Kings of Leon's new album, "Only by the Night"

This week’s lineup of releases includes a couple of bands right on the verge, a couple of vets returning after lengthy absences, and a couple of bands trying to capitalize on their first hit. Let’s take a look at the line-up.

Kings of Leon “Only By The Night”

I love Kings of Leon. I made that fairly clear in a post a while back. So “Only by the Night”, their fourth album, is highly anticipated by me…and I suppose quite a few other people too, since each album they’ve released has been progressively more buzzworthy than the one before it. The first single, “Sex on Fire” is awesome, so hopefully this’ll be yet another Southern-fried slab of funk/rock/swampy stuff that’s perfect to smoke a bowl to. If these guys and My Morning Jacket go on tour together, how much pot would be consumed at that concert?

Pussycat Dolls “Doll Domination”

Errr…remember that Nicole Scherzinger solo album? Well, it didn’t come out. After several pre-release buzz singles fell flat on their keester, the head Doll put her tail between her shapely legs and returned to the mothership. “When I Grow Up” has hit the Top Ten, and these ladies are coming off a triple-platinum album, so “Doll Domination” is pre-ordained to be at least somewhat successful. “Domination” is one of two albums released this week that heavily feature Missy Elliott, who should probably be busy trying to salvage what’s left of her career.

TV on the Radio “Dear Science”

Your hipster friend’s favorite band, I tried real hard to jump on the TV on the Radio train with “Return to Cookie Mountain” two years back. Despite the oohs and aaahs, I thought the album was merely OK. Aside from the awesome “Wolf Like Me”, I wasn’t blown away. Maybe I need an ironic afro and tight brown corduroys and Chucks to get these guys the way I’m supposed to. I bet Pitchfork gives them a 12.

Joe Thomas “New Man”

Joe Thomas is the R&B crooner formerly known as just Joe. On a new label and armed with a fresh start, the singer/songwriter has decided to tack his last name on professionally. One thing that hasn’t changed is his sound, and “New Man” features the usual bumping jams and smoove ballads. Joe accused R. Kelly of sabotaging his career during his tenure on Jive records. It’ll be interesting to see how this album fares now that Joe has left his longtime home.

Jazmine Sullivan “Fearless”

The second of the two Missy Elliott appearances among this week’s new releases comes from Jazmine Sullivan, whose “Need U Bad” is currently the #1 R&B song in the country. She’s on Clive Davis’s J Records, so I’d say this album is probably song-doctored and professionally polished to a tee. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily gonna be any good, though. The single has failed to impress me, I don’t know if I’m willing to see if the album does any different for me.

Elsewhere, Plain White T’s look to extend their 15 minutes beyond “Hey There Delilah” with “Big Bad World” (my bet is on that not happening), while the legendary Jackson Browne is back with “Time the Conqueror”. Also on the comeback trail this week, former (and current!) House of Pain member Everlast revives his alter ego for “Love, War & the Ghost of Whitey Ford”, former neo-soul darling Tony Rich is releasing “Exist”, and Kenny Loggins is putting out his first album of new material in something like a decade, with “How About Now” hitting stores today. Also check out new music from smooth jazz outfit Fourplay, multi-genre chillout/funk/dance pioneers Thievery Corporation, indie faves Cold War Kids, and the album I know you’ve been waiting for, the Little River Band Christmas album!!

On the reissue/compilation side of things, you’ll find this year’s Album of the Year Grammy winner Herbie Hancock, with a career-encompassing collection called “Then & Now”, which collects forty years of jazz, while the inimitable Bette Midler hits the compilation trail again with the cleverly titled “Jackpot-The Best Bette!”. Motown is also visiting their vaults for brand new compilations from the likes of Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Four Tops and DeBarge.

You can find a complete list of today’s releases here.

Happy shopping!!