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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looking forward to 2009...

So 2008 was not my favorite year for music, but luckily 2009 is shaping up to be possibly the best music year we’ve ever seen (and I’m not exaggerating). Below is information on over 25 new albums I’m looking forward to. Eight or so are easily contenders for album of the year already.
Please let me know if I’m missing anything, because I’d like this to be as comprehensive a list as possible.

Melody Club
The first word on their new album surfaced on their website in mid September when they revealed that they were in the process of recording. Now their myspace confirms that there will be a new album in 2009 and I read somewhere that the recording process is finished. This is one band that I don’t even have to worry about quality-wise. Each of their three past albums have been equally amazing and I’m sure the new one will be one of the best pop records of the year. I can’t wait to hear the new single! (don’t know…my guess: Spring)

The Galvatrons
The debut album, titled Laser Graffiti, will come out in the Spring, preceded by the next single Cassandra in February. We’ve already heard Cassandra in demo form and it’s one of the group’s best songs so I hope it gives them the success they’ll need in the lead-up to the album. The album’s supposed to have a symphonic, cinematic synth-rock sound to it, which is in keeping with their past material and practically makes me drool in anticipation. On their youtube page they‘ve got a behind-the-scenes clip that includes the audio for the majority of a new (quite epic) track, which I suppose could either be The First Starfighter or S.R. 71 Blackbird, both being titles that have surfaced in prior interviews. (April)

They had my second favorite album of 2007 (would have been #1 if released in 2008), so I’m really excited that a new album is in the works for 2009. The band is currently in the recording process but have scheduled the new album for March. For more ongoing info make sure to check out their (very entertaining) blog. (March)

During the past month I have become absolutely obsessed with this Norwegian/Danish band. Their new Pop! EP comes out in January, but you can already listen to all the tracks on their myspace and they are consistently awesome and perfect. A full-length album is set for release later in the year, which might contain past singles like You Know and Got To Get Some as well, though I hope for a ton of mew material because these guys are awesome! (don’t know… my guess: Summer)

Scissor Sisters
After basically dropping off the face of the earth, a new album is expected from these guys in the first half of the year. Apparently they’ve worked with Kylie on the album, which is fantastic news, and a number of new songs have allegedly been revealed at secret concerts this past fall. Remember, this information is from wikipedia, but according to them new song titles include "Television", "Who's Your Money","Other Girls", "Major for You", "None of My Business", "Singularity", "The Strand", "Who's There", "Not the Loving Kind", "Taking Shape" (with Babydaddy on lead vocals), and "Uroboros". Intriguing, to say the least. (Spring/Summer)


The debut album, Complete Me (cover to the right), is finally set for release in 2009 (or so everyone says). We’ve already heard so much from this guy, and he’s constantly putting new stuff up on his myspace, so he’s definitely got the material for an album. His most recent 3 Little Words EP was fantastic so I, along with the whole blog community, am looking forward to this album. (June)

Oh No Ono
I loved their debut a few years back and I’m so excited that this weird Danish pop group is releasing a follow-up in 2009. The record’s set for a Spring release (what a Spring this is gonna be!). The record’s self-produced and has been kept tightly under wraps for now. (April)

BWO will start off 2009 with a new Melodifestivalen single called You’re Not Alone that’s described as a big electronic gospel ballad--their “I Will Always Love You.” Then comes the album, which is said to be inspired by Girls Aloud and Xenomania. The group have signed with a new label that will allow distribution worldwide, so people outside of Scandinavia will be able to buy their music. This sounds absolutely fantastic! (Spring)

The Sounds
One of my favorite Swedish groups is back after a long time away. These guys have been touring for what seems like forever, so I’m glad they’ve had a chance to work on a new album as well. Click here to see a video of them working in the studio (and hear some of the music they’ve been writing). There hasn’t been a lot of news on this new record yet, but I’m hoping for a Spring or Summer release. (don't guess: Summer)

After a gazillion singles and reissues in 2008, Rihanna’s coming back straightaway with a new album next year. There are so many rumored demos floating around the internet for this, the best being the very Prince-like Sexuality, which also sounds the closest of all of them to being fully produced. Beyond that, Rihanna‘s talked about the new album having a more techno-rock direction, which would quite frankly be massively awesome. (don’t know…my guess: Summer)

Pet Shop Boys
The new album, titled Yes, will be released in March, preceded by the first single Love, etc. Popjustice is raving about their new Xenomania produced work so it’s bound to be good. Almost everything they’ve recorded throughout their career has been brilliant so I’m sure this album won’t let us down. (March)

Patrick Wolf
The new album, Battle, is out in the Spring and there’s loads of info about it, including a megamix of some of the songs, on his bandstocks website, which is trying to help him raise money to finish the thing. The music itself sounds pretty interesting…pretty uptempo too. (Spring)

Lily Allen
It’s Not Me, It’s You (cover to the left) comes out at the beginning of February, and the first single (the very good The Fear) already has a video out. You can preview the songs from the album here. It sounds pretty good… a lot like her last record, surprisingly. (February)

Kevin Borg
The winner of this year’s Swedish Idol, Kevin’s debut album is on the fast-track to be releasing in February. That’s not too long to work on it, but I bet they’ve already selected most if not all the songs for it. I’m hoping for an energetic sound, a la past idol contestants Danny or Ola, but maybe with more of a rock edge. After all, Livin’ On A Prayer kind of became Borg’s signature song in the contest. The worst thing they could do is weight his down with drippy, boy band ballads. But this being Sweden, I’ve got a lot of faith. (February)

Although they probably won’t be releasing a full album in 2009, another EP (perhaps more than one) is on the way. Not a lot is known about it (including a release date) but thank god that these guys are working on more music. Download their best song, Ways To Dance, here (right click) for free! (don’t know…my guess: Spring)

Franz Ferdinand
Their new record, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (cover to the left), could go either way for me. I have not been impressed by the new single, Ulysses, but these guys have a history of crafting some great tracks so we’ll see. I will definitely be checking it out. (January)

Whyte Seeds
I’ve been awaiting the follow-up to Bold As Love for sometime now, and it appears that it may be coming in 2009. In the summer of this year the guys posted a message saying they were recording the new album but since then there hasn’t really been any news. I assume it’ll be out this year, though. (Don’t know…my guess: Summer)

No Doubt
These guys would have been much higher on my life since they’re one of the first bands I absolutely fell in love with, but there’s not a lot of certainty with this release. They’re definitely going on tour next year and are working on the reunion album, aimed at a release late next year (boy it’s taking a long time!). The sound will probably be close to what we heard on Rock Steady, since they’re working with one of the producers from that record. This will be a huge release when it finally hits. (Fall/Winter)

Kelly Clarkson
The new single, My Life Would Suck Without You, is out soon, followed by the record in March. After the commercial failure of My December, the plans are to go back to a more radio-friendly, Since U Been Gone sound. Okay by me. She’s working with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic fame, who promises big choruses. I hope so, since I was not at all impressed with her more recent material. (March)

Sebastian Karlsson

I’ve liked Sebastian’s previous albums, though his new single My Getaway is pretty underwhelming. Still, I’m hoping for a slam dunk with his new album. We’ll see when The Most Beautiful Lie comes out next month. (January)

Daniel Karlsson
Another Karlsson, and another idol contestant, released his brilliant debut single Would You Believe a few months ago and it sounds very Ark-like so I am thrilled. His debut, Commercial Suicide, comes out next year and if it’s as good as the single then we’re in for a treat. (don’t know…my guess: Spring)

Boy Crisis
This is an interesting MGMT-meets-r&b/pop band that could surprise us and release one of the strongest debuts of the year. I’ve liked all their singles so far so a fully-produced album could really be a treat. (Spring)

Alexandra Burke
The winner of this year’s X-Factor, it’ll be good if they go the dance-pop direction, horrible if they go the Leona direction. (March)

Other (probable or definite) releases:

Dolly Daggers - in the studio, no word on a release date.

Dangerous Muse - in the studio (and have been forever), working on debut record.

Under The Influence of Giants - working on next record, not sure about release date.

Sahara Hotnights - recording new material, just released cover of In Private--hopefully an indication of the album’s direction.

U2 - not too excited about this, but who knows?

Antony & The Johnsons - probably won’t reach the heights of their last album, but we’ll see.

Other Swedish Idol contestants - especially Johan and the two Robins.

King Of Trolls - an album's been promised for awhile...we'll see if it actually happens in 2009.

Morrissey - Out in February... could be good.

Marie Serneholt - After her Melodifestivalen entry, Disconnect Me, her long-toiled-upon album should finally see the light of day.

Emmon - The new single, Secrets & Lies, is already out with an album to follow in February.

Kamera - This Swedish synthpop band's next record should be out sometime next year. It's their chance to enter the big leagues.

Universal Poplab - Another Swdish band currently in the studio.


The Ark - Something tells me we’ll hear from these guys before the year is over. Now that Ola’s finished with his role in Jesus Christ Superstar he’ll have time to do some writing. I’m hoping for a new album in the fall (if not earlier!).
UPDATE: Apparently there's been some word about recording starting in March and a tour later in the year. Let's hope so. I would die for a new Ark album!

Daggers - Still unsigned, these guys keep churning out flawless pop songs each month. They’ve already got enough for an album so I hope we see some kind of an official release in 2009. The world needs them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

This was one of the first albums released in 2008 and it stood the test of time to finish high on my year-end countdown. Kicking off with Time To Pretend, one of the best singles (and certainly the best American single) in years, Oracular Spectacular is a strange odyssey into what I like to call "acid pop." It's always experimental and surprising, yet never lets that stand in the way of a good pop song. The first time I heard it I wasn't too impressed, but it quickly grew on me until I knew each song by heart. In many ways it was the little album that could this year, growing in success each month as more and more people succumbed to its odd little charms.


1. Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke

No other artist did 80's pastiche better this year than Ladyhawke. The truth is, her pop songs would have been amazing in whatever genre she'd have chosen. Lucky for us she threw in a ton of synths to make the whole thing undeniably fun. This album contains some of my favorite singles of the year, but even the songs that weren't released are flawless examples of 2008 pop music. Another Runaway is the standout for me, though each and every song has its own bragging rights. It takes a special artist to be able to please both the indie and the pop lovers, but I think Ladyhawke does more than just succeed. I can't imagine anyone not liking this album.


5. Kite - Ways To Dance

Nicklas Stenemo’s latest project--more electronic and weird than the Mo, but just as poppy. Gotta love those drum rolls at the beginning.

4. Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van

The song that first introduced the world to Ladyhawke, it’s also the most insistent and emotional of her singles. A mixture of synth-ballad and dance, it soundtracked the entire year and I still love it.

3. MGMT - Time To Pretend

The psychedelic indie anthem of the year. Once you get past that enormous synth riff, you’re treated to a chorus full of longing and regret. It’s a magical song, with a sound big enough to tear down the world.

2. The Galvatrons - When We Were Kids

An updated version of Jump-era Van Halen, this track was pure nostalgia. No band this year had more pump-your-fist-in-the-air attitude. I am counting down the seconds until their album comes out.
Original - mp3: Battlestar Acoustica Remix

1. Daggers - Money

The most promising new band on the planet earth, every single one of Daggers’ songs sounds like it could top this chart. Money, though, rightly claims the best chorus of the year. This is epic stuff.
Original - mp3: Modernaire Remix