Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon (out now)
The self-proclaimed “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” (Lana, you’re lucky you’re hot and have an intoxicating voice), came off more as a “Xanax Stevie Nicks” in the dark and somber Ultraviolence. The pop-chanteuse has been hinting on what to expect from her third album on social media and the video for her first single, High By The Beach, confirms what fans hoped for — more haunted love songs, but this time mixed with a smokey West Coast vibe and the grandeur of old Hollywood.
Disclosure - Caracal (out now)
The Lawrence brothers’ debut album, Settle, established these Brits as the most promising dance music duo since Daft Punk. Their electro pop beats and R&B-flavored, sing-a-long hooks were perfect for an underground club or top 40 radio. Sure, it wasn’t exactly progressive, but no one had done it this well since the heyday of The Chemical Brothers. For Caracal, the dynamic duo enlist the likes of an Avengers-like roster of vocal superheroes (Weeknd, Miguel, Lorde and honorary third member Sam Smith). In addition to playing live instruments on the songs, brother Howard even sings on Jaded, a throwback banger about the rising plague of EDM poseurs.
Run The Jewels - Meow The Jewels (out now)
An inside joke by the rappers promising to re-record last year's instant classic, Run the Jewels 2, with "nothing but cat sounds" was made into a reality by a fan by way of (what else) Kickstarter. Instead of shutting the unlicensed project down, El-P and his co-conspirator Killer Mike, rounded up some of the hottest producers in the game (Massive Attack, Just Blaze, Dan the Automator) to make Top Cat-worthy remixes. You can download the album for free or (better yet) buy a vinyl edition. All the proceeds will go to charities that benefit victims of police violence. That ain’t no joke.
New Order - Music Complete (out now)
Music Complete is not only the iconic synth-pop vets’ first release of new songs in a decade, but also their first without founding bassist and Joy Division co-founder Peter Hook. This comeback album is thought to be a return to the Manchester band’s dance-based, electronic musical roots with production work from Tom Rowlands (The Chemical brothers) and guest appearances by La Roux, Brandon Flowers and Iggy Pop. The much-anticipated release coincides with band leader Bernard Sumner’s autobiography, Chapter and Verse, which should crank up the band drama a couple more BPM’s.
Kurt Cobain - Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings (10/12)
Before you break out the fuzzy cardigan take notice that this solo album comes out on the same day as the DVD release of Brett Morgen's documentary Montage of Heck. So, is it a marketing ploy or real new music from one of the most beloved artists of the last 25 years? Much of the album is said to be from previously unreleased Cobain material heard in the film (read: bedroom recordings), which includes a 12-minute acoustic song and a comedy sketch routine. A boon for hardcore fans for sure, and perhaps an intro into one of the most influential bands of all times for those who aren’t yet fans.
Kanye West - Swish (TBD)
From fashion week runways to awkward reality tv hugs, Kanye was everywhere this summer, except under the title of New Releases. Perhaps that is why our future president delayed his much-rumored seventh studio album earlier this year after releasing singles like All Day and collaborations with Paul McCartney and Sia, all of which are rumored to not even grace his new album. We don’t know what ‘Ye’s got up his sleeve but we’re all standing by with a bucket of popcorn because we can’t wait to see what’s next.
Grimes - Untitled (TBD)
The Canadian experimental pop pixie, who burst onto the scene with 2012’s Vision, wasn’t quite ready for her close-up in 2014 when she tossed an entire album's worth of material that started and ended with the single Go. A year later, the singer/songwriter/producer promises something very different with an album that she says is split into three sections: “aggressive bangers with a rock edge, weirder experimental things, and really, really poppy songs.” Count us in.
MIA - Matahdatah (TBD)
The Grammy-nominated social raptivist has been missing in action since 2013's Matangi, far longer if you didn’t care for the genre-defying follow-up to Kala, which lacked pop-pop-pop hits like Paper Planes. The avant-garde, multi-hyphenate, who aims to be as much of an artist as a revolutionary, is back in a fittingly unconventional form, with dance tracks accompanying globe-trotting, short films described as “scrolls,” which she will debut throughout the fall, before a proper full-length release by the end of 2015. Yeah, we’re a little confused too but MIA’s talent is always worth some measure of anticipation.