They’re ba-a-ack!

After a five year layoff, America’s favorite punks have returned with yet another “rock opera” sort of album, called 21st Century Breakdown. First single Know Your Enemy is already burning up the charts (it’s currently the #1 modern rock single in the country), and this release has the potential to be huge (or at least what passes for huge in the music biz circa 2009). Strangely, Green Day’s record company isn’t putting this one out until Friday, not the typical new release day in America. Let’s see how many folks out there start off their weekend with some Green Day.

Here are some other notable titles hitting store shelves this week:

Cam’ron Crime Pays: The Harlem bred-rapper was big in the mid-Nineties, took a bit of a layoff, came back strong with singles like Oh Boy and Hey Ma in 2002, and then fell off the radar again, even as his proteges Jim Jones and Juelz Santana spawned hits on their own. He’s back again, with what he hopes will be another comeback album, Crime Pays. I haven’t heard anything from this yet, and Cam’ron’s penchant for wafer-thin lyrics and simplistic rhyme styles means I probably never will!

Steve Earle Townes: Those of you who can get your hands on a copy of last Sunday’s New York Times should check out an article that was written about alt-country main stay Steve Earle and his relationship with the late Townes Van Zandt. Earle served as kind of an apprentice to Townes, and now the apprentice salutes the teacher with a tribute album.

Paul Wall Fast Life: Who knew this guy was still around? Asher Roth may have displaced him as America’s second-favorite white rapper, but Houston’s Paul Wall isn’t going to take that challenge lying down. The man with one of the most ostentatious grills in rap music (and quite possibly dental) history is back with a new album. Will the fans who were around for Houston rap’s moment in the sun three or four years ago come back?

The Crystal Method
Divided by Night: This electronica outfit has a pretty interesting guest list for their current album. Among the featured artists are Hasidic reggae-rapper Matisyahu, New Order’s Peter Hook, and…wait a second. Is this the same Justin Warfield who recorded the Q-Tip-esque Season of the Vic back in the early Nineties? Apparently not. This Justin Warfield is 1/2 of She Wants Revenge. Oh well. A man can hope.

Get a complete list of this week’s new releases here, and for those who don’t know who the hell Justin Warfield (not the She Wants Revenge guy) is, here’s a video for you.