As late winter’s doldrums penetrate the city, it’s becoming harder to find a reason to leave the house at night. But what if we told you Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were headlining the Plug Independent Music Awards tomorrow at Terminal 5? And then what if we told you it was only $10? Well, the bad news is the show sold out in about two seconds. But those of you who scored tickets will get to see the legendary Australian creep-rockers unveil songs from their 14th studio album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, out in the U.S. on April 8.
Mr. Cave is not the only former singer of an iconic ’80s band to enter the spotlight this spring. Morrissey has a new greatest-hits collection due out in the U.S. on March 25, and while it may seem like the British crooner’s best-of compilations have gotten a bit redundant, this one comes with a special, shall we say, bonus feature: a photograph of the Mozzer’s naked behind (no joke!) bearing the phrase “Your Arse An’ All.” Racy! Fellow Englishman Billy Bragg (who’s been known to cover a Smiths song or two) will see the U.S. release of his latest album, Mr. Love and Justice, the same day as Mr. Cave’s.
But enough about the British. America’s had its fair share of classic indie bands, too, and one of them, R.E.M., was on the Lower East Side recently shooting a video for the first single from Accelerate (April 1). Comeback much? Speaking of the LES, Moby will release Last Night, his sixth studio album, also on April Fools Day. And as if the air of mid-’90s throwbacks couldn’t get any thicker, here come the Breeders with Mountain Battles (April 8—we’re sensing a theme here), their first album since 2002. Yes, that is the Alternative Nation theme song you hear in the background.
This just in from the kids’ table: Noisy Nashville punkers Be Your Own Pet, who have garnered a lot of cred considering they’re still under the legal drinking age (not every adolescent garage band gets to tour with Sonic Youth!), will release their second full-length, Get Awkward, on March 18. On the emo side, Fall Out Boy protégés Panic! at the Disco will release Pretty. Odd. on March 25, one week after their less famous label mates the Hush Sound release Goodbye Blues. Considerably older, but no less sappy, the good guys of Death Cab for Cutie release Narrow Stairs on May 13 … just in time for the prom!
In hip-hop news, Fat Joe’s new album, The Elephant in the Room, hits stores on March 11. Maths + English, by U.K. grime rapper Dizzee Rascal, drops stateside on April 29, the same day as the Roots’ 10th album, Rising Down. And a new album from the foul-mouthed Missy Elliot is slated for late spring. Even more massive will be Gnarls Barkley’s second soul-drenched full-length, The Odd Couple, out on April 8. Two words: summer jam!
That brings us to the contemporary indie rock portion of our tour. On March 18, New Pornographers member Dan Bejar releases Trouble in Dreams, his ninth album under the moniker Destroyer. Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy finally gets a proper solo album, Colin Meloy Sings Live! (April 8), which documents the bookish singer’s 2006 tour. Dancey London duo the Kills (whose singer, Allison Mosshart, you probably don’t remember from her past life as the crusty frontwoman of the late-90’s Florida pop-punk band Discount) will release Midnight Boom on March 18. And just in case any car companies are looking for a catchy song to put in one of their commercials this spring, Spoon’s new EP, Don’t You Evah, comes out on April 8.
Madonna just directed a movie starring Eugene Hutz, the singer from Gogol Bordello. (Is that weirder than Johnny Marr being in Modest Mouse?) But when she’s not busy trying to be an indie filmstress, Madge can be found working with producers Timbaland, Nate “Danja” Hills and Pharrell Williams on her 11th studio album (April 29), which is yet to be named, but does feature the requisite Justin Timberlake collaboration.
And now, it’s time for the spring release we’ve all been waiting for, the one that we’d be damned if we didn’t see at the top of Pitchfork’s 2008 year-end list. Yes … the debut Scarlett Johansson album! Capping off the season with a May 20 street date, ScarJo’s Anywhere I Lay My Head has it all: Tom Waits covers, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) guitar work, guest vocals from David Bowie. Might we be pleasantly surprised with this one? It kills us to say it, but anything’s possible when Bowie’s involved.