KansasThe boom in interest in classic rock in the '90s gave Kansas, one of America's premier progressive rock acts of the '70s and early '80s, a new lease on life, resulting in a series of new recordings from 1992-2002. While it never hit the charts again over the past decade, Kansas issued a concert film and live album, recorded its old hits with a symphony and issued a couple of new studio albums. The best of those recordings is now collected on Works in Progress, a combo CD/DVD collection from Intersound. The CD features "Portrait (He Knew)," "The Wall," "Hold on," "Dust in the Wind" and some newer material, such as "Freaks of Nature." The DVD offers videos of some of those well-known tracks, as well as of "Icarus" and "Icarus II." For more information check www.kansasband.com.

The Replacements, one of the most celebrated and influential alternative rock acts of the '80s, now have a greatest hits set out from Sire/Reprise in Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? The Best of the Replacements. The disc offers the hits "Kiss Me on the Bus," "Can't Hardly Wait," "I'll Be You" and 17 more, including two new recordings by the three surviving members.

Jive and RCA have teamed up with Rhino Records to issue a "The Hits" series of budget collections from various artists. The latest releases come from Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane and (hed) Planet Earth.

The Jefferson Airplane set originally was issued in 1970 and titled The Worst of Jefferson Airplane. The disc offers "Volunteers," "White Rabbit" and "Sombody to Love" and the new edition offers two bonus tracks.

The Very Best of Hot Tuna offers "Hesitation Blues, "Water Song" and "Sunrise Dance with the Devil" from the Jefferson Airplane offshoot act.

The Best of Planet Earth disc collects the metal/punk/gangsta rap act's best tracks from the past decade and includes "Feel Good," featuring Serj Tankian from System of a Down.

 

WolfmotherWolfmother
Wolfmother
(Interscope)


This is the hard rock album of the year!

Featuring Black Sabbath-esque riffs and vocals and cover art from classic sword and sorcery fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, Wolfmother's debut is like a Frankenstein blast from metal's excess-ridden, black-lit, psychedelic postered, stadium rock past.

The opening track, "Dimension," starts with a yell and a pounding drum as singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale leads the trio from a psychedelic slaloming riff into a solid slab of reptilian guitar distortion.

Then there's "White Unicorn" that offers an almost whimsical guitar lead and vocal before driving into early Sabbath territory and finally slipping into a trippy instrumental Deep Purple zone, with splashes of organ and echoing guitar experiments.

Called the missing link between Black Sabbath and The White Stripes, this Australian band references a host of late '60s early '70s acts, from Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple to ELP to Sabbath. But it manages to make the old-fashioned styles sound new again, thanks to a constant frenetic, electric energy and Stockdale's charismatic Plant-meets-Ozzie vocals.

For those who remember the '90s hard rock band Trouble, you'll hear plenty of similarities here to that sadly unheralded band's latter career recordings.

This is a headbanger's ball album that's pure pounding fun to listen to. Derivative? Yes. But it rocks. With abandon.

Play it loud and remember that everything old can be new again.

For more information and song samples, check the band's site at www.wolfmother.com.