Consider this an early gimme list for Santa: The ten albums I’m most looking forward during the last quarter of ’07.

1. FOO FIGHTERS-“Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.” I already got it scheduled for preorder, so technically I don’t need Mr. Kringle’s help here, but I’ve loved every one of this band’s albums and I can’t wait for the next one. The single, Pretender, is smoking. Sept. 25.

Cheer Up Boys (Your Makeup is Running) (Live version)-Foo Fighters

2. BETTYE LAVETTE-“Scene of the Crime.” One of the stalwarts of soul records with one of the greatest country blues bands around today, Drive-By Truckers, and the single is phenomenal. Sept. 25.

You Don’t Know Me At All-Bettye Lavette and the Drive By Truckers.

3. BAND OF HORSES-“Cease to Begin.” Sub Pop’s best band tries to reach the heights it hit with their first record. It’s already leaked, I’ve already heard it, and I’m already convinced this is one of the best releases of the year. I can’t wait to buy the official version. Oct. 9.

Showdown (Electric Light Orchestra cover)-Band of Horses

Is There a Ghost?-Band of Horses (From Cease to Begin)

4. LUPE FIASCO-“The Cool.” His first album didn’t wear with me over time as well as I’d thought it would when I picked it as the best hip hop record of ’06, but anthems like “Kick Push,” “Real,” and “Just Might Be O.K.” are still brilliant. “The Cool” was an incredibly innovative track off his first album, so I’m not sure what to expect from the title of his second, but I’m confident it’ll be great. It’s scheduled for a Thanksgiving release, and there’s no word yet on when he (along with Kanye and Pharrell) will finally produce their Child Rebel Soldiers album. (One CRS cut appeared on the Kanye pre-Graduation mixtape, and, sadly, it wasn’t very good.) My hopes and expectations are made even higher due to the fact that Lupe has sworn he will make only three albums and then retire. Nov. 20.

Handcuffs-Lupe Fiasco

5. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND-“Magic.” Radio Nowhere proves his put aside his folky side and brings the pop. Lotsa folks are giving him shit because it sounds exactly like a classic 80s new wave song, but I dig it. Plus, it also sounds a lot like 10th Avenue Freezeout, dunnit? Oct. 2.

867-5309/Jenny-Patterson Hood. (Ooooh! Synergy!–See #3, above.)

6. BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH-“Street Gospels.” I first heard this band with their reissue of 2002’s “Root Fire,” and I fell instantly in love. A little bit of ska, a little bit of punk, a little like the Clash, and way better than The Dead 60s. Already available. I will get this soon and do a full Bedouin review and post. This is such a great band, and they desperately need to break big.

7. GNARLS BARKLEY-Title TK. No words needed. Date not yet final.

Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover)-Cat Power.

Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover)-Nelly Furtado

8. NELLY-“Brass Knuckles.” I should be embarrassed that two of the most-played songs on my iTunes are “EI” and “Ride Wit’ Me.” I should be even more embarrassed that Nelly is listed here between Cee-Lo and Ghostface. But I’m not. He never hit the heights of his first record, and Sweat/Suit should
have been one record (not two), but I’m still hopeful. Date not yet final.

9. WU-TANG CLAN-“8 Diagrams.” It’s been 7 years since Voltron formed into the magnificent gritty beast. Can’t wait. Date not yet final.

10. DEADSTRING BROTHERS-“Silver Mountain.” Quite simply one of the best Americana bands alive today. Date not yet final.


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