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Highlights of albums, concerts this fall

Carrie Underwood, Shakira and KISS have new music coming out. On the live-show scene, get ready for U2, Pearl Jam and Kylie Minogue.

September 13, 2009|Ann Powers | POP MUSIC CRITIC

ALBUMS

Kid Cudi, 'Man on the Moon: The End of the Day'

Hip-hop stars have mostly given up on using albums as calling cards: masterful mix tapes and hit singles build anticipation for months before an official release finally drops. But Kid Cudi, the Brooklyn-via-Cleveland rapper with the slow, spaced-out flow, cares about concepts and complicated thoughts. So his long-player should be a trip. Also, look for the debut from quick-witted D.C. rapper Wale in October.

G.O.O.D. Music/Universal Motown, Tuesday (Cudi)

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Monsters of Folk, self-titled

"Supergroup" is far too inflated a word to describe this lovely, laid-back collaboration among four leading lights of introspective rock: songwriters M. Ward, Jim James and Conor Oberst, and arranger/producer Mike Mogis. Call it a master class instead. These songs drop sonic wisdom like honey. Mogis also worked on the long-promised solo debut from Strokes singer Julian Casablancas, "Phrazes for the Young," also out this month (we hope).

Shangri-La Music, Sept. 22 (Monsters of Folk)

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Miranda Lambert, 'Revolution'

It's a new golden era for women in country, and Miranda Lambert, a serious songwriter with fire in her belly, earns her kudos as a new Loretta Lynn. Her third album highlights her introspective side while still offering the dust-kickers that made her a star. Carrie Underwood, who is to Lambert what Tammy Wynette was to Lynn, returns with her third studio album, "Play On," in November.

Columbia, Sept. 29

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Shakira, 'She Wolf'

The video for the title track and first single from the Colombian demigoddess' third English-language studio album was more like an assault than a tease: writhing and roaring, Shakira staked her claim on the dance floor with moves that should make Lady Gaga run in fear. This electronica-tinged effort features production by Pharrell Williams, RedOne and Santigold's pal John Hill, plus Shakira's old hit-making partner, Wyclef Jean. Also dominating this fall: Nelly Furtado's first Spanish-language album, "Mi Plan," out Sept. 29.

Epic, Oct. 13 (Shakira)

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KISS, 'Sonic Boom'

Nobody would call the cheesiest rock band ever "album oriented," but consider this release -- the first studio effort from the group in 11 years -- a value-added experience. The Wal-Mart set will include another disc featuring re-recorded hits and a live DVD. Then there's the tour, during which these heavy metal reenactors will perform the bone-rattling 1975 album "Alive!" straight through. It comes to the Honda Center in Anaheim Nov. 24 and Staples Center Nov. 25.

Wal-Mart exclusive, Oct. 6

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R. Kelly, 'Untitled'

Adore him or simply marvel at his audacity -- R. Kelly doesn't care. R&B's most lascivious talent will continue turning his primal drives into hip-hopera as long as he is allowed; witness the first single from this new set, the Keri Hilson duet "Number One," which seeks to make the airwaves themselves, um, vibrate. Also hot for fall: Mary J. Blige's ninth studio album, "Stronger," coming in November.

Jive Records, Oct. 13 (Kelly)

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Tiesto, 'Kaleidoscope'

The Dutch-born trancemaster known for his massive DJ sets cultivates a smaller community on this crossover effort, which features vocals by boutique-pop favorites like Tegan and Sara, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party, Nelly Furtado, Emily Haines of Metric and Icelandic pop elves Sigur Ros. Dance mavens also are looking forward to the new one from Air, "Love 2," coming in October.

Ultra, Oct. 20 (Tiesto)

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Norah Jones

Sometimes a change can do you good. So thinks Norah Jones, whose as-yet-untitled fourth studio album promises to be guitar-driven, roots-rocky (collaborators include Ryan Adams and Will Sheff of Okkervil River) and maybe a bit rougher than her previous velvety fare. Similarly promising change is John Mayer, whose new "Battle Studies," also set for November, will be nothing like his smash "Continuum," according to the guitarist himself.

Blue Note, November (Jones)

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Leona Lewis, 'Echo'

One hit song does not make a career, but when that hit is "Bleeding Love," it comes pretty close. The English beauty behind that ridiculous smash returns with her second album, and contributions from Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and, yes, her "Blood" brother Ryan Tedder portend more endless radio play. Less certain: the fate of Mariah Carey's showily delayed new release, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel," coming Sept. 29.

J Records, Nov. 17 (Lewis)

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Adam Lambert, self-titled

I'm glad I'm not Adam Lambert -- so many expectations hang on the glitter-kissed shoulders of last season's "American Idol" breakout star. He's promising a cornucopia of styles from rock to dance to pop on this debut album, but one thing's for sure: with collaborators such as Max Martin, Ryan Tedder and Linda Perry, it should sound like gold. Also coming in November: debuts from Lambert's "Idol" pals Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta.

RCA, Nov. 24 (Lambert)

CONCERTS

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