Music

GrooveOut Shorts: December 2008

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Captain Magik, Tracy Chapman, DJ Scotty K, Labelle, P¡nk, Lady Gaga, and more. Plus holiday sounds from Carols for a Cure, Sarah Brightman, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian Setzer Orchestra, and New Kids on the Block.
By Nancy Ford

MagikCaptain Magik
Young, Gay & Proud
You may have caught CM’s vid, “Dilemma,” which climbed to the number-two spot on Logo’s Top Ten earlier this year. The rapper’s first complete Homo Hop album showcases his developing skills and storytelling ability. Self-produced (www.myspace.com/captainmagik). —Preview: Nancy Ford

Tracy Chapman
Our Bright Future
The Smoldering One wrote all 11 songs on this album, her eighth since she first drove her fast car into our collective musical consciousness. The gentle, unassuming strokes of the opener, “Sing for You,” reminds us why 20 years later this out lesbian still moves us. Is the “you” she’s singing for, Alice Walker? Elektra (www.tracychapman.com). —Preview: Nancy Ford

LiveDJ Scotty K
Global Groove: Live 4
We first got to know DJ Scotty K from his stint as spinner on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Just like Ellen, you’ll be dancing, too, especially to Nicki Bliss’ thumpa-thumpa version of “I Kissed a Girl.” Centaur Music (centaurmusic.com). —Preview: Nancy Ford

Labelle
Back to Now
Covered in Lady Marmalade, Labelle inexplicably stopped working together as one of the 1970s’ most dynamic recording trios, each eventually going solo. More than 30 years later, Patti and her original Blue Bells, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, have reconvened to create more musical history with this 10-track collection of new tunes. No individual title stands out, because every cut is gold. Verve Records (www.ververecords.com). —Review: Nancy Ford

NoahsArcVarious Artists
Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom
Phoebe Snow, Michelle Williams, Matt Alber, and other high-octane artists contribute to the soundtrack of the film treatment of Logo’s popular television series about men who have sex with men who proudly call themselves gay. Silver Label/ Tommy Boy (noahsarcmovie.com). —Preview: Nancy Ford

P¡nk
Funhouse
Extricated from her brief marriage, P¡nk rocks even harder, if that’s possible, in this bold collection. But listen even harder to her tender lyrics, especially to “Sober” and “Bad Influence.” Strong songs from a strong artist. Virgin (www.pinkspage.com). —Review: Nancy Ford

ZoneSacha Sackett and The Ladykillers
Live at The Zone
Soft-rock tones and dramatic ballads belie the fact that this 10-song set was recorded at a sex club in Los Angeles; comes, appropriately, with a pair of collector’s edition condoms. Golden Sphinx Records (sachasacket.com). —Review: Nancy Ford

Michelle Williams
Unexpected
She’s won three Grammys with Destiny’s Child, toured with The Color Purple, and played challenging rolls on television. Now, with her third solo recording, Williams threatens to unseat Beyoncé as  DC’s top bananette. “We Break the Dawn,” the breakout single, is so jumpin’ it had to be recorded in two versions here. Columbia Records (www.columbiarecords.com). —Review: Nancy Ford

Lady Gaga
The Fame
This “do-it-yourself disco-erotica queen,” W Magazine says, is “one of the hottest acts on New York’s club scene.” The contagious breakout pick, “Just Dance” featuring Colby O’Donis, is currently making the rounds. Interscope Records (www.ladygaga.com). —Preview: Nancy Ford

Nikka Costa
Pebble to a Pearl
Chaka Khan ain’t dead—not even close. But if she were, it would be fair to say her spirit and distinctive voice found a new home in Ms. Costa. Funka-lovely. The title tune, as well as “Stuck to You,” stands out. Stax Records (www.nikkacosta.com). —Review: Nancy Ford 

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HOLIDAY SOUNDS

ForaCureBroadway’s Greatest Gifts
Carols for a Cure, Volume 10
For a solid decade, stars of hit Broadway hits have contributed to this joyous annual compilation of holiday oldies (and newies) in support of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This year’s effort includes tunes from the casts of Mamma Mia, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Spring Awakening, Hairspray, and others, plus a new song written
by Sir Elton John. Rock-it Science Records (rock-itscience.com). —Preview: Nancy Ford

SymphonySarah Brightman
A Winter Symphony
Transferring effortlessly from songs by contemporary artists Vince Gill and Neil Diamond, then on to traditional compositions and classics, the world’s biggest-selling soprano delivers possibly the classiest, crystal shattering-est holiday CD release of this year. Manhattan Records (www.manhattanrecords.com). —Review: Nancy Ford

Kristin Chenoweth
A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas
Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Nat King Cole all birthed holiday albums in the same studio where this 12-song collection was recorded, so the talented Tony winner has good Christmas karma on her side. Especially enjoyable are the nostalgic “Christmas Island” and the twangy “Come on Ring Those Bells.” Sony/BMG (www.sonybmg.com). —Review: Nancy Ford

The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Ultimate Christmas Collection
Setzer’s been wailin’ like the hep cat he is for 30 years now, and this 20-song big-band Christmas collection will make even the Virgin Mary want to roll up the rug and shake it. Also contains a DVD of Setzer’s 2004 Christmas Extravaganza concert, filmed live in L.A. Surfdog Records (surfdog.com). —Preview: Nancy Ford

New Kids on the Block
Merry, Merry Christmas
Remastered from its original 1989 release, this collection reminds us of why the boy-band era went the way of the dinosaur. Contains the classic (?) “Funky, Funky Christmas,” co-written by Marky Mark’s big brother, Donnie Wahlberg. Columbia/Legacy (www.legacyrecordings.com). —Review: Nancy Ford

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