Vietnam | Kemado | They got to tour with Evan Dando’s Lemonheads last fall, and they’re already streaming the entirety of their homonymous full-length debut CD. Better yet, this rootsy (in the sense that Crazy Horse are rootsy) Brooklyn band, have a couple of guitars and they know how to use them. The big indie breakout pick for the first half of the year.
John Mellencamp | Freedom's Road | Universal | It’s the artist formerly known as Coug’s first album in five years or something. And something about the title just sort of screams I wanna be Bruce!
Lily Allen | Alright, Still | Capitol | Anyone who wanted to be a Lily Allen fan already had their chance when she released this very same debut in her native UK months ago. And if you’re only looking for 15 minutes of fame to begin with — and that’s really what most tweeny boppers are in it for — why wait a whole half year to launch an American campaign? Does someone at Capitol really think that this disc has legs? Because Lily’s got the legs. The album’s just old.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | Some Loud Thunder | Wichita/V2 | This Brooklyn band probably saw some pretty big numbers thrown their way last year. What their relationship with V2 means is for the accountants to figure out. What we’re all waiting to hear is whether they can keep the buzz going for another album cycle.
Norah Jones | Not Too Late | Blue Note | That’s right Norah, just keep telling yourself it’s not too late to get a couple more Grammys. In the meantime, let’s hope she’s found something in the way of an exciting tune to record on her third full-length.
Madonna | The Confessions Tour Live From London | Warner Bros. | Considering that half the thrill of a Madonna show is the choreography, this better be one of those DualDiscs or at least come with some sort of DVD component.
Fall Out Boy | Infinity on High | Island | As long as everyone’s favorite emo-punks haven’t gone all techno on us, the first single from Infinity On High should be all over the radio by the time you get your iPod iHome set up next to your iBed after Christmas.
Bloc Party | A Weekend in the City | Vice/Atlantic | It must be nice to know that even if no one likes your album the first time around, DJs are going to have so much fun remixing all those neo-new wave hooks that there’s going to be a second album in there somewhere.
Lucinda Williams | West | Lost Highway | Remember when Lucinda used to get wicked writer’s block and was such a perfectionist that we had to wait years between each new studio album? Apparently those days are over.
Maxwell | Black Summer's Night | Columbia | Hard to believe it’s been over a decade since NYC neo-soulman Maxwell first started lodging singles at the top of the charts. He’s back with a vengeance this year, not just with Black Summer’s Night, but with a trilogy of discs that only begins with Black Summer’s Night.