The last third of the year is often the best time to look forward to new music. 2012 is no exception. While pretty much everybody else is fully onboard the download revolution, Mr. Old School over here is stubbornly clinging to his CDs. Here are the ones I’m most eager to check out in the next few months:
The 2nd Law by Muse
After seeing this longtime British act perform their brilliant Uprising on the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards telecast, it was only a matter of time before I poured through their back catalogue. Having since thoroughly enjoyed all five of their previous albums (I own three at the moment), I’m ready for number six.
Entitled The 2nd Law, it’s their first proper release since The Resistance three years ago. Much has changed since then. Lead singer Matthew Bellamy knocked up his girlfriend Kate Hudson. (Their son just turned one this past July.) They’ve been engaged for more than a year and live together. The band opened for both U2 on their last tour and Rage Against The Machine on their only live date in 2011 since reuniting. They played numerous festivals around the world, won a Grammy (among numerous other gongs), contributed a new song to the third Twilight movie, Eclipse, and played the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Speaking of that event, the first single from The 2nd Law, Survival, was selected as the official theme song. The track is one of thirteen included on the album, which is reportedly a departure from past efforts, slated for release on October 2nd. (More details about the deluxe editions can be read here.)
Battle Born by The Killers
It’s been four years since this Las Vegas foursome offered Day & Age, their fine third album. After enjoying an 18-month hiatus and each member taking a turn at solo work (singer Brandon Flowers’ Flamingo CD was the most successful one; I really liked the standard 10-song edition and would love to own the 14-track version), the band returns with Battle Born. (Check out the dazzling album cover here.)
Featuring a who’s-who of big-name producers (including Brendan O’Brien, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite) on the credit list, it’ll be interesting to see what the final result sounds like. According to Rolling Stone, the album was so difficult to make it took a year’s worth of weekday 12-hour sessions to complete it. What I’ve heard of the first single, Runaways, doesn’t sound too different stylistically from anything in their repertoire which isn’t a bad thing at all. Sadly, the record won’t feature saxophonist Tommy Marth who shot himself to death earlier this year. He was only 33.
Battle Born will be available in three different editions. The standard version, which has 12 songs; the deluxe edition, which adds three more (one of which, it should be noted, is a remix of one of the album cuts) and a “Universal Music exclusive limited edition” which tacks on an additional remix and an alternate version of another album track. Look for all of them on September 18th.
Dead Silence by Billy Talent
Named after a character in the novel Hard Core Logo, I have to admit I’m disappointed this punky Toronto quartet discontinued its numerical tribute to Chicago and Led Zeppelin. In other words, no Billy Talent IV. Bummer.
Nevertheless, if the first single, Viking Death March, is any indication, Dead Silence (ok, it’s a good title) sounds like business as usual. In other words, we can probably expect more tight yet tunefully abrasive arrangements for album number four. (Hopefully. ) That’s fine by me. This approach worked wonders for their first three albums which I own. Look for it September 11th.
Now For Plan A by The Tragically Hip
I’ll admit it. I long resisted them (singer Gord Downie’s voice used to drive me crazy and their bluesy material often left me cold), with the exception of a handful of songs. But after going through their entire catalogue in 2009 (and realizing how wrong I was to dismiss them; Downie’s got the chops and the music has grown on me considerably), I gave in completely. I now own all their studio work from their 1987 self-titled EP to 2009’s We Are The Same. I feel a lot more Canadian, as a result.
Downie and company are back with their first new release in three years. (You can tell they’re starting to slow down. In the past, new titles would surface every year or two. That’s not been the case since 2006.) At Transformation, the first single, has flooded radio for months. (A sample of it actually debuted on an episode of Hockey Night In Canada during the recent Stanley Cup Playoffs back in May.)
Now For Plan A is out October 2nd.
Uno! and Dos! by Green Day
In an era where the single has once again become more prominent than the album, how crazy is it to put together not one, not two but three full-length CDs simultaneously? That’s what this Berkeley, California trio has done as they prepare to unveil a trilogy of audio delights (here’s hoping) over the course of the next five months.
Instead of dark songs about teenagers too apathetic to wank or even just feel good about their lives, and concept records centred around political themes, Green Day’s next three albums are reportedly more sexual in nature, two of which will arrive before the end of the year.
First up, appropriately, is Uno! Featuring frontman Billie Joe Armstrong on the cover, this twelve-track release includes the recent radio hit, Oh Love! It’s out September 25th. The follow-up, Dos!, which features bassist Mike Dirnt on the cover, is out November 13th. (Tre! (yes, drummer Tre Cool is on the cover) will be out January 2013.)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, September 1, 2012
UPDATE: The release date for Tre! has been moved up to December 11 of this year, thanks to the still unexplained situation involving troubled singer Billie Joe Armstrong who is reportedly in rehab trying to kick some undisclosed addiction. (He had a well-documented freakout during a gig not that long ago which is said to have been the catalyst for his recent check-in.) With the band not touring without their frontman, it makes sense to release the third and final album in their planned trilogy ahead of schedule, two weeks before Christmas. Here’s hoping Armstrong gets the help he needs for whatever is troubling him.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, November 7, 2012