MADONNA American Life (Maverick/Warner Bros.) Life, which Madge coproduced with Music man Mirwais, is already stirring controversy thanks to its eponymous war-averse first single.
EVAN DANDO Baby I'm Bored (Bar/None) The ex-Lemonhead and ex-excess seeker reflects on his former indulgences with the help of Ben Lee, Aimee Mann, and producer Jon Brion (Badly Drawn Boy).
THE FLAMING LIPS Fight Test (Warner Bros.) Test challenges the Lips' interpretive skills -- with covers of Radiohead's ''Knives Out,'' Kylie Minogue's ''Can't Get You Out of My Head,'' and Beck's ''The Golden Age'' -- and boasts two new tunes.
MARIA McKEE High Dive (Viewfinder) The former Lone Justice frontwoman is back with a studio album after a seven-year hiatus, during which she contributed to CDs such as the Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces.
IN THE STUDIO
METALLICA, in San Francisco, at work on St. Anger, due June 10. It'll include a DVD of the megaselling band performing the album's songs.
Producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) is in New York City with THE STROKES, prepping their sophomore disc for a fall release. It'll feature tunes the rock revivalists have trotted out at gigs, such as ''The Way It Is,'' plus new material.
ROD STEWART, in L.A., with producers Phil Ramone, Clive Davis, and Richard Perry, wasting no time at all in making a follow-up to his hit album of standards, It Had to Be You...The Great American Songbook.