I knew which titles I wanted to spotlight today, then I took a look at the list of this week’s releases and realized that there’s, like, 3 million albums coming out today. Then my head exploded. Fortunately, a crack team of scientists was able to locate the part of my brain that retains musical knowledge and typing skills, and I am miraculously able to type up this column for you today.

Let’s start with what’s a huge day in the indie rock world. If you’re a Pitchfork-ian, you’re probably jizzing your pants thinking about how much money you’re gonna spend on iTunes today. The spate of indie-centric releases is headed by Brooklyn’s own Hold Steady, whose “Heaven is Whenever” arrives today. In addition to Craig Finn and his boys, look out for new records by Broken Social Scene, Minus the Bear, and Mike Patton, whose latest effort, “Mondo Cane”, is an “Italian language rock-meets-orchestra hybrid”. Even for a certified weirdo like Patton, that sounds pretty scary. Oh, the Flaming Lips’ reconstruction of “Dark Side of the Moon” is also being released wide today. I’ve heard on pretty trusted authority that it sucks, and, y’know, some albums should probably just be left alone.

Hey, remember the Nineties? If you’re over the age of 25, some of your favorites are returning to record stores today. Toni Braxton’s “Pulse” hits stores today, and it’s her first album in…four years? Five years? Something like that. Remember TONIC? I’m sure if I played you “If You Could Only See”, it would jog your memory. They’re releasing their first album of new material since 2003 today. Today also marks the return of Michael Bolton. The formerly luscious-locked blue-eyed soul groaner is back with “One World One Love”, and he somehow managed to convince Lady Gaga and Ne-Yo to work with him! Scary, huh?

But THAT’s NOT IT, folks! There’s also the debut effort from the Court Yard Hounds (the Dixie Chicks-Natalie Maines), a live album from Grammy winners Zac Brown Band, a new release from Beantown’s own Sully Erna and his band Godsmack, a concert collaboration from Carole King and James Taylor, a comeback effort from femme MC Trina (also featuring Gaga…the girl gets around), and a new solo album from one of my personal favorites: Justin Currie, the lead singer of Scottish rock band Del Amitri. You probably know Del Amitri from their massive 1995 hit “Roll to Me” (or one of their other Top 40 hits, “Always the Last to Know” or “Kiss This Thing Goodbye”, but these guys are so much more than a three-hit wonder. Currie is an amazing vocalist and an excellent songwriter. His last solo album, “What is Love For?” was a superb singer/songwriter effort that I reviewed back in the day on Popmatters. His new album, “The Great War” is at the top of my shopping list today, and it might actually be the only thing on that list today, depending on how I feel about Toni Braxton later this afternoon.

Check out some of Justin’s work via the video clip below, and make sure you check out Pause and Play for the latest and greatest in new release information.

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