Stellar quality from top to bottom in this weeks list of great new pop music. The influence of the 1980s is evident in many of this week's releases.
Johnny Marr has been one of the most prominent guitarists in alternative rock since the 1980s. In the mid 1980s he was a guitarist with the Smiths. Later he helped begin the band Electronic with New Order's Bernard Sumner, and served as a guitarist for Modest Mouse. The Messenger is his first solo studio album and provides plenty of opportunities for guitar heroics.
Swedish indie rock band Shout Out Louds broke into the US album chart with their most recent release Work. The sound of the group's music borrows extensively from 1980s alternative pop and post punk.
The Popstrangers are an alternative rock group from New Zealand. They were nominated for the Critic's Choice award at the New Zealand Music Awards in 2011. Popstrangers lost to Kimbra. This is the first full-length studio album by the group, and it was recorded in the basement of a 1930s dancehall.
12 time Grammy Award winner Emmylou Harris is a pop and country music legend. Rodney Crowell is one of the most acclaimed country music songwriters of the past three decades. As an artist he generated a string of five consecutive #1 country hits in the late 1980s. Together their music is magical ranging from southern California style country rock to old time oriented country music.
Steven Wilson is best known as the founder of the progressive rock group Porcupine Tree. The Raven That Refused To Sing is his third album as a solo artist. Alan Parsons co-produced and engineered the album. Steven Wilson's most recent solo release Grace For Drowning broke into the upper half of the US album chart.
Kavinsky is a French house music artist. His single "Nightcall" was a top 10 hit in his native France. Outrun is Kavinsky's debut album and takes its name from the 1980s Sega arcade game OutRun. He cites his musical influences as 80s video games and TV cop shows.
Grammy Award winning band the Mavericks released three consecutive top 10 country albums in the 1990s. They also hit the top 40 on the country singles chart six times. In Time is the group's first new album in a decade. It includes the country radio hit "Born To Be Blue."
Long ago in the 1970s, pop group Player reached #1 on the pop singles chart in the US with the megahit "Baby Come Back." They followed it with more minor chart hits into the early 1980s. The band is now back with their sixth studio album and the first new one in 16 years. Too Many Reasons is retro in all the right ways delivering up straightforward melodic pop songs.