1. Air – Le Voyage Dans La Lune: Drawing inspiration from the classic 1902 film by the same name, Air’s next album should bring fans a somewhat new experience. The band was asked to compose an original score for the film’s restored re-release, but the project inevitably grew into a full album. The digital version also includes the fully restored 16-minute film in colour.
2. No Doubt – TBA: Beginning their studio work back in May of 2010, these ‘90s superstars have reunited to bring fans yet another punk-ska installment, working with major up-and-comers Major Lazer and hotshot producer Spike Stent. The project, which was originally set for a 2011 release date, has taken longer than anticipated because of lead singer Gwen Stefani’s need to balance her life as musician, fashion designer, wife, and mother.
3. Yeasayer – TBA: Expected this spring or early summer, the Brooklyn-based quintet says their next album will be more like “demented R&B,” as opposed to the psychedelic pop sounds from their previous album, Odd Blood, that garnered serious acclaim. The band’s singer-keyboardist told SPIN that they refuse to retread old ground, moving the band’s sound ever forward.
4. Rick Ross – God Forgives, I Don’t. – To say that 2011 was a tumultuous year for rapper Rick Ross would be an understatement. After suffering two mid-flight seizures, Ross took a hiatus to recover and focus on his health. But his bout of poor health has a silver lining: the break gave Ross the opportunity to collaborate with hip-hop powerhouse Jay-Z. This year will be the year of the Teflon Don.
5. The xx – TBA: Their huge self-titled debut album gave these South Londoners a lot of ground to work with, but also gave them a lot to live up to. They began work on their sophomore album in the fall of 2011 and they say it has more of a ‘club’ feel than their 2009 release. With the band hoping to have the album complete in time to take it on a festival tour, The xx fans should expect something this spring.
6. Of Montreal – Paralytic Stalks: Frontman Kevin Barnes warns fans that Of Montreal’s new album probably won’t be something that everyone likes, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve major anticipation. After all, it has been a couple of years since their last release, and it’s always a risk for a band to take a decidedly different direction. They’ve released a preview track, “Dour Percentage,” online to give you a taste of what’s to come.
7. School of Seven Bells – Ghostory: The third album by the New York electronic, dance-centric now-duo is the band’s first release since the departure of one-third of their previous trio, Claudia Deheza. Her twin, Alejandra, will be heading the vocals, backed by guitarist/producer Benjamin Curtis. The album, pitched as a ‘concept album about ghosts’, includes nine tracks chock-full of ‘80s, pop, shoegaze, and ambient electronic tunes.
8. The Shins – Port of Morrow: This March you can expect 10 tracks of pure psychedelic rock from the Albuquerque, New Mexico natives. Although the band only features one original member, frontman James Mercer, the album is said to stay true to the characteristic Shins sound. Five years since their last album, it’s no wonder Port of Morrow made waves with its announcement in December.
9. Black Star – Black Star Aretha: Following their 2011 release Fix Up, Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey, the artist formerly known as Mos Def, are releasing a mixtape tribute to iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin due in March of this year. The duo’s unification is hype enough as it is, but throw in the inspired sounds of Ms. Franklin and we’re into a whole different kind of game.
10. Dierks Bentley – Home: I just couldn’t leave this country boy off my most anticipated list. Known for his signature, uptempo tracks about nothing other than women, beer, and his love for his country, his four-wheel drive, and the open road, the Phoenix, Arizona native is expected to drop the fan-inspired album on Feb. 7. Home is composed of “more than a year’s worth of writing, recording and testing out material on the road in front of our hardcore fans.”