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Fall Music Preview 2012: The 24 Albums You Need to Hear

Bob Dylan, Green Day, Ke$ha and More

fall music preview

The next four months will see supersized sonic experiences from some of rock's greatest: The first two of Green Day's three new albums will drop, as will Bob Dylan's apocalyptic 35th studio record, No Doubt's first release in over 10 years and Mumford & Son's highly anticipated follow-up to Sigh No More. Keep reading for the lowdown on these, and 20 other records that will rock you in 2012.

Reporting by David Browne, Matt Diehl, Patrick Doyle, Gavin Edwards, David Fricke, Andy Greene, David Peisner, Austin Scaggs, Simon Vozick-Levinson and Jonah Weiner.

animal collective

Brian Deran

Animal Collective, ‘Centipede HZ’ (9/4)

The psychedelic indie kings get seriously weird on the follow-up to 2009's Merriweather Post Pavilion – juxtaposing distorted guitars with manic digital beats on standout tracks including "Rosie Oh." Says multi-instrumentalist Noah Lennox, a.k.a. Panda Bear, "We were thinking what an alien band might sound like."

 

Matchbox Twenty

Cliff Watts

Matchbox Twenty, ‘North’ (9/4)

"You can't head into your forties and not have baggage," says frontman Rob Thomas. "Thankfully, we have a built-in release for it." The pop-rock hitmakers' first new LP in a decade is packed with U2-ish anthems and uptempo electro jams. Adds Thomas, "The whole album just sounds like something fun to play in front of a lot of people in an arena."

 

cat power

Austin Conroy

Cat Power, ‘Sun’ (9/4)

For her first original LP since 2006, Chan Marshall ditched the country arrangements of her past two releases in favor of synths and drum machines – and lyrics about violence and troubled relationships. "When I was in my twenties, I was very defensive," she says. "But I'm 40 now, and I'm much more aware of my responsibility to my well-being."

kanye west

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

G.O.O.D. Music, ‘Cruel Summer’ (9/4)

Kanye West and a dream team of his G.O.O.D. Music signees – including Common, Q-Tip, Pusha T and Kid Cudi – crafted this album to accompany a surreal short film that West premiered at Cannes. They've released two speaker-busting singles so far, but only Kanye knows what the final product will sound like. Says Pusha, "It wouldn't be right if the element of surprise wasn't there for everybody except him."

 

bob dylan

FRED TANNEAU/AFP/GettyImages

Bob Dylan, ‘Tempest’ (9/11)

Dylan's 35th studio LP – cut with his touring band in Jackson Browne's Santa Monica studio – is a dark, bluesy a air, with standout tracks including the growling slowburner "Pay in Blood" and the 14-minute title track, about the Titanic disaster. "People are going to say, 'Well, it's not very truthful,'" Dylan recently told Rolling Stone. "But a songwriter doesn't care about what's truthful. What he cares about is what should've happened."

dave matthews band

Jeff Coffin

Dave Matthews Band, ‘Away From the World’ (9/11)

"Ain't it funny how time slips away/Looking at the cracks creeping across my face," Dave Matthews sings on "The Riff," a key track from DMB's eighth studio set. Midlife reflection dominates the new material that the band cut in Seattle with producer Steve Lillywhite, the man behind DMB classics such as 1996's Crash. "It was great to get back in a room with him, now that we're old bastards," Matthews says. "He captures the way we sound with less effort than a lot of people."

avett brothers

American Recordings

The Avett Brothers, ‘The Carpenter’ (9/11)

Singer Scott Avett cites Soundgarden and Nirvana as key influences on the North Carolina indie-folk act's heavy new disc, recorded with producer Rick Rubin. "Before the Avett Brothers, we were in a loud band," says Avett. "So it's a return to that moment."

 

David Byrne and St. Vincent

Andreas Laszlo Konrath

St. Vincent and David Byrne, ‘Love This Giant’ (9/11)

"It took a while to find out how to work together, but this was really collaborative writing," ex-Talking Heads singer Byrne says of his LP with indie shredder Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent). They trade vocals over the set's horncentered tracks, with plenty of what Clark calls "strange, proggy, Robert Fripp-y guitar." Adds Clark, "David and I look at songs almost like little puzzles."

The Killers

Williams + Hirakawa

The Killers, ‘Battle Born’ (9/18)

"We always say we're going to let there be more space," says Killers frontman Brandon Flowers. Instead, their fourth album – which they spent an arduous year recording in their Las Vegas studio – is bigger than ever on glammed-up guitars, digitally delayed drums and over-thetop vocals. "It's taken longer," adds Flowers. "But it's going to be better."

 

grizzly bear

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Grizzly Bear, ‘Shields’ (9/18)

"We took the same approach that we've taken with every album: Leave New York City," bassist-producer Chris Taylor says of the Brooklyn crew's strategy for following up 2009's Veckatimest. Escaping the urban grid for Texas and Cape Cod, they cut 10 tunes in which anxious riffs and clattering rhythms give way to dreamier vistas. For the first time, singers Daniel Rossen and Ed Droste wrote parts for each other: "It was a new vibe," says Droste, "which was fun."

pink

Andrew Macpherson

Pink, ‘The Truth About Love’ (9/18)

On her sixth LP, Pink once again turns her emotional chaos into turbocharged, take-no-prisoners pop gold. "Even in my darkest moments, when I'm not sure if my life is going to be OK, I know that it's going to be fodder for my next record," she says with a laugh.

 

band of horses

Christopher Wilson

Band of Horses, ‘Mirage Rock’ (9/18)

Veteran producer Glyn Johns – who helped craft classic LPs from Sticky Fingers to Who's Next – joined the indiefolk crew in the studio for its fourth LP. "He's the most legendary producer that ever walked the Earth," says frontman Ben Bridwell. "I didn't really know how to get over it." Luckily, Bridwell deliv- ered some of his prettiest melodies yet, on the CSNY-influenced two-part saga "Dumpster World" and the harmony-drenched ballad "The Slow Cruel Hands of Time." Several tunes took form after Johns pushed Bridwell to workshop in-progress material in solo acoustic form for his bandmates. "It was terrifying," says the singer. "But he helped guide me into some exciting new techniques. I'm forever grateful."

carly rae jepsen

Vanessa Heins

Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Kiss’ (9/18)

The Canadian Idol runner- up was already done recording her second LP when her single "Call Me Maybe" unexpectedly became a summer smash. She decided to start over on the disc, bringing in pro co-writers like LMFAO's Redfoo. "Right now," she says, "I'm just dreaming up the story I want to tell with my music."

green day

Greg Schneider

Green Day, ‘¡Uno!’ (9/25)

"The big-Marshall-amp thing is over – I've done it for 20 years," Billie Joe Armstrong says of the power-pop punch and jangle on ¡Uno!, the first of Green Day's three new albums (the second, ¡Dos!, is due November 13th). "We wanted to get into early AC/DC and Cheap Trick." The singer-guitarist is also "writing about girls again." He describes the songs on ¡Uno! as "feeling like your heart is on fire. On the second record, you start losing control." By ¡Tré!, which arrives in January, "your heart will feel like a flamethrower. It gets really hot."

 

 

mumford and sons

Rebecca Miller

Mumford & Sons, ‘Babel’ (9/25)

"There is pressure when you've had a successful record," says Mumford bassist Ted Dwane. The folk-rock stars cut the follow-up to their smash 2009 debut, Sigh No More, over a year and a half during breaks from the road. The results crank Mumford's signature sound up to 11, with louder guitars amping the emotion on tracks that they recorded mostly live in the studio. Adds Dwane, "On the first album, we couldn't have pulled that off."

 

no doubt

John Shearer

No Doubt, ‘Push and Shove’ (9/25)

The creation of No Doubt's first album since 2001 wasn't easy – but after four years of hard work, they've finally completed this upbeat set of reggae grooves, Eighties-style synth-pop jams and at least one mega power ballad. Then there's the title track, which fluctuates wildly between genres and tempos. Says bassist Tony Kanal, "It's our 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'"

 

The Wallflowers

James Minchin

The Wallflowers, ‘Glad All Over’ (10/2)

Jakob Dylan hadn't spent much time in Nashville before this year, when the Wallfowers worked for a month at Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye studio. "I had a hunch that if we got ourselves out of L.A., we could make music all day long," Dylan says. Highlights of the set include the jangly jam "Love Is a Country" and the single "Reboot the Mission," featuring guitar and vocals from Mick Jones. Says Dylan, "I wouldn't pretend we didn't chase the Clash's sound on that one."

kendrick lamar

Jeff Gentner/Getty Images

Kendrick Lamar, ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City’ (10/2)

Forget Detox – the hottest project Dr. Dre is working on right now is his new protégé's major-label debut. "He made me step my game up 10 times from what I thought I had," says Lamar, whose whipsmart rhymes shine on tracks like the Dre-featuring single "The Recipe." For inspiration, Lamar has been spending time in his old neighborhood in Compton: "I'm putting myself back in that space where I was when nobody was going to listen to me. All it was was the streets and desperation."

 

muse

Danny Clinch

Muse, ‘The 2nd Law’ (October TBD)

"We are defined by the fact that we can't be defined by anybody," Muse frontman Matt Bellamy recently told Rolling Stone. The British trio's sixth LP – named after the thermodynamic principle of entropy – is full of unexpected sounds: heavy metal choirs, grinding bass drops, airy electro and more. On "Save Me," they even try out Beach Boys-style pop. Added Bellamy, "It makes for a nice change."

neil young crazy horse

Steve Jennings/WireImage

Neil Young and Crazyhorse, Title TBD (October TBD)

About a year ago, Young invited his longtime backing band out to his home near San Francisco. The first batch of tunes from the sessions was Americana, the set of radically rearranged folk standards he released in June. After clearing their collective throat with those ragged covers, Crazy Horse bore down on a set of furious new Young tunes for a second album. "Some of them started off with just a jam," says guitarist Frank "Poncho" Sampedro. "And then, all of a sudden, Neil starts singing. It's like, 'Wow – this is a song!' "

aerosmith

Ross Halfin

Aerosmith, ‘Music From Another Dimension’ (11/6)

"We've been hearing from fans all these years, 'Why don't you make a record like the old stuff?' " says guitarist Joe Perry. For their first all-new album since 2001, Aerosmith finally gave it a shot. Reconvening in Boston and L.A. with Jack Douglas – who produced 1975's Toys in the Attic and 1976's Rocks – the band pounded out a set of riffy rockers. Says frontman Steven Tyler, "They're songs about fun and sex."

big boi

Jonathan Mannion

Big Boi, ‘Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors’ (11/13)

Big Boi's second solo LP will surprise anyone who assumed he just brought the street thump to Outkast. "In my iPod, I got everything from the S.O.S. Band to the Beatles to Mumford & Sons," says the MC. Vicious Lies reflects that eclecticism, with guest appearances from electropsych crew Phantogram and Swedish R&B act Little Dragon. "I always gravitate toward songs with stronger rhythms," says Big Boi. "But if it's jamming, it's jamming."

soundgarden

Don Van Cleave

Soundgarden, Title TBD (11/13)

"It re-establishes that we still rock, we're still heavy, and we're still a little weird," guitarist Kim Thayil says of the grunge gods' first new album since the Nineties. Standout tracks like "Blood on the Valley Floor" showcase the classic combo of Thayil's asymmetrical riffage and frontman Chris Cornell's antihero howl, while "A Thousand Days Before" gets experimental. "That one has a little Indian thing and some chicken-pickin'," Thayil says. "We call it 'country & eastern.' "

ke$ha

Steven Greenstreet

Ke$ha, Title TBD (2012 TBD)

After months of work at producer Dr. Luke's Malibu home studio, Ke$ha is still tinkering with her second full-length album. The new disc is packed with tunes she calls "cock pop" – the Top 40 equivalent of sexually boastful hard rock of the Seventies. "I have one song that compares my hoo-ha to a golden Pontiac Firebird, in all its majesty," says the star. "They're equally badass." Touring the world behind smash singles like 2009's "Tik Tok" and 2010's "We R Who We R" has taught Ke$ha some life lessons: "I'm trying to keep the rock & roll mentality – 'Let's destroy shit and party and get laid!'" she says. "But I also put the crazy-white-girl rapping aside for a few songs and got super-real with my fans."

In This Article: Bob Dylan, Green Day, Mumford & Sons

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