Friday, January 4, 2008

The big names are back for 2008

The big guns are out and, if they’re not firing blanks, 2008 should be one of the great years for new music.

OASIS: The light blue side of Manchester has plenty to celebrate with Sven’s boys flying high . . . and the prospect of a seventh Oasis album. Noel, Liam and Co began recording it on November 5 with Don’t Believe The Truth producer Dave Sardy. The buzz? Sonic fireworks.

U2: The band have been writing and recording in France and Morocco. With Joshua Tree pair Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois back in tow, the follow-up to 2004’s How To Dismantle An Atom Bomb might be a U2 masterpiece.

COLDPLAY: Eno is also producer on Coldplay’s fourth album, rumoured to be called Prospekt. It’s thought to be a concise album and the one “people will remember them by”. Among song titles are Famous Old Painters, Glass Of Water, Poppy Fields and Leftrightleftrightleft.

DIDO: It’s been a long wait for a new long player by the mega-selling Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong. Her first since 2003’s Life For Rent has been delayed by the death of her father and is said to be inspired by drives down the west coast of America. Expected songs include Look No Further, Never Want To Say It’s Love and Grafton Street. Sony BMG’s big hope for 2008.

MADONNA: Expect a hip-hop flavoured album from Her Madge. The eleventh and last studio album for Warner lines up the stellar talents of Timbaland and Pharell Williams. First single is probably 4 Minutes To Save The World, with Justin Timberlake.

GREEN DAY: Few records made such an impact in the Noughties as Green Day’s 2004 magnum opus American Idiot. Singer Billie Joe Armstrong has written around 45 songs to be considered for their follow-up eighth studio album.

KASABIAN: The lovable Leicester lot are pretty excited about their third album. Singer Tom Meighan has enthused: “It’s gonna be progressive and it sounds like an owl at night-time.” Guitarist Serge Pizzorno revealed he’s written a song inspired by Syd Barrett.

RAZORLIGHT: If it’s as big as Johnny Borrell’s ego, Razorlight’s third album will be an all-conquering, multi-platinum classic. Johnny went into the studio with the band on October 29 to start writing it. SFTW approves. Rock needs characters like him.

KEANE: Tom Chaplin has popped into rehab since 2006’s Under The Iron Sea but things are looking up for Keane’s next record. Tom revealed that 15 songs have been written and communication between band members has improved.

R.E.M.: Even Stipe, Buck and Mills weren’t overjoyed with 2004’s Around The Sun but signs are that the Jacknife Lee-produced Accelerate (out March 31) is a return to form. Confirmed tracks include Until The Day Is Done, Living Well Is The Best Revenge, Mr Richards and I’m Gonna DJ (a set regular on their 2004/05 world tour.) Stipe says the guitar-driven LP is “the fastest we’ve made in 20 years”.

THE VERVE: Of all the reunions, it’s the ones that deliver new product that count the most. Richard Ashcroft and Co’s first album since 1997’s towering Urban Hymns is one of 2008’s most anticipated musical events. Bassist Simon Jones said songs are called Sit And Wonder, Judas, Appalachian Springs, Mona Lisa and Rather Be.

THE FRATELLIS: The Scots rockers won Best Breakthrough Act at the 2007 Brits for debut Costello Music. In November, they booked rehearsal space to start the second album.

HOT CHIP: One of the year’s first big-hitters is Made In The Dark, the rockier third album by London’s electro-popsters. Single Shake A Fist served notice of a bolder and brighter approach.

THE RACONTEURS: Jack White thinks of The Raconteurs as way more than a side project. He says the band’s sophomore album is “very different” from Broken Boy Soldiers and that it’s “coming out great”. Recorded at Blackbird Studios in Jack’s adopted home of Nashville.

THE KOOKS: Brighton’s hugely popular indie act have once again teamed up with producer Tony Hoffer. They’ve named the new album Konk after the London studios where they recorded it. Singer Luke Pritchard promises a “dynamic, modern yet warm and roots-based sound”.

THE FEELING: We’ve got a “feeling” that the soft-rockers will sidestep the second album wobbles of many a band. Join With Us arrives mid-February and looks set to build on the success of 12 Stops And Home. First single: I Thought It Was Over.

FRANZ FERDINAND: Let’s hope the Scottish art rockers aren’t governed by the law of diminishing returns. Singer Alex Kapranos has revealed a secret weapon . . . “an old Russian synthesiser built from spare parts in the Cold War”. One new song is Lucid Dreams.

THE STREETS: Mike Skinner recently posted a new song on his MySpace reminiscent of his Original Pirate Material days before replacing it with his blinding cover of Sir Elt’s Your Song. Don’t write off a singular talent.

ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS: Few will forget Antony’s hauntingly beautiful delivery on the Mercury-winning I Am A Bird Now. New album The Crying Light arrives early summer.

ROBBIE WILLIAMS: Wouldn’t we all just love a return to form by Robbie, particular after the decidedly patchy Rudebox and the success of his old muckers Take That. His next album is rumoured to feature songwriting partner Guy Chambers and has been slated for an autumn release.