Classic Southern rock! Newly classic Scottish pop! Vintage thrash metal! Two great female-fronted bands that don’t exist anymore! And what's maybe the weirdest cover versions in Rock Band history! Just another week of DLC, folks; and our hats are off to the musical wizards who can absorb the entire package.
About that cover version first: Yes, it’s nu-metal guys and Papa Roach pals Alien Ant Farm doing a Michael Jackson song. Which isn’t as weird as it might seem: After all, “Smooth Criminal” is one of the weirder and more menacing numbers that the King of Pop ever penned. And the California band’s take was a hit in its own right, topping the Modern Rock chart in 2001. While Jackson’s version was a sinister dance number, AAF gave it a funk-metal touch to make it less smooth and more criminal.
Prong have been refining their brand of thrash for a good two decades now, and “Idealistic Types” proves they’re nowhere near out of gas: A brand-new track that makes its world debut here, the song’s already been getting the thumbs-up from fans who’ve heard it. Also here is “The Banishment” a recent album track that we challenge you to play without headbanging.
Since we’ve already done Glasvegas and Fratellis packages, you can guess that we love that Scottish pop. So a Franz Ferdinand three-pack was a must, and we’ve got one track from each of the band’s three albums. Leading off is their first international smash, 2004’s “Take Me Out”, and the following year’s “Do You Want To,” which Alex wrote the morning after an especially lively party in Glasgow; the lyric was mainly things that people had shouted at him that night. “Lucid Dreams” shows a slightly different direction on the recent Tonight album, an eight-minute epic with a surprising instrumental jam.
Southern rockers and guitar buffs, rejoice: The great Duane Allman makes his Rock Band debut this week. Of course the Allman Brothers Band is already there, but “Ramblin’ Man” was recorded after Duane’s death. This week we have two earlier tracks that show his guitar in full flight. Driven by acoustic guitars and congas, “Midnight Rider” was a rare reflective moment from the original, hard-driving lineup. That’s Duane on lead acoustic and Dickey Betts playing the electric solo , but the song really belongs to Gregg Allman, whose grizzled vocal was quite a feat for a 23-year-old. “Blue Sky” was one of the last tracks that the band recorded during Duane’s tenure ; and features some beautiful Allman/Betts guitar interplay; a blast of pure Georgia sunshine.
The trio Luscious Jackson split up around 2000, but blazed bright for a few years, combining pop knack with a sense of groove and rhythm—No surprise that the Beastie Boys loved them and signed them to their Grand Royal label. Written by bassist Jill Cunniff, the groove-driven “Naked Eye” was an alternative hit in late ’96. If you like a punkier sound, check out the Distillers’ “Drain the Blood,” where singer Brody Dalle is the closest thing you’ll ever hear to Iggy Pop trapped in a female body. Unless of course it’s Iggy actually getting trapped in one.