Albums by unconventional rock acts Belle and Sebastian, Queens of the Stone Age and Royal Trux are the highlights of this week's of new releases.
Heavy-rock band Queens of the Stone Age's Rated R is their second full-length album and their major-label debut.
The band, led by singer/guitarist Josh Homme, formerly of stoner-rock band Kyuss, is joined on the album by several guest stars, including former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford.
"I feel like the more nebulous Queens of the Stone Age is from the people who play on the album, to the name of the album, to the name of the band the more freedom exists for us to change should we feel the need," Homme said in a statement.
The album includes the drug-lauding "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," as well as "Better Living Through Chemistry" and "I Think I Lost My Headache."
Belle and Sebastian's Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant is the Scottish alt-pop band's fourth full-length, following 1998's The Boy With the Arab Strap.
The album adds string arrangements, vintage keyboards, and on one track, a flute, to the band's delicate pop-rock sound. It includes the catchy "Nice Day for a Sulk," the rocking "Woman's Realm" and the organ-laced "Don't Leave the Light On, Baby."
Royal Trux, who briefly recorded for Virgin Records in the '90s, are back on indie label Drag City, which will release the group's new album, Pound for Pound.
The release is the noise-rock band's second this year, following an EP featuring the track "Inside Game" (RealAudio excerpt), which found its way into the John Cusack film "High Fidelity."
The album continues the band's journey toward a less abrasive rock sound on such tracks as "Call Out the Lions," "Teenage Murder Mystery" and "Sunshine and Grease."
Also releasing new albums this week are conceptual roots-rockers Grandaddy, country-rocker Steve Earle, futuristic pop band Saint Etienne and indie-rock band Murder City Devils.