Jazz fans should check out the new "Signature Series" from the Legacy label. The new budget "best of" series boasts "signature artists, indelible songs and life-changing moments" from a variety of classic jazz greats. Newly issued are God Bless the Child: the Very Best of Billie Holiday, Night in Tunisia: the Very Best of Dizzy Gillespie, Send in the Clowns: the Very Best of Sarah Vaughan, One O'Clock Jump: the Very Best of Count Basie, Come On-a My House: the Very Best of Rosemary Clooney and Sneakin' Up Behind You: the Very Best of The Brecker Brothers.Bjork

 

If you're a fan of former Sugarcubes singer Bjork, you can now get all of her solo albums in one box set called Surrounded. As the title might suggest to the savvy, this is not just a boxed bundle of her albums, but a boxed reissue of her albums all remastered in Dolby 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound.

The set spans her work from 1993 to 2005, including her debut hits "Big Time Sensuality" and "Human Behavior," and the albums Debut, Post, Homogenic, Selmasongs, Vespertine, Medulla and Drawing Restraint 9. Each album is offered in a dual disc format: one side includes the regular CD player version of the album, while the other includes the surround-sound remix on a DVD format, complete with the videos that accompanied the album.

 

MuseMuse
Black Holes & Revelations
(Warner Bros.)


Two years ago, Muse leaped out of obscurity and into the pop limelight with its third album Absolution and its hit single, the electroclash pounder "Time Is Running Out."

It went on to top the Pop Stops "best of the year" list for 2004, and is likely to turn up in my top five again for this year, thanks to this release. Certainly, the fans they made over the past couple years have anticipated this CD Black Holes & Revelations cracked the Billboard Albums Chart at No. 9 last week. This is a phenomenal band at the top of its game.

Black Holes & Revelations is an amazing rock experience, running the gamut from the opening track "Take a Bow," to the roller-rink ready pop throb of the Radiohead-esque "Starlight" to the strings and Far East flair of the epic "City of Delusions" to the three-quarter time "Ave Maria"-esque "Soldier's Poem," which features vocal harmonies so rich they would make Queen blush with envy.

Muse will bring comparisons to both Radiohead and U2 for its musical drama, but the band has a style and attack all its own. All of the band's strengths are audible on the opening track, "Take a Bow," which builds slowly from an oscillating keyboard trill and somber vocal to an explosion of energy in the electric chorus.

"Starlight" has the same undeniable flavor that nailed "Time Is Running Out" to the pop charts. "Invincible" brews a potent anthem that should have cigarette lighters glowing in stadiums across the country as the band offers guitar solos, drum volleys and a call of "tonight we can surely say/together we're invincible."

Classic surf guitar opens the stride of "Hoodoo," which boasts an echoey retro ballad style before a mix of grand piano, strings and drum slaloms. But just as that song quiets down, the disc ramps up to close with the spaghetti-western "Knights of Cydonia," which sounds like "Ghost Riders in the Sky" on steroids. For the first half of the 6-minute opus, the song gallops along with lead guitars and pounding rhythms until suddenly at the break, the band goes almost a cappella to sing:

"no one's gonna take me alive
the time has come to make things right
you and I must fight for our rights
you and I must fight to survive."

With that, the bassline turns to a big rock guitar free-for-all that builds to a grandiose end. It's the perfect cap to a wild ride of an album.

If you missed the band's show last week at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, don't miss this amazing CD. For more information on the band, check out http://www.muse.mu.