Miss at your peril: The Foo Fighters’ (The Joint, September 25-26) upcoming tour schedule: two nights at Red Rocks, Austin City Limits Festival, two nights at the Joint. Yeah, we’re getting one of the world’s biggest rock groups in a club. Not surprisingly, the shows have long since sold out, so you’ll need to get creative … Yearning for the kind of hip-hop you can’t hear in the nightclubs? Minneapolis road warriors Atmosphere (House of Blues, September 26) have you covered, spewing storytelling rhymes over innovative beats … In keeping with the safety-in-numbers theory of live music, there’s a good chance one of Kings of Leon, The Stills or We Are Scientists (The Joint, October 11) will be special when the three indie-rock darlings team up … Vegoose might be gone, but its nice to see one of the festival’s regulars—STS9 (The Joint, October 25)—marking the event’s former Halloween-ish weekend with another visit to town. The Sound Tribe’s electro-charged tunes can turn even the most reluctant jam-bander into a blissed-out twirler … Ask anyone who witnessed tiny Marissa Paternoster singing and playing guitar for New Jersey’s noise-loving Screaming Females (Beauty Bar, October 23) about last year’s stint at the Bunkhouse, and you won’t believe their tall tales. That is, if we didn’t step up and vouch for every single one … Speaking of electronics, you can party like it’s 1999 when the “Fabulous” dance bash hits the, um, Orleans Arena (November 1). Scheduled to rave it up: Armin Van Buuren, Bad Boy Bill, Deadmau5, Robbie Rivera, MSTRKRFT, the Ed Banger crew (featuring Sebastian, Busy P, DJ Mehdi, So Me and Mr. Flash), Crystal Castles, Felix Cartal and Hearts Revolution … Just when Madonna (MGM Grand Garden Arena, November 8-9) seems kinda irrelevant, she goes and mashes up footage of John McCain with Adolf Hitler clips. A ploy for attention, you say? Surely not! Now let’s get out there and see what other totally legitimate musical maneuvers she’s got planned.
Color us intrigued: Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela (The Joint, September 19) used to play thrash metal; now they weave together intricate classical guitar parts. Beat that for an unpredictable genre switch! … His website says he’s not an Icelandic Beck, but listening to his MySpace music, Mugison (Beauty Bar, October 2) sounds a lot like, well, an Icelandic Beck. Which is really kind of cool … Two serious reasons to check out Swedish metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen (House of Blues, October 10): ’cause dude can seriously shred, and ’cause the name Yngwie seriously rules … We’re not sure exactly who his pals might be quite yet, but when Justin Timberlake & Friends (Planet Hollywood, October 17) perform to benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children, we’re guessing there will be a few big names onstage. Or at the very least, Timberlake … The Escape the Fate (House of Blues, October 25) saga refuses to die, so even though—barring a jailbreak—ex-singer Ronnie Radke won’t be on hand to taunt replacement Craig Mabbitt this time, something tells us there will be fireworks nonetheless.
Worth considering: Jessica Simpson (The Pearl, September 19); Lindsey Buckingham (The Joint, September 20); Kid Rock (The Pearl, September 20); Common with N.E.R.D. (House of Blues, September 21); Liam Finn with The Veils (Beauty Bar, September 21); Queensryche (House of Blues, September 28); Opeth with High on Fire (House of Blues, October 8); Panic at the Disco with Plain White T’s, Dashboard Confessional, The Cab (Hard Rock Hotel, October 9); New Kids on the Block (Mandalay Bay, October 11); Mary J. Blige (The Pearl, October 17); The Roots with Gym Class Heroes, Estelle (House of Blues, October 19); Slaughter (Sunset Station, October 25); Rise Against with Alkaline Trio, Thrice (House of Blues, November 4); Alanis Morissette (The Joint, November 15); Portugal. The Man with Earl Greyhound (Jillian’s, November 16); Underoath with Saosin (House of Blues, November 18); In Flames (Houses of Blues, November 23).
Disc I’m Looking Forward to:
Missy Elliott, Block Party (November) Arguably a greater hip-hop boundary-pusher than either Kanye West or Andre 3000, Missy Elliott is not just the most successful female emcee of all time; she’s a stylish, political force. She has rocked a bald head, carried more pounds than women on BET are usually allowed and incorporated Japanese imagery into her videos without alienating her core audience. She’s been under the radar recently, with forthcoming album Block Party pushed back for much of the year. It’s now slated for November, and I hope that sticks, because I can hardly wait for it. She has reunited with childhood buddy-cum-superproducer Timbaland, and advance single “Shake Your Pom Pom” is delirious, yet somehow thoughtful, fun. She promises the rest of the CD will feature bold moves, telling Entertainment Weekly, “We’re always gonna take it as far left as possible without losing people or having them thinking we’re on drugs.” - Ben Westhoff
Clear space off your iPod for: Sure, we’re biased, but even if Ne-Yo weren’t a one-time Las Vegan, his track record writing songs for himself, Jay-Z, Celine Dion, Rihanna, Usher and seemingly everyone else who hangs out in the Billboard 200 would merit consideration for his latest LP, Year of the Gentleman (September 16) … Common might not have the megasales of fellow Chicago rapper Kanye West, but he’s been on quite a critically acclaimed roll this decade, and there’s no reason to think Invincible Summer (September 23)—touted by Billboard as “techno-inspired”—will derail the praise parade … TV on the Radio mainstay Kyp Malone appears to have lopped off his famous ’fro, but judging from the utter magnificence of 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain (not to mention the coolness of previewed new track “Golden Age”), there’s little chance of a Samson-esque strength-robbing effect on follow-up Dear Science (September 23) … Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks might be American Idol champs, but seventh-place finisher Jennifer Hudson has an Academy Award on her mantle, and it’s a safe guess her self-titled debut (September 30) will be a far more listenable affair than the work of most of her fellow Idol participants … The last time Of Montreal released a new album, last year’s superb Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, frontman Kevin Barnes celebrated by coming to Vegas and baring his, well, everything onstage. Scary to think about what he might do for an encore once Skeletal Lamping (October 7) hits the shelves … Three albums in five years?!? What in the world has gotten into Lucinda Williams? The once-snail’s-paced alt-country vet has become downright prolific, but we’re no less excited to hear Little Honey (October 14) than if she’d waited another decade to unleash it.
Hear before buying: We’d normally never recommend a modern-day George Clinton disc, but the guests scheduled to appear on George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love (September 16)—Sly Stone, Carlos Santana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, RZA—demand a listen at least … Best remembered in the U.S. as the Brits behind the risqué “She only comes when she’s on top” line in 1993 hit single “Laid,” James was actually a pretty decent alt-pop band for some 20 years before disbanding in 2001. Let’s see what reunion project Hey Ma (September 16) has in store … Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s were the hip name to drop in 2006, when first LP The Dust of Retreat made massive under-the-mainstream-radar waves. So naturally, the Indiana group is releasing two different versions of its follow-up, the vinyl-only Animal! and the CD-only Not Animal! (both October 7) … Any Bob Dylan diehard will tell you the past two decades have been nothing short of a renaissance for the rock bard, so it’s no surprise something as seemingly arcane as The Bootleg Series Vol. 8—Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006 (October 7)—covering the period that spawned Oh Mercy, World Gone Wrong, Time Out of Mind and Modern Times—is being met with such enthusiasm … Yes, Queen + Paul Rodgers has train wreck written all over it. (It certainly did when the Freddie Mercury-less Queen teamed up with ex-Bad Company singer Rodgers at a 2006 Vegas tour stop.) Still, we’re strangely curious to hear what the semi-supergroup has cooked up for its inaugural—and awesomely named—recording, The Cosmos Rocks (October 14) … And while we can’t endorse their sales exclusivity agreement with Wal-Mart, Aussie stalwarts AC/DC have consistently produced some of our favorite heavy rock tunes (or, at least, they did before they got wildly inconsistent around the mid-1980s), so we might sneak into the big-box chain for a copy of Black Ice(October 21). Better yet, we’ll just borrow yours.
Disc I’m Looking Forward to:
Fall Out Boy, Folie a Deux (November 4) There’s a reason why Fall Out Boy were the first of the mainstreamo bands to become superstars—and it’s not because of their sub-par live show, embarrassing hip-hop covers or addiction to eyeliner. No, the Chicago quartet has always been adept at crafting memorable hooks, whether they’re in the form of shambling pop-punk, electro-glossed pop-rock or simply goofy Top-40 pop. That shouldn’t change with Folie a Deux (translated: “a madness shared by two”). Tabloid hubbub over bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz’s marriage to Ashlee Simpson (and his impending fatherhood) guarantees Deux will have interesting lyrical conceits, even if lead single “I Don’t Care” contains the band’s familiar nods to narcissism (“I don’t care what you think, as long as it’s about me”). Still, the song’s bluesy classic-rock riff and a vaguely rockabilly-sounding bridge hint at a less contrived, more thoughtful sonic direction—a welcome (daresay mature?) evolution for the band. - Annie Zaleski
Others on the horizon: Nelly, Brass Knuckles (September 16); Kings of Leon, Only by the Night (September 23); Mogwai, The Hawk Is Howling (September 23); Plain White T’s, Big Bad World (September 23); Robin Thicke, Something Else (September 30); T.I., Paper Trail (September 30); Deerhoof, Offend Maggie (October 7); Rise Against, Appeal to Reason (October 7); The Cure, 4:13 Dream (October 14); Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun (October 14); I’m From Barcelona, Who Killed Harry Houdini? (October 14); Secret Machines, Secret Machines (October 14); Bloc Party, Intimacy (October 28); Escape the Fate, The War Is Ours (October 21); Pink, Funhouse (October 28); Snow Patrol, One Hundred Million Suns (October 28); Dido, Safe Trip Home (November 4); Big Boi, Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (November 4); Fall Out Boy, Folie a Deux (November 4); Hinder, Take It to the Limit (November 4); Brad Paisley, Play (November 4); Kelly Clarkson, TBA (November 18); Missy Elliott, Block Party (November)