On Feb. 13, Arcade Fire played to a sold-out crowd at Brooklyn’s Judson Church in what can only be described as the music industry’s equivalent of Groundhog Day. The Montreal band popped their furry little indie heads out, saw the anxious crowd—which included Fabrizio Moretti (wasn’t he in a band?) with his new canoodler, Kirsten Dunst—and determined that the spring music calendar would officially start early with the release of their second al-bum, Neon Bible, on March 6.
So what’s that sound you hear now? It’s the ringing in your ears from their deafening hype machine. But Canada’s "Most Intriguing Rock Band" doesn’t own the title of most over-hyped band to release an album in the spring exclusively. Great Britain’s Kaiser Chiefs, who try to keep up the momentum with their own sophomore entry, Yours Truly, Angry Mob (March 27), and the Arctic Mon-keys, who are trying to do the same with Favourite Worst Nightmare (April 24), will both certainly vie for the Pitchfork spotlight. Most people lump both bands in the Franz Ferdinand/Futureheads neo–New Wave movement, though they would both be more accurately placed in the “grossly overrated like the Hold Steady” movement. But oh, how the kiddies love ’em!
Speaking of what the kiddies love, Modest Mouse of Issaquah, Wash., get set to assault the pop charts once again with We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (March 20).
Is it too early to mention Wilco’s May release of Sky Blue Sky? It seems so far away. But don’t get too bummed out: Go get your bong (or whatever designer drug you’re doing these days—I can’t keep up) and let the sonorous French duo Air sooth your frayed, war-ravaged nerves. They return from a three year hiatus to deliver the quasi-dirty-sounding (but not enough to sustain a non-self-referential joke) Pocket Symphony on March 6. If that doesn’t do the trick, The Sea and Cake’s Everybody will on May 8.
But what if drowning yourself in a sea of electronic lullabies isn’t your idea of fun? How about an electronic dance party? !!! (pronounced chk-chk-chk), with the release of their third album, Myth Takes (March 6), and LCD Soundsystem, with the release of their second, Sound of Silver (March 20), will keep the white boys dancing, while Cornelius might—or might not—with Sensuous (April 24). It might be best to just go with Timberlake mastermind Timbaland’s Shock Value or Chamillionaire’s Ultimate Victory—both out March 27.
No spring would be complete without an ample supply of earnest emo-rock. Apostle of Hustle, of Broken Social Scene fame, starts us off with National Anthem of Nowhere (March 6). Andrew Bird un-loads Armchair Apocrypha (March 20) for the emotionally self-aware, and Bright Eyes unloads Cassadaga (April 10) for the emotionally and politically self-aware. The small alternative-rock band Good Charlotte sneaks in Good Morning Revival on March 20. These acts will all be made to look like little boys when Ted Leo, the granddaddy of emo, and his Pharmacists release Living With the Living (March 20), and Nick Cave’s new band, Grinderman, drops their self-titled debut on April 10. For the truly masochistic: Elliot Smith’s New Moon, a two-disc compilation of rare tracks, will be released on May 8.
There’s something for the ladies, too! (Ha.) Patti Smith and Tori Amos duke it out for angry-white-female supremacy, and Patti has a minor time advantage: Her album Twelve debuts two weeks before Tori’s American Doll Posse—wha?!—on April 17. If there’s any doubt who will win this fight, you haven’t been paying attention. (Did you see the photo of Ms. Smith heading into CBGB for the last time? Rugged! The cornflake girl does not stand a chance.) Then there’s Björk’s Totempole (May 8).
As for the ladies who are a little more independent-minded, Feist, also of Broken Social Scene fame, follows up her immensely popular first album with The Reminder (May 1), and “folk-tronic” duo Cocorosie—whose peers and friends include Devendra Barnhart and Antony of Antony and the Johnsons—will unveil The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn on April 10.
Avril Lavigne and Jennifer Lopez—both pseudo-newlyweds!—will start to see their names in the tabloids again when they release The Best Damn Thing (April 17) and Como Ama Una Mujer (April 3), respectively. (Yay! Spanish! Like that’s going to save your career.) Meanwhile, Macy Gray tries to stave off complete irrelevance with Big on March 27.
Two big surprises round out the spring: Dinosaur Jr. will release their first album in 10 years. It’s called Beyond (May 1), and it promises to attract as much attention as the Pixies revival did last year. (You can do it, children of the Me Decade!) And Smog’s Bill Callahan will release his first album under his own name, Woke on a Whaleheart (April 17). It promises to be a bit more uplifting of an affair than anything done under the Smog moniker—which, depending on your investment in his emotional well-being versus the quality of his music, could be either a good thing or a bad thing.