In the first part of our forthcoming highlights preview, deputy editor Jamil Ahmad recovers from the holiday season's excessive food consumption to consider the year of the pig.
Scribble down a shopping list of bands. Tack a "new music" sales sticker. Think of a magic number. Slop it all together. See what sticks.
Here's another idea. We give you our thoughts on what we're looking forward to this year in music. Not so much as an eyebrow raised.
Having an itch you can't scratch isn't such a bad thing. That festering cerebral sticky note may be glanced over dozens of times. Then a moment comes when you recognise it again and smile inside, reminding yourself that things are pretty good.
Maybe it's the optimist in me. Maybe it's because this is the year of the pig. I was born two cycles ago, in good old '83, so for us pigs (Humphrey Bogart, Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock were all club members) 2007 should be a good year.
My mind is already on the summer. First, lounging in a tapas bar on the Costa del Azahar, in Castellon's favourite holiday town Benicassim. The line up hasn't been announced but I'll be there. The Escenario Electronico (that's dance stage to me and you) is too good an experience to pass up again. Then there's the sun, surf and sounds of summer solace. We'll have an air con apartment too.
But that's way in July. In June I'll be talking even more mumbo jumbo at a 4am Glasto campfire. For the first time in a while, pre festivals, I'm not at all concerned about who's playing, as long as I'm there. Bands. Who needs em? Not when you've got the only band that matters at the moment waiting just around the corner checking their watches. I am of course talking about the Arcade Fire and their Neon Bible, due spring.
Around the same time James Lavelle should be back. He's been in the desert with Queens and Masters of Reality working on The Future Is Unwritten, the third UNKLE album. Fucked up dope is what we're all hoping for.
Many are expecting that from !!! when they drop their third opus, Myth Takes (5 March, Warp). Interpol have taken a lot of time off and are now in the studio. Nothing less than a masterpiece is needed if they want to top their first two albums. This may not arrive until autumn at the earliest.
"There is no revolution, no danger, no balls, no messiah, only Pete Doherty. Tragic.."
Setting aside white boy indie rock, new wave fashion victims who are still learning Gang of Four and Joy Division, and the mound of vacuous shit billed "new music" being listed at a rate relative to every birth in the People's Republic, there is some enticing stuff to look forward to.
Traipsing back to the theme of dope third albums, Parisian hip-hop crew TTC (Myspace) will let 3615ttc out of the bag this month (8 January, Big Dada), which may just be the breakthrough they deserve. Never mind that you won't understand what they're saying, they're pushing progressive, experimental hip-hop with breaks that reference the '80s (without overdoing it). I almost forgot about the new Spank Rock (Myspace) which should see the light of day this year.
The next Hot Chip aka Fujiya and Miyagi (Myspace) will have last year's Transparent Things given a much broader re-release (23 January, Deaf Dumb and Blind) which might help bring them to the fore with a cracking blend of electro-disco and delicate pop.
MSTRKRFT's (Myspace) superb Looks debut gets a prominent re-release within six months of its original (February, Modular/Last Gang), though more exciting is the news that album number two is well in the works not to mention a shopping trolley of their day job remixes. In deep fibred, classic American singer-songwriter stakes, Richard Swift's (Myspace) first album proper, Dressed Up For The Letdown (February 26, Secretly Canadian), might also do the trick.
Whatever happened to my rock 'n' roll? I lost my mojo for it last year. By the summer to be precise. Too many duff guitar bands and duff lagers. There is no revolution, no danger, no balls, no messiah, only Pete Doherty. Tragic. I've lost my edge in - to use a loose term - dance. It's hard not to when Simian Mobile Disco (Myspace), Tiesto and Devil's Gun (Myspace) all have albums in the pipeline.
Don't get me wrong. There's still a little hope for guitar music. The Horrors (Myspace) album will eventually see the light of day (though it'll probably be best kept for after hours). The Black Lips (Myspace) are up there too, drying spit licked palms with a smattering of The Stooges and Pixies. Apart from these, my serotonin is pretty static about guitar music.
...so the Pumpkins are back together, but I'm not so sure they're really going to work this time round. Metallica are going to release a new one. Oasis are working on one. Not really feeling it though. There's the new Guns 'N' Roses album, March 6 (Geffen) is the new date.