FALL OUT BOY: You should be hearing the new single everywhere by now.
For years we waited. And then we started making jokes about it. And then the jokes got old. So we waited some more. And now, well, let’s just say there’s more genuine interest in what the neo-new wavy indie band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have cooked up for a follow-up to their self-released 2005 debut than there is in the long-awaited Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy — which Axl and the folks at Interscope are promising will come out in March. And, as far as hype goes, the Arcade Fire, another one of those indie bands who have found themselves catapulted out of the clubs and into big theater tours, have taken the prize by creating a huge Internet buzz surrounding the March release of their next disc for Merge, Neon Bible (also the title of that other book by the guy who wrote A Confederacy of Dunces). Yep, those wacky Canadians have posted an enigmatic toll-free phone number (866-NEONBIBLE) that fans can call to hear what appears to be one of the new tunes. And there are a bunch of other big discs by big names like Avril Lavigne (The Best Dam Thing on Arista; no release date), Good Charlotte, Maxwell, Norah Jones, and John Mellencamp. But by far the more interesting and anticipated new releases are going to be coming out of left field, from artists like Dinosaur Jr., who have decided to stay together long enough to record a disc of new material, and the Stooges — reemerging from the left field of long-ago.
America | Here and Now | Sony | In what has to be one of the stranger moves of early 2007, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell, the two main dudes in the band America — yes, the very same band who went through the desert on a horse with no name — have teamed up with a hip crew to release a big ol’ two-disc set. Producing and recording the disc’s new material are Fountains of Wayne hooksmith Adam Schlesinger, Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, and Ira Elliot of Nada Surf. Then there’s also a bunch of live stuff recorded for XM radio. And it’s all topped off with a few greatest hits, like that horse-with-no-name tune.
Lee Hazlewood | Cake or Death | Ever | Since Hazlewood, the suave singer/producer best known for his work with Nancy Sinatra, is, at the age of 77, reportedly battling cancer, the title of what will likely be his final studio album is a bit morbid. But with song titles like “Fred Freud” and “Baghdad Nights” it’s clear that he hasn’t lost his wry sense of humor. And he even gets his granddaughter Phaedra Dawn Stewart in on the action along with Duane Eddy and a name that will be familiar only to fans of German pop, Bela B.
Erin McKeown | Sing You Sinners | Nettwerk | McKeown’s already proven that she’s one of those hard-to-pin-down singer-songwriters who’s no folkie. And she keeps it up here by tackling the “Great American Songbook,” whatever that may happen to be.
Vietnam | Kemado | They got to tour with Evan Dando’s Lemonheads last fall, and they’re already streaming the entirety of their homonymous full-length debut CD. Better yet, this rootsy (in the sense that Crazy Horse are rootsy) Brooklyn band, have a couple of guitars and they know how to use them. The big indie breakout pick for the first half of the year.
John Mellencamp | Freedom's Road | Universal | It’s the artist formerly known as Coug’s first album in five years or something. And something about the title just sort of screams I wanna be Bruce!
Lily Allen | Alright, Still | Capitol | Anyone who wanted to be a Lily Allen fan already had their chance when she released this very same debut in her native UK months ago. And if you’re only looking for 15 minutes of fame to begin with — and that’s really what most tweeny boppers are in it for — why wait a whole half year to launch an American campaign? Does someone at Capitol really think that this disc has legs? Because Lily’s got the legs. The album’s just old.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | Some Loud Thunder | Wichita/V2 | This Brooklyn band probably saw some pretty big numbers thrown their way last year. What their relationship with V2 means is for the accountants to figure out. What we’re all waiting to hear is whether they can keep the buzz going for another album cycle.
Norah Jones | Not Too Late | Blue Note | That’s right Norah, just keep telling yourself it’s not too late to get a couple more Grammys. In the meantime, let’s hope she’s found something in the way of an exciting tune to record on her third full-length.