New albums from  an “American Idol,”  a country superstar, a group composed of three well-known solo artists, and a star in the making are Oct. 5’s top offerings. David Archuleta tries his hand at pop radio again as Toby Keith, Fistful of Mercy and Bruno Mars all release new efforts. Joining the release-week fun are the Avett Bros., with a live set,  Travis’s Fran Healy and guitar god Joe Satriani.

David Archuleta, “The Other Side of Down” (19/Jive):  “American Idol” finalist comes back and shows off his songwriting chops: the 19-year old penned 10 of the 12 songs on the pop effort. Read more here.

Avett Brothers
, “Live, Vol. 3” (American/Columbia): North Carolina band of brothers (okay, two brothers) turns in a live set full of vibrant, roots rock American, recorded during a 2009 show in Charlotte, N.C., down the road from their hometown of Concord.

Finger Eleven, “Life Turns Electric” (Wind-Up): Rock band follow ups 2007  “Them vs. You vs. Me” with a 10-track set recorded in New York. First single, “Living in a Dream,” is No. 20 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart and rising.

Fistful of Mercy,
“As I Call You Down” (Hot/Vagrant):  New group composed of Joseph Arthur, Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison comes together for  a folk-based set with soothing harmonies.

Guster, “Easy Wonderful” (Aware/Universal):  Boston rockers release their sixth album full of easy-going, shimmering melodies. Plus, they perform in their long underwear in the video for delicious, ringing first single, “Do You Love Me?” What’s not to love?

Fran Healy, “Wreckorder” (Ryko):  Travis frontman gets some pretty nifty guests on his latest solo project: Paul McCartney and Neko Case.

Toby Keith, “Bullets in the Gun” (Show Dog Nashville/Universal): Country superstar unloads another set of tunes about what it means to be country, including the tongue-in-cheek salute to life in the trailer park, first single “Trailerhood.”


Leland Sundries, “The Apothecary EP” (L’Echiquier):  Brooklyn indie act’s debut recalls Lou Reed or Leonard Cohen fronting a lo-fi Americana band complete with smart, literate lyrics.

Bruno Mars,
“Doo-Wops & Hooligans” (Elektra): First he had success producing other folks, then appearing as a featured artist on such records as B.o.B.’s “Nothin‘ On You”  and now (drug charges aside), Mars seems poised to unhitch his wagon to other people’s dreams and make his own come true if first single, the smooth No. 1 smash “Just the Way You Are” is any indication.

Joe Satriani
, “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards” (Epic): Guitarist extraordinaire, who is now part of Chickenfoot, along with Sammy Hagar, returns to his solo roots for his 14th studio album.

The Corin Tucker Band, “1,000 Years” (Kill Rock Stars): Slater-Kinney’s co-founder, Corin Tucker, steps out for for a solo record with a little help from Unwound’s  Sara Lund and Golden Bears’ Seth Lorinczi. Tucker described the music  as a “middle-aged mom record.” We just call it rawwwk.

KT Tunstall, “Tiger Suit” (Virgin): Scottish lass’s third album combines her familiar acoustic rock with some electronic textures for a completely contemporary sounds. She also gets some help in the songwriting department from Linda Perry and The Bird & The Bee’s Greg Kurstin.