I’m not entirely crazy about the idea of releasing albums on 9/11. As someone who was working on a record store on September 11th, 2001, I just kinda get the heebie jeebies when confronted with the idea of music coming out on this day. But-nothing is sacred, I guess. Still, I’d like to open this column with a quick remembrance of the lives that were lost on that date, and my perpetual congratulations to all of the heroes-whether they be policemen, firemen, clergymen or average Joes and Janes-who helped their fellow man and/or saved lives on that day.

One of my lasting memories of the whole 9/11 experience is Dave Matthews Band‘s “Everyday” video. Starring a then-unknown Judah Friedlander as a regular guy who walked through New York City spreading hugs, there was a lengthy period of time when I couldn’t watch the video without tearing up. In the 11 years since, DMB have kept plugging away, spreading a message of peace, love and music to millions via their albums and legendary live shows. Away From The World is their latest set, released today. DMB are one of those bands that never reinventes the wheel, just makes subtle changes to it. That means their albums are always interesting, if familiar.

One artist who actually released an album on 9/11/01 was Bob Dylan. His Love & Theft was a solid seller that continued The Bard’s 21st century renaissance. His new album, Tempest, has received some good advance notice. I’m not much for modern-day Dylan, but I certainly am well aware of his status as one of the (if not the) greatest songwriter(s) of all time. One of his modern-day descendants can be found in The Avett Brothers, whose Rick Rubin-produced The Carpenter also comes out today.

Like letters/acronyms? It’s a fantastic day for you, as there are new albums by ZZ Top, The XX, and DMX on the roster. The legendary Texas boogie band hasn’t released an album of new material in quite some time, but they recently spent some time in the studio with Rick Rubin (I feel like I’ve mentioned him recently…) and they came up with La Futura. Meanwhile, The XX are following up their highly regarded debut with Coexist and everyone’s favorite dog enthusiast/former (?) crack head is going to try and regain the magic that made him such a huge star in the late Nineties with an album he calls Undisputed.

Those are just some of the highlights of the musical week. Musical vagabond David Byrne is teaming up with indie singer/songwriter St. Vincent for Love This Giant. There’s a brass band involved, and it’s likely that the music will be suitably odd in the manner you’d expect from anything Byrne-related. While we’re talking ’80s icons, there’s also the new album from the Pet Shop Boys, called Elysium. Neil and Chris have, somewhat improbably, been together for over a quarter century, and their music has gotten no less interesting over time. Who’d have thought that the guys behind “West End Girls” would be performing at the Olympics in the closing ceremony in 2012?

Also in stores (physical and online) this week, new albums from reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee, venerable R&B band Mint Condition, alt-country favorites Calexico, punk legends NOFX, emerging R&B star Miguel (with an EP that previews a full-length scheduled for later this year) and…our WTFF? release of the week, Hoobastank‘s Fight or Flight. Kudos to you if you even knew that they were still together, and…my condolences if you’re actually interested in buying this album.

Get the full list of this week’s releases on Pause and Play!



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