It doesn’t seem like that long ago when we wrote about last year’s most anticipate albums and here we are again anxiously awaiting another round of great new releases. Last year’s bunch turned out seven really solid albums, and three other discs who have yet come to fruition. Let’s start with the holdovers and then get to a fresh batch of new albums we can’t wait to hear.
The Strokes – Angles – RELEASED
It might have taken a little longer than expected, but the new Strokes disc is right around the corner. Make no mistake this is a big studio album, and could go either way but I for one am hoping Julian, Al Jr. and co. can recapture some old magic.
Radiohead – RELEASED – Click Here for Review
Just last week after spending some time with Thom Yorke BBC 1′s Giles Peterson said “And there’s a new Radiohead album if you’re wondering. Just done I believe.” Hey he’s British, he must be right. Right?
U2 – Songs of Ascent – Mid 2011
Who knows for sure what the Irish foursome are up to as reports are scattered about different producers, material sources and even the possible inclusion of the ridiculous Spider Man broadway tunes. At the end of the day 2009′s NLOTH wasn’t terrible but lifelong U2 fans like myself are certainly hoping this next one is the grand finale.
Wilco – TBD
Fresh off of the news of Wilco’s newly formed dBpm Records comes a report from 24bit that Wilco is back in the loft working on the followup to 09′s Wilco (The Album). As the lead release for their very own record label, hopes are high for something really special.
Pete & The Pirates – One Thousand Pictures – May 23
According to their website the British indie rockers have finished recording and are in the final stages of their follow up to 2008′s Little Death, which NME referred to as “”perfect pop without the pretense”. A rarity with British bands these days.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Here We Rest – RELEASED – Click Here for Review
Following up 2009′s excellent Seven Mile Island, and some killer session work with Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell is back with a new full length this spring. The Muscle Shoals recording studio should make him feel right at home, so hopefully we can look forward to more rich Southern rock classics from the 400 Unit.
The Avett Brothers – TBD
Just last week, Paste magazine reported that the Avett Brothers were back in the studio with one Richard Rubin. And not just any studio, Echo Mountain studio in Asheville NC – which also happens to be the primary recording home of MOR fave Band of Horses. The band says they hope to have “something done” by mid 2011.
Robbie Robertson – How to Become Clairvoyant – RELEASED – Click Here for Review
The chief songwriting force behind The Band says he is dropping a new album we listen. When he puts out a really good lead single we get excited. The cherry on top are the reported guest spots from Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Robert Randolph and Trent Reznor.
My Morning Jacket – TBD
It’s been two and a half years since we last heard from what we hope is still Jim James’ day job, but all signs are pointing to a new disc in 2011. The band brought out a few new tracks during their last tour, and the band is currently posting daily “In The Studio Pics” to their facebook page. LP6 here we come.
The Cars – Move Like This – 5/11
First there came the rumors, then the facebook picture of the four surviving members in the studio and then the teaser of “Blue Tip,” which showcased the classic Cars sound and now it’s official. After a 23 year hiatus The Cars have reunited and their album is scheduled to be released this year. Fingers crossed it lives up to expectations.
The Jealous Sound – TBD – TBD
It’s been a while since their 2003 debut album “Kill Them With Kindness” and after a few canceled tour dates, one mediocre EP and rumors about lead singer Blair Shehan “going crazy and disappearing”, the band is officially back together again and in the studio recording tracks for their sophomore release.
According to the Irish Times, U2 will have a new album out early in the new year, the band’s manager Paul McGuinness has said. McGuinness said the band has already debuted several of the songs live, including “Mercy,” “Every Breaking Wave,” and “Boys Fall from the Sky.” (You can catch a glimpse of “Every Breaking Wave” below.) The album has been provisionally titled Songs of Ascent.
“I would expect a new U2 album sooner than anybody thinks. I would guess early 2011 before the next leg of the American tour which starts in May,” he said. U2 had to reschedule the North American leg of their tour due to Bono’s emergency back surgery a few months back and their 2011 North American tour kicks off May 21 in Denver, Colorado.
BBB News has confirmed that the virtual rock group Gorillaz will be replacing U2 as headliners of England’s Glastonbury Festival this June. U2 had to cancel Glastonbury and postpone their upcoming U.S. shows due to Bono’s emergency back surgery last week and the two months it will take him to recover. This report puts an official end to all the hopes and rumors of a Led Zeppelin reunion resulting in a much less interesting Glastonbury Festival.
While the news that Neil Young is working on a new album might have surfaced a few months ago, it is the latest development that has really gotten our interest; Neil is working with producer Daniel Lanois on the album. Lanois’ portfolio includes some of U2′s best work (Joshua Tree, Actung Baby, All That You Can’t Leave Behind), a few of Dylan’s late career gems (Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind), and other fine albums with Emmylou Harris, Robbie Robertson, and Peter Gabriel.
This news comes from Young’s pal David Crosby who told Rolling Stone “Neil told me last week that he was having a great time talking music with him(Lanois) and just relating to him.” He also volunteered his services to his former collaborator saying “If you want a harmony, I’m volunteering.”
Neil has rarely worked with big name producers over the years, especially lately where his last several albums have been largely self-produced or co-produced with Niko Bolas and the late L.A. Johnson.
Lanois seems to have a track record of getting great efforts out of established artists, and providing a fine finished product. While they have had their moments, Neil’s last few albums have left a little something to be desired; hopefully this collaboration can help fill the void. While this one may be a while off, it is hopefully a good sign of things to come.
U2 360° At The Rose Bowl will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the US on June 3, 2010 and in the UK on June 7. The Rose Bowl performance was the band’s biggest show of 2009 and U2′s biggest ever US show, with a live audience in excess of 97,000. The show was also streamed across seven continents via YouTube. The first ever live streaming of a full-length stadium concert. Shot entirely in HD, the concert was filmed with 27 cameras and directed by Tom Krueger who had previously worked on U23D, the first live action 3D concert movie taken from U2′s Vertigo Tour. For more info on the concert and upcoming DVD click here. Tracklisting of U2360° At The Rose Bowl: Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Mysterious Ways, Beautiful Day, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, No Line On The Horizon, Elevation, In A Little While, Unknown Caller, Until the End of the World, The Unforgettable Fire, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, Sunday Bloody Sunday, MLK, Walk On, One, Where The Streets Have No Name, Ultra Violet (Light My Way), With Or Without You, Moment Of Surrender. You can also catch U2 on the second leg of their 360 Tour at these US dates: 3 June, 2010 Salt Lake City, UT 6 June, 2010 Anaheim, CA 7 June, 2010 Anaheim, CA 12 June, 2010 Denver, CO 16 June, 2010 Oakland, CA 20 June, 2010 Seattle, WA 23 June, 2010 Edmonton, CA 27 June, 2010 Minneapolis, MN 30 June, 2010 East Lansing, MI 3 July, 2010 Toronto, ON 6 July, 2010 Chicago, IL 9 July, 2010 Miami, FL 12 July, 2010 Philadelphia, PA 19 July, 2010 New York, NY
We are hoping for a big year of good music in 2010. With a few great releases already behind us, here’s looking forward to the rest of the year. Some albums on this list are confirmed, recorded, and ready to go, while others are still in the rumor mill. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to start looking forward to some great new music. Here are the albums that we are most eager to check out in the coming year.
Arcade Fire – TBD – May
Win Butler and Co. sold over a million copies with their first two records, can they follow up the success on their as-yet-untitled 2010 album. “Funeral” was great, “Neon Bible” was well, not as great, but we are pretty amped for the next episode.
Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame – 4/6
Dr. Dog is on a roll with back to back great albums, “We all Belong” and “Fate”, will this one follow suit? The band has hinted towards something more upbeat and akin to their live shows. Sounds good to me. The first single from the album, “Shadow People” is streaming for free, and available for The band recently talked with Paste Magazine in detail about the new album.
Drive By Truckers – The Big To Do – 3/16
Their first release for ATO Records (owned by Dave Matthews), and second release since the departure of Jason Isbell. “It’s very much a rock album,” Headman Patterson Hood said. “Very melodic and more rocking than anything we’ve done since disc 2 of Southern Rock Opera.” Two tracks from this album are currently available for free download at the Drive By Truckers Website.
Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away – 5/4
Josh Ritter’s new album will be released this Spring, and with a little over 3 years since his last album it’s just in time. The first single “Change of Time” seems to be right in line with what we’ve come to love about Ritter and it only makes us hope for Spring that much more. The single is available for a free download on Josh’s website.
The National – TBD – May
If my ipod was a walkmen, The National’s last album “Boxer” would be worn pretty thin. To say I am “looking forward” to their upcoming release is a bit of an understatement as I am pretty much freaking out to hear new material from the best band in NYC. The band discussed the new album last month with Paste Magazine.
Radiohead - TBD
First, guitarist Ed O’Brien told UK Magazine, NME last Fall that a new Radiohead album was in the works, and now comes the report from LA Times writer Jia-Rui Cook that the band recently held a “wrap party” after three weeks recording their new album with Nigel Godrich. Things are shaping up nicely for a 2010 Radiohead album.
She and Him – Volume 2 – 5/23
She & Him is following up their incredibly promising first album with Volume two, out on May 23rd, and the duo say the new record is better, smoother, brighter, darker, and all together more intricate than the first. They have already released the first single “In The Sun” (download free here) and it certainly does whet the appetite.
The Strokes – TBD
While rumors of a new Stroke’s record have surfaced pretty much every year since their last record in 2006, a release actually seems real this time. The band’s website confirmed on 1/31 they will be Headlining the Isle of Wight festival this summer(first gig since 2006), and a new post on 2/1 stated they are in the studio recording. Also, a new video of the strokes in the studio has surfaced on Youtube. Looks like we are in luck for a 2010 release.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – TBD
Coming off the success of the Documentary/Super Bowl Performance/Live Anthology things are good in Heartbreaker land. The band has been hard at work in their San Fernando Valley warehouse/practice space for what is rumored to be a summer/fall release.
U2 – Songs of Ascent - TBD
Both Bono and The Edge have thrown around with a 2010 album in several interviews over the past month but you never know. Whether it’s leftover material from No Line or something completely new, it’s hard to be sure. The Irish rockers go back on the road in May so we’ll look to see if they have anything new in their arsenal.
Formerly known as the “devil’s music”, rock n roll has taken long strides to gain acceptance and support from the Christian community. Now taking rock-relations to an all time high, the Vatican has just released a top 10 guide of its favorite music albums. A pretty rock-solid list of classic albums ranging from experimental and daring (Thriller, Dark Side) to timeless awesomeness (Revolver, Rumours).
Perhaps Bono’s 2005 meeting with former Pope John Paul II struck a chord with the Catholic Church? Now if only we could get some of these tunes and a few pyrotechnics into Sunday’s mass.
1. The Beatles – Revolver
2. David Crosby – If I Could Only Remember My Name
3. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
4. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
5. Donald Fagen – The Nightfly
6. Michael Jackson – Thriller
7. Paul Simon – Graceland
8. U2 – Actung Baby
9. Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory
10. Santana – Supernatural
After not playing a music festival in some 25 years, the band is going straight to the big leagues, announcing they will be headlining the world’s largest music festival in Glastonbury, England this summer. After last year’s sold out crowd of 190,000, it is expected the festival will increase it’s capacity to 200,000 for this the 40th anniversary of the concert.
No matter the capacity, the festival doesn’t have a problem selling out. When tickets went on sale last month (before the lineup had been announced), they sold out in less than 24 hours. U2 is so far the only act officially booked, we will update when the list is updated.
This year’s festival will take place from 6/23- 6/27, right in the middle of U2′s US 360 Tour. Last year’s festival was headlined by Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and the British favorite Blur.
This Sunday’s (Oct. 25th) sold-out concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena California will be streamed live in it’s entirety on You Tube. The show which is already set to host the venue’s biggest ever audience of 96,000 fans, will now stream live across five continents – the first time ever a concert of this scale has been streamed live.
Show time is 8:30 PM California Time (5:30 EST), See you there!
TOP 10 ALBUM COVERS
You aren’t a reputable music review website unless you have a top 10 list. It’s what all the kids are doing. So here is our first Top 10 list dedicated to the lost art of album covers. After a lengthy search through the archives and many, many hours of heavy debate, we agreed upon these 10 glorious pieces of rock art. Some of these you have seen before but they were too good to pass up. Others are long lost gems or recent additions. So take a seat and enjoy the tour through the visual side of rock n roll.
Led Zeppelin – I
Oh the humanity!
Crashing and burning their way into rock and roll history is the self-titled debut of Rock’s Loudest Band Ever! The gritty black-and-white photograph of the Hidenberg igniting in flames gives us a true sense of “shock and awe’. Much like every kid’s reaction the first time they listened to a Zeppelin album.
John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band
Late 1970; The Beatles have just broken up, the public is wondering what to do without them, Paul is trying to perfect the art of cheese rock, George is chanting Hare Krishna, and John Lennon is chilling under a tree. Shot with a consumer grade polaroid camera, this lo-fi shot was the perfect lead in to this lo-fi album that became everything the Beatles weren’t.
The Who – The Who Sell Out
Legend has it that Roger Daltrey caught pneumonia from his baked bean bath during this cover shoot (Apparently the beans were ice cold?). Well Roger, it finally paid off as you made the MOR top ten list, just what you were hoping for I am sure. Pete Townsend took things beyond this flippant cover shot to create his first concept album, complete with fake jingles and commercials linking the tracks.
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
“Dark Side” is one of the more recognizable album covers on the list but also one of the most basic. The scientific nature of the triangle prism reminds us that every step of this whacked-out. psychedelic album has been meticulously thought out. While the music itself bends and weaves all over the place, the destination is always in sight. Nothing is random. Much like the infinite particles of space, there is a “method to the madness” bringing together an infinite palette of sights and sounds. Plus it looks cool under a black-light.
U2 – Rattle and Hum
The cover to U2′s “Ode to American Rock” album perfectly illustrates the contrast of the musical landscape. There aren’t many shades of gray in this musical journey through blues, soul and rock. U2 puts the spotlight on many of their American influences from Bob Dylan to Jimi Hendrix. From Elvis Presley to BB King. And by focusing on social issues such as the civil rights movement, apartheid and war, the album isn’t afraid to make bold statements in pure black and white. The “spotlight” is also on the band themselves as this is the first release after the landmark “Joshua Tree” album and documents their subsequent tour through the American heartland.
The Beatles – Abbey Road
The boys had grand ambitions for the cover shot of their final album including a shot of themselves on the Himalayas or on the bow of a cruise liner. Instead, they opted to step out back, have a smoke and be done with it. Who knew the shot would become one of the most famous and often imitated covers of all time; serving as the definition of an iconic image. But what about Sgt. Pepper, or Revolver you might ask? Well, there is something about this cover and the album itself that serves as an amicable and harmonious end to the great run that was The Beatles.
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
You can either be one of the pack, or put your head down and fly right into it. This shot of a falcon going head first into a flock of starlings has a simplistic, organic feel to it; a lot like the album itself. The photo won the Wildlife Photograph of the Year in 2005 and appeared in National Geographic; so why not put in on a rock album. I have this record on vinyl and it catches my eye every time in a sea of other great album covers.
Jeff Beck – Guitar Shop
As a member of the Yardbirds Jeff Beck was hand picked by Jimmy Page to replace Eric Clapton. If Jimmy Page is the “wizard” of rock guitarists then Jeff Beck is most certainly “the mechanic”. It is no surprise that this Grammy-Award winning album features the master instrumentalist rolling up his sleeves to get his hands dirty. The cover depicts the often over-looked guitar great in his natural environment. As a true blue-collar musician. So while Jeff Beck never achieved the commercial success of Clapton or Page, the man still knows his way around a guitar.
Hellacopters – High Visibility
As the only Swedish rock outfit in our Top 10, the Hellacopters’ fourth album “High Visibility” manages to successfully combine two of my favorite things: Dueling guitars with angel wings. Two things you don’t normally see together, but should. Like a bizarro-painting from the Renaissance the long-lost masterpiece brings new meaning to the phrase “a choir of angels”. No harps in this outfit, just a slew of power chords, heavy distortion and few face-melting solos.
The Clash – London Calling
Truth be told, this album cover just barely beat out WISH YOU WERE HERE by fellow Brit rockers Pink Floyd. While I’m a sucker for anyone on fire, this cover really set the tone for a much larger movement. Yes this album cover is iconic. Yes it’s a middle-fingered response to Elvis Presley’s debut record. And YES it captures bassist Paul Simonon right before smashing a guitar to bits. But what really sets this cover apart from all the others is that it’s one of the first album covers in history where a British musician finally looked tough.
U2 Not Giving Up Without A Fight
For U2, there may be no line on the horizon but I’m drawing a line in the sand come the end of track five. This album starts with a bang, soaring to new heights for the rock veterans, but once you “put on your boots”, it starts to feel like you’re wallowing in the muck.
The first five songs could have been released as an EP and it would have been a masterpiece. Instead the lads from Dublin had to tack on a few doozies, some whoppers and an all-out dud. While the pros do outweigh the cons, this album feels contradictory. Some songs show the band’s evolution in sound while some just come across a little too desparate.
As the resident “U2 Junkie”, I still declare this one a winner. But U2 needs to start thinking about that legacy, as album covers aren’t the only things going gray.