Dam-Funk: Invite the Light (September 4) Dam-Funk’s first solo record in six years picks up right where he left off with Toeachizown. In other words, if ’70s space-funk crossed with ’80s synth-soul is your jam, this LP is a must.
Lana Del Rey: Honeymoon (September 18) LDR has perfected both her seductive double-agent persona and a shadier take on Cali-pop, which should carry over to album No. 3, going by drowsy first single “High by the Beach” and its perforated rhythmic underbelly.
David Gilmour: Rattle That Lock (September 18) With Pink Floyd officially put to bed, its frontman can focus squarely on his own career and this fourth solo album, shaping up to feature lush prog-pop with psychedelic flourishes.
Disclosure: Caracal (September 25) Going by the Sam Smith-featuring “Omen” and the soulful, minimalist house track “Holding On,” this U.K. electronic duo won’t switch things up too drastically on album No. 2. And that’s not a bad thing.
Kurt Vile: B’lieve I’m Goin Down (September 25) Vile’s spiritual new record feels more intimate than previous work, and the indie-psych guitar guru adds banjo to bring folksy vibe to songs like “I’m an Outlaw.”
Deafheaven: New Bermuda (October 2) Deafheaven’s latest LP was produced and mixed by Jack Shirley, the same man who helmed their previous albums. As a result, expect more genre-invading hybrids incorporating keening space-rock ambience, sludgy shoegaze and chunky metal riffage.
Deerhunter: Fading Frontier (October 16) The band’s first album since frontman Bradford Cox got injured in a frightening car accident reportedly contains songs that are “brighter,” borne out by the strutting psych-funk of lead single “Snakeskin.”
Joanna Newsom: Divers (October 23) Fans of indie-classical instrumentation, rejoice: Newsom returns with her first LP in five years. Expect intricate unorthodoxy, judging by the Randy Newman-esque lilting piano and Kate Bush-caliber vocal cadences of new single “Sapokanikan.”
Soundtrack: Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck (November 6) The soundtrack to the documentary about the late Nirvana frontman is reportedly a collection of home recordings, music heard in the movie and rare compositions.
Fetty Wap: TBD (September 25) The Jersey hip-pop phenom’s long-awaited debut LP is still shrouded in mystery, but chances are good it’ll include the Billboard chart hits “My Way” and “Trap Queen.”
Also: Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls (September 4); Prince, HitNRun (September 7); Beirut, No No No (September 11); Battles, La Di Da Di (September 18); Rudimental, We the Generation (September 18); Mac Miller, Good A.M. (September 18); Chvrches, Every Open Eye (September 25); The Dead Weather, Dodge and Burn (September 25); New Order, Music Complete (September 25); Silversun Pickups, Better Nature (September 25).
Who’ll be the next artist to sneak an album onto the Web? Expect hip-hop and R&B—genres that have perfected the practice—to lead the way; leading candidates include Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Macklemore, Rihanna, Run the Jewels and Chris Brown. But don’t count out pop, rock and electronic acts. Adele’s 25 has been long-rumored to ambush listeners this fall. Grimes tweeted out a tip-off for an October surprise. And wouldn’t it be a coup if Tool’s loooong-awaited album suddenly appeared, or we got one from the original leak-it-yourself act, Radiohead? –Mike Prevatt