10 spring albums to check out
Spring albums from Usher, Garbage, Jack White and more
Spring is a refreshing time of year for the music industry.
New music releases by big-name artists during the winter months have been dismal. But spring brings hope for popular acts and maybe a few who are looking to break through this year.
Here is a look at some of the notable albums due out this spring.
- Rob Caroll - email@example.com
“Boys & Girls” (April 10)
The popularity of the last Black Keys’ album might send record labels clamoring for the next big nostalgic rock/blues act. Alabama Shakes might be that band. Only this act adds some soul with powerful female vocals thanks to Brittany Howard. “Boys & Girls” is the debut album from the Athens, Ala., band, whose members met in a high school psychology class. The album kicks off with the slow-building “Hold On.” The song erupts in a mighty fine blues explosion before the final note.
“Picture Show” (April 17)
The second major-label release from Provo, Utah, alt-rockers Neon Trees I hope will be as fun as the band’s previous work. The last album featured catchy choruses and an infusion of ’80s pop and alternative rock. “Everybody Talks,” the first single from “Picture Show,” has the band picking up where it left off. The song even has been featured in a car commercial. Look for “Picture Show” to only increase Neon Trees’ popularity. At least that’s the band’s hopes. “I hope and visualize this album being a soundtrack for this upcoming year and hopefully years to come,” frontman Tyler Glenn wrote on the band’s website.
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: Listen to a selection of songs from this Spring Music Preview
“Blunderbuss” (April 24)
“Blunderbuss,” either named for the 18th century gun or an episode of “Portlandia,” is the first full-length solo album from Jack White. The garage/blues rock of this album will probably score favorably with White Stripes fans. “Sixteen Saltines” sounds like it was ripped right from the White Stripes’ catalog. And it should since it’s the sound White does best. The first single, “Love Interruption,” is solid as well. It should be interesting to see who White uses for a backing band while touring in support of this album. He performed two songs during a recent appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” For one song, he had an all-female band while the other he was backed by an all-male ensemble.
“Neck of the Woods” (May 8)
“Neck of the Woods” is the third studio album from Los Angeles-based distorted noise rock band Silversun Pickups. On this release, the band works with producer Jacknife Lee, who had a hand in making albums from R.E.M., Weezer and U2. The first single, “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings),” has the band sounding a little lighter on the guitar fuzz, but still enough like themselves to not worry long-time fans. Hopefully, they will stick to that formula for the rest of the album.
“Not Your Kind of People” (May 15)
The new album will be Garbage’s fifth studio release and the band’s first in seven years. “Not Your Kind of People” will be released on the band’s own label, STUNVOLUME. Garbage’s previous studio albums were recorded in the band’s home of Madison, Wis. That wasn’t the case this time around since band members Butch Vig and Steve Marker closed their Smart Studios in Madison in 2010. The band recorded at Red Razor Sounds in Los Angeles. All of the original members including Shirley Manson and Duke Erikson will be on this album.
Hot Water Music
“Exister” (May 15)
Post-hardcore band Hot Water Music has been through a lot in the past eight years since their last release, “The New What Next.” The band broke-up, other members carried on as The Draft, and the raspy Chuck Ragan ventured out on his own with a folk music act. But somehow the band found a way to put everything aside for a few reunion shows in 2007. And while members are still working on side projects, it looks as though Hot Water Music is back together on a more full-time basis. The album is produced by Bill Stevenson, a member of the Descendents. Hopefully Stevenson will be able to tap into Hot Water Music’s punk roots.
“Rize of the Fenix” (May 15)
In the six years since the last Tenacious D album, Jack Black has gone from being Dewey Finn in “School of Rock” to voicing a cartoon panda. It will be interesting to see if the career arc of Black, who is joined in the band once again by Kyle Gass, will affect the humor on the album. With song titles such as “Low Hangin’ Fruit” and “They F----d Our A---s” it’s probably safe to say not much has changed as it appears more double entendre-laden humor is on the way. Oh and Dave Grohl is the drummer on this album.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
“Americana” (June 5)
Neil Young has reunited with the members of Crazy Horse to provide a collection of classic American folk songs on “Americana.” This is will be their first album together in nearly nine years. Some of the tracks include “Gallows Pole,” “This Land Is Your Land” and “Clementine.” Young began playing with the band in 1968. They haven’t toured together since 2004. No tour dates have yet to be announced.
“Looking For Myself” (June 12)
“Revolutionary pop” is what Usher has been saying in recent interviews about the sound of his new album, “Looking For Myself. This will be the singer’s seventh studio album and the follow-up to 2010’s “Raymond v. Raymond.” The first single from the album, “Climax,” teeters between being an R&B song and a dance hit. It’s more “Nice and Slow” than it is “OMG,” but the track infuses a couple different musical genres. Maybe that’s the meaning behind “revolutionary pop” music. Look for possibly a fresh sound from Usher.
The Smashing Pumpkins
“Oceania” (June 19)
“Oceania” was originally slated to be released last fall. No explanation has been given concerning the delay, which was announced by Billy Corgan via Twitter late last year. It has been announced the album will be part of the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope” project. The band started releasing songs from the project one-by-one on the internet in 2009. Now it looks as low the band will go back to putting out albums instead of being an internet-only project. Reissues of 1995’s “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” 1996’s “The Aeroplane Flies High” and 1998’s “Adore” also are slated to come out this year.
• Rob Carroll writes about pop culture and entertainment for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @makeitpopblog.