Music lovers don't have to sit idly by listening to those worn-out Christmas tunes about a jolly old fat guy in a red suit. Who wants to listen to old music anyway when there's plenty of new music arriving in stores this December?
Here's what's coming to a music store near you in December:
Dec. 5 Releases
Rage Against the Machine will make their final political statement, at least with singer Zack de la Rocha, anyway, when it releases "Renegades" on Dec. 5. De la Rocha announced last month that he was leaving the band he formed a decade ago to work on solo projects. The album is an eclectic collection of cover tunes by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Ice Cube, Pavement and ... Johnny Cash.
Also arriving on store shelves is Neil Young's "Road Rock Volume 1," a compilation of live recordings with Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde. "60 Minutes of Funk" by Funkmaster Flex also makes the compilation gang featuring DMX, Nelly, Eminem and others.
While '80s rockers Bon Jovi are back on the road this year, their keyboardist David Bryan is releasing his debut solo project. "Lunar Eclipse" is a collection of original jazz tunes including his self-penned Bon Jovi classic "In These Arms."
Grunge heads can also revel with the release of Alice in Chains' "Live," featuring music from the '90s band that found success in the wake of Nirvana and Pearl Jam's explosion onto the music scene. Other releases include The Buddyrevelles' "American Matador," Flossie and the Unicorns' "The Animals' Clubhouse," K-Ci & Jojo's "X" and Marshall Dyllon's "Enjoy the Ride."
Dec. 12 Releases
You don't have to be a jazz fan to get into Etta James' newest project. On "Matriarch of the Blues," the versatile James covers everyone from the Rolling Stones ("Miss You") and Creedence Clearwater Revival ("Born on the Bayou") to the more conventional sounds of O.V. Wright ("Don't Let My Baby Ride") and Al Green ("Rhymes").
Old Schoolers can reminisce with Run-D.M.C.'s "Crown Royal," a two-CD set of old (remember "My Addidas" or the rock 'n' rap collision "Walk This Way"?) and new material. Also on the rap front, Xzibit will release his third album, "Restless," considered to be rap's most-anticipated record of the year. The project was produced by the father of gangsta rap, Dr. Dre, and features guest performances by Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg.
Also expect projects from Tool, a yet to be titled box set of live and unreleased tracks; Field Mob ("613: Ashy to Classy"); SPM ("Time is Money"); and Rewake ("Puzzle").
Dec. 19 Releases
Rapper Snoop Dogg leads the pack of releases for the week of the 19th with his long-awaited "The Last Meal." The project was produced by Dr. Dre and features guest performances by Nate Dogg, Master P, George Clinton and others. The album is being released just after the controversial release of "Dead Man Walking," a compilation of Snoop Dogg's earlier recordings by his former label, Death Row Records.
Rapper Lil' Wayne will also release his next project titled "Lights Out" on the Universal label. New waver from the '80s Boy George is also releasing DJ mixes of dance tracks from his former band, Culture Club. Other releases of note include DJ Clue's "The Professional, Part II," Crazytown's "The Gift of Game" and the soundtracks for "Finding Forrester" (Dec. 26) and "Song Catcher" (Dec. 26.)