April flowers bring May flowers, and April releases bring…OK, I’m not sure what I was going for here. Let’s just get started with this week’s key release schedule, which is pretty impressive.

GoldenIt may come as a surprise to some of you that I like Lady Antebellum. Although they could use a name change, the pop/country trio makes pretty solid music, if their chosen genre is up your alley. Anyway, because their last album Own the Night didn’t set the world on fire and win a passel of Grammy Awards, the group’s fourth album, Downtown, is being dubbed a comeback. That somehow manages to minimize the fact that Own the Night sold 2 million copies, something maybe 3 or 4 albums do in a given year. At any rate, I doubt that Lady A will be tinkering with their style too much, and if they copy their breakout ballad “Need You Now” a couple of times, that’s perfectly okay with me.

Talib Kweli‘s Prisoner of Conscious has had its release date changed so many times that as recently as the middle of last week, I still wasn’t sure it was coming out on time. However, my Amazon.com notification that the album was shipped has arrived, so I guess we can finally write this one down in pen. If Kweli stays true to habit of alternating halfway decent solo albums with great ones, then this one should be pretty solid (’cause Gutter Rainbows? Meh…) Prisoner of Conscious features guest spots from Miguel, Busta Rhymes, and…Nelly? Yep, Nelly. I won’t prejudge, but since anything with Nelly post-2001 has a 75% of sucking, I think this may be one of the tracks I wind up skipping.

Modern soul group Fitz + The Tantrums was a VH-1 discovery for me. They actually might have been my last VH-1 discovery, as I soon stopped watching the network after coming too close to having to sit through an episode of “Love & Hip-Hop.” Anyway, Fitz & Co.’s post-Motown stylings didn’t totally set my ears on fire initially (although “MoneyGrabber” was the fuckin’ jam,) so I am approaching their second album, More Than Just a Dream, with caution. It could be good. It could be disappointing. But I’ll be giving this a spin on Spotify before I drop ducats on it.

After ignoring country music for a good decade and a half, Natalie Maines was one of the folks who gave me a renewed appreciation for the genre. Although exercising her First Amendment right cost her group, The Dixie Chicks, any semblance of Nashville cred (amazing how that works,) it hasn’t stopped her from running her mouth, or making good music. Well, it’s been a few years since the last Chicks album hit stores, and Natalie’s officially on the solo trail. Mother‘s the name of the album, and it promises to be an interesting listen.

Finally, we have Rod Stewart. Sir Roderick has spent most of the past fifteen years singing other peoples’ material, whether via his wildly successful Great American Songbook series or his surprisingly strong-selling Christmas album last year. Free from the wing of Clive Davis (who padded his and Rod’s pockets by foisting those collections onto the public,) Rod returns on a new label (Capitol) with Time, his first album of original material since the Clinton administration. Will Rod be rocking again? Will Time be an album of adult contemporary schlock only slightly removed from the music he’s been doing? Only one action can answer that question-listen to the album!

There’s actually a ton of other music out this week, and if you want to know the details, make sure you check out one of our favorite sites, Pause and Play!

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