By Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel –
When Bob Dylan, the Dave Matthews Band, Nelly Furtado, the Avett Brothers, David Byrne with St. Vincent, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, the xx and the Raveonettes all have albums — and they’re all coming out on the same day, Sept. 11 — you know you’ve got a busy music season ahead.
The cluster continues the next week with releases from P!nk, the Killers, Kanye West with his G.O.O.D. Music roster, Carly Rae Jepsen, Wiz Khalifa, Sean Paul, Dwight Yoakam, Ne-Yo, Little Big Town, Ben Folds Five, Grizzly Bear and more.
Further into fall, Taylor Swift will have the Billboard charts seeing “Red,” One Direction’s second album will have girls shrieking, Green Day will release two albums, and folk phenomenon Mumford & Sons hope to scale new heights with “Babel.”
It can all be pretty overwhelming, but this handy guide, covering significant releases through November, will help you make sense of it all.
Bob Dylan, “Tempest”: The Bard recorded his first studio album 50 years ago. On Sept. 11, he delivers his 35th studio album, handling the production duties himself as Jack Frost. The celebration continues during a fall tour with Mark Knopfler.
Dave Matthews Band, “Away from the World”: North America’s highest grossing touring act of the last decade is collaborating with producer Steve Lillywhite — who captured the live DMB aesthetic on its early breakthrough studio albums — for the first time in 14 years.
Americana act the Avett Brothers nailed down “The Carpenter” with mega-producer Rick Rubin … Rubin also had a hand on ZZ Top’s “La Futura,” the Southern rock trio’s first studio album in nine years … David Byrne & St. Vincent are an odd couple on the horn-heavy “Love This Giant” … Latin-flavored Calexico travels to “Algiers” … After a Spanish-language detour with 2009’s “Mi Plan,” Nelly Furtado returns to the dance floor with “The Spirit Indestructible” … Florida rock band miggs looks for new fans at the corner of “15th & Hope” … the xx try to hit audiophiles’ sweet spot with their sophomore album “Coexist.”
P!nk, “The Truth About Love”: The gritty pop princess released “Greatest Hits … So Far!!!” in 2010 and seems to be building a body of work for the sequel; “Love” single “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” has seen a lot of love on the charts.
Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music, “Cruel Summer”: Yeezy’s boundary-pushing hip-hop is typically a hit in any season. Kid Cudi and 2 Chainz join in the good vibes.
Carly Rae Jepsen, “Kiss”: Peppy dance-pop track “Call Me Maybe” definitely became the biggest song of the summer.
White-hot rapper Wiz Khalifa comes back with “O.N.I.F.C.” … Killers fans, prepare for “Battle Born,” the alt-rock band’s latest … Band of Horses saddled up with legendary rock producer Glyn Johns for “Mirage Rock” … Critically acclaimed indie pop band Grizzly Bear follows up its 2009 surprise commercial hit “Veckatimest” with “Shields” … Little Big Town will try to rip through the country charts like a “Tornado” … Rock-oriented singer-songwriter Aimee Mann should be a “Charmer” with critics … Smooth R&B crooner Ne-Yo drops “R.E.D.,” not to be confused with Taylor Swift’s “Red” out a month later … Dwight Yoakam fans have waited seven years for new album “3 Pears” … Ben Folds Five is back together for its first piano-pop album in 13 years, “The Sound of the Life of the Mind.”
Mumford & Sons, “Babel”: If a single act could take credit for the current Americana boom, it would be British-born Mumford & Sons, whose debut album, “Sigh No More,” with catchy barnyard jamborees like “The Cave,” has sold 2.4 million copies in the U.S.
No Doubt, “Push and Shove”: As the years following 2001’s “Rock Steady” passed, and with singer Gwen Stefani finding success as a dance pop artist, it seemed doubtful the reggae/ punk band would ever release another album. But a reunion tour got the creative juices flowing again for a follow-up.
Green Day, “¡Uno!”: Instead of following up 2009’s “21st Century Breakdown” with one more album, the pop-punk trio is releasing three. Guess what the other two are called.
Electronic dance music superstar deadmau5 wins the award for fall’s most original album title with ““ … Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco isn’t aiming for humility with “Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1” … Indy-based indie rock band Hero Jr. unveils its “Backup Plan” … Rapper Talib Kweli becomes a “Prisoner of Conscience” … John Hiatt plays a game of “Mystic Pinball” … “Yokokimthurston” is a collaboration between Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore … Pete Seeger, 93, finds “A More Perfect Union” with guests Bruce Springsteen and Emmylou Harris.
Muse, “The 2nd Law”: Fans got a taste of the bombastic rock act’s new album when single “Survival” became the official anthem of the London Olympic Games. Another track is expected to feature the in-utero heartbeat of lead singer Matthew Bellamy’s son (with actress Kate Hudson) recorded just before he was born.
Cody Simpson, “Paradise”: The girls at the Big Time Rush show at Milwaukee’s Summerfest this year went crazy for the Australian teen singer with the healthy head of hair, just like the Biebs.
Blake Shelton, “Cheer, It’s Christmas”: The country star and “Voice” mentor gets into the holiday spirit early with some help from Michael Bublé, Reba McEntire and Shelton’s mama, Dorothy Shackleford.
If the previous 33 albums weren’t enough indication, blue-eyed soul singer Van Morrison is declaring with his 34th that he was “Born to Sing: No Plan B” … Take heart, Heart fans: the rock band’s got a new one just for you, “Fanatic” … Papa Roach survives with “The Connection” … Indie pop duo Matt and Kim attempt to create some “Lightning” in a bottle … Folk group the Mountain Goats seek “Transcendental Youth.”
Ellie Goulding, “Halcyon”: Single “Lights” has been burning brightly in the States for William and Kate’s wedding singer, which bodes well for the pop singer’s sophomore album.
The Script, “#3”: The Script didn’t have to wait three albums to charm listeners; the Irish group followed the Fray soft-rock formula and found success with the single “Breakeven” and sophomore album, 2010’s “Science & Faith.”
Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson, 74, still has some “Unfinished Business” with producer Justin Townes Earle … Eagles ex-guitarist Don Felder releases “Road to Forever,” his first solo album in nearly three decades … Indie rock supergroup Bad Books, featuring Kevin Devine and members of Manchester Orchestra, drops its second album, “II” … Up-and-coming EDM artist Zedd looks for “Clarity” … rapper Xzibit loves the smell of “Napalm,” with guest vocals from Wiz Khalifa and production from Dr. Dre … Just in time for the apocalypse, Rick Springfield releases “Songs for the End of the World.”
Jason Aldean, “Night Train”: 2010’s “My Kinda Party” was big for Aldean, and “Train” looks to be another runaway hit. Lead single “Take a Little Ride” marked the best first-week singles ever from a male country solo act, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Kiss, “Monster”: “Monster” is a subtle title for one of rock’s most excessive band.
It’s a good day for jam band fans, with albums from Phish’s Trey Anastasio (“Traveler”) and Widespread Panic (“Wood”) … Like her brother Rufus, Martha Wainwright has turned to her late mother, Kate McGarrigle, for inspiration with “Come Home to Mama” … Singer-songwriter Ben Harper is asking for fans to be “By My Side” … Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard goes solo for “Former Lives.”
Taylor Swift, “Red”: The safe bet for the bestselling album of the fall. First single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” shot to No. 1. Unlike her chart-topping 2010 album “Speak Now,” Swift shared songwriting duties this time, including a track co-written with rising British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
Gary Clark Jr. has been getting buzz and drawing comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan leading up to this yet-untitled LP … Texas alt-rock band … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead hopes people will find its “Lost Songs” … Just in time for Halloween, singer-songwriter Bat for Lashes reveals “The Haunted Man” … The Sword wields a heavy rock sound once again with “Apocryphon” … Shiny Toy Guns is back with original singer Carah Faye Charnow for “III” … Dallas psychedelic pop group the Polyphonic Spree offers “Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays Volume One.”
Rod Stewart, “Merry Christmas, Baby”: Lending some vocal assistance on this album is the holiday-loving Bublé, Cee Lo Green (interesting Green appears on Stewart’s holiday album instead of fellow “Voice” coach Shelton’s) and the late Ella Fitzgerald.
Aerosmith, “Music from Another Dimension!” The first studio album in 11 years for the rock ‘n’ roll staples didn’t coalesce in time for the band’s summer tour — but what’s a few months later after 11 years?
One Direction, “Take Me Home”: “If only,” millions of young female fans must be thinking. The next best thing will be this British boy band’s sure-to-be-huge sophomore album.
OneRepublic is supposed to release a new album whose title is to be determined (maybe Ryan Tedder’s soft-rock band will do some decent touring this time out) … Aaron Lewis from hard-rock’s Staind goes solo country for “The Road” … Will Soundgarden’s long-delayed first album since 1996 actually come out on this date? We’ll see.
Graham Parker & the Rumour, “Three Chords Good”: The British rock band, active in the late ‘70s, is releasing its first album in 31 years.
Alicia Keys, “Girl on Fire”: Keys recorded “Fire” in New York, London and Jamaica and let her husband, Swizz Beatz, handle production duties.