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Play It Loud: A look ahead at 2012 in music

for Journal Register Newspapers

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The crystal ball has fallen, the calendar has flipped over and we’ll be writing the wrong year on our checks for a couple of weeks.

The music industry, however, has been looking into 2012 for awhile, at least since the start of the fourth quarter of 2011.

Album releases and tours have already been announced — with plenty more to come. But there’s also plenty of ephemeral expectations and rumors about what the new year holds. So here’s a quick look ahead at nearly three dozen of the music stories already on track for 2012 ...

Adele’s next move: Although rumor has it that 2011’s dominant performer may resume touring to make up some of the shows canceled by a vocal cord hemorrhage and subsequent surgery, Adele herself told Billboard that she plans to “disappear and come back with a record when it’s good enough.” But you can count on seeing the Brit at the Grammy Awards — probably with an arm full of trophies.

Aerosmith’s back in the saddle: After patching up its latest round of inter-band differences, there’s nothing but sweet emotion between the Boston bad boys. After touring South America, Mexico and Japan in late 2011, the group will return to North American stages — starting in June, according to guitarist Joe Perry — and deliver a new album to boot. Fans certainly have something to dream on about.

Jason Aldean’s ready to party again: The country singer is back in the studio crafting the follow-up to 2010’s double-platinum “My Kinda Party.” When he last blew through town, Aldean said he and producer Michael Knox had accumulated some two dozen possible songs, though a fifth single from “Party” may well precede whatever he does next.

“American Idol” and “The Voice” make reality TV sing again: After an exciting return to form for Fox’s “American Idol” and the tongue-wagging debut of NBC’s “The Voice,” we’re ready for more in 2012. “Idol’s” second season gets under way on Jan. 18, while the judges of “The Voice” get in their chairs again for a post-Super Bowl season opener on Feb. 5.

The Beach Boys — fun, fun, fun at 50: Nobody’s taking the California icons’ T-Birds away in 2012. The surviving members — Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks — are regrouping for a new album and a world tour, staring with an April appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. We’re feeling the good vibrations, and some excitations.

The Beatles, with a little help from their friends: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr both have new albums slated for the new year, each featuring some significant guests. McCartney’s new album — titled either “My Valentine” or “Kisses On The Bottom” — is expected Feb. 7 and will feature pop standards and two originals, with Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder and Diana Krall making contributions. Ringo Starr, meanwhile, puts out “Ringo 2012 on Jan. 31; he produced the nine-song set himself and gets help from brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Van Dyke Parks, Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, Don Was and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers. Starr plans another All-Starr Band tour, while McCartney is also expected to log some time on the road.

Beyonce’s “Countdown” to motherhood: Perhaps only the birth of a British royal heir will be able to rival the coming first child for Beyonce and husband Jay-Z. The tot better get used to the portable crib, though; word is Lady Be hopes to finally hit the road to support last year’s “4” and might even have another new arrival — a follow-up album — in store as well.

Gary Clark Jr.’s moment has come: Music aficionados are abuzz about this 27-year-old Texas singer, songwriter and guitarist, and “The Bright Lights EP” validated the hype. His upcoming full-length is one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year.

Cold and Hot tours: Coldplay and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will heat up the concert circuit in 2012. The Chili Peppers start celebrating their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in January, when it starts its first North American run, while Coldplay has already announced a pair of North American and European tours commencing in April. No Detroit area dates yet, but stay tuned. (Radiohead is also hitting the road, but a mysterious and long-held animosity towards Detroit means no stop in these parts.)

Depeche Mode men reunite: Depeche Mode surprised fans when it invited original member Vince Clarke (of Erasure and Yazoo) back into the fold for a track on its latest remix album. Now Clarke and Mode’s Martin L. Gore are working as a duo, VCMG, which will release an album on March 13 following a series of EPs.

Dr. Dre — in danger of malpractice?: We’ve been waiting nearly 12 years for “Detox,” the producer-entrepreneur’s third artist album, and we thought we were getting somewhere when the singles “Kush” and “I Need a Doctor” surfaced. But in November, Dre said he’d be taking a break from music after his next couple of production jobs, for Kendrick Lamar and Slim the Mobster, leaving the fate of “Detox” and an instrumental album called “The Planets” up in the air.

More Foo Fighters sooner than later: Founder Dave Grohl issued a mid-December missive to fans announcing he was already working on songs for a quick follow-up to 2011’s Grammy-nominated “Wasting Light,” and producer Butch Vig subsequently tweeted that Grohl was already playing him “new demos, some great new songs.”

The Fray shows its “Scars”: Anticipation for “Scars & Stories,” the third album by the Denver pop-rock quartet, isn’t as strong as it was for 2009’s Grammy-nominated, self-titled sophomore album. But with “Heartbeat” poised to join a string of platinum-or-better singles, you can bet there’s interest for the Feb. 7 release.

Guns N’ Roses gets enshrined: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2012 is stellar, but the main focus will be on Guns N’ Roses — and specifically who shows up to get their trophy and, more importantly, play together. VH1 “That Metal Show” host tweets that the original line-up of bad boys have all agreed to attend, but guitarist Slash countered that he has not, although he did tell Esquire magazine that he’s “trying to put (the feud) to rest.” Drummer Steven Adler expressed pessimism about the group playing together, while bassist Duff McKagan expressed “hope that we can achieve some grace and class” — two words that have rarely been associated with this particular band.

Lady Gaga’s ready to tour this way: She spent 2011 making videos for the songs from her “Born This Way” album. Now it’s time to get back on the road and get the Monster Ball rolling once again. “The spirit of the Monster Ball is not dead,” Gaga, who leaked a new song called “Stuck on F---ing You” during the holidays, explains. “The Monster Ball kind of lives on through the new show, and the Monster Ball is what my tour is always called. ... I just want to create the next in the series. I’m never gonna be the kind of artist that just slaps the name of my album next to my tour.”

Adam Lambert, more for your entertainment: Mark March 20 as the release date for “Trespassing,” the second major label album from the 2009 “American Idol” runner-up. On top of that, Queen has acknowledged talking to Lambert about fronting the group for a few shows and possibly a tour. The real life ... or just fantasy?

Madonna gets back into the groove: It’ll be a busy year for the Bay City-born superstar, who’s getting back to music after her second directoral turn on the 2010 film “W.E.” Her Feb. 5 Super Bowl halftime performance will be preceded by the release of a new single, “Give Me All Your Love,” featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. Her first album since 2008 is due in March, with a world tour to follow. And Madonna’s latest fragrance, Truth or Dare, will waft out in April.

John Mayer’s “Raised” expectations: Mayer has been quiet since he finished touring to promote 2009’s “Battle Studies,” and literally quiet since October, when he had throat surgery. He has however, recorded a new album, “Born and Raised,” that was produced by Detroit’s Don Was and should be out during the first half of 2012.

Tim McGraw ends “Traffic” jam: 2012 will see the release of the country star’s “Emotional Traffic” album, in limbo during his legal battles with Curb Records. McGraw’s album is scheduled to come out Jan. 17. He won his release from the label in court during the fall, although the company’s breach of contract suit against him is still pending. McGraw is also joining forces with Kenny Chesney for a Brothers of the Sun stadium tour that includes an Aug. 18 stop at Detroit’s Ford Field.

Metallica gets back to black: Metallica served up winners (the Big Four Tour, the “Beyond Magnetic” EP, its guest-studded 30th anniversary tour) and a big loser (the “Lulu” collaboration with Lou Reed) in 2011. The headbanging kingpins are already at work on their next album, with more Big Four dates expected in 2012 as well as a performance of 1981’s “Metallica” (aka “The Black Album”) at Britain’s Download Festival on June 9.

Motley Crue hits Sin City: Could there be a better match for a Las Vegas residency than this lascivious rock ’n’ roll bunch? The Crue plays a dozen shows during February at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. But will it be the last hurrah? Frontman Vince Neil, who took a five-year hiatus from the group in 1992, recently told the Las Vegas Sun that he’s “thinking seriously about quitting the Crue again after the shows. “Great things are coming up and pushing me in another direction,” he said. If nothing else, talk like that will certainly push ticket sales.

Nickelback and Rush — The Great White North returns: Canadian rockers Nickelback wanted to let its new album, “Here and Now,” sink in for a few months after its November release, but it plans to hit the road starting during April in North America (look for a Joe Louis Arena date), then summering in Australia, the Pacific Rim and Japan, September and October in Europe and a possible North American repeat toward the end of the year. Forebears Rush, meanwhile, will release “Clockwork Angels,” its first new studio album in five years, though after heavy recent touring it might follow Nickelback’s lead and let the set sink in with fans before returning to the road.

Pink Floyd puts more bricks in “The Wall”: The prog rock kingpins’ famed 1979 rock opera gets the expanded “Immersion” and “Experience” treatment on Feb. 27 as part of the continuing Why Pink Floyd ... ? catalog campaign. Then Roger Waters takes his “The Wall” show back on the road, with a June 5 build slated for Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

Pearl Jam’s still “Alive”: In addition to celebrating its 20th anniversary during 2011, the Seattle group has been working on its next album. Will it come out in 2012? Don’t ask frontman Eddie Vedder, who said in a video message on the group’s web site, “Maybe we’ll see you, maybe we won’t. Who knows? That’s the exciting part of life.” We’re betting Eddie and company will be seen.

Trent Reznor’s excellent adventures: Already scooping up more award nominations for his second major feature film score (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”), the dark rocker plans to release the first full album from How To Destroy Angels, which also includes his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, and Atticus Ross, and has said he’s writing with nine inch nails “in mind, and we’ll see what happens with it.” The spiral is definitely upward.

Will the Rolling Stones give fans what they want?: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, supposedly still at odds over disparaging words Richards wrote about his Glimmer Twin in his autobiography, have said nothing’s planned yet for the group’s 50th anniversary — which means they’re probably well into working out the details. The guitarist was planning to put a band jam together with members both current and past, and it’s hard to imagine the Stones not taking advantage of such a potentially lucrative occasion.

Smashing Pumpkins return to tradition: Billy Corgan isn’t calling the rolling Internet initiative “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope” a failure, but he feels a conventional album release may well have greater impact. “Oceania” is slated to float in March, and Corgan says it’s “some of the most melodic work I’ve ever done, but somehow it rocks pretty hard, too. It’s probably the most open-sounding album I’ve ever made.” Also look for more deluxe reissues of the Pumpkins’ earlier albums.

Bruce Springsteen’s doing the E Street Shuffle again: The announcement has been made; a new album and tour with the E Street Band for 2012. The European dates, starting May 13, have already been revealed and he’s been announced as the keynote speaker for this year’s South By Southwest Music + Media Conference during mid-March in Austin, Texas. An unconfirmed North American itinerary, which puts him in Detroit on April 12, is floating around the Internet.

Van Halen to “Jump” back into the fray: The quartet spiced up the last week of the year with a video on its web site announcing a Jan. 10 on-sale date for the first shows of a widely rumored 2012 tour — with David Lee Roth again but with bassist Michael Anthony still replaced by Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang. A new album is in the works, too, possibly for release as early as February.

Taylor Swift gets hungry: The pop-cum-country blockbuster collaborated with folkies the Civil Wars on a new song called “Safe and Sound” for the soundtrack to “The Hunger Game.” She’s also at work on her fourth studio album, with a fall release anticipated.

Kanye West has GOOD times ahead: The loose-lipped rapper is eyeing a springtime release for “G.O.O.D. Music: The Album,” a compilation of artists on his own label. He’s also talked about working more with Jay-Z, perhaps even recording a quick sequel to 2011’s Grammy-nominated “Watch the Throne” collaboration. The guy clearly knows how to handle “The Good Life.”

Where The (Home)Boys At?

Some Michigan music stories on tap for 2012:

Eminem: The rapper, who’s up for two Grammy Awards this year as part of Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor,” is constantly writing and recording, so a new album could drop at any time. But a return to the big screen appears to be on the imminent horizon, with reported roles in the Antoine Fuqua boxing film “Southpaw” and the thriller “Random Acts of Violence.”

Insane Clown Posse: The rap duo has wrapped work on its next album, “The Mighty Death Pop!,” which is expected during the first half of the new year. Shaggy 2 Dope calls it “a phenomenal album” that will come out in three different versions, and expectations are high after 2009’s “Bang! Pow! Boom!” debuted at a career-high No. 4 on the Billboard 200. ICP also relaunches its Internet radio station, www.PsychopathicRadio.com, on Jan. 3.

Kid Rock: Bringing 2011 to a charitable end with his Care Tour and donating meals for 1,200 metro Detroit families, Rock returns to work on his next album, which he says will feature “some really good, fun rock songs to some of the country stuff to some of the mix of hip-hop and rock and blues and try to make a nice mix of a record. But a fun record, not serious” like 2010’s “Born Free.” Rock has also promised “a major announcement ... for early next year which will once again focus on Detroit.” Stay tuned ...

Mike Posner: The Southfield-raised singer, rapper and songwriter follows his 2010 major label debut, “31 Minutes to Takeoff,” with “Sky High,” which is due out in early 2012 according to his label. During the interim, Posner released a new mixtape, “The Layover,” and also guested on Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s soundtrack for the stoner film “Devin Goes to High School.”

Mitch Ryder: It’ll be a big year ahead for the original Detroit rock god, who published his autobiography, “Devils & Blue Dresses: My Wild Ride as a Rock and Roll Legend,” during late 2011 and will release the Don Was-produced “The Promise,” his first U.S. album in nearly 30 years, on Feb. 13. Ryder will celebrate both on Jan. 14 at Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills.

Bob Seger: After a busy 2011 that included two tours and a couple of new songs on his “Ultimate Hits ... ” collection, Seger plans to hunker down on his next album during early 2012. He says that, “I’ve got six (songs) that I really, really like, and I’d like to have six more that I feel that way about.” He hopes to record starting in April, “then we’ll put it out in the fall and then do another tour.” Here’s hopin’ ...

The Verve Pipe: The Grand Rapids group is still alive and well 15 years after “The Freshmen” was a big hit. It’s promising a second album of family music for 2012, and it may even start work on the group’s first rock album since 2001.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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