Weekly US music releases: The Decemberists, Social Distortion, Allman and Blunt

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

On January 18, the new release from The Decemberists is neck and neck on the rock and pop charts with Social Distortion returning after six years, Gregg Allman back after 14 years with T Bone Burnett, and James Blunt, whose third effort launches in the US.

The Decemberists, The King is Dead
Fifth and sixth on Amazon's rock and pop charts, respectively, this ten-track collection on Capitol Records leads with the first single "Down By the Water," with a distinct R.E.M. influence emphasized by guest guitarist Peter Buck of R.E.M. Also featured on several tracks is the Americana styling of Gillian Welch. A limited-edition deluxe box set includes a digital download code, DVD, white vinyl, Giclée print, Polaroid photos and hardcover book.

Social Distortion, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
First on Amazon's punk chart and fourth on its rock chart, this much-anticipated seventh album produced by frontman Mike Ness comes after an absence of six years. "Machine Gun Blues" is the first single from the 11-track collection on Epitaph Records, merging Americana with the vintage hard rock sound of the Rolling Stones. The vinyl version features bonus songs.

Gregg Allman, Low Country Blues
First on Amazon's blues chart and sixth on its rock chart, this first solo offering in 14 years was produced by Grammy winner T Bone Burnett ( Crazy Heart) and features Dr. John on piano. The 11-track album on Rounder Records features covers of such blues legends as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland, plus an original track, "Just Another Rider," co-written with Allman Brothers' Warren Haynes.

James Blunt, Some Kind of Trouble
The third album from this British singer/songwriter leads with the first single, "Stay the Night." On Custard/Atlantic Records, it is an upbeat departure from Blunt's massive debut hit "You're Beautiful," selling more than 16 million records worldwide. Already released in the UK last November, the 13-track collection went gold and reached the second spot on Europe's top 100 charts.

Watch James Blunt's video for "Stay the Night": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1yOGhnmYfI&ob=av2em