No need for fancy introductions today, here’s this week’s Top 5 picks:

The Hold Steady- “Stay Positive”: Craig Finn looks like an investment banker, but his band The Hold Steady have taken their Springsteen-esque brand of anthemic, lyrical rock and become one of the best-loved American rock bands around. Following up 2006’s critically acclaimed “Boys & Girls in America”, “Stay Positive” looks to be the album where the sales catch up with the street cred.

Nas “Untitled”: I’m not one for publicity stunts, and the whole gambit behind this album leaves me a little leery about what the music actually sounds like. For those who need catching up, the new album from Queens rapper Nas was originally entitled “Nigger”, and a whole bunch of (very likely manufactured) hoopla resulted. Who cares what the album’s title is? Is the fucking music good? While teaser single “Be a Nigger Too” failed to move me (and was eventually removed from the album’s tracklist), I’m kinda digging this new song, “Hero”.

John Mellencamp “Life, Death, Love & Freedom”: The former John Cougar is now a Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer. Can you believe it? The troubadour returns after only about a year off, with an album that confronts aging and mortality in a way not dissimilar (although undoubtedly less sunny) than Paul McCartney’s “Memory Almost Full” from last year. Me? I’ll just crank up “Jack & Diane” again.

David Banner “The Greatest Story Ever Told”: Last we heard from David Banner musically, he was shamelessly ripping The Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song)”. This new album allegedly finds the politically minded Mississippi rapper dumbing down for dollars a little bit-never a good thing. Guests include UGK, Chris Brown, and the ubiquitous triumverate of (let’s all say it together) Snoop Dogg, Akon & Li’l Wayne. Ugh.

O.A.R. “All Sides”: Does anyone enjoy these guys’ music without firing up a giant doobie first? Just asking.

Also…there’s a live digital EP from Bruce Sringsteen & The E Street Band’s “Magic” tour, a new record from country singer Randy Travis, the debut from Season 6 “American Idol” finalist Ace Young, and for those of you lucky enough to be Australian, The Vines have a new record out!! ‘Memba them??

…and there’s also an album by a guy called Andy Yorke, who happens to be Thom Yorke of Radiohead’s brother. Why does this make me think of John Stamos’ brother singing “Lovin’ You” on an episode of “South Park”?

Get your full list of new releases here:

Happy Shopping!!