New Releases: A Christmas Preview: From Bob Dylan to Whitney Houston; from AC/DC to Ice T, via M People; from Cher's finest moments to Pink Floyd in a very large box - here is the word on the forthcoming season

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LONDONBEAT: Harmony (Anxious/RCA) 2 Nov

Paper-thin Kylie pop that tickles the ears of many a pre-pubescent. The bland love-all philosophy can't be saved by Jimmy Helms's soulful falsetto, however, and for all the musical talent on display (the lads all play slickly enough, plus Courtney Pine and Daryl Hall guest) the optimistic lyrics and skippy dance beats add up to little in the end.

TYRREL CORPORATION: North East Of Eden (Cooltempo) 26 Oct

This should be one of the best club-to- chart crossover albums of the year. The Redcar duo manage to sing equally intelligently about personal life and 12 years of sustained recession in a seductive Progressive House style. Joe Watson's voice is blissfully reminiscent of the Fine Young Cannibals.

WHITNEY HOUSTON: Bodyguard (Arista) 16 Nov

The soundtrack to her film debut (she plays a famous singer who wants to get into the movies), this contains six new tracks by the first lady of soul, which is a lot or a little, depending on how much you expect from such a busy woman.

ORANGE JUICE: Ostrich Churchyard (Postcard) 26 Oct

The relaunch of Postcard Records gets off to a flying start with this, the debut album from frisky Edwyn Collins and his best band. Reveals the group in rough and spontaneous form.

CHER: Greatest Hits 1965-1992 (Geffen) 9 Nov

All her hits, plus three unreleased tracks, as seems to be the fashion. Includes 'Dead Ringer For Love' with Meatloaf, 'Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves', 'I Got You Babe' with Sonny, and 'Just Like Jesse James.' Witness robo-pop in the making.

HOUSE OF PAIN: House Of Pain (Beggars Banquet) 26 Oct

Playing up their Irish heritage for all it's worth, their summer single 'Jump Around' made them the biggest white rap sensation since the Beastie Boys. But HOP are no pipsqueaks. Like The Pogues slugging it out with Cypress Hill. Recommended.

BOB DYLAN: Good As I Been To You (Columbia) 2 Nov

A one-take studio album from the world's barmiest busker. Alone with his guitar and harp as here, he makes a lot more sense than he does in real life. Particularly worth attending to the sublime version of 'Hard Times'.

GODDESS: The Sexual Album

(Epic) 16 Nov

Three black rock chicks, including Goddess who was born in Amsterdam, which accounts for the samples and industrial edge to what would otherwise be standard blow-dried US rock.

APACHE INDIAN: No Reservations (Island) 23 Nov

The debut from the voluble Birmingham Asian rapper who uses a harsh West Indian accent.

GLORIA ESTEFAN: Greatest Hits (Epic) 2 Nov

A greatest hits (12 of them) album, featuring some prime US dance pop. Includes 'Anything For You' and 'Dr Beat'; plus, rather ambitiously, four brand new tracks including the current single 'Always Tomorrow' and a Christmas song. Cynical or just forward thinking? You the jury.

PINK FLOYD: 9 x CD Box Set (EMI) 2 Nov

Not so much a record as an encyclopaedia, which shows how old and affluent the Floyd's fans are reckoned to be. This has everything, but as the spines all together make up the famous refracting prism image, you might be loath to disturb them. Approx cost, pounds 130.

MAD COBRA: Hard To Wet, Easy To Dry (Columbia) 9 Nov

Another crude and direct dance-hall artist who's cleaning up abroad. The album includes 'Flex' ('it's time to have sex'), which rocked the US R&B chart - a soul track with a Jamaican toaster on it.

CRANES: Self Non Self (Dedicated)

9 Nov

A CD-only reissue of the harrowing Portsmouth indie band's first 'album'. It was self-recorded by siblings Alison and James Shaw in a heatless cellar in winter, at a time when they were living on one potato a day due to lack of cash. The brutally emaciated sound of fuzz guitar and Alison's feotal keening make this sound like a cross between Joy Division and the most hellish parts of the Cure's Pornography. The steady hum in the background is an industrial dehumidifier, in place following a flood.

SHONEN KNIFE: Let's Knife

(Creation) 16 Nov

The three little Osaka girls suddenly adopted by the UK indie scene now come in convenient compilation form. Kitsch subject matter, buzzing guitars and real pop melodies give them an all-round appeal.

WILLIAM SHATNER: The Transformed Man (Creation) 30 Nov

Captain Kirk makes a fool of himself on record. Hammy Shakespeare speeches are only exceeded by absurd versions of 'Mr Tambourine Man' and 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'. Transformed, yes. Into an instant student cult figure.

AC/DC: AC/DC Live (East West)

26 Nov

This double album has all your ear- splitting requirements from the last couple of years from the kings of UK metal. Plus you get to hear Angus Young's guitar-playing without the distraction of his school uniform.

CHRIS REA: God's Great Banana Skin (East West) 2 Nov

Dependable Chris presents the latest in what he has come to think of as 'journalism set to music'.

MISS WORLD: Miss World (East West) 9 Nov

Debut from a slightly creepy band made up of previous punks, who drive their nihilistic message home in songs such as 'The First Female Serial Killer.' Wanton Lou Reed impersonation.

TREY LORENZ: Trey Lorenz (Epic) 23 Nov

A whole album of bedroom-soul from the man who sang with Mariah Carey on her unplugged hit 'I'll Be There'. Sometimes it creeps up to a bit of swingbeat, but mainly it's the 23-year- old and his voice. He has a BA in Advertising, incidentally.

THE FRANK AND WALTERS: Trains, Boats And Planes

(Setanta/Go Discs) 26 Oct

Cork's finest and Ireland's own. The debut album lives up to their great live performances, the clarity of Paul Linehan's voice showing all his unselfconscious earnestness - the equivalent of the polyester jumpers they wear onstage. Every one a catchy chunk of Irish folk and R&B.

BOYZ II MEN: Cooleyhighharmony (Polydor) 26 Oct

Four Philadelphia college boyz who take the barbershop-quartet style into new territory, with the addition of some slick swingbeat rhythms. Already massive in the US thanks to tracks like 'Motownphilly' and 'End Of The Road', their spot-on harmonies make pop's single voices seem painfully thin thereafter.

FREDDIE MERCURY: The Freddie Mercury Album (Parlophone) 16 Nov

An eleven-track compilation of some of the late great Queen man's best solo material, some of which has been remixed by eight chosen producers, including Ron Nevison (the man for West-Coast rock), Nile Rogers and Richard Woolf. Known as The Great Pretender in the US, the album finds space for 'Exercise In Free Love', 'Mr Bad Guy' and 'In My Defence'.

ICE T: Home Invasion (WEA) 9 Nov

Another slab of gangster talk from the rapper who has taken on the task of expressing black America's 'pure ghetto anger'. Plain beats, muted piano and some freaky reverb set off the skilful narrative stream - this is Garrison Keillor with a gun in your face.

SIMON CLIMIE: Soul Inspiration (Epic) 30 Nov

Massively over-produced string of pop songs from this massively well-connected soulboy - Will Jennings and Billy Steinberg helped with the writing, and gospel choirs and Clapton's rhythm section were drafted in. Should make great radio.

CHARLES AND EDDIE: Duophonic (Parlophone) 9 Nov

Two best mates, Charles from Philly, who studied jazz at Berklee, Eddie from Oakland with the Sixties Al Green fixation. An impressive debut of Seventies-style soul.

THE FARM: Love See No Colour (Epic) 2 Nov

The long-awaited follow-up to Spartacus from the million pound Sony employees. Here they get downright Moogy, messing about with synths to produce some remarkably catchy tracks. Singer Peter Hooton's flat hooting is positively sweet after studio treatment. And good riddance the trombone.

MADNESS: Madstock (Go Discs)

Date TBC

The album of the live concerts in London's Finsbury Park this summer. All the nutty hits, with good recording quality. The crowd sings along continually, and is especially good on the catchy bits ('You're an emba-rrass- ment'). The rattle of loose change that greeted Morrissey that day, however, has not been recorded.

ERASURE: 'Pop' The First Twenty Hits (Mute) 16 Nov

A predictable repackage from Britain's fabulous pop tarts. All the synthesised hits that have crept into your consciousness over the years.

ROY ORBISON: King of Hearts (Virgin) 16 Nov

Carefully assembled from the tapes Orbison never finished during his prolific last days in 1988. Producers and musicians including Don Was, Robbie Robertson and Jim Keltner, sensitively supply the gaps. Melancholy and in places beautiful.

VANESSA PARADIS: Vanessa Paradis (Polydor) 26 Oct

Good grief, France's foremost pop chick is still only 19. Her friend Lenny Kravitz wrote and produced this for her (including the eulogy called 'Lenny Kravitz'). Come back in another ten years.

ME PHI ME: One (RCA) 23 Nov

Ambient hiphop from the introspective loner from Flint, Michigan, who wields a mean acoustic guitar over scratchy breakbeats. Twenty-one-years-old and full of the spirit of the New Age.

THE BEATLES: 22 x CD singles box set (EMI) 26 Oct

Not an album, of course, but like all the best box sets, reassuringly expensive. Contains all the correct B-sides, some of which never appeared on LP.

VARIOUS: Classic Garage Vol 2 (Cooltempo) 9 Nov

Garage as in mellow House music with soulful vocals over the top - not garage as in long haired Americans with no place to strum their axes. Djaimin, Sonia Roche and Tribal House all crop up, making this an instant hip party tape.

VARIOUS: Area Code 313

(Creation) 2 Nov

313 for Detroit, as opposed to 212, the dialling code for New York. Creation's booming dance side do it again, here lashing together some severe (but not Euro or Hardcore) beats and bleeps plucked from the birthplace of proper Techno.

M PEOPLE: Northern Soul (RCA)

2 Nov

Reissue of the swanky modern disco record masterminded by Hacienda DJ Mike Pickering last year. It'll probably stiff again, but the singles are worth having.

GENESIS: The Way We Walk Vol 1 - The Shorts (Virgin) 16 Nov

A selection of their favourite songs from the We Can't Dance World Tour this year - from ballads like 'In Too Deep' to the pop-irony of 'Jesus He Knows Me'. Ties in with the regional tour. Prince (Charles) loves them.

BRIAN ENO: The Shutov Assembly (WEA) 9 Nov

Not as squelchy as his recent Nerve Net. Sergei Shutov is a Russian painter whom Professor Eno liked even before he discovered the artist had been working while muffled bootlegs of old Eno tunes played in the background. Deeply ambient in the Airports sense, and look out for the pseudy essay about music as painting (a 'network of focal points with no clear hierarchy between them').

TOAD THE WET SPROCKET: fear (Columbia) 26 Oct

Fear, as in what four lads from Santa Barbara feel when they give up their day jobs to make REM soundalike albums, right down to the wheedling vox and sawing strings. fear is their third, and best yet. Be warned, however: this album contains abstract language of an introspective nature.

SHABBA RANKS: Xtra Naked

(Epic) 9 Nov

The first new stuff since he went big- time with Epic. 'Ting-A-Ling' is an upfront dance-hall tune, riding high in the UK reggae chart; 'Cocky Rim' reminds you of his slack (ie, rude) origins, but 'Slow and Sexy' with Johnny Gill (ex-New Edition) is a soul / ragga crossover that's driving the US wild. Queen Latifa pops up too.

BANANARAMA: Please Yourself (London) 16 Nov

If it's autumn, it must be time for another platter of synchronised dancing music from the successful but short-of- ideas girlie group. Title-wise, they beat Madonna at her own game. But only titlewise.

EXTRAS

VARIOUS: Strictly Ballroom (Columbia) 9 Nov

SUPERREAL (Gorilla) 16 Nov

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER: Premier Collection Encore (Polydor) 9 Nov

SHARRON SHANNON (Solid Records) 2 Nov

NENEH CHERRY: Home Brew (Virgin) 26 Oct

JOHN LEE HOOKER: Boom Boom (Virgin) 26 Oct

ROXY MUSIC: Compact Collection 3 x CDs (Virgin) 26 Oct

OLU: Reaching Out (Virgin) 2 Nov

VARIOUS: Smash Hits 92 (Cooltempo) 9 Nov

VARIOUS: Classic Reggae Vol 1 (Profile) Date TBC

VARIOUS: Now dance (EMI) 26 Oct

GARY GLITTER: Many Happy Returns (EMI) 2 Nov

NOEL COWARD: 4 x CD box set (EMI) 16 Nov

DOUG STONE: From The Heart (Epic) 9 Nov

STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN: In The Beginning (Epic) 9 Nov

JIMI POLO: Moods (RCA) 16 Nov

(Photographs omitted)

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