This year's releases

Ah, this year’s releases, as the typically uncomplicated title already said. Now, I realise that we’re barely three months into the year, but I think it’s started with abundant promise. Have you heard anything that particularly caught your ear?

Two albums released (in the UK) this week – yesterday, in fact – which I’m enjoying are Man Up by The Blue Van and Beat the Devil’s Tattoo by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I do think I should have saved more than £1-a-time by downloading and forgoing all that awful plastic, but that’s another matter entirely.

Marcus Bonfanti’s What Good Am I To You?, released last month, is also one to look out for. He’s touring at the moment, with tickets extremely reasonably-priced.

The above- and below-mentioned artist names, you’ve probably already realised and maybe even clicked out of curiosity, double as links to respective MySpace pages, should you care to give their tunes a few moments of your time.

Free downloads provide a good way of adding new material to your music collection. Here’s one from MGMT, and here’s another – it’s from Peter Gabriel’s Scratch My Back. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it’s a collection of orchestral covers of songs such as David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ and Elbow’s ‘Mirrorball’, to perhaps give two of the more enticing examples.

If you know of any other goodies, and they must be legal downloads, don’t forget, please don’t keep them to yourself.

Which as-yet unreleased albums are you most looking forward to? New releases are expected from Arcade Fire, The National, Radiohead, R.E.M. and U2 this year. The one I most eagerly anticipate, though, is a fresh offering from Fleet Foxes.

Black Rock by Joe Bonamassa comes out later this month, too…

And speaking (or blogging, rather) of guitarists, there’s also a ‘new’ Jimi Hendrix album out; called Valleys of Neptune, it’s made up of previously unreleased songs, and you could win a copy here, courtesy of the nice people at Fender. Good luck.

Your thoughts on any of these, plus recommendations for others, are, as usual, appreciated; as were the birthday messages for David, thank you all for those.

You never know, 2010 could turn out to be as good a year for music as… 2006?