This week fans of OneRepublic regret that the band’s Native won’t arrive until at least 2013 after yet another delay. But in the lead-up to Black Friday plenty of new music still hits the shelves this week. Kid Rock will battle his protégé and former DJ Uncle Kracker, while Rihanna hopes her sales will come in strong despite that ridiculously trippy performance of “Diamonds” she gave us last week on Saturday Night Live. Meanwhile Phillip Phillips hopes his generic name and the diminished reputation of American Idol will still convert into fan excitement as his The World from the Side of the Moon arrives Tuesday as well.
In chart news, One Direction’s boy-band sophomore album extravaganza looks to debut atop the Billboard 200 when that chart updates Wednesday, as Take Me Home should sell more than half a million copies. Sorry, Taylor Swift, your reign has ended. Meanwhile, the truth of the new music industry reality becomes clear for veteran artists. Christina Aguilera has to mourn her album’s putrid sales — even her ubiquitous role on NBC’s The Voice won’t push Lotus past 75,000. Even Soundgarden, gone 16 years from the alt-rock landscape, expects to reach 80,000. Aerosmith’s album went top three last week, but a dismal overall performance suggests the title will plummet in the coming weeks.
Don’t even ask about Green Day’s latest – Dos! — which arrives comatose. Their supposed one, two, three punch serves more as a weak, desperate slap, the year’s biggest rock disappointment by far.
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3 Doors Down – The Greatest Hits (Universal Republic)
If you listened to radio during the years 2000 through 2007 you’ve heard the bulk of these post-Grunge hits, including Billboard top five smash singles “Kryptonite,” “When I’m Gone,” and “Here Without You.” This greatest hits collection compiles those and nine additional hits, including their most recent single “One Light.”
AC/DC – Live at River Plate (Columbia)
Bad Brains – Into the Future (Megaforce)
Crown the Empire – The Fallout (Rise Records)
David Vest – East Meets Vest (Ark-O-Matic)
Elbow – Dead in the Boot (Xenon Records)
Federale – The Blood Flowed Like Wine (Federale Records)
Inspired by classic spaghetti westerns, Portland band Federale re-captures that haunting, violent atmosphere through their third album. “Sarcophagus” blends a horn-driven western tribal rhythm with haunting middle-eastern inspired vocals to create a hybrid I’d describe as “Tarantino-esque.” It’s definitely worth a listen.
Il Volo – We Are Love (Xenon Records)
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit – Live From Alabama (Lightning Rod Records)
Kid Rock – Rebel Soul (Atlantic)
Kid Rock long ago abandoned rap-rock for the more sturdy role of “trailer-park troubadour,” as Entertainment Weekly puts it. There’s nothing groundbreaking about Rebel Soul’s over-reliance on various well-worn Southern Rock tropes, but he knows his audience and has no problem playing it safe, singing to the converted.
Matt & Toby – Matt & Toby (Tooth & Nail)
Naomi Punk – The Feeling (Captured Tracks)
Pitbull – Global Warming (RCA)
Porcupine Tree – Octane Twisted (KSCOPE)
Rihanna – Unapologetic (Island / Def-Jam)
The ugliest album cover of the year aside, whether you love or hate her Rihanna has proven herself unsinkable over the years. So far she’s heading into release week without a guaranteed smash like “Umbrella” to keep the haters at bay. That and, unapologetic or not, it’s hard to get past all the songs about her undying love for Chris Brown, the man who savagely and publicly beat her just three years ago.
Sienna Skies – The Constant Climb (Invogue Records)
Solid Gold – Eat Your Young (Totally Gross National Product)
The Faint – Danse Macabre: Deluxe Edition (Saddle Creek)
The Maldives – Muscle for the Wing (Spark and Shine Records)
The Pharmacy – Stoned and Alone (Old Flame Records)
The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know – The Remixes (FatCat Records)
The Young Evils – Foreign Spells (The Young Evils)
Uncle Kracker – Midnight Special (Sugarhill)
Wanting – Everything in the World (Nettwerk Records)
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Among the list of overlooked albums we’re highlighting this week, Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave proves art-rock can have commercially viable overtones, while albums from Dirty Projectors and Midwestern indie-rock stalwarts Guided By Voices vie for your attention as well.