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News:
Reunions, Rookies To Mark 2007 Music Scene
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK



The calendar has flipped, and the music industry has left 2006 — K-Fed and all — in the dust.

So even as the last year’s fourth-quarter releases continue to sell (or download) gangbusters, 2007 is ready to rock. What will be the big music stories in the new year? They’re still forming, but here’s a quick look at some of who we’ll be talking about over the next 12 months:

America — It’s been a long time since this ’70s folk-rock duo generated any buzz, but there’s some excitement around “Here & Now” (out Jan. 16) thanks to contributions by modern rockers from bands such as Smashing Pumpkins, My Morning Jacket, Fountains of Wayne and Nada Surf.

The Arcade Fire — The idiosyncratic Montreal rockers’ 2005 album “Funeral” gave birth to a critic’s darling, momentum the group hopes to ride with the March 6 release of “Neon Bible.”

Fall Out Boy — The pressure’s on these Chicago punkers to live up to or better the double-platinum showing of 2005’s “From Under the Cork Tree” when they unleash “Infinity on High” on Feb. 6.

Genesis — Phil Collins is rejoining the band for a world tour that starts June 11 in Finland and should be on these shores, including a Detroit-area show, by late July.

The Good, the Bad & the

Queen — The new band formed by Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and former Clash bassist Paul Simonon releases its self-titled debut Jan. 23.

Good Charlotte — Frontman Joel Madden, who recently dumped Hilary Duff for Paris Hilton, promises that “Good Morning Revival,” the group’s fourth album (due March 20), “sounds older ... more comfortable.” And heavier, as headbangers Avenged Sevenfold help out on the fi rst single, “The River.”

Guns N’ Roses — Axl Rose says “Chinese Democracy,” 10 years in the making, will finally hit March 6. That sweet child o’ his has practically turned into a senior citizen over all this time.

Norah Jones — After a relatively quiet 2006, Jones returns Jan. 30 with her third album, “Not Too Late,” keeping her creative team and sound relatively intact but bringing in guests such as singer-songwriter M. Ward and Kronos Quartet cellist Jeff Ziegler.

Jennifer Hudson —

She stole the show in “Dreamgirls.” Now the onetime “American Idol” contestant is prepping her debut album for release this year.

Kid Rock — The Devil Without a Cause has reason to feel cocky about the abundance of new material he’s recorded, some with assistance from super-producer Rick Rubin. A new album could be out as early as spring.

Avril Lavigne —

Marriage apparently hasn’t mellowed the Canadian rock goddess; she describes “The Best Damn Thing,” expected out in April, as “really fast, fun, young, bratty, aggressive, confident (and) cocky in a playful way.” Guests include Travis Barker (blink-182, +44) and her husband, Sum 41 frontman Derryck Whibley.

Lil Jon — The Atlanta artist-producer titles his latest project, “Crunk Rock,” after the rap genre he helped invent. You can fi nd “Act the Fool,” a collaboration with Three 6 Mafia, on his MySpace page, and his not-so-Lil guest list also includes Korn frontman Jonathan Davis and Good Charlotte.

Charlie Louvin — The latest country reclamation project is this 79-year-old Alabama legend, whose selftitled release on Feb. 20 fi nds him keeping company with George Jones, Elvis Costello, Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy, Marty Stuart, Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bare Sr. and members of Bright Eyes, Clem Snide, Superchunk and Lambchop.

Jesse Malin — Famous friends, including Bruce Springsteen, Queens of the Stone Ages’ Josh Homme, Ryan Adams and Jakob Dylan, turned out to help the D Generation alumnus on his third solo outing, Feb. 20’s “Glitter in the Gutter.”

Katharine McPhee —

The latest “American Idol” runner-up’s self-titled debut album comes Jan. 30 and boasts writing and production from a who’s-who of hitmakers, including Babyface, the Underdogs, Kara DioGuardi and Nate Hill.

John Mellencamp —

The Indiana rocker has high hopes that his recent “Our Country” campaign for Chevrolet will court attention for his fine new release, “Freedom’s Road,” which hits stores Jan. 23.

Metallica — The seminal headbangers have been working with producer Rick Rubin and are slated to hit the studio this month. They’re making tour plans for this year, too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the new album will make it out this calendar year.

Modest Mouse — The Washington state group returns after its 2004 breakthrough with its sixth album, “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank,” its fi rst with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who’s now a fulltime member. The release date is TBA, but one track, “Dashboard,” has leaked online. The Shins’ James Mercer appears on three tracks.

Mandy Moore — The onetime “Candy”-coated teen pop singer puts her prolifi c acting career on hold for her first release in four years, “Wild Hope,” which features songwriting collaborations with Chantal Kreviazuk, Rachael Yamagata, Lori McKenna and the Weepies.

The Police — Twentytwo years after they broke up, there are rumors that the famously embattled trio might put the, um, sting of the past aside and put the badges back on for some shows to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary. Sting has confi rmed that “there will indeed be something special done to mark the occasion” but has stopped short of saying what that might be.

Queen + Paul Rodgers — After a successful 2006 tour, the conjoined rock veterans have started working on new material, which is expected out this year.

Diana Ross — Motown’s Dreamgirl diva delivers her first album in seven years, “I Love You,” on Jan. 16, featuring covers of love songs by Harry Nilsson, Marvin Gaye, Bill Wither, Berlin and others.

Bob Seger — After shining at The Palace last month, we want to know whether he’ll play some more hometown shows before his tour ends, if he’ll tour again in the summer, and whether a DVD from The Palace concerts will be released. When the ramblin’ gamblin’ man gives us some answers, we’ll let you know.

Smashing Pumpkins — Billy Corgan has promised the group’s first album of new songs since 2000, with production by Roy Thomas Baker and Terry Date, and tour dates to follow. But we still don’t know who’s in the band now beyond Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.

The Stooges — Iggy Pop and the Asheton brothers finally turn their reunion into a full-length display of raw power with “The Weirdness,” the group’s first album since 1973, coming March 20 and recorded by alt.rock legend Steve Albini.

Three 6 Mafi a — The Oscar-winning rap troupe plans to have a new album out this year but is still working on it, with help from pals such as Chamillionaire, Lyfe Jennings and Paul Wall.

U2 — The Irish quartet is making noise about a new release for 2007. Frontman Bono, recently knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, told the BBC that the band is “not gonna stay where it is” and may “strip things down” or otherwise “take it to the next level.” That’s enough to give you a little “Vertigo,” eh?

Van Halen — A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction seems certain. But a tour with original singer David Lee Roth and guitarist Edward Van Halen’s 15-year-old son Wolfgang on bass? Do not doubt their capacity to surprise us.

Lucinda Williams —

“West,” the highly regarded singer-songwriter’s fi rst new album in four years, out Feb. 13, comes with the requisite pain, this time from a romantic breakup and the death of her mother.



ROOKIES OF THE YEAR

Looking for fresh voices? Keep an eye — and ear — in these directions:

*Ashley Tisdale hopes to follow “High School Musical” castmate Vanessa Hudgrens’ solo success when she releases “Headstrong” on Feb. 6.

*British sensation Paolo Nutini crosses the pond with “These Streets” on Jan. 30. Another U.K. hitmaker, *James Morrison, hopes to find open doors on these shores when his “Undiscovered” comes out sometime in the next three months.

*Groove-happy Texas rocker Young Love (real name Dan Keyes) hopes label chief Jay-Z’s touch will be golden for his debut, “Too Young to Fight It,” which hits Jan. 30. *Canadian rapper K-OS is planning a border-crossing invasion by dropping “Atlantis: Hymns for Disco” on Feb. 20.

*Alabama MC Rich Boy (ne Maurice Richards) has a hot single with “Throw Some D’s” and an album, “A Product of the Hustle,” set to drop early this year.

*Georgia-born Luke Bryan is country’s great new hope, with a first single, “All My Friends Say,” due in February and an album — for which he co-wrote all 11 songs — coming shortly thereafter.

*The Christian rock world is watching John Waller, the former According to John frontman whose solo debut is being released March 6 by Beach Street Records, which is owned by Sawyer Brown’s Mark Miller.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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