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Byline: Jonathan Takiff
Warming up for the holiday gift giving season, October offers a flood of new releases from the likes of U2, Radiohead, Limp Bizkit, Myztikal, Monifah, Bruce Hornsby, Joe Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash and the proverbial many, many more.
"The album's quite schizophrenic in parts" admits Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien about his group's much anticipated "Kid A" (Capitol). No lie. This highly unconventional set from the Floydian-fivesome veers from the layered collage "Everything in Its Right Place" and the ambient instrumental "Treefingers" to the mordant acoustic ballad "How To Disappear Completely" and the disco-beat "Idioteque." Only a couple tunes (most notably "Optimistic") harken to Radiohead's guitar-centric rock past and seem overtly radio friendly. And that's just the way they want it.
Green Day mellows to the changes in modern rock on the suprisingly mature "Warning" (Reprise).
Grand Theft Audio are ready to "Blame Everyone" (London/Sire). Slaves On Dope tap "Inches from the Mainline" (Divine/Priority).
Honor is paid on "Dead Zeppelin: A Metal Tribute to Led Zeppelin" (Dwell ) and "Into the Mystic: An Instrumental Tribute to Van Morrison"(CMH).
After his intriguing but unsuccessful last album and stage show ("Songs from `The Capeman") Paul Simon goes for musical accessibility on "You're The One" (Warner Bros). The set is chock full of gentle on-the ear melodies and signature riffs (including plinkety-plunk Afro-pop guitars and tasty Steve Gadd percussion work). Still, there's that ironic lyrical core to Simon songs like "You're The One," "Old," and "Senorita With A Necklace of Tears" that makes them powerful _ touching on the fragile nature of life and our human relationships.
British bad boy Robbie Williams lands again with "Sing When You're Winning" (Capitol), a slick pop pastiche including a duet with Kylie Minogue and a song ("Better Man") he claims was infused in him by the spirit of John Lennon.
Badly Drawn Boy, this year's dark horse winner of Britain's prestigeous Mercury music award, debuts Stateside on "The Hour of Bewilderbeast" (XL Recordings/Beggars Banquet).
Veteran folky Geoff Muldaur offers "Password" (HighTone), a charming set of country blues and gospel (dressed in artful parlor arrangments with strings, pump organ and reeds. Guests include the McGarrigle sisters, Dave Alvin and Van Dyke Parks.
John Stewart strings up "Wires From The Bunker" (Appleseed). Mark Mothersbough (of Devo) celebrates "Joyeux Mutato" (Rhino). Tim Russ, an actor from "Star Trek: Voyager," lands with his self-titled set for GNP Crescendo.
Reeves Gabrels, best known for his guitar playing and songwriting collaborations with David Bowie, delivers his own set "Ulysses (Della Notte)" on the E-Magine Entertainment label. Guests include Bowie, Dave Grohl, Frank Black and Robert Smith of the Cure.
Raspy, rascally Canadian singer/songwriter Dan Bryk takes a "Lovers Leap" (Scratchie), evoking the self-effacing comic spirit of They Might Be Giants.
Randy Newman scores "Meet The Parents" (Dream Works). Rockers rule on "Dawson's Creek Vol. 2" (Columbia). While you're reading Ronin Ro's hip hop novel "Street Sweeper" check out the Def Jam soundtrack of the same name. Taking charge are Foxy Brown with Capone-N-Noreaga, Memphis Bleek, Ja Rule and others.
An all-star crew of Cypress Hill, Xzibit, Snoop Dogg and more score "Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins Chapter 2" (RuffLife/RuffNation).
Scarface sez he's "Last of a …