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Frank Ocean CD tops new releases

Joe Gross, The Stuff

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Frank Ocean, Frank Ocean, Frank Ocean.

The week's must-have album — for historical purposes if nothing else, though there is plenty to love about it — is Ocean's "channel ORANGE."

Available last week from iTunes, the physical product hits stores this week.

Stores, that is, except Target, which is declining to stock the record, citing iTunes' exclusive deal. The Internet popped last week with accusations it may have more to do with Ocean's July 4 admission that he is bisexual. Several songs on "channel ORANGE" refer to his sexuality. Target has denied such allegations.

Last's year's mixtape "Nostalgia/Ultra" was an impressive enough debut for the Odd Future singer and songwriter (check out the totally excellent "Lovecrimes" and "Novacaine" for the full story), but Ocean rocketed to cult fame after singing the hook on Jay-Z and Kanye West's startling "No Church in the Wild" for their "Watch the Throne" project.

Featuring cameos from Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt, Outkast's Andre 3000 and John Mayer, "channel ORANGE" is one of this year's most anticipated R&B albums.

On Thursday, Ocean plays a sold-out La Zona Rosa. For a thrilling sample of the drama he brings to the table, consult YouTube for his excellent July 10 performance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

Also out this week:Hard rockers Baroness' double album "Yellow & Green," Citizen Cope's "One Lovely Day" and "Rebirth," reggae icon Jimmy Cliff's first album in more than seven years.

Hip-hop lifer Nas' "Life is Good," also in stores today, seems strong (not always a guarantee with Nas albums). The first single, "Nasty," released 2011, was a light-speed, old-school banger, while "The Don" and "Accident Murderers" were solid follow-ups.

As for Texans, Jon Dee Graham's "Garage Sale" is out now, as is Billy Joe Shaver's excellent "Live at Billy Bob's Texas."

On the DVD front, most of the interest this week is focused on collections of cult TV: "Eureka: Season 5," "Leverage: Season 4," "Sanctuary: The Complete Fourth Season," that sort of thing. Artier types (and severe Tom Waits fans) should know that Criterion's cranked out an edition of Jim Jarmusch's "Down By Law" on Blu-Ray.

The newest James Lee Burke novel, "Creole Belle," the 19th (!) in the Dave Robicheaux series, hits stores today, as does Richard Slotkin's "The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Almost Became a Revolution" and Lisa Cohen's buzzy "All We Know: Three Lives," a sort of tripartite biography of unpublished writer and bon vivant Esther Murphy (1898–1962), English Vogue editor Madge Garland (1896–1990) and girlfriend to the famous Mercedes de Acosta (1893–1968), who had relationships with Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich.

Contact Joe Gross at 912-5926 or jgross@statesman.com