Janelle Monáe The Electric Lady (Sept. 10)
You like purple? Janelle Monáe likes purple. The neo-soulster's sophomore effort is apparently funkier than her eclectic and stylish debut, with purple-hazy Hendrix inspirations and guest spots from all-stars up to and including Prince, the genius whose favourite colour of rain is well known. Sure, let's go crazy.
MGMT MGMT (Sept. 17)
In a world of LOLs and BTWs, the band name MGMT might be considered fashionable. Indeed, these synthy psychedelians are cutting edge. The band recently told Rolling Stone they "are not trying to make music that everyone understands the first time they hear it." In other words, expect some SMHs when the album drops in September.
Drake Nothing Was The Same (Sept. 24)
"When I play it for people, they ask 'who's that rapping?' I'm like, 'That's me.'" So, the new one from the MVP emcee is by Drake, featuring Drake. This guy's in his own Rolodex, and his taste – the album includes contributions from Jay Z and Chilly Gonzalez – is impeccable.
Kings of Leon Mechanical Bull (Sept. 24)
After a period of tumult, the Tennessee four-piece gets right back on the horse, or, in this case, the Mechanical Bull. Recorded in a studio the band built in Nashville, the album includes the anthemic rocker Comeback Story, which, in a way, is still being written.
Basia Bulat Tall Tall Shadow (Oct. 1)
Partly recorded in the reverberating Royal Canadian Legion's dance hall in Toronto, the album was co-produced by Mark Lawson, the Grammy Award-winner who engineered Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. Arcade Fire, from the Ontario songstress? "This time around, I felt braver," says Bulat. "I wanted to play with electric and electronic sounds, exploring the boundaries of the folk music some people know me for."
The Deep Dark Woods Jubilee (Oct. 1)
"It sounds more like 'us' than any record we've made so far," says Lucas Goetz, of the Saskatoon alt-country crew The Deep Dark Woods. The new album is a celebration of the band's eight-year history – a long time for an outfit to arrive at their signature sound. "Semblances of our various influences rear their heads all over the place of course, whether that be Howlin' Wolf, Grateful Dead, Neil Young, the Byrds or the Band," explains the singer and pedal-steel player, about a record literally made in the deep dark woods (in a cabin in Bragg Creek, Alta.).
Paul McCartney Untitled (Oct. 15)
Listen to what the man said: "I think you're going to like this one." The still mop-toppy star's first solo album of original material since 2007's Memory Almost Full was made with a little help from friends Paul Epworth and Mark Ronson, known for their affiliations with Adele and Amy Winehouse, respectively. The snippet of a track called New was released this week; it's a trip down Penny Lane, and it's something Beatles fans will indeed like.
Pearl Jam Lightning Bolt (Oct. 15)
If the lead single Mind Your Manners is any indication, the Seattle grunge heroes' 10th album will be a brooding, racing and muscular affair. Look for cover: Eddie Vedder and company are throwing the electric again.
Katy Perry Prism (Oct. 22)
On her latest single, the California pop confection declares that she has the eye of a tiger and the roar of a lion. That tune (Roar) faced competition from Lady Gaga, who rushed her own single out a week early for the head-to-head. So, yeah, it's a jungle out there. Perry has promised a mature effort for her third LP, but Teenage Dream producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin co-wrote Roar, so don't expect Joni Mitchell's Blue or anything.
Arcade Fire Reflektor (unconfirmed) Oct. 29
The former LCD Soundsystem maestro James Murphy, who helped produce the Montreal big-music specialists' fourth album, told NME that the band's fourth record "sounds like Arcade Fire in the way that only Arcade Fire sound like Arcade Fire, you know?" Hey, James, how about telling us something we don't know? A recent graffiti art campaign has suggested that all (or least some) will be revealed on Sept. 9.
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (Nov. 5)
First Miley Cyrus's twerk, and now the real Slim Shady's Berzerk. During Sunday's MTV VMA broadcast, the returning rapper announced news of his forthcoming album, produced executively by Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin. One day later came the release of the single Berzerk, a wacky-punchy thing that channels Beastie Boys and heavily samples Billy Squier's The Stroke.
Lady Gaga Artpop (Nov. 11):
On the liner notes to one of its mid-sixties albums, the Rolling Stones told people to "cast deep in your pockets for the loot to buy this disc of groovies and fancy words." That's old school. A trailer video for Lady Gaga's fourth album declares that she is "no longer relevant," and instructs viewers not to buy her dance-y Applause single on iTunes. This pop charlatan is impossible to overlook, but it's likely her commands will be ignored. Big sales, guaranteed.