Widespread Panic's reputation as a jam band comes largely from its legendary live shows, and that's why fans will plan entire vacations around following the Athens band for several days of concerts. But what may surprise folks who haven't listened to them is what a darn fine rock act Panic is in the studio.
Newbies probably owe it to themselves to check out a new compilation "Choice Cuts: The Capricorn Years," which is out today. The disc culls 14 representative tracks from the band's first decade (1988-99), including a couple of live recordings. Don't feel overwhelmed; most of the songs clock in at 5 minutes or less.
Other notable new releases:
• Queenryche, "Mindcrime at the Moore." A two-disc live recording of the intelligent metal band's surprisingly successful "Operation: Mindcrime II." Listen for the guest vocal spot from Ronnie James Dio.
• Pastor Troy, "Tool Muziq." All Music Guide picks this disc as the best, most poignant album from Hotlanta's Troy. Guests include Fabo and Gangsta Boo.