The quest for the song of the summer may be over (congratulations, Robin Thicke), but there are still plenty of new releases to look forward to as autumn approaches. From top 40 veterans to indie up-and-comers, here are the key albums to keep an eye on:
September 3: Volcano Choir, Repave
An indie collaboration between Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon and post-rock outfit Collections of Colonies of Bees, Volcano Choir promises an emotional and powerful LP that's more conventionally structured than their 2009 debut album, Unmap. Think a mixture of Arcade Fire and Bon Iver.
September 10: The Weeknd, Kiss Land
The prolific Canadian R&B singer (née Abel Tesfaye) will be back with another full-length album that promises a fresh blend of Tesfaye's buttery vocals and dark production style, plus one Drake collaboration.
September 10: Janelle Monaé, The Electric Lady
"It's hard to stop rebels that time-travel," a disembodied female voice announces in the opening of Monaé's "Q.U.E.E.N." video. Indeed, the first single off Monaé's sophomore album sounds distinctly retro-futuristic. The Electric Lady promises an array of guest spots from established R&B heavyweights (Prince, Erykah Badu) and exciting new talent (Miguel, Solange, Esperanza Spalding).
September 23: Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe
After nearly a year of hype, Glaswegian electropop trio Chvrches is set to finally release their anticipated debut full-length, The Bones Of What You Believe, this fall on Glassnote. The album will feature their already popular day-glo singles "Gun," "Recover," and "The Mother We Share," along with a bunch of new material.
September 24: Drake, Nothing Was The Same
After quietly releasing one of the most thoughtful and well-executed rap albums of 2011, Drake will be back this fall with Nothing Was The Same. The rapper's third album will feature old friends like The Weeknd and Jay Z, but also some new collaborators — Drake reportedly worked with electronic indie stalwarts James Blake and Jamie xx as producers.
September 30: HAIM, Days Are Gone
This buzzy trio of L.A. sisters toured with Rihanna and Mumford & Sons and performed on The Late Show with David Letterman all on the basis of a few solid singles and a three-song EP. And now, the world will finally get to hear what a full-length HAIM album sounds like (spoiler alert: It's really good).
September 30: Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience Vol. 2
JT plans to follow up March's chart-topping The 20/20 Experience with a second installment of fresh songs and a world tour. If Vol. 2's first single "Take Back The Night" is any indication, we're in for another batch of polished, danceable R&B hits come the end of September.
October 28: Lorde, Pure Heroine
Overnight success story Lorde (otherwise known as 16-year-old New Zealander Eliza Yelich-O'Connor) will likely continue her upward trajectory on the charts with the release of her first full-length album, Pure Heroine, on Universal. If it is indeed as solid a debut as we expect, Adele better watch out for this smoky-voiced 16-year-old.
October 29: Arcade Fire, Reflektor
To promote their upcoming album, Montreal's preeminent indie collective Arcade Fire quietly resurfaced with a guerrilla marketing campaign in which ominous graffiti spelling the word "Reflektor" was posted around the world. As of now, all we know about the follow-up to 2011's Grammy-winning album The Suburbs is its title and release date, and that it will feature production from LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. (See teaser below.)
November 11: Lady Gaga, ARTPOP
Mother Monster will return in November with ARTPOP, her latest pop-music concoction. If the album's first single "Applause" is any indication, ARTPOP's sound will likely contain notable influences from electronic dance music. As DJ-producer Zedd, who worked on several ARTPOP tracks, told Rolling Stone, "We didn't try to make an EDM album — but, at the same time, we didn't try not to make an EDM album."
More notable releases…
Sep. 3: Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks
Sep. 13: Avicii, True
Sep. 17: MGMT, MGMT
Sep. 22: Katy Perry, Prism
Sep. 24: Icona Pop, This Is… Icona Pop
Sep. 24: Mazzy Star, Seasons of Your Day
Sep. 30: Danny Brown, Old
Sep. 30: Rick Ross, Mastermind
Nov. 5: MIA, Matangi