PLAS­TIC fan­tas­tic

Brit­ney, Bowie, Bono. . . Tony Clay­ton- Lea on the heavy hit­ters with new al­bums just around the cor­ner

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC -

AERO­SMITH: TBC Amer­i­can old school rock­ers aim to em­brace 2007 with a big smile (fol­low­ing singer Steve Tyler’s re­cent throat surgery), big pro­duc­tion (cour­tesy of U2 stal­wart Steve Lil­ly­white) and big songs. Some songs on the record, says wiz­ened gui­tarist Joe Perry, could have been writ­ten in the ’80s. Is that a good thing? We’ll see. March DA­MON AL­BARN: THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE QUEEN Is it a solo Al­barn album? Or is Al­barn foist­ing yet an­other new band upon us? What­ever it is, you can vir­tu­ally guar­an­tee that it’s go­ing to be good – just look at the “cast” list: for­mer Clash bassist Paul Si­monon, for­mer Verve gui­tarist Si­mon Tong, and Fela Kuti’s drum­mer Tony Allen. Brian ‘Dan­ger Mouse’ Bur­ton pro­duces. Lookin’ good, then. March ANTONY & THE JOHN­SONS: TBC Antony Hegarty looks deep into his re­la­tion­ship with the world around him in this fol­low-up to his cross­over album I Ama Bird. By all ac­counts, the ma­te­rial is a lit­tle less melan­cholic than usual. May ASH: TBC The much be­lated fol­low-up to 2004’s Melt­down; Ash’s Tim Wheeler reck­ons that there are at least nine sin­gles on this one, which, frankly, doesn’t sur­prise us for a nanosec­ond. The first sin­gle is re­leased in March, with the album to fol­low. April BLANCHE: LIT­TLE AM­BER BOT­TLES Friends of White Stripes, Bren­dan Ben­son and The Racon­teurs re­lease their fol­low up to their low key if ex­cel­lent 2004 de­but If We Can’t Trust the Doc­tors. The band’s Dan John Miller (who played Luther Perkins in Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line) reck­ons this record is a lit­tle bit more op­ti­mistic than the dole­ful de­but. Fe­bru­ary BLOC PARTY: A WEEK­END IN THE CITY Big things are ex­pected from the sec­ond album from the hereto­fore lauded Bri­tish buzz band. Their po­tent indie-disco has been jet­ti­soned in favour of R’n’B-styled beats, which are gar­landed with strings, pi­ano, de­tuned gui­tars and what­ever else sounded ap­pro­pri­ate. The album was recorded at West­meath’s Grouse Lodge stu­dios, which gives it a rus­tic flavour in theme if noth­ing else. Fe­bru­ary 2 DAVID BOWIE: TBC Fol­low­ing the creative turn about that Bowie un­leashed in 2003’s Re­al­ity, his new album prom­ises much. Will it de­liver? Who knows, but af­ter his heart scare last year there are ru­mours do­ing the rounds that this could well be his Time Out of Mind. And he’s 60 on Jan­uary 7th – happy birth­day, mate! DIDO: TBC Fol­low­ing up 2003’s multi-mil­lion Life for Rent shouldn’t be a prob­lem for Dido – she is, af­ter all, the big­gest-sell­ing Bri­tish fe­male artist of, well, ever. She de­camped to Los An­ge­les to soak up the sun and col­lab­o­rate with whoever took her fancy. When you’re rich you can do things like that, ap­par­ently. March DI­NOSAUR JR: TBC Im­prob­a­ble though it may seem (al­most 20 years of sour law suits and tit-for-tat snip­ing in the me­dia) J Mas­cis re­grouped Di­nosaur Jr over 18 months ago. Even more im­prob­a­bly, they’re back with an album – spurred on, claims Mas­cis, by the fact that they were sick of play­ing old songs. The new ma­te­rial? Dreamy metal/pop, ap­par­ently. April THE FALL: REF­OR­MA­TION POST-TLC When Mark E Smith’s UK mu­si­cians re­signed en masse dur­ing the sum­mer, the Man­cu­nian moaner trav­eled to Amer­ica, where he picked up US per­son­nel. The re­sult, say in­sid­ers, is a bona fide Fall clas­sic. Fe­bru­ary THE FLAWS: TBC Car­rick­macross’s Flaws were the Ir­ish band to name drop last year, and, judg­ing by the tunes we’ve heard so far, it’s a record that threat­ens to send Ash to the trash can. Only threat­ens, mind. May PETER GABRIEL: I/O Ru­mours of a Ge­n­e­sis re­union bounce back and forth, but for­mer lead singer Peter Gabriel isn’t say­ing any­thing just yet. This album is the be­lated fol­low-up to 2002’s Up, and looks set to give Gabriel yet an­other classy cred­i­ble fil­lip in his al­ready glit­ter­ing ca­reer. April GREEN DAY: TBC Amer­i­can Id­iot was such a bril­liant album that it’s dif­fi­cult to be­lieve that Green Day would even con­sider try­ing to bet­ter it. Will they/won’t they? We’ll see. April HAL: TBC It seems that the for­mer Sun­shine Boys of south County Dublin have hard­ened their ar­ter­ies and dis­pensed with be­ing in­flu­enced by the Beach Boys. Cue the in­flu­en­tial ar­rival of Fleet­wood Mac and som­bre folk rock. Prob­a­bly a good idea not to re­lease it in July, then, lads. April THE HEAL­ERS: REIGN DOWN THE NEW DAYS Records from for­mer Smiths whose sur­names start with M are al­ways highly an­tic­i­pated events, so Johnny Marr’s new record looks set to be a high­light of the sea­son. Marr prom­ises up­beat gui­tar-pop built from the stu­dio floor up­wards. The gui­tar, by the way, is a Rick­en­backer. March THE HOR­RORS: TBC It’s amaz­ing what a bit of make-up can do to en­hance a band’s ca­reer. UK buzz band The Hor­rors (think Rasputin crossed with Scream­ing Lord Sutch) barely have enough for a half hour gig. The album might be slightly longer than that. The mu­sic? The an­tithe­sis of Coldplay. April IN­TER­POL: TBC Cur­rently be­tween record la­bels and hav­ing gone through a par­tic­u­larly fraught year (they split up sev­eral times, ap­par­ently), ev­ery­one’s favourite char­coal-suited rock band hope that this, their third album, will keep them as much in the pub­lic eye in 2007 as they were in 2005. Here’s hop­ing. April NO­RAH JONES: NOT TOO LATE Fol­low­ing an as­ton­ish­ing 30 mil­lion sales of her first two al­bums (record com­pany ad­vances well and truly re­couped), Jones is now in the en­vi­able po­si­tion of do­ing what­ever she damned well likes. Which is prob­a­bly why this new album was recorded at home (in her NYC apart­ment) and is pro­duced by her­self and her boyfriend/bassist Lee Alexan­der. What to ex­pect? More orig­i­nal ma­te­rial, for starters – and that voice. Late Jan­uary KAISER CHIEFS: TBC Can this Leeds band top a song like I Pre­dict a Riot? Cer­tainly, there are worse ter­race an­thems you could sing along to, but this will have to break the back of the ‘dif­fi­cult sec­ond album’ syn­drome to pre­vent the KCs be­com­ing just a fond me­mory. Late Fe­bru­ary LINKIN PARK: TBC The amount of songs recorded for this – 70. The pro­ducer – Rick Ru­bin. The ad­vance the band ex­tracted from their la­bel, Warn­ers – $15m. Bos­ton’s nu-metal sur­vivors had best pull out all the stops for this clearly make-or-break third album. Have they gone softer than usual? Ap­par­ently so – “It’s dark and spooky, poppy and very melodic,” says singer/song­writer Ch­ester Ben­ning­ton. Fe­bru­ary MANIC STREET PREACH­ERS: TBC Fol­low­ing solo ef­forts of vary­ing worth by James Dean Brad­field (wor­thy, of­ten very good) and Nicky Wire (lo-fi, indie, not much cop), the band per se re­turn with a record that they recorded in

DA­MON AL­BARN

BLOC PARTY

NO­RAH JONES

KAISER CHIEFS

AERO­SMITH

RA­DIO­HEAD

DIDO

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