DAFT PUNK! DAFT PUNK! DAFT PUNK!

RAMFollowing the Justin Timberlake trajectory of going away for a really long time and then coming back as big (if not bigger) than before, the French disco duo’s fourth studio album, Random Access Memories, arrives in stores and online today. “Get Lucky,” featuring vocals by Pharrell Williams and tasty guitar licks from Nile Rodgers, is already the biggest hit of their career, and seemingly out of nowhere, this might actually be the most universally anticipated album of the year. I’m certainly excited. I feel like there’ll be a lot of dance parties playing this album in full for the rest of the spring and into summer 2013.

Moving on, and completely switching gears, we have Darius Rucker. A decade or so ago, the former Hootie frontman was dressed in a cowboy outfit and shilling for Burger King. After an unsuccessful switch into R&B territory (I implore you to listen to Back to Then again, though…) Darius became a country superstar. He’s had a series of hit singles, a couple of best selling albums, and he’s one of the few brothas inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Rucker’s latest album is called True Believers. I’d imagine he dedicates this one to the few that had faith that he’d wind up this successful in the C&W arena.

Did you miss our review of The National‘s new album yesterday? If so, then SHAME ON YOU. No, we’re just kidding. You can read it here. See? No harm, no foul. The Joy Division-esque band’s sixth studio album, Trouble Will Find Me, certainly made a true believer out of our own KBOX, who positively gushed. And he doesn’t gush very often.

I don’t get 30 Seconds to Mars at all. But hey, different strokes for different folks, right? Jared Leto (who I can still only see as the dude from My So-Called Life) is a bona fide rock star, and his band is more successful than, say, 85-90% of moonlighting actors’ projects. So, give the man props. Love Lust Faith & Dreams is the name of 30S2M’s latest album, and I must admit to some surprise when I noticed that Steve Lillywhite (who has produced gems for bands ranging from U2 to Dave Matthews Band) was in the producer’s chair. Will he work the same magic for Leto’s crew? Doubtful. But hope springs eternal…

Also out this week, new albums by…

The Beach Boys (live)

Brand New Heavies (with yet another lead singer)

Bob James & David Sanborn

French Montana

and more…find the full list over at Pause and Play.

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