Winter/spring 2011 music preview

In 2011, we should be seeing major comeback albums for bands that seem to have fallen off the face of the earth.

Big names in hip hop return to the scene this year, while the alternative scene will also be graced by the presence of favourites like the Strokes and Radiohead.

On New Year’s Eve Kanye West revealed that his album with Jay-Z will be dropping sometime in the next week. Watch the Throne is an entirely collaborative effort from the two rappers and if Kanye’s latest solo album is any indication of what fans can expect, then it should be one hell of a record.

Portland indie sweethearts the Decemberists return with their sixth studio album The King is Dead. A departure from 2009’s The Hazards of Love concept album, the new release features multiple appearances by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck. The King is Dead hits shelves on Jan. 18.

Folk favourites Iron & Wine release their new album Kiss Each Other Clean on January 25 — their first new material in years.

Rap veteran Dr. Dre releases Detox on Feb. 8. Single “Kush” (feat. Snoop Dogg and Akon) was released in November, while there are rumoured guest appearances on the album from Eminem, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga.

Feb. 15 marks the release of Bright Eyes’ first album since 2007’s Cassadaga.
Pitchfork has been streaming a new song called “Shell Games,” indicating a return to classic Bright Eyes style, which should keep fans happy.

On the same day, Montreal’s The Dears will release Degeneration Street as a follow-up to 2008’s Missiles. If you get a chance to see the band — known for their theatrical live shows — touring this album, it will be well worth it.

British songstress Adele releases her second album 21 on Feb. 22.
After garnering a Grammy for Best New Artist, 21 is undoubtedly a highly anticipated album. Adele describes her own sound as “heartbroken soul,” so if you’re looking for upbeat pop, avoid this record.

Lupe Fiasco’s third album Lasers drops on March 8. The first single “The Show Goes On” samples Modest Mouse’s “Float On” and fans can be sure that his brand of alternative hip hop will at least deliver a few solid tracks on the latest album.

Lady Gaga also returns once again with her third studio album Born This Way on May 23.

Finally, the rumours buzzing about non-finalized projects are some of the most exciting prospects for 2011. The Beastie Boys are set to release Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1 in spring, though no date has been confirmed. Radiohead and The Strokes are also slated to have new albums out in the spring, though neither have released names or dates.

Death Cab for Cutie, Outkast and Amy Winehouse have also claimed that they will be releasing new albums this year, though the latter is probably not the most reliable claim.