April is pretty tame compared to March, which might make it an opportunity for some unexpected surprises.
Jennifer Lopez - Love? (4/22). A year ago it looked liked Jennifer Lopez was in real trouble. This, her seventh album, had been slated for an early 2010 release, but after its first two singles "Fresh Out of the Oven" and "Louboutins" failed to become hits, it was shelved indefinitely. Things are different now for Ms. Lopez, who has reinvigorated her career with a so-far successful run on American Idol and a new single, "On the Floor," that become her first top 10 hit in years. L.A. Reid (also now a reality music competition show host) is executive producer, with songs helmed by RedOne, Danja, The Dream and Tricky Stewart.
Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting (4/11). British singer-songwriter Jamie Woon is the last of the BBC Sounds of 2011 top 5 to release an album, a set that's produced some promise (James Blake, Jessie J) and a bit of disappointment (The Vaccines, Clare Maguire). Maybe Woon will be the one to release a really killer album. Certainly the ingredients are there--the Brit School graduate has toured with his schoolmate Amy Winehouse, turned out a pretty smooth single last year in "Night Air" and now is set to gain more mainstream exposure with his soulful, electronic "Lady Luck." The Washington Post compared him to James Blake, but noted his sound is more soul than dubstep.
Glasvegas - Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\ (4/3). With a new drummer in tow, the Scottish foursome that was one of 2008's indie breakouts returns with its second album. Their first, Glasvegas, delivered melodic rock with an everyman sensibility and garnered them a Mercury Prize nomination. I haven't heard much about the sound of this new album, but if its first single "Euphoria, Take My Hand" is any hint, it doesn't sound like they are straying far from the winning sound of their debut. Even if it isn't that great, they still get credit for the most interesting album cover art so far this year.
Gorillaz - The Fall (4/18). Damon Albarn's (Blur) cartoon band released this, its fourth album, as a digital special for fans in December. Now everyone will get the chance to hear it after it is fully released. Reviews have been fairly good, although not stellar. The album apparently features more experimental sounds and fewer collaborations than Plastic Beach, an album I was underwhelmed by.
Katy B - On a Mission (4/3). British R&B and dance singer Katy B, who hit the top 10 last year with "Katy on a Mission" and "Lights On," releases her debut album.
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light (4/11). Seventh studio album for the Foo Fighters, following their Grammy winning Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.
Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane (4/12). Bluegrass-country singer Alison Krauss follows her 2007 collaboration with Robert Plan, Raising Sand--winner of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year--with her 14th studio album.
Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What (4/12). The rock/folk legend releases his 12th solo album.
3 Doors Down - Time of My Life (4/12). Is anyone at all interested in this?
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light (4/12). Critical indie darlings release their fourth album, the first since the lead singer married Rachel.
Chipmunk - Transition (4/17). British rapper releases hits second album, featuring recent hit with Chris Brown, "Champion."
Dr. Dre - Detox (4/20). Dr. Dre releases his third album (he's had surprisingly few, yes?). It features current hit "I Need a Doctor" with Eminem and Skylar Grey.
May brings the third album from Lady Gaga, plus releases from Fleet Foxes, Death Cab for Cutie, Moby and a comeback for The Cars.