October's Top 20 rock release list is a heady mix of rock 'n' roll icons and young superstars. Paul McCartney and Pearl Jam return, for starters. NEW is Macca's most energetic and ambitious since 1997's [Flaming Pie]. Moreover, it's solid proof that he has been listening to copious amounts of electronica and indie pop in recent years. Pearl Jam's Lightning Bolt, meanwhile, finds the Seattle grunge pioneers successfully juggling their love for punkish angst and classic rock. Another title worth noting is the Super Deluxe edition of Nirvana's landmark and final album, In Utero. It's filled with all manner of demos and live cuts, as well as a new remix courtesy of producer Steve Albini.
As for younger superstars, North Carolina's Avett Brothers return with Magpie and the Dandelion. The record further solidifies the group's role as key players in the 21st-century folk rock revival (right up there with Mumford & Sons). Like a pair of Raleigh Denim jeans, the music is stylishly rustic: banjos and campfire melodies grafted to pop harmonies and indie cool. Be sure to also check out HAIM, anchored by a trio of talented sisters from Los Angeles. Their debut full-length, Days Are Gone, audaciously blends Fleetwood Mac-flavored '70s pop and '90s R&B.