Warner Bros. announced Monday what Prince fans have been waiting for since last April or maybe since 2009 — his first U.S. album in five years. “Art Official Age” will be released on Sept. 30, as will “Plectrum Electrum” by 3rdEyeGirl. “Plectrum Electrum,” which Prince had been talking about releasing last year, was made with his all-female backup band. “AOA” is essentially a solitary Prince project recorded with co-producer/musician Joshua Welton.
Prince previewed some of “AOA” for the Star Tribune this summer; it’s forceful and funky — with the feel of a one-man band like early Prince albums. “Plectrum Electrum” is power funk-rock, delivered by Prince, guitarist Donna Grantis, drummer Hannah Ford Welton and bassist Ida Nielsen. He has been working with 3rdEyeGirl since fall 2012; they have performed at the Dakota and Myth clubs in the Twin Cities, as well as occasional late-night gigs at Prince’s Paisley Park studios in Chanhassen.
Prince’s last studio CD, “20Ten,” was released only in Europe in 2010. His last domestic release was the 2009 triple disc “LotusFlow3r” via Target stores.
In April, Prince announced his surprising return to Warner Bros., his label from 1978 to the mid-1990s. He left acrimoniously and has continued to release albums either as one-project deals with major labels or on his own imprint. His return to Warner also included giving him the much-coveted master recordings of such hit albums as “1999” and “Purple Rain.”
Prince hasn’t announced any local shows to promote the new albums, but Liv Warfield, one of his backup singers, will perform Thursday at the Dakota.