Enjoy, and I hope to see you back here next week.
*Originally posted 1/24/11:
Blink-182 - TBA
Mike: It’s been over a year since blink-182 teased fans with the prospective single “Up All Night,” complete with Tom DeLonge making Pink Floyd comparisons. That’s all right though, even if the suspense is killing fans who’ve been waiting for new material since 2003. While the fanfare surrounding the group’s reunion/reunion tour seems to have pushed their record to the backburner, that seems to be changing in 2011. Cryptic Tweets from Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker allude to the band actually recording, rather than just yammering on about how fun it is to jam together.
Matt: It’s a classic tale of band gets together, makes punk music for the kids, gets a little older and makes music for the older kids, gets wildy successful and then inevitably break up and form two decent bands in their own right, have one member survive a fatal plane crash that brings them all together again, decide to go on tour and think “hey, this could work” and end up teasing a new album for nearly two years. Ok, maybe it’s not such a classic tale, but it’s nearly a sure bet that new blink music will come out in 2011. Personally, I’m happy they didn’t rush into it and worked at their own pace. Hopefully the music will reflect the dedication.
Dr. Dre - Detox
Mike: Hip-hop’s answer to Chinese Democracy: Detox is Dr. Dre’s decade plus labored opus, rumored to be his final album as an MC. While the record’s mythical status is as famous as its penchant for delays, there’s still reason to hope that it sees the light of day in 2011. Dre dropped the hazy, synth-heavy “Kush” late last year as the record’s first official single. Though it’s a bit of a regression towards his spaced-out 2001 era sound, it’s refreshing to hear him paired with Snoop Dogg again. Expectations are high though and if Dre doesn’t deliver, he risks souring his fan base in true Axl Rose fashion.
Matt: I was six when The Chronic came out, though I admittedly know “Nuthin But a G Thang” like every other white 90s kid. Then, a 12-year-old version of myself picked up 2001 because everyone was starting to get on the Eminem kick and he was featured on the “Forgot About Dre” track. What I didn’t know was going to happen was that I was going to get sucked into the music of who I thought, based on my limited knowledge at the time, was just an old rapper who was big back in the day with some group. I am now 24 and have been waiting on Detox since it was first announced for release in 2004! With all the wakas and flockas running around trying to be the king, it’s going to be nice to have the ace back.
Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys
Mike: Ben Gibbard has gone on record saying Codes & Keys is less guitar-driven than Death Cab For Cutie is typically known for. While that might scare some listeners, it’s hard to imagine the group coming out with a Kid A or Adore type experiment. Guitarist Chris Walla tastefully employs keyboards on all the albums he’s produced, as well as his solo offering, Field Manual. If anything, expect fragile songs with lush atmospheres, something Death Cab For Cutie has always excelled at.
Matt: I'm just going to let bassist Nick Harmer explain why this album should be on most anticipated lists (from stereogum): “The emotional spectrum feels much wider this time,” says Harmer. “The last record was much darker and was much more closely connected to what Ben had been going through in his life at the time. I think there is a lot more light in this record. Of course, Ben will always gravitate towards certain bittersweet material in his songs, but this record has a lot of expansive, soundscapey kinds of things. Thematically and musically, it’s just much more varied. We also have string sections on this record, which is very exciting for all of us. We’ve always wanted to hear that texture in our music, but it never really worked out before.” And on the statement of less guitar work: “Oh, there are definitely guitars on this record,” he says, “there are just less of them than before and we’re using them in different ways this time. Ben was really inspired by writing on acoustic guitar and on a piano, so often those parts become voices or keyboard lines, rather than guitar parts. We really experimented with piecing the songs together in different ways and using the studio differently, so this a much less guitar-centric album than we’ve ever made before.” That's what I like to read.
Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
Mike: While Manchester Orchestra helped Kevin Devine and singer Andy Hull craft a true diamond in the rough with last year’s Bad Books, anticipation is running high for their forthcoming Simple Math. Hull recently debuted the album’s title track at an acoustic radio show, but the group has been tight-lipped about what the album will sound like. They’ve jokingly referred to it as a “spiritual miscarriage” in interviews, but that probably translates to songs that will get under your skin in very personal ways.
Matt: I really don't know what to expect from the Manchester Orchestra's third studio album. Like A Virgin Losing A Child had more low moments than the intensity heavy Mean Everything to Nothing, though both contained a good mix of pure rock music and down tempo storytelling. Then, the group taps into their folk side with Kevin Devine and the Bad Books side project. Throw in a hand full of EPs and the fact that the title track for Simple Math is online as an acoustic version and there is no telling what we are going to get. If Manchester Orchestra stays on the path they are on, they could go down as one of the most respected groups out there. With more attention on them than in the past, I fully expect the Atlanta group to come through shining.
Taking Back Sunday - TBA
Mike: When John Nolan and Shaun Cooper left Taking Back Sunday, it seemed like everyone hated each other. Team Adam (Lazzara) and Team Nolan both alluded to their falling out through thinly veiled lyrics and bitter interviews. Yet nearly seven years after their separation, they seem to have put the past behind them. After a bout of writing in El Paso, TBS’s “classic” line-up is hard at work on a proper follow up to the mega-smash Tell All Your Friends. The group has teamed up with producer Eric Valentine, suggesting that they’d like to capture the same effervescence that punctuated 2006’s Louder Now.
Matt: It's back to the future for Taking Back Sunday as the band returns to its 2002 lineup for the acclaimed Tell All Your Friends. If I can speak honestly, it creates a dilemma. I have no shame in admitting that TBS is my favorite band, but I do wonder if 24-year-old me would feel the same impact from TAYF that 17-year-old me felt. As the band has progressed, I have progressed with them and I honestly don't want a TAYF 2. However, as much as I don't think New Again sucked, it definitely could have been better. And it does seem like having the lineup that introduced them to the scene has sort of rejuvenated the band. A demo leaked by Adam Lazzara himself seems to keep the intensity while the band as a whole still makes the transition from emo band to rock band. And it made me completely wear out the play button, a result that will hopefully happen when the album is released.
Mike's Most Anticipated
Foo Fighters - TBA
The Nirvana faithfuls are salivating over the idea of Dave Grohl recording with Krist Noveselic again for the first time since 1994. Yet they should really get excited for Grohl’s reunion with Nevermind producer, Butch Vig. Though the Foo Fighters have stated this is their heaviest record yet, Vig is a master at focusing band’s vision, adding variety to their albums with crisp production and small flourishes of strings and piano. In short, it’ll be interesting to see the Foos continue to evolve from their well-crafted Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace with some old friends to help out.
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
The Fame Mons†er was a half-baked, unfinished effort. Though it sported pop-blockbusters like “Bad Romance,” its sequencing and unfocused nature made it forgettable. Born This Way seems to be GaGa’s proper follow up to The Fame, an album that’s had time to fully gestate before being dropped like an atom bomb. Her recent interviews suggest that she’ll be incorporating bits of metal and hard rock into her sound, which sounds like she’s decided to take real risks again.
Radiohead - TBA
Things have been quiet in the Radiohead camp for a while, but fans are anxious. Of course there’s the occasional “Yes, we’re working on songs…” from band members like Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway, but no timetable regarding the follow up to the meticulously textured In Rainbows. There is a bright spot though. Thom Yorke teased fans with some works in progress on his last tour, most notably the chilled-out, finger-picked “Lotus Flower.” Maybe it was a hint for fans: Chill out and let us do our thing.
Thursday - TBA
Other than continuing to employ producer David Fridmann, little is known about the musical direction on Thursday’s new album. However, singer Geoff Rickly has stated that the conceptual themes seem to revolved around devotion, sharing a commonality to their first album, Waiting. Regardless, Thursday has always been the thinking man’s post-hardcore group and it’ll be exciting to see them follow-up the aggressive, post-rock tinged Common Existence.
Bright Eyes- The People's Key - Supposedly Conor Oberst’s swan song as Bright Eyes. Hopefully it’s a little more “Lifted…” and a little less “Cassadaga.”
The Kills- Blood Pressures - After a ravenous romp with Jack White, Alison Mosshart returns to the jangly indie vessel that made her a star.
Patrick Stump- Soul Punk - This is the first time Patrick Stump has written lyrics since Fall Out Boy’s Evening Out With Your Girlfriend. That alone is worth checking out.
Jack’s Mannequin- TBA - Something Corporate’s ivory slinger has been laboring in L.A. for over a year. We’re ready for Jack’s supposedly “new direction.”
Matt's Most Anticipated
Coldplay - TBA
Viva La Vida was a great release for Chris Martin and company, but I did feel it was lacking something. And that something was the deep, heartfelt sound found on tracks like “The Scientist” and “Fix You.” I appreciated what they did, using a plethora of instruments to create an orgy of sound to go along with Martin's crooning voice, but I'm ready to get back to the chill out. When Martin performed “Wedding Bells” at an Apple event, I just sat there and smiled. That sound I was looking for? It had returned. Whether that track (or “Christmas Lights”) pops up on the new record remains to be seen. Though the rumors of it being a concept album turned out to not be entirely accurate, the fact that I heard something about the album going in an acoustic direction is music to my earholes.
Jay Z/Kanye West - Watch the Throne
Collaborations for singles happen all the time in hip-hop, but rare does it happen for an entire album. Though Jay Z has some experience in the past with R. Kelly, it will be interesting to see what happens with Mr. West. The first single, “H.A.M.”, had a hit and miss reception and my opinion of it falls somewhere in the middle as well. Also something to look out for is who else will be featured? Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross... all potential guests. But time will tell exactly what two of the biggest, and best, names in music come up with.
Panic! at the Disco - Vices and Virtues
2005's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out is one of my favorite albums of all time. 2008's Pretty. Odd is one my top disappointing albums of all time. So this is me hoping that new material from Panic! (who officially put the ! back in when two founding members split) will at least be somewhere in the middle. It looks like we won't have long to find out as the first single should be released in February and the album in March. I'm not going to hold it to Fever's expectations, but if it is slightly better than Odd I will be one happy music fan.
No Doubt - TBA
I missed out on a lot of bands growing up, but I was fortunate enough to still experience No Doubt before the Gwen Stefani solo days. Any doubts I had about the group's ability as a band was put to rest after I saw them on their comeback tour in 2009. Not only were they better than expected, but were still better than some of the stuff out there today. If I can be honest, as much as I like their music, I will be happy to have some more Gwen in my life. She may be starting to show her age, but she is still one of my original celebrity crushes and to her I will always be true.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - TBA
It is going to be interesting to hear what the Peppers' sound will be minus John Frusciante. And also noteworthy will be the fact that, let's face it, these guys aren't getting any younger. But don't take that as an insult, I love these guys. I'm just curious to see how they are going to follow up Stadium Arcadium. If they come out with a four-disc release, I will not be mad at all. I think more than new music, I'm excited at the fact that a new album could possibly mean a new tour and RHCP are #1 on my list of bands I haven't seen.
Lil Wayne - The Carter IV - Fresh off his recent jail stint, the hype machine has already started for Weezy's latest effort. Good or bad, we should hear plenty about it in 2011.
Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows - Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows - Though I'm not sure how serious to take the name (D.R.U.G.S.), former Chiodos frontman Craig Owens assembled a pretty good team for a debut album from a band that came out of nowhere. Time will tell if the music will match up.
Gym Class Heroes - The Papercut Chronicles II - I have been a fan of Gym Class Heroes for years and looked forward to Travis, or Travie, McCoy's solo album but was pretty disappointed. Maybe his bandmates will help him recapture the magic and my car will have some good jams in 2011.
Yellowcard - When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes - Yellowcard make the list simply for curiosity's sake. In their “reunion” album (I didn't even know they broke up), the band looks to recapture the glory that once had millions of kids wanting to be on Ocean Avenue.