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Mark Your Calendars

Mark Your Calendars

2007 has a chance to become the year of the second efforts and Internet leaks. Quite a few of the most hyped bands from the past couple years are returning with attempts to avoid the ever dreaded, but rather likely, “sophomore slump.” Not that slumps shouldn’t be expected when every year critics jump the gun and nominate a handful of bands the “Saviors of Rock ’n Roll,” “The Next Beatles, Nirvana, U2 …” and other such absurd declarations. As far as advanced copies of albums being leaked online, at least four of the below albums have been spinning around the web for weeks.

Despite all the hype and pirated albums to come, the amount of great artists putting out work in the next few months is rather astonishing. Take a look at 10 releases to pickup over the first quarter of 2007:

The Shins – Wincing the Night Away

The Shins should be Zach Braff’s biggest fans. His inclusion of their song “New Slang” as “the song that will change your life” in his film Garden State, in addition to mass critical acclaim over their first two albums have given them quite a bit of recognition outside of the usual indie-rock circles. Wincing the Night Away will be their last album on Sub Pop and will hopefully be a fitting end to their fruitful relationship with the label.

Expected Release: January 23rd on Sub Pop

Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

What do Outback Steakhouse, the NASDAQ and Garmin GPS have in common? These company’s current T.V. ads all feature Of Montreal songs. Someone give that publicist a raise. Maybe this album being leaked is another smart move from the ol’ publicist because all reactions thus far have been very encouraging.

Expected Release: January 23rd on Polyvinyl

Menomena – Friend and Foe

The Portland based group used their original recording methods to release a gem in 2003’s I Am the Fun Blame Monster. It was the kind of album that satisfied an urge you didn’t know you had and put question marks are all over Friend and Foe as to what might be next.

Expected release: January 23rd on Barsuk Records

Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah – Some Loud Thunder

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the fact that they garnered national recognition, T.V. appearances and sold over 200,000 copies of their self-titled debut without needing a music label is a tremendous story for music today—even more so in an age where “Hot Ringtones” is a Billboard Chart category. (Ironically, they’re currently on the cover of the website.) Now they’ve got some legitimate distribution and more than few critics will have eyes focused on Some Loud Thunder.

Expected Release: January 30th, US distribution through V2

Apostle of Hustle – National Anthem of Nowhere

A major player in the team that is Broken Social Scene, Apostle of Hustle’s main man Andrew Whiteman has been a part of some amazing music in the past six years. Apostle of Hustle’s first release, Folkloric Feel, was a powerful, inventive mix of lush instrumentation against the unique production style that characterizes a lot of the work from the Arts and Craft label. Whiteman and company have that special something that will more than hold you over until the next Broken Social Scene record.

Expected Release: January 30th on Arts & Crafts

Bloc Party- A Weekend in the City

They’ve released a remix album and a handful of iTunes singles to string their fans along since their debut Silent Alarm. They’ve picked up a big name producer, Jacknife Lee, who contributed on the past two U2 albums, and you can expect the time they took since Silent Alarm to be well spent. Just ask anyone who’s heard the leaked version of the album.

Expected Release: February 6th on V2

Common – Finding Forever

Tentatively scheduled for the end of March, Chi-Town favorite Common gets back with the always prolific Kanye West to follow up the solid 2005 album Be. Both are at the height of their careers, and hopefully, the combo will provide a refreshing release to guide the current staleness of mainstream hip hop.

Expected Release: March on GOOD Music

Air – Pocket Symphony

Their first four releases have led to them being crowned the downtempo-electronica kings. Word has it Nicolas Goldin learned a few Japanese instruments and uses them throughout Pocket Symphony in addition to the more traditional instruments. I’m intrigued. The French Duo know what they do, and they always do it so well. Expect the same greatness on … Symphony.

Expected Release: March 6th on Virgin, Astralwerks

Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

Funeral topped many a list in 2004 and 2005 and garnered major praise from all the magazines and every artist from Coldplay to David Bowie. The band made a bold decision in August to completely self produce their next effort. The rubber meets the road on album two where everyone will wonder if Neon Bible can carry the torch that Funeral passed on.

Expected Release: March 6th on Merge

Ghostface and MF Doom – Swift and Changeable

This is pretty much a dream duo for hip-hop fans who just can’t seem to get crunked up over the Birdman and ‘Lil Wayne collaboration. The couple of tracks MF Doom produced on Ghost’s album Fishscale were stellar. Put both of their lyrical brilliance on top of Doom’s production skills and you have a recipe for some serious hype. Here’s to hoping it actually gets finished.

Expected Release: Late March

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