Music to anticipate

Molly Schreiber

The start of a new year always inspires a sense of bittersweet reflection and fond remembrance. Along with resolutions, opportunities and goals, the new year promises a clean slate of sorts.

Despite the triumphs and failures of the previous year, the first of January provides a platform for artistic innovation and growth.

After an extraordinary year of music in 2008, however, the high expectations set by albums released in 2008 will encroach upon that clean slate. As a direct result of that artistic productivity, musicians will have no choice but to up the ante.

With the new sound of bands like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver and the addictive beats of Girl Talk and Kanye West in 2008, 2009 holds high expectations.

There is, plenty of hope for those music fans who remain loyal to the music of the past year, though.

The Decemberists completed recording their fifth album, “Hazards of Love.” While the tracks are still being edited, frontman Colin Meloy promises a “mossy and evil” sound. Calling the album “ambitious” and “dense,” Meloy hinted at an April release for the highly anticipated album.

Like the band’s previous albums, fans can expect literary lyricism, continuous motifs and cohesive track compilations.

While fans wait for the upcoming album, the band has released seven new tracks that didn’t make the cut for “Hazards.” The tracks are part of their “Always the Bridesmaid” singles series, giving the public a taste of what is to come.

If “Hazards” is anything like their single “Valerie Plame,” fans will bask in the familiar yet progressive work of the talented band.

Another artistic powerhouse, U2, promises a new album to be released on March 3. The album, produced by the amazing Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite, is the band’s first since their 2004 release “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.” To support their upcoming release, U2 plans to tour.

Coldplay, another successful band connected to the genius of Brian Eno, is rumored to be releasing a fifth album in 2009.

The rumor, although surprising in the wake of their wildly successful 2008 release “Viva La Vida,” is gaining weight as EMI reportedly confirmed that new material for a follow-up album is already finished.

Perhaps the most exciting release of 2009 will come from Chicago natives Wilco, who plan to release their seventh album, the follow up to 2007’s critically acclaimed “Sky Blue Sky.”

While Wilco has been touring both in the U.S. and abroad, fans have been eagerly awaiting a studio release from the remarkable rock veterans.

During their live shows, they have played two new songs “Sunny Feeling” and “One Wing,” giving fans an enticing hint of what is to come.

If the members of Wilco can maintain their artistic consistency, fans will not be disappointed.

Finally, in one of the most surprising moves of 2009, the Dave Matthews Band has announced an upcoming tour and a new album to be released on April 14.

The band has not released a studio album since 2005’s “Stand Up,” leaving dedicated fans hungry for more.

The Dave Matthews Band also plans to hold a release party of sorts with a concert in Madison Square Garden on the date of release.

Along with their new material, the band will be accompanied by The Roots, the Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Mraz and Tim Reynolds throughout their tour.

The unnamed album will also mark the first release after the death of LeRoi Moore, the founding saxophonist of the band.

So, dear music lovers, don’t concern yourselves with the high standards that 2008 set. Instead, look forward to more innovation and creation throughout the exciting new year.

Even in the first two weeks of 2009, music fans have seen a groundbreaking album from the unconventional band Animal Collective with their newest album “Merriweather Post Pavilion.”

If the artistic output of the upcoming year in music is anything like this inventive album, we are all in for quite a treat. We will just have to wait in eager anticipation.