It’s another interesting week of new releases. Things will be heating up in the next couple of weeks, but for now, there are a couple of good albums hitting stores that are a little less mass appeal. Let’s review some of the highlights:

ScattsOh, how I love Boz Scaggs. Not his bluesy earlier material per se, but his Silk Degrees era amalgam of laid back soul with pop, jazz (and yes, blues) flavors. Over the past decade or so, his albums have been pretty varied-a standards set here, a return to pop/soul there. His latest album, Memphis, is billed as a return to Scaggs’ Southern roots, with a mix of originals and soulful covers (like ‘Love on a Two-Way Street” and “Rainy Night in Georgia.” I saw Boz rip it up with fellow mellow soul men Michael McDonald and Donald Fagen last fall, and I’m thinking this might be a worthwhile pickup.

It’s sad that it took Slim Dunlap’s stroke to bring together any approximation of a Replacements reunion, but the seminal alt-rock band (led, of course, by Paul Westerberg) has come together to release the Songs for Slim EP. Initially available as a vinyl piece only, it is being made available digitally today. Proceeds from the sale of the EP benefit Slim’s medical care.

Javelin is one of those bands whose sound is indescribable. Post-disco, post-soul, funk, rock. Well, I guess I can just say that they’re on David Byrne’s label, Luaka Bop, and that’ll indicate that they’re, at the very least, a little *different.* At any rate, I quite enjoyed their 2010 release, No Mas. It was kind of a mess, but a good, danceable kind of mess. Amazon says that their new album is a bit more structured from a songwriting standpoint. High Beams, the outfit’s new album,This can be good, or it may not. Either way, I feel pretty confident saying that the result will certainly be interesting.

Trent Reznor has successfully made the transition from angsty electro-rocker to Oscar-winning score composer. How to Destroy Angels, his latest project, is softer than Nine Inch Nails, but harder than, say, the score of The Social Network. This band also contains his wife, which may conjure up thoughts of Wings for some, but has resulted in some decent work so far. Welcome Oblivion is the name of the band’s first (if I remember correctly) full-length, and while it’s been a couple of years since Reznor’s flexed those pipes, I’m sure the angst is more or less at the same level.

Other artists releasing albums this week:

Luke Bryan

Marcus Canty (from The Voice)

Charlotte Church

Robyn Hitchcock

Krokus

Kate Nash

Josh Ritter

Son Volt

They Might Be Giants

And for the full list, make sure you check out Pause and Play!

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