The first three months of 2007 have certainly been chocked full of new music releases. It seemed every Tuesday I was rushing to the store after work to pick up something I just had to have. The indie/mainstream dividing line continued to be erased with traditional indie rock staples The Shins, Modest Mouse , Arcade Fire, Bloc Party and LCD Soundsystem all spending some serious time in the Top 50 of the Billboard 200 Chart. The fact that these albums are seriously good is a positive sign for the state of music today. Give credit in large part to the ever-increasing popularity of digital music sales and major resellers like Target and Best Buy continuing to broaden their musical horizons.
American Idol proved once again it has a Wal-Mart like monopoly on reality T.V. and record sales as former contestants Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood and Elliott Yamin all have records that are completely dominating sales in the U.S.
Some big tours were announced as well. The ‘80s mega groups The Police and the post-Gabriel Genesis have risen from the dead, deciding to cash in on the summer tour circuit. For the Southern Rock die-hards out there, get ready to let out your pony tails, and check the upcoming tours by Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top.
As far as the next few months, the onslaught of intriguing releases looks to continue. Check out these releases to keep an eye on:
Bjork – Volta
The guest list on this album looks incredible. The fact that Timbaland, Antony Hegarty (Antony Johnsons) and Konono N.1 are appearing on the same album is mind-boggling. I don’t try and anticipate what the next Bjork album will be like; I just enjoy every one.
Derek Webb – The Ringing Bell
The word is out on Mr. Webb’s solo career—each album is a much-needed refresher to the world of Christian music. His latest is a bit of a departure, a rock effort that aims to stir Christians into an active role for peace.
Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger
It’s hard to believe there hasn’t been a release already in 2007 from the man who’s been releasing albums the past few years bi-annually like it was 1966. While you never know quite what your going to get, expect this to be a bit of a return to his alt-country endeavors.
Dungen – Tio Betar
Get on the bandwagon, the Swedish bandwagon. Judging from what’s been coming out of the nation for the past few years, it’s safe to say they’ve been giving a clinic on how to reinvent rock ‘n’ roll for the new millennium. Sure, Dungen may sound like it’s straight from 1969, but the psychedelic 2004 release Ta De Lugnt had more fresh ideas than an Iron Chef marathon. Expect more tasty goodness on Tio Betar.
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
Like their past two albums, Sky Blue Sky has been floating around the Internet months before the actual release date. Longtime fans have probably heard most of the songs already, yet that never hinders the large amount buzz that comes with each new record Tweedy and the boys release.
Elliott Smith – New Moon
His last release, From a Basement on a Hill, would have been a double album had he completed it. Some songs weren’t completed enough to include on that album, and the family left others off due to there possible suicidal references and touchy themes. While it’s doubtful those songs will see the light of day anytime soon, his unreleased catalogue from the ‘90s is quite large, and much of it will be released along with some cleaned up demos on the double disc release New Moon. This will be a must for fans and solid introduction for newcomers to his music.
Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist
Yes, it’s true. Billy Corgan has reassembled the ‘90s grunge powerhouse. Well, not quite. Guitarist James Iha, and bassist D’arcy Wretzky won’t be around this time around which has lead to some less than spectacular results in the past (Zwan, Corgan’s solo album The Future Embrace). Here’s to hoping there’s more Siamese Dream than MACHINA/The Machines of God in this one.
Tentatively scheduled hip-hop albums to pick up – It’s not easy to nail down when a hip-hop album will actually be released. Maybe they purposely change release dates 20 times due to a sophisticated marketing scheme that I haven’t yet grasped. I’m not sure what the deal is, all I know I’ve been waiting for that final ODB album since late 2004.
In addition to the new Common album in June and the Ghostface/MF Doom collaboration in April (both were on my last list scheduled for March) look for these:
Talib Kweli – Ear Drum
He’s a socially conscious MC that gives you rhymes you can think about. The guest list looks solid (Jean Grae, Raekwon and Rakim all make appearances), and if the whole album is like the tracks available on his website, then this will be the first necessary hip hop release of the year.
(Original release date – November 2006)
Currently expected April 2006
Wu Tang Clan – 8 Diagram
An official Wu Tang Clan release has been long overdue. Ghostface has been holding it down for years waiting for the others to catch up. Hopefully the once kings of Staten Island can bring the Hip Hop crown back to NY with this one.
Currently expected June, but don’t hold your breath.