After a couple of blah weeks, the quality of releases picks up a little bit with this week’s offerings (at least I think so). Here are the albums to watch for the 10/19 release date.

A lot’s happened to Kings of Leon since “Only by the Night” was released two years ago. “Sex on Fire” became huge. “Use Somebody” became huger. When the dust cleared, everyone’s favorite band that hadn’t broken big yet officially broke big. “Night” went platinum, “Sex” and “Use” both hit #1 on rock radio, the Followill brothers (and cousin) became media darlings, and earlier this year, “Use Somebody” took home the Record of the Year prize at the Grammy Awards. So what’s KoL gonna do for an encore? I guess we’ll see, as “Come Around Sundown”, the band’s fifth album, hits stores today. I’m already digging the first single “Radioactive” something fierce, so indications are pointing to me enjoying this album as much as I’ve enjoyed their past work.

Breakups are hard for everyone, right? If you are fond of both parties that have now split, where should your allegiance lie? We could apply that theory to personal breakups as well as band breakups, and in Steven Page’s case, we’re obviously talking about his separation from the Barenaked Ladies. The remainder of the Ladies struck first with “All in Good Time” (an album that is now mysteriously missing from my CD collection), which was good, but you could tell something was missing. Steven’s “Page One” hits stores today, and now we’ll get to see (hear actually) whether he left the magic with Kevin, Ed, Tyler and Jim. (somehow I doubt it). Guests on the album include two of my very favorite artists: off-and-on Toad Glen Phillips and Canadian chanteuse Esthero (who really really really REALLY needs to make another album soon PRETTY PLEASE???)

Kings of Leon will be vying for the top spot on next week’s chart with a few other worthy contenders. Worthiness being relative, anyway. Country duo Sugarland are probably still  best known for bringing Bon Jovi some Nashville legitimacy via “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”. Their latest album, “The Incredible Machine”, comes out today, and I’ve already read a couple of reviews that have been absolutely savage. Will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Rod Stewart revisits the “Great American Songbook” for what feels like the millionth time, but apparently is only the fifth. If Michael Buble and Josh Groban feel a little edgy to you, this might be much more up your alley. When it comes to Rod and his more recent work, I tend to fall in line with the things folks like Popdose’s Rob Smith say. Rod, while the financial rewards you reap from sales of this album may be large, you’ve more or less lost all credibility you have. And this is coming from someone who discovered you with “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and loves the majority of your singles from the Eighties.

Elsewhere (this is turning into quite a lengthy column), Miley Cyrus morphs back into Hannah Montana one last time for the “Hannah Montana Forever” soundtrack, while Elton John & Leon Russell join forces with producer T. Bone Burnett for “The Union”, an album that has Grammy written all over it (although it was released two weeks after the deadline for this year’s awards). Shakira’s “Sale el Sol” also hits stores today, and on the reissue tip, you’ve got the infamous “red” and “blue” Beatles hits collections (which were most recently remastered/reissued back in 1993), plus a collection of Bob Dylan’s first 8 albums, remastered in mono. k.d. lang’s debut gets the deluxe 25th anniversary treatment, and Hip-O Select does right by the late Tammi Terrell, offering up her complete Motown Records oeuvre on a double-disc set.

As you can see, lots to choose from, and there’s more! Head on over to Pause and Play for a complete listing of this week’s releases!!

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