Below, we preview some of the most noteworthy albums scheduled for release between now and mid-May. As always, check our ongoing Album Release Calendar for an even more thorough (and frequently updated) list of upcoming album release dates.
The Afghan Whigs
Do to the Beast
April 15 (Sub Pop)
After a decade-long near-dormancy (with only a brief reunion in 2006), the Greg Dulli-fronted alt-rock band—best known for their classic 1993 album Gentlemen—reunited a few years ago for some live dates, followed by a return to the recording studio. The result is their first album in 16 years and their first release for Sub Pop since 1992's Congregation, though it's also their first record without original guitarist Rick McCollum.
April 29 (Parlophone)
Blur frontman and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn makes his true solo debut next month (following a forgettable 2003 compilation of demos and an opera score a few years back). Brian Eno and Natasha Khan (of Bat for Lashes) are among the guests, and Richard Russell (head of XL Recordings) helped with production. Albarn recently performed the new album live in England alongside his new band The Heavy Seas, with The Guardian remarking, "The songs are up there with his best."
|WATCH:||"Lonely Press Play"|
May 6 (Warner Bros.)
After taking a multi-year break from music to start a family, a record label, and a Twitter feud (with Azealia Banks), the British singer-songwriter returns with her first album since 2009's It's Not Me, It's You. All but two tracks were produced by Greg Kurstin (The Bird and the Bee), who was nominated for a Grammy for his work on Allen's previous album. Of course, some of the new songs are just pop rubbish.
|WATCH:||"Hard Out Here"|
May 13 (Mercury Classics)
The 14th studio album from the singer-songwriter is a return to the piano-driven alternative pop/rock format of her earlier works after devoting her recent albums (like Gold Dust and Night of Hunters) to orchestral works. The release will be followed by a rare solo tour.
The New Classic
April 22 (Def Jam)
Rising to fame on the strength of early viral videos, a pair of mixtapes (including the Diplo-produced TrapGold), and a recent support slot on Beyonce's tour, the 23-year-old, Australian-born rapper is finally set to release her debut studio album next month after a series of delays (and record label changes). The New Classic will feature collaborations with T.I., Charli XCX, and Rita Ora.
|WATCH:||"Change Your Life"|
April 15 (SuperEgo)
The Both is a new collaboration between singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo (best known for fronting Ted Leo and the Pharmacists). The longtime friends and tour partners will release their self-titled debut album next month on Mann's SuperEgo label.
Out Among the Stars
March 25 (Legacy)
Music legend Johnny Cash has been gone for a decade, but he's still making quite the impact. Last year brought music critic Robert Hilburn's massive biography of the country/rock star, and this month sees the release of his fourth posthumous album. Never-before-heard Out Among the Stars was recorded during the early 1980s with producer Billy Sherrill, but the album was shelved when Cash was dropped by his then-label Columbia. The 12-song release features duets with June Carter and Waylon Jennings.
|LISTEN:||"I'm Movin' On" (with Waylon Jennings)|
|WATCH:||"She Used to Love Me a Lot"|
May 12 (Atlantic)
Canadian party band Chromeo return with their fourth album of polished, tongue-in-cheek electro-funk in early May. Toro y Moi, Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend), Solange, and Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem) are among the guests.
|LISTEN:||"Jealous (I Ain't With It)"|
|LISTEN:||"Over Your Shoulder"|
Here and Nowhere Else
April 1 (Carpark/Mom+Pop)
The Cleveland indie-rock band's fourth album (and first since their 2012 breakthrough Attack On Memory) will finally arrive in April after missing its original fall 2013 target. John Congleton serves as producer, and the band has aimed for a noisier, more complex style this time out.
|LISTEN:||"I'm Not Part Of Me"|
May 19 (Parlophone)
Chris Martin & co. return in May with their sixth album and first since 2011's Mylo Xyloto. Ghost Stories finds the band teaming up with producer Paul Epworth (Adele) for the first time, though other producers like Jon Hopkins, Rik Simpson, Dan Green, and the band's own Guy Berryman also contributed. Early tracks suggest that Coldplay may have finally found the more stripped-down sound they were originally aiming for with their previous album.
April 28 (Caroline)
With only one album from her side project Spinnerette coming in the decade since The Distillers' final album, Brody Dalle returns to the spotlight this spring with her solo debut. Shirley Manson (Garbage), Nick Valensi (The Strokes), and Emily Kokal (Warpaint) guest on Diploid Love, which was produced by Dalle with Alain Johannes (Arctic Monkeys).
|LISTEN:||"Don't Mess With Me"|
|LISTEN:||"Meet the Foetus / Oh The Joy"|
|LISTEN:||"Parties For Prostitutes"|
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey's second album Ultraviolence is rumored—though not yet confirmed—for a May 1st release, though yesterday's announcement of a May tour would seem to back that up. The singer has described her follow-up to her hit debut Born to Die as "so dark it's almost unlistenable and wrong," and though the final tracklist has yet to be announced, The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach is among the new album's producers.
April 1 (Captured Tracks)
The 23-year-old Canadian "slacker-rock" artist impressed critics with his two previous solo releases on Captured Tracks (including 2012's 2), and returns with a third this spring. DeMarco will also take his bawdy live act on the road for much of the first half of the year.
|LISTEN:||"Passing Out Pieces"|
March 18 (Arts & Crafts)
It certainly doesn't look like a new Broken Social Scene album is coming anytime soon, but that doesn't mean the collective's roster is avoiding the studio entirely. The latest example is next week's solo album from BSS co-founder Kevin Drew. Darlings is Drew's second solo release, but first since 2007's Spirit If....
|LISTEN:||"Mexican Aftershow Party"|
April 15 (Fool's Gold)
The duo of DJ/producers Armand Van Helden and A-Trak have released a series of singles, EPs, and terrific music videos under the name Duck Sauce, but Quack will be the pair's first full-length album. The LP blends house music tracks—including the previously released Members-sampling "Radio Stereo" as well as their 2010 hit "Barbra Streisand"—with connecting skits, promos, and phone calls.
The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
April 22 (PIAS)
As the title suggests, Mark Everett's 11th Eels album (following last year's Wonderful, Glorious) is highly personal and introspective in nature. The first few leaked songs suggest it will be a relatively quiet affair as well. A deluxe edition adds a bonus disc with 13 extra tracks.
|LISTEN:||"Mistakes of My Youth"|
The Future's Void
April 8 (Matador)
Singer-songwriter (and former Gowns frontwoman) Erika M. Anderson followed her impressive 2011 solo debut album Past Life Martyred Saints by signing to Matador Records, which will release her follow-up—dealing with themes of humanity's place in the digital age—next month.
After previously collaborating on a 2009 track ("Beebop Hurry"), Brian Eno and Underworld's Karl Hyde have recorded their first joint LP. The pair split vocal duties and songwriting on Someday World, while Andy Mackay (Roxy Music) and Will Champion (Coldplay) are among the guest musicians. A special edition release adds four tracks to the regular edition's nine.
April 8 (SQE Music)
After a six-year recording hiatus (since 2008's Fasciinatiion), Omaha dance-punk band The Faint have finally reformed and returned to the studio to record a new album. The new 12-song set was mixed by Mike Mogis.
|LISTEN:||"Salt My Doom"|
|WATCH:||"Help in the Head"|
April 29 (Editions Mego)
Austrian guitarist and electronic composer Christian Fennesz last released a solo album (Black Sea) back in 2008. Unlike that last album, Bécs veers into slightly (okay, very slightly) poppier territory, and is intended as a conceptual follow-up to his 2001 release Endless Summer.
Foster the People
March 18 (Columbia)
After rising to fame on the strength of their ubiquitous single "Pumped Up Kicks," L.A.'s Foster the People went on to receive two Grammy nominations for their 2011 debut album Torches. Next week, they return with their follow-up, which frontman Mark Foster describes as more "organic and human" and less electronic than the band's debut. Foster co-produced the new album with Paul Epworth, and it is intended as a concept album about pop culture and consumerism.
|WATCH:||"Coming of Age"|
April 22 (Epic)
The Atlanta rapper returns with his second studio album next month. The follow-up to 2012's Pluto, Honest features Kanye West, Andre 3000, Drake, Pharrell, Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, and more. The deluxe edition adds six tracks, including previously released singles "Karate Chop" (with Lil Wayne) and "Shit."
|WATCH:||"Move That Dope"|
March 25 (4AD)
Thanks to an utterly compelling performance on a recent episode of Late Show With David Letterman that impressed both Dave and the blogosphere, Baltimore-based indie synth-rockers Future Islands have probably never been bigger than they are now. They hope to capitalize on their new fame with the release of their fourth album (which, contrary to its title, is not a singles collection) later this month, which will also be their first release for new label 4AD. Chris Coady (Beach House) produces, and early reviews suggest it is the band's best LP yet.
|WATCH:||"A Dream Of You And Me"|
|WATCH:||"Seasons (Waiting On You)"|
The Hold Steady
March 25 (Washington Square)
After an atypically long four-year break—during which frontman Craig Finn released his solo debut—the Brooklyn rockers return for their first album with new guitarist Steve Selvidge (formerly of Lucero). Produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters), Teeth Dreams is also their (and anyone's) first release on the brand-new Razor & Tie-affiliated label Washington Square.
|LISTEN:||"I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You"|
May 6 (XL Recordings)
The English alt-rock outfit will be looking for its third consecutive 80+ album when it releases its fourth LP in May. Originally set for release last September, the new album is said to be "different" from past releases (specifically, more electronic), though soaring, Echo and the Bunnymen-esque lead single "I See You" suggests that no radical changes are in store.
|LISTEN:||"I See You"|
April 22 (Ninja Tune)
Professionally trained chef-turned-recording-artist Kelis brings her obsession with all things edible (including a gig hosting a Cooking Channel series and her recent food truck at SXSW) to the recording studio with Food, her sixth album and first for new label Ninja Tune. The entire set is produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek.
May 6 (Ribbon Music)
With indie rockers The Walkmen now on "extreme hiatus," its members are going the solo route. Black Hours is the solo debut for frontman Hamilton Leithauser, though his Walkmen bandmate Paul Maroon guests—as do members of Fleet Foxes, Dirty Projectors, Vampire Weekend, and The Shins. Another Walkmen member, Walter Martin, will release his own solo album, We're All Young Together, the following week, while Peter Matthew Bauer follows with Liberation! on June 24th.
I Never Learn
May 6 (LL/Atlantic)
The latest from Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li is intended to complete a trilogy of albums that began with 2008's Youth Novels and 2011's Wounded Rhymes. Li co-produced the new album along with Greg Kurstin and Peter Björn and John's Björn Yttling.
|WATCH:||"Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone"|
March 25 (Mute)
Two years removed from their best album to date (WIXIW), indie iconoclasts Liars return with their seventh LP this spring. Propulsive lead single "Mess on a Mission" suggests that a return to the Radiohead-influenced electronics of WIXIW is in store, perhaps with a more forceful, confident approach.
|LISTEN:||"Mess on a Mission"|
May 13 (Loma Vista/Republic)
Nabuma Rubberband follows three years after Little Dragon's last, Ritual Union. The Swedish electronic-pop band, fronted by talented, in-demand singer Yukimi Nagano, worked with a string quartet for the first time on the new set.
May 6 (Verve)
The veteran singer-songwriter has moved to a new label (Verve) for the first time for the release of her eighth studio album, which follows four years after Laws of Illusion. Shine On is inspired by the death of her father, and finds McLachlan working once again with producer and collaborator Pierre Marchand.
April 8 (Vice)
The hardcore "supergroup" consisting of Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Black Flag), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven Shane McDonald (Redd Kross), and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From the Crypt) return with a follow-up to their self-titled 2012 debut. The 16 tracks were recorded live in the studio as they were being written.
|WATCH:||"Void You Out"|
March 25 (Polyvinyl)
Yes, Two is Owls' second album, following a mere 13 years after their first. The band was originally formed after the breakup of Chicago emo band Cap'n Jazz, but Owls, too, was short-lived, dissolving in 2002 with its members (including Tim and Mike Kinsella) moving on to other bands like Joan of Arc and Owen. But Owls reunited a few years ago, and Two is the result of an 18-month writing process.
|LISTEN:||"Ancient Stars Seed..."|
|LISTEN:||"Why Oh Why..."|
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Days of Abandon
April 22 (Yebo)
The Brooklyn indie pop band returns after a three-year break with its Andy Savours-produced third album, which finds frontman/songwriter Kip Berman backed by a slightly retooled lineup that now also includes Jen Goma (of A Sunny Day in Glasgow) and Kelly Pratt (who has worked with Beirut and David Byrne & St. Vincent). The band's live lineup has also been reconfigured, with departed guitarist Christoph Hochheim now back in the fold.
|LISTEN:||"Simple and Sure"|
May 13 (Domino)
Canadian composer and recording artist Owen Pallett already has a Polaris Music Prize (for his Final Fantasy album He Poos Clouds) and an Academy Award nomination (for his score from the recent Spike Jonze film Her), among other accolades. Now, the frequent Arcade Fire collaborator is set to release his first solo album in four years. In Conflict features contributions from Brian Eno throughout, including on vocals.
|LISTEN:||"On a Path"|
March 18 (Atlantic)
Announced out of the blue yesterday, Recess is the latest release and the first full studio album from Grammy-winning dubstep master Skrillex. Featured on the 11 tracks are collaborators such as Chance the Rapper, Diplo, Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit, and Niki and the Dove. The album is streaming in advance through iTunes (below) or the artist's own Alien Ride app. And his Mothership Tour kicks off at the end of May.
|LISTEN:||Full album (iTunes Radio)|
To Be Kind [2xCD]
May 13 (Young God/Mute)
Since re-forming Swans four years ago, Michael Gira has been remarkably prolific, already releasing two studio albums (including 2012's stunning The Seer) and several live albums. Proceeds from their most recent live set have been used to finance the recording of a new double studio album, To Be Kind, with John Congleton. St. Vincent and Cold Specks are among the guests on the two-hour, 10-song set.
April 8 (Top Dawg)
Among the many rising stars in the Top Dawg stable, SZA stands apart: she's not male, not from Southern California, and not a rapper. Instead, TDE's newest signee is a young New Jersey singer, whose icy modern take on R&B captivated on her debut EP, S. A second EP, Z, follows next month.
Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks
Enter the Slasher House
April 8 (Domino)
Most of the members of Animal Collective keep themselves busy when their main group isn't occupied, and Avey Tare is no exception, with one solo album (Down There) and a side project (Terrestrial Tones) already under his belt. Now, Tare has formed a new band along with keyboardist Angel Deradoorian (formerly of Dirty Projectors) and drummer Jeremy Hyman (formerly of Ponytail), and the trio will release their debut next month.
April 1 (ESL)
The D.C. duo are set to return with their first album since 2011's Culture of Fear. As the title suggests, Saudade is influenced even more than usual by Brazilian bossa nova music, with the entire album devoted to the genre. Guests include U.N.K.L.E., vocalist Shana Halligan, and Argentine singer Federico Aubele.
|LISTEN:||"Depth of My Soul"|
Tokyo Police Club
March 25 (Mom+Pop)
In their first decade, Canadian indie rockers Tokyo Police Club have proven to be more adept at singles than albums, though neither of their previous LPs (including 2010's Champ) were bad. In a few weeks, the band returns with album number three, which was produced by the band's own David Monks along with Doug Boehm (Girls).
|LISTEN:||"Argentina (Parts I, II, III)"|
May 6 (4AD)
Merrill Garbus's third album as tUnE-yArDs is expected to be even more rhythm-focused than 2011's excellent w h o k i l l; Garbus has spent the last year studying Haitian drumming in preparation.
The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream
March 18 (Secretly Canadian)
Indie rockers The War on Drugs—the band co-founded by Kurt Vile, who left early on to become a solo artist—return with a follow-up to their acclaimed sophomore set Slave Ambient. Two years in the making, the new album is already earning rave reviews. A monthlong tour follows the album's release.
April 29 (Merge)
The Baltimore indie-folk duo of Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner earned strong reviews for their 2011 set Civilian. Their self-produced follow-up—Wye Oak's fourth album overall—serves as a radical change of formula: Shriek is a guitar-free record, with synths taking center stage.
A Letter Home
tbd (Third Man)
The 68-year-old rock legend has shown no signs of slowing down, releasing two albums in 2012 and now keeping himself busy with the coming launch of his PonoMusic player. This spring, he's expected to release yet another album, this one a covers record recorded at Jack White's Third Man studio. A Letter Home is expected to be a low-tech affair, with some (or perhaps all) of the tracks recorded in a 1940s-era Voice-o-Graph recording booth.
What do you think?
Which albums are you looking forward to this spring? Let us know in the comments section below.