AS mentioned last week there is a wealth of tasty prospects on the album front over the next few months, not least from a batch of American songwriters who like to spread their talents around and to keep busy. Rufus Wainwright, who’s writing opera one minute and being Judy Garland the next, has his new pop solo effort, produced by Mark Ronson, on the slate for next month. So too Bruce Springsteen releases his latest, Wrecking Ball. The never-idle Jack White (his work includes producing a song with Australia’s up-and-coming rockabilly belle, Lanie Lane) is also laying to rest the spectre of the White Stripes with his first solo album, Blunderbuss, due on April 24. The Nashvillebased muso says Blunderbuss has few outside influences. ‘‘I’ve put off making records under my own name for a long time,’’ he says, ‘‘but these songs feel like they could only be presented under my name. These songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression, my own colours on my own canvas.’’ Scheduled for release next month is the new album by the Shins, from Portland, Oregon. It’s the band’s fourth album and the first in five years, since Wincing the Night Away brought its music to a much larger audience, including in Australia. In the interim singer and chief songwriter James Mercer has dabbled in acting and in 2010 released the album Broken Bells, a side project with producer Danger Mouse. The new Shins album, Port of Morrow, is the first to be released on Mercer’s own label, Aural Apothecary. Finally, but by no means least, is the 11th album by the Magnetic Fields, the most successful of songwriter Stephin Merritt’s many musical endeavours. The album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, has been getting a good blast around SDHQ, and boasts some of Merritt’s most engagingly poppy singalongs since the Magnetic Fields’ groundbreaking 69 Love Songs 13 years ago, among them Andrew in Drag, Goin’ Back to the Country and I Don’t Like Your Tone. Merritt, whose sharp wit is never far away in song or conversation, says the new effort also boasts his penchant for what he calls ‘‘revenge fantasies’’ in the mean-spirited but amusing opening track Your Girlfriend’s Face, in which the disgruntled protagonist hires a hitman to ‘‘do his worst, after he’s messed up your girlfriend first’’. ‘‘I’m mean enough to think about it,’’ Merritt tells me reassuringly, ‘‘but I’m not mean enough to do it.’’ Good to know. The Magnetic Fields, and possibly everyone mentioned above, will be touring Australia before the year is out. Not all of them will be performing at the AFL grand final this year, however. The rumour mill is still abuzz with Springsteen for that one, however SD spies tell me footy officials are keen to have a trio of performers to follow in the footsteps of Mr Loaf last year. Could it be that Farnsie and Madonna are also available? You read it here first.