Just as a spring thaw is finally coming after a brutal winter, the flow of album releases is starting after a few cold weeks with no superstar releases (Okay, we know it's only been three weeks since new albums from Sade came out and four since Lady Antebellum.) On March 2, we have a full slate, including Peter Gabriel's first set in seven years, as well as "Almost Alice," new Lifehouse, Jason Derulo and Danny Gokey.
Benny Andersson Band, “Story of a Heart” (Decca): Abba fans rejoice: Andersson and fellow co-founder Bjorn Ulvaeus collaborate on this project featuring 16 musicians. I guess they can’t count the millions raked in from “Mamma Mia” 24/7.
Jamie Cullum, “The Pursuit” (Verve): Spunky British singer/pianist, renowned for his energetic live shows, returns with his first album in four years. Mega- producer/songwriter Greg Wells, who has worked with everyone from Pink to Katy Perry, Aerosmith, Timbaland and OneRepublic.
Jason Derulo, “Jason Derulo” (Beluga Heights/Warner Bros.): His first single, the mega-autotuned “Whatcha Say,” has already been a huge radio hit, as second single “In My Head” climbs the charts. If accessible, paint-by-numbers, rhythmic pop is your thing, check out the full album.
Peter Gabriel, “Scratch My Back” (Virgin): In his first album in seven years, Gabriel tackles tunes from Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Radiohead, Bon Iver and others and turns them on their heads. In return, in a forthcoming set called “I’ll Scratch Yours,” the same artists are expected to cover their favorite Gabriel tune.
Danny Gokey, “My Best Days” (19 Recordings/RCA Nashville): “American Idol” Season 8 finalist takes the southern route traveled before him by fellow contestants like Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Josh Gracin by going country.
Lifehouse, “Smoke & Mirrors” (Interscope): It’s been nine years since Jason Wade-led Lifehouse released its first album, “No Name Face.” The group’s fifth album relies on the same tried-and-true (albeit with a few twist) guitar-based, alternative songs that take up residence on the Adult Top 40 charts. The group will tour with Daughtry and Cavo this spring.
Little Boots, “Hands” (Elektra): Will Little Boots give Lady GaGa a run for her money? Probably not, but the British dance-pop artist caused a stir in her native UK with this set, which came out last summer there. She starts a U.S. tour March. 2.
Rogue Wave, “Permalight” (Brushfire/Universal): Much-licensed lo-fi rock band from Oakland, Calif. returns with a set produced by Dennis Herring and released on Jack Johnson’s imprint.
Various Artists, “Almost Alice” (Buena Vista/Disney): April Lavigne, Owl City, The Cure’s Robert Smith, Franz Ferdinand and more fall down the rabbit hole in this companion album to Danny Elfman’s “Alice in Wonderland” score, which also comes out March 2.