Troubled Industry Still Shows Promise

Photo: Best Rapper Alive? Much-hyped rapper Lil Wayne will release the long-delayed third installment of 'Tha Carter' albums this March.
Universal Records/Courtesy
Best Rapper Alive? Much-hyped rapper Lil Wayne will release the long-delayed third installment of 'Tha Carter' albums this March.





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Long-awaited albums, unforeseen comebacks and just plain good stuff-even if 2008 is being touted by some as the death knell of the RIAA, and record sales continue to spiral downward, there's still plenty of reasons to get excited for new music. Here are a few releases to mark on your calendar, and more to cross your fingers for.

Erykah Badu, Nu AmErykah

[Motown]

Feb. 26

The gifted slacker in the pack of the neo-soul movement's shining stars, Erykah Badu finally delivers the follow-up to 2003's Worldwide Underground with Nu AmErykah. In addition to cultiviating an affinity for self-referential puns, Badu has enlisted the help of producers Madlib and 9th Wonder, both of whom provide tracks here.

Goldfrapp, Seventh Tree

[Mute]

Feb. 26

After two albums that pushed her music more and more into the realm of synth-driven dance pop, Allison Goldfrapp returns with the intimate and moody atmospherics so prevalent on her debut Felt Mountain for her latest effort, Seventh Tree. Mellow, intricate and melodic, this lush set will be a surprise after 2005's glitter-dusted Supernature.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Real Emotional Trash

[Matador]

March 4

Former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus brings back the Jicks for Real Emotional Trash, his fourth solo outing. The album is the first to feature the talents of former Sleater-Kinney/current Quasi drummer Janet Weiss.

Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III

[Universal]

March 18

Chances are if you pay attention to things like the Internet or the radio or TV, you've probably heard a bit about Lil Wayne. You may have also heard about Tha Carter III, one of the most hyped upcoming hip-hop albums in recent memory, thanks in no small part to leaks, delayed release dates, and perhaps the best endorsement of all: having 50 Cent talk smack about you.

The Breeders, Mountain Battles

[4AD]

April 8

It's been well over half a decade since there's been a peep from the Breeders' camp, but a lengthy hiatus hasn't stopped the sisters Deal from gearing up for a full-fledged comeback this year. The forthcoming Mountain Battles is, according to frontwoman Kim Deal, a laidback affair that features the bassist and sister Kelley singing in Spanish and German. We're assuming English is a given.

Here are a few other albums to get excited about even if details are fuzzy at best.

Big Boi, Sir Lucious Leftfoot

Hey, you remember Outkast, don't you? Well, Big Boi-the one who isn't Andre-is coming out with a new solo album, named after his most colorful alias. Reportedly a similar affair to 2003's Speakerboxxx (and hey, if it ain't broke ), Sir Lucious Leftfoot features production work from Organized Noize,

the same crew who worked on the duo's still unbelievably awesome "B.O.B."

D'Angelo, James River

If your knowledge of neo-soul singer D'Angelo doesn't extend past the image of his once-chiseled abs in the music video for "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," then now is your chance to run-not walk-to pick up a copy of his 2000 head trip Voodoo and prepare yourself for the long awaited James River, out sometime this year. Reportedly a heavier and more guitar-oriented album compared to the singer's past work, little else is known about the album.

My Bloody Valentine, Title TBA

The Chinese Democracy of indiedom, My Bloody Valentine's long-awaited follow-up to 1991's Loveless is expected to come out this year, with the band already lining up tour dates in support.

Massive Attack, Weather Underground

The don't-call-them-trip-hop pioneers return with a new one featuring vocals from Mos Def, TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and Damon Albarn.

Portishead, Title TBA

File under welcome suprises: 11 years after their underrated sophomore effort, Portishead, the ambassadors of Bristol gloom, are set to return with an as-yet untitled third album. New tracks like "Wicca" and "Machine Gun" made their debut at last year's All Tomorrow's Parties outing in Minehead, England.

Raekwon, Only Built For Cuban

Linx II

Album delays are nothing new to Wu-Tang aficionados, but Raekwon's highly-anticipated Only Built for Cuban Linx II carries the distinct honor of being XXL Magazine's sixth most anticipated album of 2007. Reportedly featuring production work from the RZA and Dr. Dre, Raekwon's sequel to one of the most revered albums in the Wu canon is likely to be a hit, provided that it actually comes out, let alone lives up to the hype.

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Hold out for the new Raekwon album with Sean at [email protected]



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