Happy New Year to all readers of this blog!
First thing to do is quickly summarise what we can look forward to in 2007.
There is speculation as to whether or not there will be big new albums from the likes of Blur, Radiohead, REM and The Pixies. After their live shows, I have modest expectations of the new Pixies material, and the Blur and Radiohead albums are far from confirmed. Surely much more exciting is a new album from the original, seminal line-up of Dinosaur Jr. At the very least, I look forward to some squalling J Mascis guitar solos and hearing the combination of J and Lou Barlow's vocals again. I do hope that Barlow has more creative input this time around though. REM definitely plan to begin recording in 2007, but it's by no means guaranteed that the album will appear in the same year. Let's at least hope they find a new path away from the plodding monotony of 'Around The Sun'.
It looks increasingly likely that Portishead will finally return next year, and Massive Attack will also release their 'Weather Underground' album, delayed from 2006 thanks to a contractual greatest hits collection. Will these records sound dated or will they capture something more contemporary?
Unbelievably, The Stooges have made a brand new album, 'The Weirdness'. It could well be terrible...
There are certainly some albums I'm very excited about - Spiritualized, The Postal Service, The New Pornographers, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Wilco, Feist, Patrick Wolf, The Earlies, The Shins, Low, Wheat, Bloc Party, LCD Soundsystem, Aesop Rock, EL-P, Cannibal Ox, Animal Collective, Annie, Andrew Bird, Doves, Feist, Fridge, Madvillain, Magnetic Fields (continuing Stephin Merritt's prolific output), Blonde Redhead, Rufus Wainwright, Tortoise, Underworld, Spoon, PJ Harvey and The Breeders all have albums scheduled.
I may be the only person in the world interested in the imminent return of The B-52s.
Nick Cave has a new hardcore band called Grinderman - should be interesting....
'The Neon Bible' is the title of the second album from The Arcade Fire. Will 'Funeral' prove to be an albatross around their necks, or will they exceed its undoubted brilliance?
I'm still investigating jazz releases - but the return of Alice Coltrane is surely one of the most exciting prospects for the year!