Alice In Chains “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”
Alice In Chains introduced vocalist William DuVall on their last album, 2009's "Black Gives Way To Blue." While the band surely misses the late Layne Staley, the roster change didn't immensely affect the grunge era band's sound. Sometimes-vocalist Jerry Cantrell is still their to remind you what the band sounded like in the early '90s. "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" is Alice In Chain's second album with DuVall. Judging by the first two singles from the album, "Stone" and "Hollow," this one will be typical Alice In Chains fare.
Queens of the Stone Age “… Like Clockwork”
With various other musical projects and several people with their hands in the making of their albums, Queens of the Stone Age have had a tendency to take some extended time between releases. "...Like Clockwork" will be the rock band's first album of new material in six years. This one will feature a cast of rotating drummers, including Dave Grohl once again. Also joining Josh Homme and friends for the album will be former bassist Nick Oliveri, Trent Reznor and Elton John. The band recently released a 15-minute animated music video to preview the new album. The clip was just as calm as it was frantic. Expect "...Like Clockwork" to be far from a straight-forward rocker.
Black Sabbath “13″
Ozzy Osbourne is back to record a Sabbath album for the first time in 35 years, but it's still not a full-fledged reunion. Drummer Bill Ward declined to participate in the project. Still, having Ozzy back in the mix is a welcome change. Look for "13" to feature extended dark metal songs. Of the eight tracks on the Rick Rubin-produced album, five of them are longer than 7 minutes. Among those is the first single, "God Is Dead?" The song runs a little more than a minute before the vocals kick in. Surely thanks to some help in the studio, Ozzy's voice holds up well. But even more impressive is Tony Iommi's sharp guitarwork on the song. He sounds as good as he ever has.
Jimmy Eat World “Damage”
Jimmy Eat World has never quite matched the success they achieved on 2001's "Bleed American." Since that time, they have released three albums that have never come close to netting the mainstream attention the band received on their breakthrough album. Can Jimmy Eat World get things back on track? Frontman Jim Adkins is calling "Damage" "an adult breakup record" in recent interviews. The title track definitely fits that description while sounding like the band's early material. The more upbeat "I Will Steal You Back" also is along those lines.
Empire of the Sun “Ice On the Dune”
Australian dance rock outfit Empire of the Sun's 2008 release, "Walking on a Dream," was a surprise hit after it caught on in the U.S. But the second half of that release fizzled out before its end. Still its front half was enough to create some buzz. Empire of the Sun's followup, "Ice On The Dune," will hopefully lean toward the way the duo sounded on the early part of their debut. The first single, "Alive," is at least headed in that direction.
Rick Moranis “My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs”
Actor Rick Moranis hasn't been seen on a movie screen since 1996's "Big Bully," but he has put out a comedic country album since that time. "Agoraphobic Cowboy" was even nominated for a Grammy for best comedy album in 2006. "My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs" has the retired actor singing about his Jewish roots and upbringing.
Kanye West, TBA
When Kanye West simply tweeted "June Eighteen" earlier this month, several people immediately figured we'd get the followup to 2010's "My Beatiful Dark Twisted Fantasy." Looks like West hasn't lost his ability to hype a new album. A subsequent publicity stunt where he projected images on 66 buildings around the globe while a new song, "New Slaves," played drew even more attention. The Kanye hype train came barreling down the tracks even harder when he played that song and another new one, "Black Skinhead," on "Saturday Night Live" on May 18. Both songs have West seemingly spitting more venom than he ever has as his lyrics touched on everything from interracial relationships to LeBron James to religion. If these songs are a sign of things to come, the father-to-be's sixth album might be his darkest material to date.
Mavis Staples “One True Vine”
There's been renewed interest in Mavis Staples' career in recent years. The 73-year-old soul and gospel singer won a Grammy for Best Americana Album for 2010's "You Are Not Alone." That album was produced by fellow Chicago native and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, and is one of Staples' liveliest efforts to date. The two will get back together for "One True Vine." A cover of Funkadelic's "Can You Get To That" and the Staple Singers' "I Like The Things About Me" already released from the album hint the new release will be just as good. Tweedy and Nick Lowe both wrote original songs for Staples to perform on "One True Vine" as well. Tweedy also plays nearly every instrument on the album except drums, which were played by his 17-year-old son Spencer.
Bosnian Rainbows "Bosnian Rainbows"
Bosnian Rainbows is yet another project by one of the members of the apparently now-defunct band At The Drive-In. This one features ATDI and Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez with Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes on vocals. The two have worked together in the past when Rodriguez-Lopez has produced music for the garage punk band. Judging by the music on their website, Bosnian Rainbows apply some of the musical twists and turns featured on the Mars Volta albums, but in much more concise parameters. Sorry, no 15-minute songs with these guys.
Chris Brown "X"
Set to come out just a year after the release of the troubled R&B singer's "Fortune" album, Chris Brown's "X" will once again feature a host of guests including Rihanna and rapper Kendrick Lamar. "Fine China," the first single from the album, has Brown doing his best Michael Jackson impersonation. The next single, "They Don't Know," will include a sample of late singer Aaliyah's voice. It's hard to believe "X" will be the 24-year-old performer's sixth studio album. But as we learned with "Fortune," quantity isn't always better than quality when it comes to making music.
Other notable releases: May 28: John Fogerty, “Wrote a Song For Everyone” ; Tricky, “False Idols”; June 4: Ashanti, “BraveHeart”; Filter, “The Sun Comes Out Tonight”; Ben Folds Five, “Ben Folds Five Live”; Megadeth, “Super Collider”; LeAnn Rimes, “Spitfire”; June 11: Barenaked Ladies, “Grinning Streak”; Harry Connick Jr., “Every Man Should Know”; Goo Goo Dolls, “Magnetic”; The Lonely Island, “The Wack Album“; June 18: Hanson, “Anthem”; Mac Miller, “Watching Movies With the Sounds Off”; Kelly Rowland, “Talk a Good Game”; Sigur Rós, “Kveikur”; 3OH!3, “Omens”; June 25: Jay Sean, “Neon”; Serj Tankian, “Orca Symphony No. 1"; Wale, “The Gifted”; July 2: Pretty Lights, “A Color Map of the Sun”; July 9: Ciara, “Ciara”; July 16: Sara Bareilles, “The Blessed Unrest”; July 23: Marc Anthony, TBA; Gogol Bordello, “Pura Vida Conspiracy”; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, “Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros”; July 30: Backstreet Boys, “In a World Like This"; Aug. 6: The Polyphonic Spree, “Yes, It’s True”; Aug. 27: Franz Ferdinand, “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action”.