The Decemberists, The King Is Dead (Jan. 18)
Billed as a more straightforward collection than 2009’s rock opera-y Hazards of Love, the new set will feature some guitar contributions by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and vocals from folk maven Gillian Welch. Download first single “Down by the Water” here.
Wanda Jackson, The Party Ain’t Over (Jan. 25)
The seventy-three-year-old “queen of rock” has been roughing up guitars longer than most of us have been alive, and she’s finally found time to make an album with Jack White, who did wonders with Loretta Lynn’s 2004 comeback Van Lear Rose.
Cut Copy, Zonoscope (Feb. 8, 2011)
It’ll be summer in this Melbourne band’s hometown when their third LP comes out, but its mesmerizing electropop beats and swirls will be a welcome antidote to our dark and blustery midwinter days, for sure.
Telekinesis, 12 Desperate Straight Lines (Feb. 15)
After some apparently rough-going in the album’s earliest recording phases—with vans, bands and longtime loves all breaking up—Seattle’s Michael Benjamin Lerner partnered up again with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla to turn out his second album, which promises to be one big crazy power-pop catharsis. Read more on the album and listen to first single “Car Crash” at Spin.
R.E.M., Collapse Into Now (early 2011)
It’s taken fifteen studio records, but Athens, Ga.’s finest have finally pulled in collaborations with Eddie Vedder, Peaches and Patti Smith. Read more at Spin.
Blondie, Panic of Girls (early 2011)
It’s been seven years since the new-wave legends’ last album, and thirty since they recorded their first and only other record not in New York City. The new one, recorded in Woodstock, N.Y., promises to be more organic than their programming-heavy 2003 release. Read more at Billboard.
Black Lips, title TBA (early 2011)
This Atlanta-based band stayed on the road for so long and got into so much trouble around the release of their previous album, 2009’s 200 Million Thousand, it wasn’t clear whether we’d get another record from them. But they scraped themselves into the studio once more for their sixth studio LP, which might even involve Mark Ronson. Read more at Spin.
Thao & Mirah, title TBA (spring 2011)
After touring together this past summer, offbeat, single-named folkies Thao and Mirah apparently found kindred spirits in one another and quickly made plans to make a record together. Merrill Garbus of tUnEyArDs will produce and Tucker Martine (Laura Veirs, The Decemberists) will mix it all up, and it’ll probably be the damn loveliest thing you hear all spring. Read more at KillRockStars.com.
The Strokes, title TBA (spring 2011)
If this thing ever sees the light of day, it’ll be the band’s first album since 2006, their fourth overall and it’ll come just about ten years after the release of their debut, Is This It, which crowned them the skulking princes of the New York City garage-rock revival of the early 2000s. With most of their early cohorts having moved on, and several band members having released solo material in the meantime too, it’ll be interesting to see if they can recapture the grimy magic of their debut. Read more at Spin.
Death Cab for Cutie, title TBA (spring 2011)
If you’re still reeling from the relative rockingness of their 2008 record Narrow Stairs, the Seattle band will be pulling another fast one on you whenever this, their seveth record comes out: most of the axes are out and, in their place, Eno-y compositions and vintage keyboards. Frontman Ben Gibbard has also promised more grounded, grown-uppy lyrics and more contributions from bandmate Chris Walla. Read more at Spin.
Radiohead, title TBA (early 2011?)
Knowing these guys, we could get a new album any day—nay, second!—now, but we’re gonna hedge our bets and say their eigth record won’t becoming out until early next year. You can really only pull a quickie-release like In Rainbows once, right? …Right?