In advance of the Stones' U.S. tour this fall, 22 of the band's albums are being reissued on Aug. 20 as hybrid Super Audio CDs. Listening to the 21-track sampler on a SACD player, these familiar cuts come alive as if you're hearing them for the first time.


Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? Say Yes to One and Leave the Other Behind?
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers, By the Way (WB):
Along with System's Toxicity and No Doubt's Rock Steady, this is one of the three best California rock records of the last year—and that's not to damn it with faint praise. It's the band's "White Album," a compendium of influences that range from the sublime (Beatles/Beach Boys/Doors) to the ephemeral (would you believe Gary Puckett?), marking the emergence of guitarist John Frusciante as a full-fledged pop auteur. With Anthony Kiedis' vocals touchingly out front, warts and all, the closing "Venice Queen" is a worthy successor to "L.A. Woman" and "Jane Says" for the quintessential Hollywood rock anthem.
Roy Trakin

2. Worst Case Scenario (TBS): Previous episodes included how to get out of a three-story window by tying sheets together to escape fire, how to jump from a five story burning building, how to fall down a mountain, how to land a plane and how to slide a motorcycle under a truck. Each week it features a Survivor-like competition, how to survive if stranded on an island, how to survive in the mountains etc. My fave weekly feature is "Gear Girl." This leather-clad brunette demos the latest in toys, including a smoke hood that will give you 15 minutes to get out of a smoke-filled building and a grenade-launching gun that fires webbing in order to capture a fleeing thief. The show is based on a best-selling book of the same name. I personally have received two as gifts—think that says something about me?
—Todd Hensley

3. Stranglers, "Peaches" (from adidas spot), "Skin Deep" (from Me Without You, Epic/Legacy/SMS): The sneaker company’s use of “Peaches,” that classic expression of late-’70s wild-and-crazy-guy hilarity, was inspired indeed—although I’m surprised they didn’t pair the song with their peachy endorsee, Anna Kournikova. On top of that, Nic Harcourt of KCRW L.A., among other autonomous DJs, has been spinning the seductive 1984 single by the same band after rediscovering it on the soundtrack to the current film Me Without You. These two tracks are so memorable in retrospect that they make a strong case for a definitive retrospective on the underrated English band. The Stranglers punk-era output came out on United Artists in the U.K. and A&M in the U.S., while their '80s work was released on Epic. For now, you can pick up Epic’s Stranglers Greatest Hits 1977-1990, although it’s light on the early stuff.
Bud Scoppa

4. Road to Perdition (DreamWorks/20th Century Fox): Gripping Chicago mob story from the Capone eraa must-see. —Lenny Beer

5. British Open: Lenny Beer keeps trying to shame me into starting to play golf, but I’m obsessive enough as it is, and I’ve seen what trying to hit that little puckered ball inevitably does to seemingly normal peopleand to Lenny as well, for that matter. Personally, I find spinning two or three times a week to be sufficient in terms of mainlining testosterone, although I realize that watching people sweating profusely on stationary bikes wouldn’t be nearly as involving on TV as any of the four major golf tournaments, including this weekend’s battle at Muirfield, Scotland. —BS

6. Who's Next? (Image Entertainment DVD): Since the death two weeks ago of John Entwistle, I’ve been in total Who mode. So I pulled out my copy of Who's Next? from the Classic Albums DVD series. They put you in the studio with the original engineers and producers, who deconstruct, track-by-track, original session tapes so you can hear each instrument. (I’m a geek! So what?) There’s tons of vintage, original-lineup live and studio footage; Pete Townshend demonstrating how he created the epic synth backing track for “Won’t Get Fooled Again”; the band’s recollections of what it was like attempting to execute Townshend’s obscure “Lifehouse” vision; and much more. At $17.95, this one’s a no-brainer, even if you’re not a music fanatic.
—Mike Morrison

7. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (Fusion Films/Bona Fide Productions): A great rock & roll movie, accurate on the biz and filled with touching moments (the kid at sound check tapping his foot while eating corn on the cob). Filmmaker Sam Jones has a great eye and a big heart, and there are a number of full-song performances from Wilco, all of them wonderful. Turns out that Jeff Tweedy’s understated charm centers the movie—he makes for a remarkably sympathetic protagonist in this subplot-heavy narrative. —BS

8. Toby Keith, "The Angry American" (DreamWorks): Hell hath no fury like a cowboy scorned. Moved to write him uh scathin' revenge fantasy after Sept. 11, this good ole Oklahoma boy shore is pissed. From "A mighty sucker punch came flyin' in from somewhere in the back" to "We'll put a boot in your ass/It's the American way," this jingo-jingle's got uh fist-shakin' Statue of Liberty, big dog's cages gittin' rattled, and bad folks' worlds getting "lit up like the fourth of July." Whoo-weee!! What else could a beer-swillin', tax-payin', God-fearin' factry worker want? —Guy W.T. Goggles

9. BBMak, "Out of My Heart (Into Your Head)" (Hollywood CD-pro): Delectable ear candy from the post-boy band, impeccably produced by Rob Cavallo and mixed by Tom Lord-Alge—although in this relatively new sub-genre I’d rate these talented pretty-boy singer-players behind their contemporaries in Taxiride, big faves in their native Australia and Japan but presently label-less in the States after the demise of London/Sire. But hey, I’m prejudiced. —BS

10. International Pop Overthrow: L.A. is once again overrun by bands in love with melody, harmony and jangle. Organizer David Bash and his friends promise an eclectic menu of popsters this year. Sure, you'll see local mainstays The Sugarplastic, The Andersons, MysteryPop, Cockeyed Ghost, Kim Fox, Mike Randle of Baby Lemonade, Linus of Hollywood, The Waking Hours, Twenty Cent Crush and The Jigsaw Seen. But you can also catch national limelight-grabbers like Chris Von Sneidern, The Rosenbergs and The Shakes, not to mention power-poppers from as far away as Israel, Japan and Switzerland. Running from Fri., July 19  through Sun., Aug. 4 at an array of venues around town (see the IPO site for details), it'll be a feast for the hook-happy. —Simon Glickman

K-19: The Widowmaker
(Paramount): Harrison Ford
’s a Russian submarine captain sent to order fellow officer Liam Neeson to keep his flagship nuclear craft on patrol even though he knows it isn’t seaworthy. Based on the real-life 1961 Soviet submarine disaster and helmed by female action director Kathryn Bigelow (Blue Steel, Point Break, Near Dark), it’s apparently a little talky (with lame, Dennis Hopper-in-24 Russian accents to boot), but gets more suspenseful toward the climax. That’s when the ship’s nuclear reactor threatens to blow and the two men clash over what could be the end of the world. Here’s betting it’s somewhere in between U-571 and Das Boot . The Hollywood Records soundtrack features original score composed by Klaus Badelt, performed by the Kirov Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Valery Gergiev. The clever website at www.k19movie.com offers all kinds of production information, e-cards, downloads and a “surface the boat” game in a format that resembles a submarine periscope.

Eight Legged Freaks (Warner Bros.): Could be a left-field summer sleeper in the mode of Tremors. This tongue-in-cheek homage to the giant bug movies of the post-war ’50s stars Scream veteran David Arquette as the heir to a mine who arrives just in time to discover that an unfortunate chemical spill has caused hundreds of little spiders to mutate into monsters. Take that, Tobey Maguire. He entlists the town sheriff (Kari Wuhrer) to mobilize the townpeople, which include her children (Scott Terra and Ghost World’s Scarlett Johansson), a paranoid radio announcer (Doug. E. Doug) and a deputy (Rick Willis). The movie was produced by Independence Day’s Roland Emmerich and directed by New Zealand filmmaker Ellory Elkayem, who parlayed his own short, black & white film about a spider that grows to monumental proportions into his feature bow. The Varese Sarabande album includes John Ottman’s original score, while the colorful, tabloid-style website, at www.eightleggedfreaks.com, offers behind the scenes information, an “aractionary” guide to different spiders, downloads, a chance to make your own movie poster and a high-voltage interactive spider-killing game.

Tadpole (Miramax): The advance word on this comedy places it somewhere between The Graduate and the Jacqueline Bisset-starring 1983 movie Class. It’s about the precocious, erudite 15-year-old son of a Manhattan professor (newcomer Aaron Stanford) who forms a serious May-December crush on his stepmother (Sigourney Weaver). Director Gary Winick has made more of a name for himself as the producer of indie features like Ethan Hawke’s Chelsea Walls, and is current a champion of the economic advantages of shooting in digital video. Tony Soprano’s pot-smoking son Robert Iler co-stars as Aaron’s best friend, with such talented farceurs as Bebe Neuwirth and John Ritter also on hand. The website, at www.miramax.com/tadpole, is a “tad” on the skimpy side, though.

Stuart Little 2 (Columbia Pictures): The half-animated/half-live action sequel to last year’s surprise success oince more follows the adventures of E.B. White’s classic character. Michael J. Fox is once again the voice of the lovable mouse, while Geena Davis reprises her role as Stuart’s mom, with Melanie Griffith as a pretty yellow warbling bird who Stuart tried to save from an evil falcon (James Woods) and his scaredy-cat accomplice Snowbell (Nathan Lane). The Sony Soundtrax album features a host of in-house label artists such as Celine Dion, Mary Mary, Mandy Moore, Chantal Kreviazuk, Shawn Colvin, Billy Gilman, Gilbert O’Sullivan (“Alone Again, Naturally”) and Steppenwolf, among others. The website, at www.stuartlittle.com, offers some nifty flash animation, and a cityscape that offers games, corporate partners, trailers, production information, several contests and promotions, a place to buy merchandise and a series of postcards from around the world sent by Stuart. —RT

The Rolling Stones Remastered (ABKCO):  In advance of the Stones' U.S. tour this fall, Allen Klein has taken 22 of the band's albums—from 1963's England's Greatest Hitmakers to the '70s live Get Yer Ya Ya's Out—and is reissuing them Aug. 20 as hybrid Super Audio CDs that will also play on regular CD units. And while I have yet to be sold on Sony's SuperAudio CD as a format, listening to the 21-track sampler on a SACD player, these familiar cuts come alive as if you're hearing them for the first time. You can actually discern the individual instruments and Jagger's vocals now have timbre, but that chest-heaving bottom and that great distortion have been preserved. It's like one of Jim Dickinson's productions for the Replacements—every mistake and piece of feedback can be heard clearly, with the added warmth and oomph of vinyl. Even old warhorses like "Get Off My Cloud" and "Satisfaction" that you thought you couldn't hear again pop out of the speakers like the Stones are in your living room playing between the speakers. Sure, I've been hitting the bong, but it still sounds great. I'm already deciding which albums I want. —RT

Cousteau, Sirena (Palm Pictures):
This London-based, internationally composed quintet’s take on chamber pop is lush, soulful and obsessively formalist, with overt nods to Burt Bacharach and the Righteous Brothers. The primary principals are songwriter/keyboardist/producer Davey Ray Moor, whose work on the band’s exquisite second album is nothing less than a tour de force, and singer Liam McKahey, whose honeyed baritone recalls Scott Walker and the Bowie of Young Americans. From the album’s opening moments on “Nothing So Bad,” as Moor’s sprightly piano and solemn, Procol Harum-style organ hobnob over a Bacharach signature three-four groove, setting the stage for McKahey’s suave entrance, it’s obvious that Cousteau is a band of elegance and canniness. That gem turns out to be merely a setup for the sensationally hooky single “Talking to Myself,” which features pop songcraft, arranging and production at its most elevated. Wow. This one’s a keeper. —BS

David Baerwald, Here Comes the New Folk Underground (Lost Highway):
Don’t let the word “folk” frighten you—Baerwald’s rough-and-tumble songs have roots-rock punch and hooky choruses to spare. A perfect example is the uptempo “Compassion,” a dark-tinged but resilient anthem that will compel even the most jaded to sing along. Then there’s the stunningly immediate “Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down,” the edgy, disillusioned “Love #29” and especially the gorgeous heartbreak reverie “The Crash.” Baerwald’s warm but cracked voice is as comfortable as a favorite old coat, and the elegant arrangements feel utterly timeless. After a few listens, this Underground feels a lot like home.
Simon Glickman

Sonic Youth, Murray Street (DGC):
These spiritual heirs to the downtown Manhattan avant-rock aesthetic of the Velvets and Television salute their beleaguered home with their 16th album in a 21-year-career—named after the band’s recording studio, located only blocks from Ground Zero. Opener “The Empty Page” references early Who, Bowie and Zeppelin by way of Moby, and “Disconnection Notice” bleats like longtime SY fan Neil Young, while “Rain on Tin” nails the missing link between the noodling jams of the Dead and the Philip Glass-like precision of Polyrock. The epic “Karen Revisited,” with Lee Ranaldo’s skronky, apocalypse-now guitars, is an aural reenactment of Sept. 11. One of the last of the great art-guitar noise bands, Youth still sounds forever young. —RT

In celebration of the halfway point of summer, and my birthday last weekend, I’ve picked a refreshing cocktail that will cool you down on a lazy day at the beach.

1 1/4 oz. Bacardi Rum
3/4 oz. Malibu Rum
Fill glass with soda water
Mint leaves
Sugar cane—1 tsp. Sugar if not available
Lots of ice

Sand, surf, music and mojitos—life doesn’t get much better than that, unless a cute bartender is serving you. I don’t know what it is about summer and vacations that causes libidos to vibrate and morals to practically disappear. I celebrated my birthday by partaking in mojitos and sunbathing on a Catalina Island day trip. To my enjoyment, I witnessed grown men vomiting like they were frat boys, a woman passed out on the sidewalk and many lame attempts by men trying to pick me up with lines that wouldn’t have even worked in the '80s. Bartenders love watching people act like idiots, so drink up those mojitos, lose your inhibitions and act stupid so we can have a little fun.

De’s Catalina bar pick of the week: If you love strangely decorated places with bikini-clad women and 50-year-old men wearing Hawaiian shirts singing “Monster Mash,” then El Galleon Restaurant & Lounge is the place for you. It’s mere stumbling distance from the boats that take you back to the real world, which is a plus after a long day of drinking mojitos. This joint has a daily karaoke happy hour from 3-6 p.m. where the entire restaurant sings along. It’s a lot of fun, even I was convinced by my drunken friend to sing our off-key rendition of “Birthday” by The Beatles. The crowd cheered us on, making me feel like a rock star, which is always good on your birthday.

De’s diss of the week: Catalina is a 100% tourist spot; therefore casual beach attire is the norm. It’s expected to see women in bikini tops and shorts everywhere you go, except at the Blue Parrot. With such a tropical name and beach decor, you'd expect to see scantly clad women roaming through the bar area, that’s not the case. My friend and I came be-bopping through the door wearing our best beach attire—flowered skirts and bikini tops. To our dismay, a male employee informed us we weren’t properly dressed to enter the establishment. I could’ve put a shirt on but I didn’t want to. My brand-new $120 bathing suit looked fabulous on me, and I wanted it to be seen. We took our bikini-clad selves to join everyone else dressed like us at El Galleon and had a great time. —Denise Bayles

Well howdee ye like that? Awla that there smack tawkin’ what ah wuz throwin’ down last week uhbout Kevin Harvick losin’ his edge musta got through all that cotton in his ears, cuz that boy shore driv hisself up a storm las’ week in Chicoggyland. He’s done won him that race two times now, and summa them other drahvers ain’t none too pleased, nosirree. Thuh fack o’ the matter is that Harvick’s ballsy move to pass Kurt Busch in the #97 Rubbermaid Ford by divin’ onto the apron almost got him wrecked (whut a save!), and in fack wrecked sevral fellas behind him, includin’ Jimmy Spencer in the #41 Target Dodge. The resultin’ caution allowed him to pit with 68 to go, and crew chief Gil Martin’s fuel gamble, which kept the #29 Goodwrench Chevy on the track, paid off with the win. But as ah been sayin’, some o’ them other drahvers is pissed. Spencer said Harvick’s drahvin’ on the apron was “uncalled for” and that Harvick “still drives like an idiot.” Jeff Gordon, who done come in second, said it was flat-out “stupid.” Well, hyar’s what Harvick done tolt the L.A. Times: “Jeff Gordon got second. Maybe if he had been a little braver, he might have won. He thinks it’s a stupid move. I think it was cool.” Heh. Them’s fahtin’ words. Anyhoo, this week we got us the New England 300 outta Loudon, New Hampshire, at the 1.058-Mile 12-degree banked asphalt oval of the New Hampshire International Speedway. Who gonna winit? Well, know this: Harvick done entered hisself in the Craftsman Truck series (in his own ride), to maximize his track time. And that there Jeff Gordon’s got to have him a big ole chip onniz shoulder, and with a dry spell like his, ah’d be lookin’ for him ta run upfront. And, of course, that dope-smokin’, beer-swillin’ Junior in the #8 Budweiser Chevy’s got ta be jonesin’ for a win by now his own self. Course, if Harvick wrecks them boys, mebbe we’ll have us some fahtin’—that’d be special. —GWTW

New and massive (5/17a)
Coming-out party for a rockstat (5/17a)
He's ageless and tireless. (5/17a)
It's a metaphor. (5/17a)
Dude, that's some vertical leap. (5/17a)
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?

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