The Strokes — Room on Fire (October 21)
The Strokes is a band that is almost impossible to dislike. Their low-key approach to music, fashion and personal hygiene struck a chord with the disenfranchised MTV2 crowd and made their self-titled 2001 release one of the biggest records of that year. Their success ushered in a new era of simple, stripped down rock. The Strokes release their sophomore effort, Room on Fire, on Oct. 21. Whether The Strokes will match the success of their first album remains to be seen, but fans should expect more of the same pop rock that brought the band fame in the first place. — Jared Hague
Bob Dylan — Reissues (September 16)
Fifteen of the legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan’s albums will be re-released after undergoing a sonic upgrade. The reissues have been digitally re-mastered to ensure the highest possible fidelity, a welcome relief to many Dylan fans disappointed by the poor sound quality of past CD releases. The collection represents forty years of Dylan’s music. Must haves from this collection will be Highway 61 Revisited (1965), Blonde on Blonde (1966) and Blood on the Tracks (1975). For the technologically advanced, all fifteen discs will play in the super audio format, providing 5.1-surround sound and advanced resolution quality. — J. H.
Erykah Badu — Worldwide Underground (September 16)
After a good dose of Baduism and an equal portion of Mama’s Gun, it probably doesn’t really matter to most fans if Erykah Badu releases another album: she has done it all. But while the industry becomes more saturated with albums and artists that lack musical fabric, Erykah seems to effortlessly illuminate the path down the road to a rhythmic zenith. Worldwide Underground, Erykah Badu’s third studio album, will be released Sept. 16. The album will feature collaborations with Lenny Kravitz, Dead Prez and Roy Hargrove. — Rorik Williams
Pretty Girls Make Graves — The New Romance (September 9)
Pretty Girls Make Graves is one of the few bands around producing exceptional punk music. Featuring members from a host of well-respected bands, the Seattle rockers have only been around for two years but already have a full-length album, a four-song EP and four 7″s to their credit. Their second record, The New Romance, is due out on legendary punk label Lookout! Records on Sept. 9. It is easy to hear why the band has gained popularity so quickly. The swift pace, talented vocals and innovative guitar melodies draw fans in from the entire spectrum of music. PGMG will be kicking off a massive U.S. tour in support of The New Romance, so don’t miss them at the Orpheum in Ybor on October 11. — J. H.
Jay-Z — The Black Album (November 28)
This may very well be the last leg of the race for Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z. Hova is set to release his last album this November. The Black Album, which will be accompanied by The Black Book, should be a return to the foundations laid in Reasonable Doubt that made Jay-Z such an influential artist. Jay-Z has sought the guidance of Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson to help him make decisions as to what songs and collaborations should go on the album. ?uestlove feels that Hova has yet to make his Illmatic and has suggested that he think of collaborations with The Beatnuts and Jay Dee, formerly of Slum Village. ?uestlove also proposed that Jay-Z consider doing a record with none other than God’s Son himself — Nas. — R. W.
Outkast — Speakerbox: The Love Below (September 23)
Outkast has transformed the sound of music since the release of their first album Southernplayalisticadillacmusik in 1994. They have followed with captivating releases like the inventive ATLiens and the modern rap classic Aquemeni. The group is releasing its fifth album this fall entitled Speakerbox: The Love Below. Speakerbox will serve as two separate albums for Big Boi and Andre 3000. The actress Rosario Dawson will be featured on the funk-soul driven track, “She Lives in My Lap”. Expect heaps of idiosyncratic compositions from Andre and a more common- type of hip-hop on Big Boi’s side.– R. W.