It's All About Dre, Rae and Yea (sayer): 2009's Most Anticipated Albums

While titans prepare their long-delayed returns and the hip-hop world readies itself to fall back on that Hollywood phenomenon they call the sequel, the indie rock pantheon will have its work cut out if it's going to shine in 2009. Will it take a leap of faith to invest in new records by Dr Dre and My Bloody Valentine? Can Yeasayer and The Twilight Sad surpass their respective debuts? The Music team previews some of the most anticipated releases of the year.

Feature by Music | 05 Jan 2009
  • Dr. Dre

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

Title: The Century of Self (Richter Scale)

Release Date: 23 February

Trail of Dead were one of the few bands to deservingly defy the indie-to-major sell-out cliché. That is, until 2006’s somewhat overblown So Divided. The imminent Festival Thyme EP due for release on the band’s Richter Scale label may labour more heavily over piano than pedals, but hints that Conrad Keely and co can still create climactic, enthralling art rock without the pomposity. As for sixth album The Century Of Self — due for release next month — the proof will be in the pudding. [Lauren Mayberry]

 

Condo Fucks (aka Yo La Tengo)

Title: Fuckbook (Matador)

Release Date: 10 March

Bands today have no manners. In my day, Fuck Buttons, Fucked Up, Holy Fuck and the rest of their potty-mouthed kind would have been tutted at most severely, but now even pop royalty like Yo La Tengo are swearing willy-nilly and releasing albums under disgraceful pseudonyms. Sure, early signs suggest the music is as superb as ever, with a retro garage sound marking a change from 2006’s quirky I’m Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. But it’s the principle of the matter. [Chris Buckle]

 

Converge

Title: TBC (Epitaph)

Release Date: TBC

To think that Converge have been around almost as long as some of us have been on this planet is pretty peculiar. Yet, 2009 sees the release of the seminal Massachusetts quartet’s seventh album in their 18 year history. Bannon, Ballou and co no longer need establish themselves as the kings of technical hardcore. Jane Doe already did that. Converge are brutal and exhilarating, expanding their sound with every release, constantly raising the stakes. The cult is no longer underground: it’s getting sweaty in there and you should sure as hell try to slip your way in. [LM]

 

Dananananaykroyd

Title: Hey Everyone

Release Date: 6 April

April will witness the arrival of the much anticipated debut from Glasgow six-piece Dananananaykroyd. Recorded midway through the year by infamous producer Machine (Lamb of God, Fall Out Boy), the album — entitled Hey Everyone — will feature plenty of new material as well as reworked 'oldies'. It will surely be the perfect introduction to a band whose name would most likely be on everyone’s lips, if it wasn't so hard to pronounce. We've been watching this lot blossom for the last three years, might 2009 finally be their time? [RD]

 

The Decemberists

Title: The Hazards of Love (Capitol)

Release Date: 24 March

Sufjan Stevens and Neon Neon have both helped rescue the concept album from mainstream derision, but the Decemberists’ latest will probably still take a bit of explaining. Never afraid of grand narratives, this one has such fairytale ingredients as a forest queen, a “villainous rake” (though how this dastardly garden tool fits into the plot is thus far unclear), a shape-shifting animal, and, er, the ravaging of a woman by the aforementioned amorphous beast. Yes, that old chestnut. [CB]

 

Deftones

Title: Eros (Warner)

Release Date: TBC

Though his previous records have seen a heady blend of post-hardcore, hip-hop and tasteful touches of new romantic influence put to work on record, front man Chino Moreno describes Deftones' latest effort as their most aggressive yet. However, plans to release the album in early 2009 have become secondary since the tragic news of bassist Chi Cheng’s hospitalisation in the aftermath of a serious car accident last November. At time of going to press he remains in a coma and any word on a firm release date is yet to be made. [Johnny Langlands]

 

Dr. Dre

Title: Detox (Aftermath)

Release Date: Summer

For some, Detox is a Chinese Democracy in itself – rumoured and hinted at for years, compiled in secrecy from a reported 400 tracks – but Dre has upped the ante here by announcing his forthcoming 2009 LP as his final. The validity of this claim could be lessened given hip-hop stars' propensity for unnecessary dramatics (Jay-Z, Eminem and Lupe Fiasco have all announced similar retirements, with the former two re-emerging shortly later). However, Dre's recent scarcity of rhymes on wax makes it almost a sure bet that Detox will be the final solo offering from this West Coast icon. [Jason Morton]

 

Eminem

Title: Relapse (Shady/Aftermath)

Release Date: 15 May

The Boy Wonder to Dre's Batman, Detroit’s perennial courter of controversy also has an eye on a 2009 release for his comeback album. Previously, Em has justifiably garnered acclaim for a vicious lyrical flow while being criticised as homophobic and misogynistic, before Michael Jackson famously called him on an outright character assassination. Who Marshall might take on for his fifth full-length may not be clear, but it's doubtful age has softened the rough edges of Mr Mathers. [JM]

 

Glassjaw

Title: TBC (Warner)

Release Date: TBC

Having reneged on a third album for over six years — and leaving us to endure Head Automatica in the meantime — influential post-hardcore quartet Glassjaw potentially release the follow-up to Worship and Tribute in 2009. A reputation for intense, if sporadic, live shows and the great mystery surrounding the album’s progress will undoubtedly secure curiosity in this frustratingly long-awaited comeback offering. Tasters are available online now, but whether the sum of their efforts will have been worth the wait, well, as Daryl Palumbo once squealed, “they let you decide.” [LM]

 

Grizzly Bear

Title: Veckatimest (Warp)

Release Date: 26 May

After rooting for Obama and supporting Radiohead on their 2008 North American tour, Grizzly Bear are set to pack an LP full of their haunting psychedelic folk and deliver a 2009 release. Head Bear Ed Droste confirmed a wider range of emotion on the forthcoming album in a recent interview, and after the experimentation of the Friend EP, listeners shouldn’t expect Yellow House part two or a collection of Knife rip-offs, but rather another quality album from this ever-diversifying Brooklyn band. [JM]

 

Isis

Title: Wavering Radiant (Ipecac)

Release Date: 21 April

Atmospheric metal giants Isis have spent the latter part of 2008 holed up in the studio with producer 'Evil' Joe Barresi (Tool, QOTSA) to record the follow up to the band's 2006 release In The Absence Of Truth. A recognised influence on bands such as Mogwai and Pelican, Isis are one of the prime purveyors of epic, yet uniquely layered, progressive heaviness. This new release will hopefully be no less devastating. A must for fans of intelligent metal. [RD]

 

Jay-Z

Title: The Blueprint 3 (Roc-A-Fella)

Release Date: 11 September

It’s all about trilogies in hip-hop these days: Kanye West signalled an end to his school-themed trio with the depressing 808s and Heartbreak; Lil Wayne became the biggest selling artist in America after Da Drought 3 built the hype for Tha Carter 3 and Dedication 3; and now Jay-Z is returning with eleventh studio album The Blueprint 3. Due in February with Kanye behind the desk, let’s hope this third is more Bourne than Godfather. [Ally Brown]

 

Manic Street Preachers

Title: Journal for Plague Lovers (Columbia)

Release Date: 18 May

What's that you say? Lyrics by Richey? Recorded by Albini? Well sign us the fuck up. Following the refinement of their latter day arena rock oeuvre with 2007's Send Away the Tigers, the Manics finally came to embrace the emotionally and sonically barbed material from their rawer, post-glam period when it came to touring that year. And now this curveball, dubbed by Nicky Wire as "a follow-up in many ways" to their darkest hour, The Holy Bible. A nostalgic gambit? Maybe, but we wait with interest. [JL]

 

Mastodon

Title: Crack the Skye (Warner)

Release Date: 24 March

The fourth album from these Atlanta riff architects seeks to continue Mastodon’s exploration into themes beyond our — and perhaps even their own — comprehension. Helmed by Brendan O’Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam), guitarist Brent Hinds tells us that Crack the Skye was largely written while he recovered from a brain haemorrhage last year. Drawing on influences as diverse as astral travel and Tsarist Russia, the LP looks to be taking an even bigger conceptual leap than 2006's critically acclaimed Blood Mountain. Fans of heavy progressive metal: you don’t want to miss this. [Ryan Drever]

 

Mew

Title: No More Stories... (SonyBMG)

Release Date: September

Four years since their last stellar opus and six since the UK first took notice of their otherworldly pleasures, Mew are finally ready to reveal what’s been keeping them busy. Such glacial pace is fitting for a band whose first eight years and two albums of existence was kept tightly under wraps by their native Denmark, so expect the years to have been spent crafting an astonishing new album of rare beauty, rather than just plain pissing about on Wii Sports. [CB]

 

My Bloody Valentine

Title: TBC (TBC)

Release Date: TBC

MBV’s live comeback last year was unexpected and unforgettable: especially if you weren’t wearing earplugs, in which case a constant skree in your ear will remind you of it 24 hours a day. But do we really want a new album 18 years after the seminal Loveless? All Axl Rose's much-delayed opus did was prove the difficulties in sounding relevant after such a break. Topping Loveless would be nigh impossible, so do all you can to keep expectations low and it might just be a pleasant surprise. [AB]

 

The National

Title: TBC (Beggars Banquet)

Release Date: TBC

2008 saw The National move from being a quirky Brooklyn outfit with a dour Leonard Cohen-esque vocalist singing over Interpol-style riffs, into the next Pearl Jam, buoyed by the slow burning success of 2007’s Boxer. Their transition to stadium rock, however, leaves them at a crossroads; will their next album see them continue upwards towards Boss territory, or will they do an Eddie Vedder and insist that they’re really a misunderstood ‘underground band’ that happens to have millions of fans? We’ll bet on the former. [Ewen Millar]

 

One Day As A Lion

Title: TBC (Anti)

Release Date: TBC

Tom Morello recently announced that there were no plans for a new Rage Against The Machine album, despite the resounding success of their 2008 tour. Given that he is responsible for Audioslave, we should probably be thankful. Zack de la Rocha has, however, continued to be a fountain of focused rage, and after teaming up with The Mars Volta’s ex-drummer, released a phenomenal EP of hard funk and bombastic rhymes in 2008. The originally mooted release date for the full-length release has been and gone, but we wait with baited breadth. [EM]

 

Part Chimp

Title: Thriller (Rock Action)

Release Date: 8 September

Anyone can turn their amp up to 11, but to do discord well is tough. Part Chimp have always had a keen awareness of the line between noise and melody, a skill in plentiful evidence on 2005’s I Am Come. Signed to Mogwai’s Rock Action label, both bands share a love of gigs so loud that they liquefy your insides and give you tinnitus for days [or forever – ed] afterwards, so their ‘difficult second album’ will most likely be somewhat ear-splitting. Beware, Gramps. [EM]

 

The Prodigy

Title: Invaders Must Die (Take Me to the Hospital)

Release Date: 2 March

It’s been diminishing returns from The Prodigy since 1994’s Music for the Jilted Generation. After its completion, Liam Howlett must have left the door of his underground bunker unlocked, letting idiot clown-farmer Keith Flint ‘ooo-ar’ over half of follow-up Fat of the Land. It proved a good album nevertheless, but locking Flint out for Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned did little to reclaim former glories. The full-band, as well as an appearance from Dave Grohl, return with Invaders Must Die in March. [Darren Carle]

 

Queens of the Stone Age

Title: TBC (Interscope)

Release Date: TBC

Penning or otherwise perpetrating what should rightly go down as one of the noughties top ten hard rock albums – Songs for the Deaf – Josh Homme has put forth a pair of respectable QOTSA albums since, but never quite eclipsed that high watermark of his 2002 triumph. Homme recently announced his intentions for a productive 2009 with a new Queens record – a “desert orgy in the dark”, Desert Sessions release and a remastering (whatever for?) of the Queens’ seminal debut all in the offing. [JM]

 

Raekwon

Title: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II (Aftermath)

Release Date: 8 September

Mafioso-inspired 1995 release Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is widely considered a hip-hop standard. Although later releases from Raekwon failed to meet the benchmark this album set, the announcement of a sequel has been met with fervent anticipation amongst Wu aficionados. Returning to the roots of the original concept, this album will again play on Raekwon's storytelling ability and, with both The RZA and Dr Dre producing, all eyes are on The Chef to pull another one out of the hat. [RD]

 

Rival Schools

Title: TBC (Some)

Release Date: TBC

Suprising many with their unexpected return to the UK and touring further afield in the summer, post-hardcore champions Rival Schools have warranted even more excitement over an upcoming release in the next year. On their tour, the band showcased a handful of new songs to their ever-hungry — albeit slightly deprived — fanbase and announced plans for album number two. The as yet untitled new record will be their first official release in nearly eight years, following the 'leak' of various unreleased demos by front man Walter Schreifels in 2003. [RD]

 

The Shins

Title: TBC (Aural Apothecary)

Release Date: TBC

2009 will be all change for indie darlings The Shins, a band it is illegal to write about without mentioning Natalie Portman. Their burgeoning popularity, thanks to the Hollywood actress, coincided just in time for third LP Wincing the Night Away to be Sub Pop’s biggest commercial success. Then in June the band announced they were leaving for singer James Mercer’s own label Aural Apothecary. It seems more a business move than a musical one, so expect pastoral pop-perfection as usual. [DC]

 

The Twilight Sad

Title: Forget the Night Ahead (Fat Cat)

Release Date: 5 October

We couldn’t get enough of The Twilight Sad in 2007 (still can’t! – ed) thanks to album of the year Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, but now comes the all too familiar problem of how to avoid the sophomore slump. The perceived expectations of a fanbase can play insidious tricks on the mind of a songwriter, so our advice to the band is to chill; nobody’s looking, we don’t even care, see? Now go and lock yourselves in a remote cabin and get on with it. [AB]

 

U2

Title: No Line On the Horizon (Island)

Release Date: 23 February

For the benefit of any aliens who may be reading: U2 are massive. Really massive. Even with no new music to flog they broke records in 2008 (for their 3D concert film, and only in Ireland, but still…). And now, all those fans thinking “yeah, I guess Elevation was good, but I really wish they sounded more like the Black Eyed Peas” are in for a treat, with the appointment of Will.I.Am to handle production duties alongside Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Ridiculous? You decide. Expect the fruits of their collaboration to amaze/amuse in February. [CB]

 

Wilco

Title: Wilco (Nonesuch)

Release Date: Spring

It’s bizarre to think that Wilco may have something to prove with their seventh album. 2007’s Sky Blue Sky was nice, breezy and straightforward: not the norm for a band that has been billed as “America’s most consistently interesting.” Their untitled 2009 effort comes with extra expectation. Whether they'll shift back to the experimental noise of A Ghost Is Born is a valid consideration, though guitarist Nels Cline recently forewarned Rolling Stone: "I think sonically it's going to be a much wilder, much more unexpected record." Here's hoping. [Finbarr Bermingham]

 

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Title: It's Blitz! (Interscope)

Release Date: Spring

Unsurprisingly, YYY’s second album Show Your Bones divided fans neatly down the middle: a step too far towards mainstream acceptance for some, a perfect mix of their punk snarl with a genuine pop nous for others. Wherever you lay your hat though, they are undoubtedly one of the most exciting bands in a long line of exciting bands to have emerged from New York in recent years. As such, both camps will no doubt be wetting their lips in anticipation of their return. [DC]

 

Yeasayer

Title: TBC (We Are Free)

Release Date: May

MGMT and Vampire Weekend may have stolen the limelight, but Yeasayer have equally impressed those paying attention. All Hour Cymbals may not have quite lived up to the expectations laid by single 2080, but judging by the new material performed at this year’s T in the Park, it could well stand as a full dress rehearsal before the main event. “I think it will give us a chance to push any tendencies we had on the first record even further,” confirmed singer Chris Keating before retreating to his bunker last year. [DC]

 

Of course, this is all just a brief peek. Also worth keeping in mind are forthcoming efforts by Animal Collective, Broken Records, Crystal Antlers, Franz Ferdinand, Fuck Buttons, HEALTH, Jubilee, Kid606, Klaxons, Lightning Bolt, Morrissey, Outkast (x3!), Pearl Jam, Placebo and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Obviously there'll be a few mandatory Mike Patton projects and some Manilow remasters on the cards too, not to mention a zillion other as yet unannounced gems flying under the radar. Which records will you be hammering your piggy bank for over the next 12 months?