By EW Staff
Updated February 23, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

System of a Down in L.A., rejoining mixmaster Rick Rubin. The album touches on lyrical themes like the U.S. prison system and Knight Rider, and will be ”more melodic and spacy, without losing the hardcore edge,” says frontman Serj Tankian.

Suzanne Vega in New York City, collaborating with producer Rupert Hine (Duncan Sheik) after a five-year hiatus. ”The acoustic guitar is the backbone of the album,” says Vega, though Hine added electronic grooves to several tracks, a la the 1990 DNA remix of her ”Tom’s Diner.” Quips Vega, ”I’m finally catching up with myself.”

The Cult in Maui, soaking up sun and inspiration with Metallica guru Bob Rock. The ’80s rockers aim to recall their metal-edged glory days on their first new album since 1994’s The Cult. The as-yet-untitled effort is due June 5.