June Tunies -- The Month's New Cds Include En Vogue, K.D. Lang - And More
New discs from k.d. lang, Wu-Tang Clan, Richard Thompson, David Byrne, Motley Crue and more help score June as one wailing musical party.
Stevie Winwood exits at "Junction 7" (Virgin), an upbeat, rockin' set. Bluesman Duke Robillard finds a "Dangerous Place" (Point Blank). Pensive singer/songwriter Michael Penn is "Resigned" (57/Epic). A reconstituted Supertramp (minus Roger Hodgson) declares "Some Things Never Change" (Oxygen), though the jazzier new sound says otherwise.
Hip hop stars Wu-Tang Clan offer their twice-delayed, double-CD set "Wu-Tang Forever" (Loud/RCA). Jungle Brothers claw through "Raw Deluxe" (Gee Street).
Pat Benatar hits us with her best shots on "Innamorata" (CMC International). Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk makes a positive first impression on "Under These Rocks and Stones" (Columbia). Ericka Yancey, 18, combines young ideas and a mature R&B sound as singer/songwriter of "Ericka" (RCA).
Go to guitar heaven with G3 - Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai - on "Live in Concert" (Epic). Iron Maiden's former front man, Bruce Dickinson, puts pedal to the metal on "Accident of Birth" (CMC International). Robin Trower cranks "Someday Blues" (V-12). Seven Mary Three claim the "RockCrown" (Atlantic).
On their self-titled album for Geffen, Big Blue Hearts offer "high lonesome" harmonies and aching tunes. Vigilantes of Love take the "Slow Dark Train" (Capricorn/Mercury).
Pre-Disney Times Square is celebrated in the Broadway cast album of Cy Coleman's "The Life" (Sony Classical). Art Garfunkel croons "Songs from a Parent to a Child" (Sony Wonder). Sinead O'Connor returns with the six-song EP "Gospel Oak" (Chrysalis). "The Chancellor Records Story" (Taragon) chronicles the Philadelphia-based label with tracks by Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Johnny Burnette and more.
Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett plays "La Scala" (ECM). Dave Brubeck and Sons go "In Their Own Sweet Way" (Telarc Jazz). Roy Hargrove's Crisol blasts zesty Cuban-style jazz on "Habana" (Verve).
k.d. lang carries a torch and a cigarette holder on "Drag" (Warner Bros), a chic set of covers. Among them: "Don't Smoke In Bed," "Smoke Rings, "The Air That I Breathe" and Steve Miller's "The Joker."
Sultry soulsters Changing Faces move mainstream and get tough on "All Day All Night" (Big Beat/Atlantic), featuring the empowering hit "G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T."
Richard Thompson bemoans the downsizing of Britain under Margaret Thatcher on "Industry" (Rykodisc). John Cale offers "Eat/Kiss" (Hannibal). Bush Tetras show "Beauty Lies" (Tim Kerr/Mercury). Brave Combo scores a "Group Dance Epidemic" (Rounder). Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys are "Feelin' Kind of Lucky" (Hightone). The Baha Men claim "I Like What I Like" (Mercury).
The soundtrack to "Batman and Robin" (Warner Bros.). has new tracks from Jewel, R.E.M., Smashing Pumpkins, R. Kelly and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Rhino scores with surf guitarist Dick Dale's "Better Shred Than Dead: The Anthology" and reissues two classics from Ray Charles - "Genius + Soul = Jazz" and "The Genius Hits The Road."
Average White Band imprints a "Soul Tattoo" (Foundation). Ed Palermo Big Band pumps "Big Band Zappa" (Astor Place). Brazilian superstar Milton Nascimento returns with a self-titled Warner Bros. set.
Earthy folkster Maura O'Connell goes "Wandering Home" (Hannibal). Twangy singer/strummer Dale Watson claims "I Hate These Songs" (Hightone).
10,000 Maniacs smooth some edges on the tasty "Love Among the Ruins" (Geffen), marking the debut of singer Mary Ramsey and return of founding member John Lombardo..
Rickie Lee Jones veers far into left field with "Ghostyhead" (Reprise), merging her jazz-flecked vocals and impressionistic lyrics with hard-edged, trip-hop tunes.
Even more perverse is "Titanic: Music As Heard On the Fateful Voyage" (Rhino), assembled with period-perfect arrangements by pop musicologist Ian Whitcomb.
New Orleans' latest gift to the music world is the "brass-hop" of Coolbone (Hollywood), a futuristic fusion of hip-hop, brass-band jazz and freestyle rap.
Producer/performer Gerald Levert lends an assist for his dad Eddie's new album with The O'Jays, "Love You to Tears" (Global Soul). En Vogue returns with "EV3" (EastWest).
Honoring the upcoming 20th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death (Aug. 16, 1977) is a new four-CD collection, "Platinum - A Life In Music" (RCA), featuring 77 previously unreleased Presley performances and 23 hits. Bassist Phil Lesh combed through the tape archives for the two-disc Grateful Dead concert collection "Fallout from the Phil Zone" (Grateful Dead). Soul-rocking cult fave Ben Harper honors "The Will to Live" (Virgin) with a tougher, more commercial edge. James McMurtry finally hits his stride on "It Had to Happen" (Sugar Hill).
Jon Bon Jovi touches down with his second solo set "Destination Anywhere" (Mercury). Neil Young & Crazy Horse are live on "The Year of the Horse" (Reprise). World Party mines the treasures of "Egyptology" (Enclave). John Lydon walks "Psycho's Path" (Virgin).
British sophisticates Swing Out Sister merge pop, urban, adult and jazz feels on "Shapes and Patterns" (Mercury). Philly's jazz-laced soft rockers Huffamoose go national with "We've Been Had Before" (Interscope).
On "Feelings," (Luaka Bop/Warner Bros.), David Byrne delivers "a schizo version of the inside of my head . . . as rendered by many different bands and musicians." Texas country men Lonestar return with "Crazy Nights" (BNA). Lee Roy Parnell celebrates "Every Night's A Saturday Night" (Career/Arista). Old 97 mixes country and rock, no-depression style, on "Too Far to Care" (Elektra), with an assist by Waylon Jennings. Ricochet returns in the "Blink of an Eye" (Sony Nashville).
Motley Crue inflicts the world with "Generation Swine" (Elektra), marking the return of Vince Neil to the fold with Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars.
Neil Peart (of Rush fame) is "Burning for Buddy II" (Atlantic), his tribute to Buddy Rich. Strictly for laughs is "Golden Throats 4: Celebrities Butcher the Beatles" (Rhino).
Sweet Scottish popsters Del Amitri march to "Some Other Sucker's Parade" (A&M).
Patti LaBelle lights a contemporary "Flame" (MCA). Tough mama Adina Howard delivers "Portrait of a Lady" (Mecca Don/EastWest). Mario Winans breaks from the family's gospel tradition with the R&B-focused "Story of My Life" (Motown). Brownstone is "Still Climbing" (MJJ/Work).
Eclectic instrumentalists Friends of Dean Martinez hit the lounge on "Retrograde" (Sub Pop). Country guy Jeff Carson returns with "Here's The Deal" (Curb).
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