Reasons to be cheerful about the New Year? For a start, there’s a new Radiohead album to look forward to. As of November 2010 the follow-up to ‘In Rainbows’ was “not quite finished” – but don’t expect a standard album. According to Colin Greenwood the band “have begun to wonder about how to release them in a digital landscape that has changed again”. Thom Yorke even hinted at a classical EP.
Most intriguing band of 2011? There’s certainly a massive buzz surrounding The Vaccines – and you can catch the hotly-tipped Londoners when they play the NME Awards Tour in February, alongside Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man and Everything Everything.
Whether you think Lady Gaga is the most enthralling pop star since David Bowie, or an arrogant upstart with more “outrageous” outfits than tunes, she’s bound to be unavoidable in 2011. She intends to release a single in February, followed by new album ‘Born This Way’, which she claims will be more “poetic” than previous efforts.
It seems affection for Weezer really reached fever pitch in 2010. If you’re one of those people who prefers the first two albums, you’re in luck, because next year they’re planning a tour where they only play songs from 1994’s Weezer (aka ‘The Blue Album’) and 1996’s ‘Pinkerton’. It’ll be a ‘Hash Pipe’-free zone.
Must-see film of next year? Black Swan, which comes out in February. There’s already Oscar buzz around Natalie Portman’s lead performance. She plays a ballerina – but it’s a far, far darker film than you might think…
It’s taken years – and they’ve scrapped an entire album’s worth of material – but The Strokes’ follow-up to 2006’s ‘First Impressions Of Earth’ is finally finished. Albert Hammond Jr said: “We’re all really excited to be stepping into the next chapter. We spent the last six months recording in my studio upstate and we are beyond thrilled with the 10 songs we have for this record.”
Another exciting film release for next year – True Grit, a Coen brothers remake of the 1969 Western starring John Wayne. In line with their Academy Award-winning No Country For Old Men, expect plenty of wide open landscapes and grizzled, barely audible cowboy types.
White Lies’ debut album sound nearly a million copies, so the follow-up is a pretty big deal. It’s called ‘Ritual’, and it’s out January 17. You can watch the video for lead single ‘Bigger Than Us’ at NME.COM/video.
Part-recorded in a church in Dorset, PJ Harvey’s new album ‘Let England Shake’ is released on February 14. And very good it is too. You can already hear a song from it, ‘Written On The Forehead’, online.
Like superhero films/comic book adaptations? Then you’ll probably shit a brick over Thor, which is due for release in April. It cost $150 million dollars to make, and was directed by Kenneth Branagh. Natalie Portman’s in it, too. No, that’s not her with the eyepatch.
Due out in February, ‘Computers And Blues’ will be the last album released under the name of The Streets. It’s more of a grower than an instant masterpiece, but it’s definitely worth a listen. Watch the video for lead single ‘Going Through Hell’, featuring The Music’s Robert Harvey on vocals.
‘Come Around Sundown’ might have picked up some middling reviews, but that didn’t stop it selling shitloads. There’ll be a victory lap next summer when Kings Of Leon play a selection of UK arena and stadium dates. Let’s hope no pigeons make an appearance.
R.E.M. release their fifteenth album, ‘Collapse Into Now’, on March 7, 2011. Head here to check out the tracklisting, and download a free track, ‘Discoverer’.
Iron And Wine fans don’t have long to wait for the singer-songwriter’s new album ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’ – it’s due out on January 25. The album will be the fourth under Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine guise, and is the follow-up to 2007’s ‘The Shepherd’s Dog’.
Video game of 2011? Those in the know seem to be getting pretty worked up about Gears Of War 3 for the Xbox, though it’s not scheduled for release until November. Hip-hop stars Drake and Ice T have been enlisted as voice actors for the game, which will no doubt involve blasting seven shades of crap out of a range of monstrous enemies.
You’d have to be a total sourpuss not to have enyoyed lads’ weekend fable The Hangover, which boasted one of the sharpest scripts of 2009. Next year there’ll be a sequel. It’s due out in May, is set in Thailand, and features a cameo appearance from Bill Clinton. Bet there’ll be a cigar gag in there somewhere.
It’s all gearing up again for Arctic Monkeys. Their as-yet untitled fourth album is due out in May, and they’ve got festival dates lined up, including Benicassim and Oxegen. Get in!
The whole “bands playing albums in their entirety” trend is set to continue next year. The Flaming Lips will perform their album ‘The Soft Bulletin’ in full next year. The band will perform the record, which was the NME writers’ album of the year in 1999, in order at Alexandra Palace on July 1.
It doesn’t get more indie than this – ATP curated by Animal Collective. It takes place 13-15 May, Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, UK. We hear tickets are selling fast…
Another summer blockbuster for 2011 – Cowboys And Aliens. Plot? A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way… (oh, and Harrison Ford’s in it).
In 2010 we had comebacks from The Libertines and Suede. In 2011 we can look forward to hearing the likes of ‘Babies’ and ‘Common People’ once more, because Pulp are back. The only UK date confirmed so far is London’s Wireless Festival, but there are bound to be more announced soon. Exciting, no?