It won't be possible to top the comebacks, the wild successes and frothing-at-the-mouth hype of the front end of 2013, which we'll call Season of the Event Album.
Fall certainly won't be quiet, though.
The coming months will bring new music from vets like Califone and the Dismemberment Plan, pop sensations like Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, and young blood like Azealia Banks and Joey Bada$$. Of course, there's much, much more in store than that. Read on for our full round up of what's dropping this fall.
Califone can do no wrong, really. The experimental roots-rock band has done consistently strong work since its 1999 debut. There's not reason to think the next album will be anything but wonderful.
Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You
Case is kind of doing a Fiona Apple thing with this annoyingly long title, but never mind that. The powerful vocalist hasn't released a record since 2009 and the first single off the new collection features M. Ward.
Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks
How is NIN going to follow-up Pretty Hate Machine? Hard to say. What we know so far is that the album features Lindsey Buckingham (of Fleetwood Mac) and the first video was directed by David Lynch. Not a bad start at all.
Okkervil River, The Silver Gymnasium
For a hearty helping of dark, folk-ish indie rock this fall, look to Okkervil River. After a tweet from frontman Will Sheff saying the album "takes place in 1986 in a small town in New Hampshire," it looks like it might be another concept album.
Arctic Monkeys, AM
The aggressively fun-loving Brit rockers are following up 2011's Suck It and See with an album that features contributions from Elvis Costello's drummer, Pete Thomas, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and punk poet John Cooper Clarke.
Factory Floor, Factory Floor
This broody dance-rock trio formed about four years ago and signed to DFA (a good omen), but we've only heard singles so far. If the band's self-titled debut is as good as the early nuggets, this should be killer.
Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady
The ArchAndroid, Monae's debut, seems like ages ago. It was only 2010, but the breakthrough was so strong, so electrified by pop and funk, that everyone's been itching for more. "Q.U.E.E.N." was a stylish hit full of 'tude -- a sign of good things to come.
Willis Earl Beal, Nobody knows.
According to the press release, this record is going to be just as awesome off-the-wall as the artist himself: "rooted in everything from orchestral blues to ambient R&B and gentle lullabies to pure cacophony."
Deer Tick, Negativity
Brace yourselves for another dirty, raucous Americana record. It's what they do.
Drake: Nothing Was the Same
We like Drake, yes? Yes. Surely this will be another decent piece of emotional pop, R&B and hip hop.
It makes sense that Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden decided to self-title an album this late in MGMT's career. This is the first time the duo has recorded alone, without a band. And here's a fun teaser from the press release: the album will include something called the Optimizer, which "provides listeners of the album with a simultaneous aural and optical listening experience featuring video and CGI work."
The Roots / Elvis Costello, Wise Up Ghost
It's The Roots and Elvis Costello, collaborating, with Steve Mandell producing. Really, no one needs much more incentive to check this out.
Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe
Yes, there's a whole lot of electro-pop going around these days, but Chvches distinguished itself on its EP, juxtaposing Laura Mayberry's sweet vocals with sharp beats.
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience 2
The announcement that JT would deliver a second half to the initial, insanely hyped comeback was a pleasant surprise. The first part got middling reviews, but mostly people were happy to have a JT musical comeback. Fingers crossed that this one steps the game up.
The Dismemberment Plan, Uncanney Valley
The uncanny valley (yes, it's misspelled in the album title) is that creepy range of robot functioning when it's very human-like but still totally soulless and terrifying. So, um, this record should be cool. It marks the indie rock groups return from a 10-year hiatus after a solid 10-year run. Welcome back (we hope).
Arcade Fire, TBA
It's been three years since the band's last record, the Grammy-winning The Suburbs, and we knew the group was in the studio with James Murphy, so there's been a decent but of build-up here. The tension was broken with a tweet. The band replied to a fan compliment with the album release date.
Lady Gaga, ARTPOP
Finally, there's a release date for Lady Gaga's art project. It actually deserves that label, too. She's working with contemporary artist Jeff Koons (think giant balloon animals) and performance artist Marina Abramovic, and she's promised a whole bunch of visuals with the record, including an app that's "a musical and visual engineering system that combines music, art, fashion and technology."
Azealia Banks, Broke With Expensive Taste
Apparently the foul-mouthed, controversy-courting rapper is finally releasing her first official LP. Apparently. We've heard this before. (But we're still kind of excited.)
Get excited for the newest from Mama Bey, but don't hold your breath. Pharrell, who's working on the record, said early this summer that she still didn't know what she wants the album to be(y).
Danny Brown, Old
Detroit rapper Danny Brown likes to harp on how old he is -- at least, compared to his contemporaries -- but at 32, he's one of the freshest voices out there (even if it is hyper-nasally). 2011's XXX was nasty, as in filthy and very good. Here's hoping for an equally excellent follow-up.
Joey Bada$$, B4.DA.$$
Another young prodigy, this one a 17-year-old from Brooklyn, is here to compete with Earl. After a stellar debut on 1999, the bar's been set pretty high.
Maya Arulpragasam is intentionally provocative. It's the M.O. of M.I.A. to shock and piss people off. This album started brewing trouble in July when the director of her documentary leaked the trailer, then quit, and M.I.A. said she'd need a Kickstarter to get it out with the album.