There is a number of groups I’m into releasing new material over the next few months, which I’m looking forward to.The first is the highly anticipated new Verve album for 10 years. It’s released in two weeks time. I’m sure we’ll hear more about it then. I hope it can capture what they had when they split. I think there is still quite a bit of discord in the camp, but let’s hope it doesn’t detract from them making great music. The next two to release new stuff are Kaiser Chiefs and Keane. The Kaiser’s seem quite prolific with their stuff. This is their 3rd album in as many years. I hope it stands up, as sometimes I think bands can rush material. I think there needs to be a balance between the length of absence with someone like The Verve (okay, they had officially split, granted), to an act like the Kaiser’s that can produce albums within 12-18 months. Keane have had a longer absence due to Tom Chaplin’s rehab stint, etc. They sound like they’ve worked very hard on this album. I was a little disappointed in Under The Iron Sea. I could appreciate what they were trying to do, but some if it got a little lost. Let’s see if they “move on” or take a retrograde step and try and recreate Hopes and Fears. Both Kaiser’s Off With Their Heads and Keane’s Perfect Symmetry albums are released October 13th in the UK. The next on the card, towards the end of the year (no official release date yet) is the hotly anticipated new U2 album. Said to sound very retrograde by all accounts. Going back as far as supposedly recapturing the sounds of Achtung Baby. Bono has said to have described it as sounding very Moroccan influenced. Bono goes on to say “it’s not like anything we’ve done before” but it’s all sounding a little Achtung Baby meets Pop to me. But we’ll see I suppose. I don’t mind if it recaptures those sounds. I tuned out during ATYCLB and HTDAAB (the last two albums) sadly. There are a few tracks I like on both, but on the whole I was disappointed with them. I’m holding out a lot of hope with this new one. The last two, expected to be due early in the New Year are Franz Ferdinand and Antony and The Johnsons. Franz say their new album is more disco influenced. I’m not sure if that’s a bit of a retrograde step. Not that the first self-titled album was disco-based, but You Could Have It So Much Better was such a mature continuation of their sound, I’m worried the new one will sound a little backward. It’s not that I’m not wanting a disco sound from them, I just don’t want it at the expense of them compromising the maturity they gained in their sound with YCHISMB. I’m not sure what we’ll get with Antony. He’s quoted on Wiki as saying the new album is about “landscape and the future” and said the previous album’s theme was “sort of sad and redemptive”. Sounds like he’s going for a more “upbeat” sound, although he says the new album will be more one of “contrasts”, with a blend of uplifting and redemptive songs. If the musicality of it is anything like I Am A Bird Now, I’ll love it.