Still bummed at the Bieb’s retirement from music? Yeah, us too. But fear not, because the second half of 2014 promises to be chock-full of riffs, beats, hooks – and maybe even a cowbell or two. With so much to choose from, we decided to make your life easier by rounding up some of the most anticipated albums of the latter half of the year.

Definitely
Old Crow Medicine Show – Remedy (July 1) The second-half of 2014 kicks off immediately with the release of Old Crow Medicine Show’s Remedy on July 1. "This is country music for people who think country music needs a whoopin’,’" frontman Ketch Secor said in a press release, setting the bar high for the country/bluegrass group’s fifth studio album. Perhaps most exciting is the announcement that Remedy will feature a new collaboration between the band and Bob Dylan called "Sweet Amarillo." Secor previously turned an old Bob Dylan sketch into the band’s most famous song – and a staple of honkytonk jukeboxes (digital or otherwise) everywhere – "Wagon Wheel."

Steve Aoki – Neon Future (August 15) Given than his first full-length , Wonderland, came out just two years ago, it’s easy to forget than DJ/ producer Steve Aoki has been a fixture of the music scene for the better part of two decades now. Aoki founded Dim Mak Records back in ’96 when he was just 19, and will release his sophomore effort, Neon Future, on that very imprint in August. Apparently not short on material, the album is reportedly the first half of a double album, and will likely feature a host of eclectic guest stars on top of Aoki’s signature brand of thumping electro-house. (Wonderland featured guests as varied as LMFAO and members of the Exploited, which isn’t weird at all if you know anything about the early years of Dim Mak.) The first single, "Rage the Night Away", features Waka Flocka Flame shouting "All we do is party and get high right now" over a devastating beat, and should be a staple on club floors everywhere this summer. Glow sticks out!

Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls (July 14) Priest’s first offering since the departure of founding member/guitarist K.K. Downing has the metal skeptics (read: every metal fan) on edge. Sure, the band recorded two albums with guy who sort of inspired Rock Star, but losing Downing, a principle songwriter, was a major blow. The heavy-metal veterans have played coy about whether or not Redeemer of Souls will be their final album. Already, their "farewell" Epitaph tour has been usurped by a brand new — albeit scaled-back — run of shows slated for the latter half of 2014. Expect the band to tread less experimental territory than their last full-length, the high-concept Nostradamus.

Brad Paisely – Moonshine in the Trunk (August 26) Country’s finest modern-day guitar slinger, Brad Paisley’s tenth studio album is sure to have a little something for everyone. The album’s debut single, "River Bank," is the perfect country song for summer, and perhaps the finest ode to freshwater chillin’ since Alan Jackson dropped "Chattahoochee" on the world back in 1992. At the time of this writing, there’s no word yet on LL Cool J’s level of involvement.

Puff Daddy – MMM (TBD) Now that Diddy is seemingly no more, Sean Combs has set his sights on his first album under the Puff Daddy moniker since 1999’s Forever. MMM (Money Making Mitch) hits shelves later this year, and while the Bad Boy CEO may very well have inflated expectations by resurrecting his most famous name, the album’s first single -- "Big Homie", featuring Rick Ross and French Montana -- acted as a preemptive strike to doubters, and a pleasant surprise to fans. As the man himself said, "I did not change my name. I always have been and always will be Puff Daddy."

The Stooges – Re-Licked (TBD) Yes, you read that right – it says The Stooges, not Iggy & The Stooges. With their iconic frontman none-too-keen on having an active year, the latest touring incarnation of the iconic proto-punk band will release an album comprised of rare tracks from the Raw Power-era, sung by a diverse array of vocalists that includes Ariel Pink, Mark Lanegan, Jello Biafra and more. As for Iggy’s take on the whole thing, guitarist James Williamson says, "He gave me his blessing and wished me success."
Godsmack – 1000hp (TBD) After exploring some outside projects over the past several years, the members of Godsmack are ready to deliver on a proper follow-up to 2010’s Oracle. "This one just became a little bit more raw, a little bit more open," frontman Sully Erna said in a recent interview. "The writing was a little freer. The production is really kind of raw and in your face, and the songs, man — I'm really, really excited about these songs." Want to know what to expect? The album’s title track and lead single is slated to hit radio on June 9.
Other Notables Seether – Isolate & Medicate (July 1)
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eyes (July 29)
Spoon – They Want My Soul (August 5)
Opeth – Pale Communion (August 26)
Interpol – El Pintor (September 9)
Tim McGraw – Sundown Heaven Town (September 16)
Seems Likely
Kanye West – TBA Say what you will about the man as a public figure, but Kanye West is a machine in the studio, and there’s no reason to think we couldn't see the follow-up to 2013’s Yeezus – which garnered props from Jack White and Lou Reed, among others – this year. What we do know is that the album will be helmed by Q-Tip and producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin, who played his usual subtle-yet-integral role on Yeezus. Think anticipation is hot? One super-fan recently paid $500 for a 32-second clip of a new track, "Black Bruce Wayne," that may or may not appear on the rapper’s new album.
Foo Fighters – TBA When the Foos are rolling, they work at a furious pace, and from the way frontman Dave Grohl talks about the band’s sudden return from hiatus, it was a creative burst that prompted them to hit the studios – er, studios. The band are working on the follow-up to 2011’s Wasting Light in different studios across the country, which will feed into Grohl’s new HBO show, Sonic Highways. As for how the different locales influenced the songwriting, Grohl told the Hollywood Reported, "There could be horns on a Foos record, absolutely. We've never done that before. Honestly, there are sections of songs that will really take you by surprise. And then there are choruses that you'll just recognize as Foo Fighters within the first three seconds." While there’s no word yet on an official guest list for the new album, the band has reportedly worked with Joe Walsh, Carrie Underwood, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Rick Nielsen, and Gark Clarke Jr, among others.
Big & Rich – Gravity After previewing music from Big & Rich’s upcoming fifth studio album, Gravity, a Warner Bros. exec called it the duos "best material since Horse of a Different Color." That must have provided just the boost of confidence Big Kenny and John Rich needed, because soon after they cut ties with their longtime label in favor of striking out on their own with the aptly named Big & Rich Records. Set for release sometime this summer, Gravity is widely expected to be a return to form after the band’s 2012 effort, Hillbilly Jedi, garnered mixed reviews. A recent interview with Big Kenny revealed that a guest appearance from Tim McGraw (who has a new album in his own right due out this fall) is likely, and from the sound of things, the due are working together better than ever. "We got a record finished, and we’re loving it," Kenny said. "Everyone is loving it."

Kendrick Lamar – TBA Grammy snub be damned, the follow-up to 2012’s wildly popular Good Kid, M.A.A.D City doesn’t have a name or a release date yet, but if you believe this story from Billboard.com, it’s on its way this year through Top Dawg Entertainment. Lamar has a long way to go to top the critical acclaim of his last record, but it’s not stretch to say he’ll have a Mackelmore-sized chip on his shoulder to leave no doubt on next year’s Grammy ballot for best rap album.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – TBA The stripped-down sound on I’m With You, the Chili Peppers’ latest opus, was undoubtedly due to the departure of longtime on-again-off-again guitarist John Frusciante, who left the band (again) in 2009 to pursue more experimental musical endeavors. His replacement, Josh Klinghoffer, came with his glowing recommendation, but likely didn’t have time to get comfortable and assert himself in his new role before the band pressed on with recording. Time will tell if the guitar comes back to the fore on the band’s upcoming thirteenth studio album, but a new clip posted by Flea of what could be new RHCP music might give a hint as to what fans can expect. Whatever their direction, though, you can bet it’ll be funky.
Other Notables Weezer – TBA
Timbaland – Textbook Timbo
The Cult – TBA
Lenny Kravitz – Strut
The Wu-Tang Clan – A Better Tomorrow
Longshot
Metallica – TBA It’s been almost six years since 2008’s Death Magnetic, and while Metallica have undoubtedly been busy – launching their own festival, making a 3D concert film, hitting the festival circuit – fans are hungry for new material, especially if the old-school thrash vibe carries over from the last record. Not short on ideas (frontman James Hetfield told Rolling Stone he had over 800 riffs lying around), the band will likely be content to try out a few new tunes at summer festivals this year and release their next album in 2015. Still, stranger things have happened, and we might just get a late-year surprise from metal’s biggest band. If you need something to tide you over in the meantime, the band released a rough demo of a new track, "Lords of Summer," earlier this year.

Guns N’ Roses – TBA "We are working on stuff and hopefully very soon we’re going to have new stuff out…Well, in the next year." So said Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus, who is among the many Guns members to recently hint at new music from the band. Given that the last album from Axl Rose & Co. took 14 years to complete, it seems unlikely that new music could surface so soon (a mere six years after the unfairly panned Chinese Democracy). Still, Guns’ lineup seems more or less cemented at the moment, and perhaps that sort of stability is just what they need to deliver the goods in 2014.
Tool – TBA We’ve heard grumblings about a new Tool album for a few years now, but so far not so much as a lone snare hit has surfaced. The band have released precious little in terms of updates on the album’s completion, save for a statement from guitarist Adam Jones clarifying that he was only joking when he told a fan that the album was done (and a media storm ensued.) It’s been eight years since 10,000 Days hit shelves, and one wonders how a band that refuses to have their music on iTunes or Spotify will go about releasing a new album in the digital age. Will they give in to technology, or will they one-up the ultra-cool packaging of 10,000 Days in an effort to drive fans back to record stores? Time, and only time, will tell.
AC/DC – TBA The world of classic rock was, well, rocked earlier this year when rumors of the end of AC/DC abounded following word of major health issues for rhythm guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young (the unofficial word is some kind of stroke, that has made it difficult for Young to play guitar). Frontman Brian Johnson quickly did away with the hysterics, saying the band would be "getting together in May in Vancouver. We're going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we'll record it." Mal is set to be replaced in the interim by yet another Young, nephew Stevie, who previously filled in for his uncle during the band’s 1988 Blow Up Your Video World Tour. Johnson didn’t, however, rule out that the band might call it a day if their studio sessions were uninspired. "I'm not ruling anything out," the singer said.