Discs, man

› a&eletters@sfbg.com SEPT. 5 Criss Angel, Criss Angel: Mindfreak (Koch) Tell us this recording by TV’s erect-nippled goth heat-throb and full-tilt-boogie cheesenheimer is only an illusion. Audioslave, Revelations (Epic) Their politics check out, though an unboring album will be a revelation. Beyoncé, B’Day (Music World Music/Sony Urban Music/Columbia) The result of a two-week break for artistic freedom, but a Clive Davis overseer might have helped — she sounds like a stressed-out laser on the leadoff single. Grizzly Bear, Yellow House (Warp) Inspired sounds with bite by Brooklyn DIYer Edward Droste, whose queerific perspective brings a burly new hue to his moniker. Iron Maiden, A Matter of Life and Death (Columbia) Count on the barbed Bruce Dickinson to come with confrontation on this wartime studio outing. The Rapture, Pieces of the People We Love (Strummer/Universal UK) Danger Mouse coproduces the new piece from dance punk ex–San Franciskies. Tony Joe White, Uncovered (Swamp/Sanctuary) The original blue-eyed soulster gives it another poke, accompanied by Eric Clapton and Michael “Yah Mo B There” McDonald. SEPT. 12 Basement Jaxx, Crazy Itch Radio (XL) Still all they’re jacked up to be? Black Keys, Magic Potion (Nonesuch) The rock duo ain’t dead. Merle Haggard, Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard (Capitol/EMI) Go back to the origins of the Bakersfield sound and travel through “Okie from Muskogee” all the way up to the anti–Iraq War present. Junior Boys, So This Is Goodbye (Domino) Whether you compare them to old New Order or current Booka Shade, their follow-up to 2004’s Last Exit is already garnering raves. Jordan Knight, Love Songs (Trans Continental/Element 1/EMI) Love Handles might be a better title, though at least Brigitte Nielsen isn’t a guest vocalist. Deborah Gibson does have a cameo. Mars Volta, Amputechture (Universal) Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez may bring it live, but can they pull off another concept album? Pigeon John, Pigeon John and the Summertime Pool Party (Quannum Projects) He claims to be dating your sister. Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive) He and Timbaland use Beastie Boys– or Mark E. Smith–like crackly megaphone vocal effects on the first single; the album title seems both very ’90s and very OutKast wannabe. TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope) David Bowie and Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino bake it up for the increasingly dance-pop Brooklynites. Xiu Xiu, The Air Force (5RC) An army of three hones a pop attack, with backup from producer Greg Saunier of Deerhoof. Yo La Tengo, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador) Fighting words and lengthy psych jams from the indie softniks. SEPT. 19 Clay Aiken, A Thousand Different Ways (RCA) The long wait for the Claymates is over. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (Koch) They were twisting tongues long before Twista. Who’s your favorite: Layzie or Bizzy or Wish or Flesh or Krayzie? Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Then the Letting Go (Drag City) Does this title refer to shaving — or inhibitions? Chingy, Hoodstar (Slot-A-Lot/Capitol) I once saw a bunch of people at 16th and Mission dancing around a boom box blaring “Holiday Inn.” DJ Shadow, The Outsider (Universal) The North Bay’s Josh Davis comes out of the shadows, hepped to the hyph of guests Keak Da Sneak and Turf Talk. But ditch that Urb stylist. Fergie, The Dutchess (Will.I.Am/A&M/Interscope) And you thought pop music couldn’t be more heinous than the Black Eyed Peas? The microwaved hollabacks of the atrocious “London Bridge” are here to prove you wrong. Hidden Cameras, Awoo (Arts & Crafts) Peekaboo, I see you. Kasabian, Empire (RCA) The band named after Linda Kasabian testify on their own behalf with a new album. Jesse McCartney, Right Where You Want Me (Hollywood) Past his TRL sell-by date? We shall see. Mos Def, Tru3 Magic (Geffen) Somewhere between his first solo album and his second, Mos Def started to act like he knew he was cute. Here’s hoping he thinks of music as his true love rather than a step on the road to Hollywood. Pere Ubu, Why I Hate Women (Smog Veil) But at least a few women still love Ubu. Misogyny evidently rules for the post-punk belligerents. Bobby Valentino, Special Occasion (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam) Ludacris’s R&B man speeds up enough to record a sophomore album. Zutons, Tired of Hanging Around (Deltasonic) The Liverpool antsy-rockin’ roots trendoids try their luck on this side of the puddle. SEPT. 22 Thermals, The Body, the Blood, the Machine (Sub Pop) PPP (post-pop-punk) protesting a purely protestant panorama. SEPT. 26 Emily Haines, Knives Don’t Have Your Back (Last Gang) Unsheathe ’em? A Metric cutie ventures out alone. Janet Jackson, 20 Y.O. (Virgin) And acting it. Sean Lennon, Friendly Fire (Capitol) Son of John returns with help from Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda. Ludacris, Release Therapy (Disturbing Tha Peace) If the first single, “Money Maker,” is anything to go by, Luda better watch out, because he’s skating dangerously close to Hammer-like lame flossin’. Scissor Sisters, Ta-Dah (Universal) Good news: guest appearance by Bryan Ferry. Bad news: cameo by Elton John. Either way, there’s no justice when they are more popular than the Ark. Sparklehorse, Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (Astralwerks) Get a stomachful of Tom Waits alongside sound-alike Mark Linkous. Mario Vazquez, Mario Vazquez (Arista) Question: What is better than a beauty-school dropout? Answer: An American Idol dropout — especially one who has been spotted at la Escuelita. He gets bonus points for having the cutest messed-up teeth. Wolf Eyes, Human Animal (Sub Pop) Bagging some inhuman noise. OCT. 3 Beck, The Information (Interscope) Nigel Godrich does the knob twist and fader jive on this new dispatch from “Loser” man. Tim Buckley, The Best of Tim Buckley (Rhino/Elektra) Further proof that “Song to the Siren” is eternal. Decemberists, The Crane Wife (Capitol) Colin Meloy is still finding inspiration in the most unexpected crannies: here, in a Japanese folk tale. The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant) Someone can’t help waving a flag. Jet, Shine On (Atlantic) Substitute “Music” for “Money” in the title of the first single, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.” The Killers, Sam’s Town (Island) Bet they don’t bargain-shop at Sam’s Club. Gladys Knight, Before Me (Verve) Still sounding great while some of her contemporaries rasp and squawk, she covers legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone. Lady Sovereign, Public Warning (Def Jam) After “9 to 5” (not a Dolly Parton cover), she drops her debut. Will she hit it big or wind up MIA? Monica, The Makings of Me (J) Add a little bit of Twista, some T.I. for extra heat, a touch of Missy, and Dem Franchize Boys, and you’ve got the makings of a Monica album. Robin Thicke, The Evolution of Robin Thicke (Star Trak/Interscope) Move over, Jon B, and make way for the son of Alan Thicke. OCT. 10 Blood Brothers, Young Machetes (V2) Fugazi player Guy Picciotto and Sleater-Kinney producer John Goodmanson get Bloody. Melvins, A Senile Animal (Ipecac) We didn’t use the s-word first. Robert Pollard, Normal Happiness (Merge) Is there happiness after a decade-plus beer haze? Young Jeezy, The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102 (Def Jam) The Snowman has recorded 62 tracks for this opus. OCT. 17 Badly Drawn Boy, Born in the UK (XL/Astralwerks) Could BDB have a Broooce fixation? Diddy, Press Play (Bad Boy/Warner) If Danity Kane are anything to go by, it’s officially past time to press eject when it comes to Mr. Combs. Jeremy Enigk, World Waits (Lewis Hollow/Reincarnate/Sony BMG) One wonders how God figures in the latest by the Sunny Day Real Estate and Fire Theft chief. Fantasia, TBA (J) Following in the footsteps of greats such as Patty Duke and Joan Rivers, she recently starred in a TV movie about her own life. Fat Joe, Me Myself and I (Terror Squad) He’s big enough to refer to himself at least three different ways. Frankie J, Priceless (Columbia) Having even survived a cover of Extreme’s “More than Words,” the li’l guy returns to sing more sweet-verging-on-extremely-saccharine nothings. JoJo, The High Road (Blackground/Universal) The li’l pop dynamo and Xtina-to-be with Lindsay Lohan–like looks has sung for our current president, which seems more like visiting an inferno than taking the titular route. Nina Simone, Remixed and Reimagined (RCA/Legacy) More modern folks start fussing with Dr. Nina. Snoop Dogg, Blue Carpet Treatment (Doggystyle/Geffen) Stevie Wonder, the Game, and R. Kelly hop a soul plane. Squarepusher, Hello Everything (Warp) More spastic jazz-dappled emanations from Tom Jenkinson. OCT. 24 Brooke Hogan, Undiscovered (SoBe Entertainment/SMC) The daughter of Hulk Hogan puts all those dark-haired and dark-skinned girls in their place in her first video — after all, no one is more soulful than a putf8um blond. A surefire sign of the apocalypse or just another day in Bush-era pop culture? The Jam, Direction Reaction Creation (Polydor UK) Paul Weller and pals get the big box-set treatment they deserve. John Legend, Once Again (C) Ever heard “My Cherie Amour”? Apparently the billion people who bought the clumsy and far-more-prosaic “Ordinary People” haven’t. The Who, Endless Wire (Polydor) And then there were two. The first studio album since 1982 includes Greg Lake, partially filling in for the deceased John Entwistle, and Ringo spawn Zak Starkey, cospotting the late Keith Moon. OCT. 31 The Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury (J) Famlay and friends return, but what will it be like now that the producer who hit it big with them — a certain Pharrell — is so over-overexposed? Barry Manilow, The Greatest Songs of the Sixties (Arista) Will he cover “Gimme Shelter”? The mind boggles. Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose (Virgin) Breathe easy — the legal tussle between the Loaf and Jim Steinman over the title phrase is through. Paul Wall, Get Money, Stay True (Atlantic) The Houston metal mouth gabs again. NOV. 7 The Game, The Doctor’s Advocate (Geffen) Not that Dre needs one, even if everyone and their moms wonder what the hell happened to the long-awaited and eventually cancelled Rehab. Lucinda Williams, The Knowing (Lost Highway) Bill Frisell and Dylan sidekick Tony Garnier guest on the latest disc by the proud princess of rasp. NOV. 14 Marques Houston, Veteran (T.U.G./Universal) No longer “Naked,” he returns for 106th and Park duty wearing his stripes. Maroon 5, TBA (Octone/J) You have been warned. Joanne Newsom, Ys (Drag City) The sprite of the harp, produced by pigfucker Steve Albini. DEC. 19 Akon, Konvicted (SRC/Universal) Will we want to shoot up or shoot ourselves when Eminem appears on Senegalese ex-“kon” Aliaune Thiam’s “Smack That”? SFBG