3 Upcoming Albums I Want To Hear

Ahh, the spring.  Warm weather, beautiful sunshine, beautiful women wearing less clothing.  How wonderful.  Along with the summer, it’s also the time of year where a number of major musicians unveil their latest creations.  What will stick and what will miss?  Which performers will provide the soundtrack of our lives in the coming months and who will struggle to get airplay?
 
Let the professionals predict the correct answers to those burning questions.  I’m more interested in focusing on three particular bands and their latest CDs, the only new releases I’m interested in.  Let’s go through them one by one:
 
Era Vulgaris by Queens Of The Stone Age
 
The title is a Latin phrase meaning “Common Era”, the era we’re living in right now, which began in year 1, A.D, thanks to the implementation of the Gregorian calendar.  But Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme (pronounced “Haw-mee”) selected it for his band’s fifth studio album for a very different reason as he explained in an interview with Pitchfork Media last month:
 
“It sounds like ‘the Vulgar Era’, which I like, because that sounds like something that I would like to be part of.”
 
Count me in, too.  Long before he founded Queens, Homme played killer licks for the underappreciated Kyuss.  (Check out …And The Circus Leaves Town, a terrific farewell effort from 1995.)  Sure, they would never have existed were it not for Black Sabbath but how many other hard rock bands can both imitate the sound of that pioneering British quartet while somehow creating their own original, sonic ideas simultaneously?  (Sadly, the band broke up in 1996, only a year after I became a fan of songs like Spaceship Landing and One Inch Man.)
 
Since 1998, Homme and a rotating list of musicians have put out one stellar album after another.  The self-titled independent debut, Rated R (which featured The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret and the infamous Feel Good Hit Of The Summer), Songs Of The Deaf, their commercial breakthrough (remember No One Knows and Go With The Flow?), and Lullabies To Paralyze (which spawned Little Sister and In My Head).
 
According to Homme, Era Vulgaris is less polished and more dirty than its predecessors, which sounds promising.  However, the title song (which features the great Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails) didn’t make the final cut.  Bummer.  On the plus side, you can find it online as a legal, free download. 
 
Look for the 11-song album (which features a couple of cartoonish-looking light bulbs, one a pot-smoker, the other a one-armed, eye-patched pirate, on the cover) on June 12th.
 
Our Love To Admire by Interpol
 
There’s a scene from an episode of Friends where Joey catches his friend Ross making out with Aisha Tyler, a beautiful, intelligent woman whose affections they’ve been competing for.  He soon realizes that because of this sudden turn of events, he’s free to pursue Rachel, Ross’ ex and the woman he’s most interested in.  At some point during this sequence you’ll hear the opening of Untitled, the opening track from Turn On The Bright Lights, the debut album from Interpol.  Considering how difficult it is to pick the right music to accompany a pivotal dramatic moment in any production, this was a perfect choice.  You can never go wrong with an Interpol song.
 
The New York-based group who made two of the best albums of this decade (Antics is the other) are back with Our Love To Admire, their third studio release.  Curiously, they left respected indie label Matador for Capitol to make this record.  Here’s hoping there’s no dip in quality because of the move.
 
Like their first album, the new record has 11 songs including the painfully titled, in more ways than one, The Heinrich Maneuver, which is the first single.  Expect more keyboards this time out as well as some orchestration, which scares me a little.
 
The band, which sounds like Gord Downie fronting either The Cure or Joy Division, have made tremendous progress in such a short period of time.  Turn On The Bright Lights peaked at #158 on Billboard Magazine’s Top 200 Album Chart in 2002.  Antics peaked at #15 a mere two years later.  We shall see how well Our Love To Admire performs this summer.  It’s being released on July 10th.
 
Zeitgeist by The Smashing Pumpkins
 
In a year loaded with reunions, this one might be the most anticipated.  After breaking up in late 2000, dictatorial frontman Billy Corgan tried to move on from the group that made him a star.  There was the one-hit wonder supergroup Zwan not to mention a 2005 solo album.  Speaking of TheFutureEmbrace, on the very same day the album first appeared in record stores, a full-page advertisement appeared in The Chicago Tribune where Corgan announced his intention to re-launch The Smashing Pumpkins.
 
The good news is Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain are on board.  The bad news is D’Arcy Wretzky and James Iha are not.  Neither is the lovely Melissa Auf Der Maur who filled in for Wretzky near the end of the band’s initial run after she was fired by Corgan because of her drug habit, which she has since beaten.  Nearly two years after that famous ad comes Zeitgeist, the first proper Pumpkins studio CD since 2000’s Machina: The Machine Of Gods.
 
If Wikipedia is to be trusted, most of the 12 songs on the album are in the 3- to 5-minute range with the exception of United States, which clocks in 10 seconds shy of 10 minutes.  Will this new material be welcomed with open arms by the band’s many fans?  We’ll find out July 10th.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, May 18, 2007
10:37 p.m.
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Published in: on May 19, 2007 at 10:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

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