Comedy fans can now get reissues of two classic '80s comedy standup albums by Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams. Murphy's Comedian, recorded in 1983, and Williams' A Night at the Met, recorded in 1986, are now on CD via the Legacy label.

The soundtrack to Fox Pictures' new Emma Roberts vehicle, Aquamarine, is out and features a dozen new upbeat bubblegum pop recordings from Roberts, Sara Paxton, Cheyenne Kimball, Nikki Flores and Mandy Moore, who offers a cover of Blondie's "One Way or Another."

 

Men Women & ChildrenMen Women & Children
Men Women & Children
(Reprise)
½

The first thing I thought of when I listened to the debut of Men Women & Children (well, the first thing after thinking what a dumb name for a band) was, is this really Scissor Sisters in disguise?

Apparently not, but that's the sound you can expect on this upbeat dancy debut. Eschewing the whiner rock lyrics and music that have been de rigueur on the rock charts for the past few years, former Glassjaw guitarist Todd Weinstock teamed up with keyboardist Nick Conceller a couple of years ago to create a "fun" band. A band about spectacle. A band that blows fuses when it plays its light and laser show at clubs.

Of course, that kind of act has to have really powerful foot-moving music, and the two enlisted another guitarist, a drummer and brothers on vocals and bass to round out the act, which melds disco-grooves, Prince-ian funk and other '70s staples with a jammy modern guitar attack to create an ultimate mind-melting party atmosphere.

From the opening "Dance in My Blood," with its faux disco string splashes, to the closing play on grammar, to the Duran Duran-meets wa-wa guitar of "Messy" ("they say boys are messy, but girls just make a mess!") to "Vowels" (where TJ Penzone sings "A-E-I-O-U Nothing"), this is a pounding party disc without much to say other than "You don't need a reason to get out on the dance floor and we can get it on and on all night long."

And sometimes, that's really all that needs to be said.

For more information and sound clips, check www.menwomenandchildren.com.

 

Rob ZombieRob Zombie
Educated Horses
(Geffen)
½

Rob Zombie was just in Chicago last week on a tour promoting Educated Horses, his third solo CD (following a brief career with the band White Zombie). If you missed the concert, you should still pick up the disc that sounds, as all of Zombie's releases, like a growling, rocking horror movie soundtrack.

Rabid Zombie fans will need to play this one extra loud to make it stand up next to the singer's past work; this is probably Zombie's most commercial album, and the guitars are not as bombastic and overdriven as past discs have featured.

The drums and rhythm on "The Scorpion Sleeps" sound like Zombie is channelling Gary Glitter, while on "Foxy Foxy," with its bouncy rhythm track, Zombie almost sounds like he's trying to craft a pop hit for stripping. They're both interesting experiments, but his remake of "Brickhouse," with Lionel Ritchie a couple years back, was more poundingly effective and fun.

It's been five years since Zombie's last disc, so it's not too surprising that his edge has tempered a bit in that time. His focus has been on directing and releasing his horror movies House of 1,000 Corpses and its sequel, The Devil's Rejects.

And two of the creepiest tracks here, "Sawdust in the Blood" and "100 Ways" sound like instrumental background music written for his horror movies. The spooky, twanging, grinding title track of "The Devil's Rejects" appears on this disc; it was not on the movie's soundtrack.

For fans of Zombie's early work, only the pounding "American Witch" and "Let It All Bleed Out" come close to the high octane level of past hits such as "Living Dead Girl" and "Superbeast."

But there's still plenty of evil rock to be had here. "17 Year Locust" opens with an eerie sitar-twang before the guitars come in with a sinister stomp and Zombie starts belting in his trademark growl. "Death of It All" is also slower and more contemplative, as Zombie melds handclaps and a sinister slow beat to create an atmospheric rocker (which is even more tempered by the addition of string parts).

If Zombie's a little quieter these days, he still makes music riddled with creepy sound effects, the occasional cult movie sound clip and lots of darkly frightening sounding guitars and vocals. Highly recommended for fans of both edgy rock music and horror films.