadow helped usher in a crate-diggin’ revolution with Entroducing. And then, well, nothing solidly Shadow until Private Press four years ago – a disc that was as elusive as Shadow himself. Well, the time has finally come for him to make another studio statement and he’s pulled a full 180 with The Outsider (Universal), an album full of club-style dance anthems, raps by the likes of Keak Da Sneak and Turf Talk (on the first single, “3 Freaks”), Animaniaks the the Federation (“Turf Dancin’”), and the ubiquitous Q-Tip along with Lateef the Truth Speaker (“Enuff”). There are also a couple of big guitar solos, and some serious political speechifying courtesy of David Banner on the Katrina-inspired “Seein’ Thangs.” That may make it seem like Shadow’s following rather than leading the pack. But you can’t change the world with every new release.
It was only a matter of time before Fergie took her ass outta Black Eyed Peas and into the solo arena. And so it is on her new The Dutchess (Interscope). Of course, if you’ve seen the video for the first single, “London Bridge,” then you already know that she’s keeping her rapmates close by. She also gets plenty of production help from Black Eyed Pea Will.I.Am, and there’s a major cameo by Ludacris. Favorite song title: “Fergelicious” featuring a rap by, yep, Will.I.Am.
Kasabian's Empire (RCA) shot straight to the top of the charts last week in England. And that means, well, absolutely nothing when it comes to how the sophomore album by Britain’s answer to this whole neo-new wave dance-rock thang will fare here in the US. Smash Mouth were laughing all the way to the bank just a few years ago when they were on top of the world. Now they’re bankrolling the release of their latest disc, Summer Girl, by releasing it on their own Beautiful Bomb label. It was co-produced by Jeff Salzman of Killers fame. So maybe there is room in this world for another big hit from the Smash Mouth boys. . . Oh, and just so you’re not thrown for a loop when you hear the new Mushroomhead disc Savior Sorrow (Megaforce), that is indeed a new singer fronting the band. Or, you could just save your cash and take a chance on the new disc, On Leaving (Fat Cat), by former Touch and Go starlet Nina Nastasia.
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