GrooveOut Shorts 2: July 2008

The Refuge, Alanis Morissette, Cherish, Julian Yeo, Chanté Moore, Katy Perry, Duffy, South Pacific, Capathia Jenkins & Louis Rosen, Billy Joel, Hercules, Ashanti, Nicolas Matar & Willie Graff, Jay Brannan, Neverdie, Portishead.

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StrangerBilly Joel
The Stranger: 30th Anniversary Edition

Thirty years have passed since The Piano Man released the breakout album that brought him two Grammys. Help him celebrate with two separate CD and DVD packages containing remastered versions of the original recording, the previously unreleased Live at Carnegie Hall 1977 concert, and more. Available July 8. Columbia/Legacy ( — Preview: Nancy Ford

Hercules and Love Affair
Hercules and Love Affair
With a sound that is somewhere in between Blondie and the Black Devil Disco Club, Hercules is simultaneously bizarre and intriguing. It may not be accessible enough to be played in the clubs, but it is still a hell of a lot of fun. DFA Records ( — Review: David Goldberg

The Declaration

Overblown as Pamela Anderson’s silicon injections, Ashanti’s fourth album is just too much: too much synthesizer, too much drama, and definitely too much glitter. Ashanti has always had trouble finding her place in the hip-hop/R&B scene — she’s no Alicia Keys, and she’s definitely no Beyonce. Unfortunately, The Declaration just sinks her more and more into the boring middle. The Inc. Records ( — Review: David Goldberg

DJs Nicolas Matar and Willie Graff
The New York City nightclub Cielo celebrates its fifth anniversary with this collection of its dance hits, mixed by DJs Matar and Graff. Available July 8. Tommy Boy Entertainment ( — Preview: Nancy Ford

JayBrannanJay Brannan

Jay Brannan’s music is like a revival of Tracy Chapman . . . except nobody liked Tracy Chapman. The soft guitar tunes and overcooked lyrics don’t make Brannan special, they just make him boring. Great Depression Records( — Review: David Goldberg

No Rock Un Rolled
More than 700,000 users have helped elevate the online Club Neverdie to the status of “the most famous and highest-grossing virtual nightclub in the world.” Offered here: 14 tribal rock/blues/electronica anthems. Neverdie Records ( — Preview: Nancy Ford

This British electronica trio’s deceptively titled fourth album starts with the intense dissonance of “Silence” and doesn’t let up all the way through this 11-cut selection. Weird, drippy, and oddly appealing. Mercury/Island ( — Review: Nancy Ford

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