From Jack White in April to Killer Mike in May and Metric in June, SPIN knows where your paycheck will be going for the next three months.

1. Sprung…Dawg


All right, y'all, to invoke the somewhat less-than-immortal words of Faheem Rasheed Najm, a.k.a. T-Pain, this season's promising lineup of new releases has got us "sprung…dawg" (although we'll have to see about cooking and doing the dishes)! Still, in that spirit of general openness to an embarrassing yet rapturous romantic interlude, SPIN's editors have selected 25 of the most highly anticipated albums that might have you cutting off your homies or even all your other ronnies. Be safe out there.

By Andy Battaglia

Bonus! Hear a playlist of eight of our favorite spring tunes:

Lacoste/SPIN Spring Albums You Gotta Hear from SPIN on 8tracks.

1. Killer Mike - "Big Beast feat. T.I., Bun B, & Trouble"
2. Best Coast - "The Only Place"
3. Moonface - "Yesterday's Fire"
4. Silversun Pickups - "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)"
5. Death Grips - The Fever (Aye Aye)"
6. Amadou & Mariam - "Dougou Badia feat. Santigold"
7. Alabama Shakes - "Hold On"
8. Santigold - "Big Mouth"

2. Sprung…Dawg


All right, y'all, to invoke the somewhat less-than-immortal words of Faheem Rasheed Najm, a.k.a. T-Pain, this season's promising lineup of new releases has got us "sprung…dawg" (although we'll have to see about cooking and doing the dishes)! Still, in that spirit of general openness to an embarrassing yet rapturous romantic interlude, SPIN's editors have selected 25 of the most highly anticipated albums that might have you cutting off your homies or even all your other ronnies. Be safe out there.

By Andy Battaglia

Bonus! Hear a playlist of eight of our favorite spring tunes:

Lacoste/SPIN Spring Albums You Gotta Hear from SPIN on 8tracks.

1. Killer Mike - "Big Beast feat. T.I., Bun B, & Trouble"
2. Best Coast - "The Only Place"
3. Moonface - "Yesterday's Fire"
4. Silversun Pickups - "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)"
5. Death Grips - The Fever (Aye Aye)"
6. Amadou & Mariam - "Dougou Badia feat. Santigold"
7. Alabama Shakes - "Hold On"
8. Santigold - "Big Mouth"

3. Alabama Shakes


Boys & Girls (ATO)
Release Date: April 10

Athens, Alabama, is, at best, the fourth most famous Athens, but it has served a significant purpose in playing home to Alabama Shakes. The foursome formed there, and their trajectory has been rocketing upward ever since, thanks to a grotty-yet-savvy R&B-fueled sound (led by singer-guitarist Brittany Howard) that's been time-tested for decades. Alabama Shakes songs would have played just fine in the 1960s, when soul artists like Otis Redding and Solomon Burke were blowing rock bands off the stage and whipping U.S. and U.K. club crowds into a dance-party frenzy. It's all in the clip of the guitars, the bumptious rumble of the bass, and the shake of what sometimes sounds like a couple dozen tambourines. Boys & Girls counts as one of the more eagerly awaited debuts of the season, and it stands to play all the better once the weather gets steamy.

Fast Fact: One of the band's guitarists is graced with the exceptionally blessed Southern name Heath Fogg.

See Also: Breaking Out: Alabama Shakes

4. Amadou & Mariam


Folila (Nonesuch)
Release Date: April 10

It's significant when the music of an act comprising a blind married duo manages to render the fact that the duo is blind and married the fifth or sixth most interesting characteristic about them. And so goes the story of Amadou & Mariam, who broke out of the world-music circuit a few years ago and earned an audience beyond their home in the northwest African country of Mali. Here, on their seventh studio album, the pair's agile, adventurous sound features an eclectic cast, including Manu Chao, Damon Albarn, Scissor Scissors, and TV on the Radio. But at their core is a tough and supple electric-guitar style that translates far and wide. Enough so that "Dougou Badia," Folila's first single, features additional guitar from Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner (not to mention guest vocals from Santigold).

Fast Fact: Along with über-German pop-rock star and actor Herbert Grönemeyer, Amadou & Mariam recorded the official soccer-sanctioned anthem of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

See Also: Q&A: Amadou & Mariam on TVOTR- and Santigold-Assisted 'Folila'

5. M. Ward


A Wasteland Companion (Merge)
Release Date: April 10

It's a tall order to register as anything more than Incidental Indie Dude when you're singing alongside Zooey Deschanel (in the duo She & Him), but Matt Ward has managed to maintain his own identity over the years. After becoming established in the anachronistic-folkie sweepstakes as a subtle but effective voice with a knack for coaxing real texture and warmth via analog recording means, he formed Monsters of Folk with Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and My Morning Jacket's Jim James, and also played with Tired Pony, featuring members of Snow Patrol, R.E.M., and Belle and Sebastian. For A Wasteland Companion, Ward moved between eight studios, with 18 musicians chiming in, including Deschanel and members of Giant Sand, Dr. Dog, Sonic Youth, Oakley Hall, and Devotchka.

Fast Fact: Ward is no fan of current recording methods, as he told the Canadian magazine Exclaim: "Digital sucks. The Beatles set the benchmark for sound — it wasn't set in the '80s with the Miami Vice soundtrack."

6. Spiritualized


Sweet Heart Sweet Light (Fat Possum)
Release Date: April 17

Spiritualized have wandered the spaceways grandly since Jason Pierce started the group as an offshoot of beloved '80s/'90s psych band Spaceman 3 (no citation of which should ever go by without mention of the title of one of their early records: Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To). The Spiritualized sound has ranged from slinky, electronically inclined astral balladry to orchestral, narcotized gospel-swaying rock, so it's always intriguing to know which way Pierce will lean. For his seventh studio album, he's decided to rock a bit more than in recent years, mixing luminous swells of strings with charging guitars and short bursts of string-scratching noise. Even at his most unhinged, however, Pierce always sounds heavy-lidded.

Fast Fact: After suffering from near-fatal double pneumonia before his last album, Songs in A&E, Pierce underwent six months of chemo (to combat liver disease) while he tried to complete Sweet Heart Sweet Light.

See Also: How Spiritualized's Jason Pierce Fooled Reviewers

7. Moonface


With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery (Jajaguwar)
Release Date: April 17

Peripatetic Canadian rocker Spencer Krug does not lack for musical outlets: He's been a driving force in several respected indie projects: Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes, and Swan Lake. But under his Moonface guise, the always writerly Krug gets together with a changing cast of collaborators — including Siinai, a Finnish band devoted to the spirit and charge of grizzled krautrock jams. The band handles most of the music, while Krug writes the lyrics, sings, and contributes what he refers to as "a few licks on the keyboard." The stated lyrical theme is heartbreak, but Krug gets more specific, citing the kind of devastating romantic "place that is beautiful only because it's too dark to see whether or not ugliness exists."

Fast Fact: Of a certain name-check in the Moonface single "Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips," a fan on a Fleetwood Mac message board exclaimed: "ROFL! I don't see how teary eyes and bloody lips make someone look like Stevie Nicks, but nice that they worked her name in there!"

See Also: Hear Moonface's Epic Siinai Team-Up 'Headed for the Door'

8. Jack White


Blunderbuss (Third Man/XL/Columbia)
Release Date: April 24

Despite what he recently said, Jack White doesn't seem to miss the White Stripes even the slightest bit. After closing that chapter of his career in early 2011, he has, among many other things, collaborated with Danger Mouse and others on an album dedicated to the sounds of old Italian movie music (Rome), released a song for a Hank Williams tribute (The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams), slayed on Saturday Night Live as musical guest with host Lindsay Lohan, and continued work with his own ambitiously eccentric label Third Man Records. Now, it's time for Blunderbuss, an album focused more or less on straightforward rockin' (though "straightforward" is always a relative term in White's world). The album's singles so far ("Love Interruption" and "Sixteen Saltines") churn with the penetrating tunefulness that White is known for; and in the case of the latter, it's got a live-wire guitar charge that should stir up plenty of dust at summer festivals.

Fast Fact: Displaying a remarkable commitment to creative novelty, White's label Third Man has released glow-in-the-dark vinyl and a flexi-disc distributed by way of helium balloons launched from its Nashville headquarters.

9. Torche


Harmonicraft (Volcom)
Release Date: April 24

Torche started out in Miami, a city not normally associated with metal or stoner rock or anything else hard and guitar-y. But hard and guitar-y they are, plus melodically ambitious enough to require an immediate modification of tags like "metal" and "stoner rock." Harmonicraft's first single, "Kicking," oozes dynamic songcraft even as its cringes and whinges and works itself into a furious angst-ridden lather. Torche's third album — which, in a just world, would have a breakout on the level of Queens of the Stone Age — boasts a nonstop roil of controlled explosiveness, not to mention creepily eye-popping rainbow/unicorn fantasia cover art. Adding Andrew Elstner on guitar, frontman Steve Brooks has relit the band's fuse and is now focused on writing " 'rip with a smile' rock songs that prove that heavy music can be progressive without being predictable."

Fast Fact: Harmonicat's cover art, which more than kind of rules, can be had on a skateboard deck too.

10. Death Grips


The Money Store (Epic)
Release Date: April 24

Surrealism and idiosyncrasy are in vogue with hip-hop acts both big and small these days (hooray for that!), but Death Grips go further out than any of their peers. Hailing from Sacramento, the group — rapper Stefan "MC Ride" Burnett, and producers/instrumentalists Zach Hill (Hella, Marnie Stern, Team Sleep, et al.) and Andy Morin — favor tracks that bash and mangle electronic noises and textures, unleashing a purposefully raw, clashing barrage. There's a distinctly punky edge, plus a sense that the angst and misanthropy aren't just a strategic aesthetic choice, but constitute a legitimate roar of desperation. The Money Store is the first of two Death Grips albums in 2012 (the other is slated for fall), and it stands to have a catalytic effect on anyone looking for hip-hop that's brick-hard, wildly disorienting, and growling with intensity (and sirens).

Fast Fact: As the website Street Carnage aptly described it: "Odd Future for Adults."

See Also: Hear Death Grips' Latest Release: An Insane Wall of Gifs!

11. Gossip


A Joyful Noise (Columbia)
Release date: May 22

Frontwomen (or men) don't get any more fearless than Beth Ditto, whose boundless presence onstage and on record is what nudged the Gossip out of the arty indie-punk underground into an international major-label realm. Their first releases were on stalwart '90s lo-fi labels K and Kill Rock Stars, but as with 2009's Rick Rubin-produced Music for Men, Columbia is behind A Joyful Noise, an album made during a spell when Ditto said she listened only to ABBA. "Perfect World," the bright, bumptious single, sounds like it, and might even elicit smiles of approval from food-court patrons during lunch-time rush. Some of that sound — sassy gleaming bass line, soaring chorus — owes to Brian Higgins of Xenomania, a veteran English songwriting and production team whose credits include Kylie Minogue, Cher, Pet Shop Boys, and Sugababes.

Fast Fact: Beth Ditto signed a deal in January to create a limited-edition line of products for MAC Cosmetics.

12. Santigold


Master of My Make-Believe (Atlantic)
Release date: May 1

Santigold is an innovative R&B artist currently on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which seems weird on first read (and frankly, on third, as well). But then, maybe it's not so strange for Santigold — and pretty much Santigold alone. The Brooklyn resident's artistic ascendance has wound through some unique pit stops, including an A&R gig for Epic Records, a writer/producer job on the fabulous (and much-ignored) 2001 neo-soul album by Res, a stint fronting a pop-punk band called Stiffed, and now a solo career as a reliably resourceful and entertaining nonconformist. This follow-up to 2008's debut solo full-length, Santogold, continues to explore new territory; recent single "Go" features Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs and co-production by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio.

Fast Fact: Jay-Z's 2008 track "Brooklyn Go Hard," produced by Kanye West, sampled Santigold's "Shove It" and featured an original verse by her, as well.

See Also: My Favorite Things: Santigold

13. Marilyn Manson


Born Villain (Cooking Vinyl)
Release Date: May 1

Can Marilyn Manson still freak out the masses? Or has he become stuck in a state suggested by the headline of classic 2001 story in The Onion: "Marilyn Manson Now Going Door-to-Door Trying to Shock People." He got off to a reasonably solid start this year with the video for his new single, "No Reflection," which surveys a dinner party gone wrong — young women in various states of undress, spitting up mouthfuls of blood, then dying — and will release his eighth studio album on indie label Cooking Vinyl (instead of Interscope), which could mean more latitude to do whatever he wants (though he wasn't especially constrained before). Longtime Manson guitarist Twiggy Ramirez called the new record "a punk-rock Mechanical Animals without sounding too pretentious," and Manson himself has described it as "very bluesy."

Fast Fact: The album has been teased in advance by an artsy video project directed by actor Shia LaBeouf.

14. Damon Albarn


Dr Dee (Virgin)
Release Date: May 8

Gorillaz remains Damon Albarn's primary post-Blur project, but he hardly tarries for long with his cartoon hip-hop crew, making experimental polygot-pop records like last year's Kinshasa One Two, plus striking up new projects like Rocket Juice and the Moon, his band with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and fabled Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen. (He also helps run the fantastically eclectic record label Honest Jon's.) Now it's time to add an opera to the list: Dr Dee is the soundtrack to a stage production in England that Albarn helped conceive in service of the story of John Dee, a 16th/17th-century mathematician, astronomer, and occultist who served as an adviser to Queen Elizabeth. "The Marvelous Dream," a song released from the project, isn't "operatic" in any way that sounds unlike a fairly conventional Damon Albarn song, but the story, of course, will reveal more.

Fast Fact: Albarn also worked on "Do Ya Thing," a recent track for Converse created with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and OutKast's Andre 3000.

See Also: Damon Albarn Sheds Light on Folky 'Dr Dee' Solo Album

15. Here We Go Magic


A Different Ship (Secretly Canadian)
Release Date: May 8

Here We Go Magic are an extremely tasteful jam band with absolutely no allegiance whatsoever to the sort of jamming favored by the long line of loose noodlers who pay fealty to the Grateful Dead. Led by Luke Temple, the Brooklyn group bubbled up in 2009 with a self-titled album that alluded to Talking Heads and Paul Simon, but proved fairly singular, then signed to influential indie label Secretly Canadian for 2010's Pigeons. Their new single, "Make Up Your Mind," is a stormer, following a tight, funky groove outwards to a vanishing point where you lose track of time and never want it to end. It's like what Vampire Weekend might sound like if they had a little more muscle and virtuoso conviction.

Fast Fact: Temple made his living early on in New York by painting murals in wealthy New Yorkers' apartments.

16. Silversun Pickups


Neck of the Woods (Dangerbird)
Release date: May 8

Holing up in Topanga Canyon with a veteran producer named Jacknife Lee (U2, R.E.M.) — as scenarios go, that definitely sounds like somebody's rock'n'roll dream. And "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)," from this Los Angeles band's third album, is just about as majestically dreamy as rock in 2012 gets, with just enough crystalline clarity so the fuzz and noisy frayed edges welcome you in. The ghost of My Bloody Valentine still plays as something of a patron saint, but Silversun Pickups have expanded their reach and now entertain a brightness at their core that seems suited to their hometown. On the other hand, frontman Brian Aubert told last month that Neck of the Woods sounds "like a horror movie" to him.

Fast Fact: The name Silversun Pickups refers to late-night runs the band used to make to a liquor store near the storied L.A. rock-scene hang Silverlake Lounge.

See Also: Exclusive photos of the Pickups in the studio

17. Garbage


Not Your Kind of People (Stunvolume)
Release Date: May 15

As comebacks go, the return of Garbage is big — not just for the return of the band, but for the way the return of this particular band feels like the return of an entire era. Garbage were the quintessential expression of a certain '90s alternative-rock ideal, matching an über-professional studio ace who'd internalized the indie-punk era (Butch Vig, producer of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and many more) with a fire-spitting frontwoman (Shirley Manson, whose dour/sensual goth mien belongs in the Smithsonian if ever an exhibit of collective '90s style goes up). Manson's mantra in the past came from the 1995 hit single "Only Happy When It Rains," and the misanthropic mood carries over into the title of Not Your Kind of People, the first new Garbage album in seven years. For her part, Manson has been ready to rock for awhile: "I'm surprised it took us this long to want to make a record again. The spark came when I went to Coachella a couple of years ago. I felt like a lion in a cage. I wanted to chew through my bars."

Fast Fact: For a brief period in 2008, Manson played a T-1001 assassin in the Fox TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

See Also: In the Studio: Garbage Talk 'Hungriness' of 2012 LP

18. Killer Mike


R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)
Release Date: May 15

"I don't give a fuck about a party in the Hamptons" — amen, Killer Mike. It's just one of many memorable lines in "Don't Die," the Atlanta rapper's recent single, but it's a sentiment worth keeping in mind as spring turns to summer. For his new album, Killer Mike — who has collaborated with ATL luminaries OutKast and T.I., among others — teamed with the Adult Swim-affiliated label Williams Street and the decidedly underground producer El-P, whose work with Company Flow, Cannibal Ox, et al., makes up a gritty, gravitas-intensive collage of sound. Killer Mike has said he thought of the pairing in terms of "when Ice Cube came from the West Coast to record with the Bomb Squad" for his AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted phase in 1990. How's that for upping the stakes?

Fast Fact: The album's title is an acronym for "Rebellious African People's Music."

19. Beach House


Bloom (Sub Pop)
Release date: May 15

It's only been a few years since Beach House were just a little dream-pop duo from Baltimore, but their breakout album, 2010's Teen Dream, was across a fully realized work, impressively melding spacey, drowsy, atmospheric sounds with the kind of sturdy songcraft that could translate just as well by more conventional means. Floating above it all is the deep, resonant voice of Victoria Legrand, who has described Bloom as an album meant to address death and a loss of innocence, for a start. Bandmate Alex Scally claims it'll count as their "own Pet Sounds or Disintegration, not in sound, but as something which feels like a definitive statement."

Fast Fact: Victoria is the niece of Academy Award-winning French composer/arranger Michel Legrand, who has scored countless films (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Summer of '42) and also worked as an arranger for icy-cool jazzman Stan Getz.

20. Best Coast


The Only Place (Mexican Summer)
Release Date: May 15

It would be hard to listen to Best Coast's new single "The Only Place" and not want to head to California, like, immediately. "We were born with sun in our teeth and in our hair" — so goes the opening line, and the rest follows suit with a lively celebration of things like "vibes" over jangling guitars, a lightly shuffling drum beat, and a melody that goes down like a tall, cool drink of whatever hits your spot. Though Bethany Cosentino seems to effortlessly toss off pop-rock hooks and roundabout melodies, for her second album she teams with producer Jon Brion, whose studio élan has embellished the sounds of Fiona Apple, Kanye West, and a slew of movies, which are always greatly enhanced by the presence of his songs (see especially Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love).

Fast Fact: Cosentino has designed a clothing line for Urban Outfitters' vintage line Urban Renewal, which is set to go on sale in May.

See Also: California Gurl: Grab Best Coast's Sunny 'The Only Place'

21. El-P


Cancer for Cure (Fat Possum)
Release Date: May 22

Few musicians in any genre can summon the sound of the world crashing down as well as El-P. As co-leader of legendarily abrasive, indie hip-hop trio Company Flow and as producer for Cannibal Ox, he created a singular sound full of gritty textures, grinding metal shrieks, and beats that spew out in concussive fits. Then he did the same for his own solo releases, most notably 2002's Fantastic Damage. In case his less-than-sunny disposition has eluded anyone, El-P's first new album in five years cranks up the head-rankling crankiness — "The Full Retard," his ire-strewn first single, comes across as both heavy and heaving in its sense of wordy purpose.

Fast Fact: After a couple of reunion shows last year, El-P and Company Flow will rage again at Coachella this month.

See Also: E-40 on 'Block Brochure,' Sucker Repellant Cologne, and Raising Droop-E

22. Joey Ramone


…Ya Know? (BMG)
Release Date: May 22

The long and lanky one, the guy with the incredibly affecting nasal whine, the inscrutable face of the band: Joey Ramone was the Ramones in so many singular ways. In 2002, a year after his death from lymphoma, a posthumous solo album, Don't Worry About Me, was released, and now comes another collection from a store of demos and unreleased tracks recorded during the last 15 years of his life. To shape the raw material, Joey's brother Mickey Leigh called in Ed Stasium, who worked on early Ramones classics Leave Home, Rocket to Russia, and Road to Ruin. He in turn enlisted a group of old friends and contemporaries to lend extra vocals and backing tracks, among them Joan Jett, Little Steven Van Zandt, Richie Ramone, Lenny Kaye, Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos, and a host of others.

Fast Fact: Joey asked Bruce Springsteen to write a song for the Ramones, and Springsteen penned "Hungry Heart," which he decided to keep for himself.

23. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros


Here (Community Music/Vagrant)
Release Date: May 29

A few years ago, the swelling, fitful, and extremely hard-to-describe hippie art-rock sect known as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros appeared, seemingly out of nowhere (and/or some celestial corner of Los Angeles), and have gained momentum ever since. Their debut album Up from Below pricked ears with large group singalongs (the band usually numbers around ten members strong) and quieter, more intimate campfire fare. The follow-up Here promises nine new songs molded in a similar image, exploring a jammy, hammy, oogie-boogie funk and folk-rock groove like a wide-eyed hippie cabal that's hip to the present and not a bit bummed about the future.

Fast Fact: Alex Ebert (there's no such person as Edward Sharpe) once fronted Ima Robot, a glammy synth-rock band with a rather different approach.

See Also: Edward Sharpe Debuts Down-Home Love Duet 'That's What's Up'

24. Regina Spektor


What We Saw from the Cheap Seats (Sire/Warner Bros.)
Release Date: May 29

After coming up under the stewardship of the Strokes' Julian Casablancas, who championed her in New York and beyond, the Moscow-born, Bronx- and New Jersey-raised Regina Spektor has established herself as a searching, strong-willed singer-songwriter. Her appeal lies in how she'll veer from polite norms, launching into little spells of weird mouth-sounds or arch nods toward the spirit of cabaret. Since her 2004 major-label debut, Soviet Kitsch, Spektor has expanded and diversified, which bodes well for her sixth full-length, which she recorded in Los Angeles with producer Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Fiona Apple, Mastodon, etc.). "All the Rowboats," the first single from What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, charges ahead with stirring, insistent piano as Spektor intones dramatically, voicing the plight of artistic masterpieces consigned to a lonely eternity in maximum-security institutions, i.e., museums.

Fast Fact: The deluxe edition of Spektor's new album will include covers of two different songs by the late Russian writer/musician Bulat Okudzhava, who was cited in fiction by Vladimir Nabokov and has a space-traveling "main-belt asteroid" named in his honor.

25. The Hives


Lex Hives (Disques Hives/Warner)
Release date: June 5

After bursting on the scene in the early 2000s with a scintillating garage-rock swagger, the Hives raged on as if rock'n'roll had already found everything it needed, and just needed the Hives to remind us of that fact. Tight, raucous, raw — such was the sound of 2000's Veni Vidi Vicious and 2004's Tyrannosaurus Hives, which established the always-on-message Swedes as an international force. For 2007's The Black and White Album, they tried to stretch out, in part by way of production help from Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes, to mixed results. After a period of reflection, the first new Hives record in five years returns to the form that made them famous — first single "Go Right Ahead" douses ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down" in dirty water via the Standells. As for the hiatus, frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist recently told the Los Angeles Times: "If you were ever in a great rock band, you should really try to keep that going. History has proven that whatever you do after, it is usually worse."

Fast Fact: Almqvist was ranked No. 34 on SPIN's list of "50 Greatest Frontmen of All Time" in 2004.

26. Liars


WIXIW (Mute)
Release date: June 5

After starting out with bands like the Rapture and Radio 4 in the turn-of-the-century New York scene that launched dance-rock across the globe, Liars took an arty swerve and have kept getting artier and artier since. Their 2004 album, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, received a hostile reaction from some (a SPIN reviewer gave it the rare grade of "F"), and certain of those experimental, obscurantist impulses have remained crucial parts of Liars' sound. For their fifth album, the band went to work in their own recording space under Los Angeles' 101 freeway, and on the first single, "No. 1 Against the Rush," made use of electronic flourishes and robust grooves to augment Angus Andrew's poignant chants and moans.

Fast Fact: According to Andrew, the new album was greatly influenced by various electronic acts he saw perform at the 2011 Short Circuit Festival in London, most notably the Residents.

27. Metric


Synthetica (Metric Music/Mom + Pop)
Release date: June 12

"Synthetica is about insomnia, fucking up, fashion, all the devices and gadgets attached to our brains, getting wasted, watching people die in other countries, watching people die in your own country, dancing your ass off, questioning the cops, poetic justice, standing up for yourself, sex, the apocalypse…" — so says Metric frontwoman Emily Haines of her band's bewitching fifth album. Splitting time between studios in hometown Toronto and New York, the band has both refined and amplified their taut, tuneful electro pop, with an eye toward 2012 being the year they become a major player in the U.S.

Fast Fact: The album's sound was partially inspired by a radical Italian '60s architecture firm Superstudio.