Find out what your favorite recording artists are up to — and when you'll be hearing new music from them

By Kyle Anderson and Brad Wete
Updated May 20, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Some records are worth the wait. (Chinese Democracy, not so much. Sorry, Axl!) We checked in on the status of a dozen elusive albums, from stars like Amy Winehouse, OutKast, Madonna, and Fiona Apple. And we’ve got some very good news — especially if you’re a fan of the Shins or Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The mercurial British soulstress won five Grammys for 2006’s Back to Black, then went off the map. Reps say she’s recording new tracks in London and will appear this summer at several festivals overseas. She’s also busy launching the career of her soundalike goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, 15, via her own Lioness Records.

The wait for Detox has now dragged out for a full decade, punctuated by the recent release of two singles. Reactions have ranged from enthused (the Eminem-assisted ”I Need a Doctor”) to lukewarm (”Kush”), but official word is that it should be out soon. For real.

It’s been three years since Her Madgesty’s rump-shaking Hard Candy, and manager Guy Oseary confirms that she’s listening to potential tracks while directing her King Edward VIII biopic, W.E., and is ”very excited to get working on a new album.”

After 2006’s Idlewild, both Big Boi and Andre 3000 said their solo albums would come before anything new as a duo. Big Boi finally dropped the acclaimed Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty in 2010, while Andre popped up this year on a thumping remix of Ke$ha’s ”Sleazy.”

Last year, drummer-producer Charley Drayton spilled the beans that he’s working on her follow-up to 2005’s Extraordinary Machine. And singer Michelle Branch bragged via tweet last fall that she’d heard several ”amazing” tracks from it. For now, find Fiona on the upcoming tribute set Rave On Buddy Holly, covering ”Everyday.”

She released the Spanish-language Mi Plan in ’09 and a greatest-hits comp in ’10, but almost half a decade has passed since the multiplatinum Loose. Regular tweets reveal she has reunited with producer Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse, the Fugees) and is readying a disc titled Lifestyle.

Following an epic tour for 2006’s Stadium Arcadium, the Peppers took time off to explore solo projects and lost guitarist John Frusciante in the process. They recruited new axman Josh Klinghoffer, shacked up with producer Rick Rubin, and should have their new CD out before the end of August.

Since 2008’s Modern Guilt, the alt iconoclast has stayed active: He’s posted covers of classic albums online (with help from Feist, Wilco, and MGMT), contributed songs to the Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtracks, and produced discs for Charlotte Gainsbourg and Thurston Moore. Now reps say he’s at work on his own album.

Absent since 2005’s The Cookbook, the queen of early-aughts hip-hop says she plans to release her long-awaited Block Party album this year. She also unveiled a new track called ”Take Ur Clothes Off” as part of an online Timbaland project.

After 2007’s well-received Wincing the Night Away, the winsome indie rockers left label Sub Pop and let go of their drummer and bassist. Since releasing last year’s Broken Bells project with Danger Mouse, frontman James Mercer has been recording in Portland, Ore., with co-producer Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Sia) and aims to have a record out this fall.

Reunited on stage at the 2009 Grammys, they promised a follow-up to 2003’s Blink-182. Both Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker claimed it would be done by the end of this summer, though progress has been slowed by Barker’s recent solo album and Tom DeLonge’s band Angels & Airwaves.

Two-plus years after their self-titled sophomore outing, the Denver piano-rockers have finished eight new tracks with legendary producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen) for an album they hope to have out by the end of the year.