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This festive season is possibly one of the last times that record companies and music stores will make money from CD sales. As everything goes digital, the only two remaining major labels, Sony and Universal, are releasing the big guns. South African |indie labels have also chosen a big arsenal just in time for Christmas…
The international singing, dancing, stripping, twerking, licking skanks will be competing against each other for the world’s attention this Christmas. Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and the desperate Miley Cyrus are all releasing just in time for a very holy Christmas.
Oh, and then there is the more appropriate release for Christmas, Celine Dion. She is the biggest- selling artist in South Africa. Her album is entitled Loved Me Back to Life and is maybe inspired by her and her husband’s struggle with cancer.
Another queen of all things adult contemporary, Elton John, is set to release what critics have described as his best work in years. The album is called The Diving Board.
Lady Gaga’s new album, Art Pop, arrives in early November, while Cyrus’s Bangerz (like, duh) is also set for release that month. Madonna beats them with local release of the MDNA DVD.
Staying with teenage confusion, the boy band comprising five Justin Biebers – One Direction – are releasing a film and an album for the Christmas season. Midnight Memories is their second offering.
The post-traumatic teenage stress disorder that was Avril Lavigne has been tempered by her husband, Chad Kroeger of Nickelback. He wrote her new album, which is set to turn her into a rock queen. It, too, is out next month. The other post-teen freaks, the Jonas Brothers, release their V album.
Justin Timberlake, after being quiet for years, releases his second album in 12 months. The 20/20 Volume 2 of 2 is out next month.
John Legend will also be there to provide the background to summer love with his fourth release, Love in the Future.
Hard rockers Kings of Leon are back with a new album, Mechanical Bull, and Metallica are back with a 3D film and a soundtrack to go. It is called Through the Never, with the film premiering on Friday.
Pearl Jam are back with a new album, Lightning Bolt, as are Arcade Fire (Reflektor). Hard rockers will get on their hands and knees to welcome the return of Nine Inch Nails (Hesitation Marks).
One of the few rappers to appeal to hard rockers, Eminem, releases the Marshall Mathers LP2 in November.
Hard rockers will also be head-banging to the new Arctic Monkeys called AM. Then look out for an acoustic DVD and CD by Skunk Anansie, who are performing on our shores on October 5 and 6.
The two groups are on the Just Music label, which predicts its biggest seller this Christmas will be London Grammar. The trio are described as Massive Attack and Morcheeba with a Florence and the Machine-type twist.
While Americans refer to it as the “holidays”, we prefer the word “festive” (pronounced festeev). There is a fantastic list of power South African releases. Zahara’s second album is set for mad sales.
For Afrikaans fans there is a new Kurt Darren album as well as one from the romantic Romanz, both of which are scheduled to go platinum.
Another big platinum hope is Fresh House Flava 7, which will provide the summer soundtrack at all student parties.
The fourth album by Goldfish is also set to be a party anthem. They already had people bopping under the sun umbrella’s at the recent 94.7 Joburg Day with their single, Three Second Memory.
Zakes Bantwini’s long-awaited second album will be released at the end of next month. It is intriguingly titled The Real Book and Fake Book: My Music Bible. Let’s hope the music lives up to the epic title.
Kalawa are going big with the new Winnie Khumalo, Character and Uhuru albums. Uhuru are the production team behind this year’s uber hits – Happiness and Khona by Mafikizolo.
Other big local dance releases are Goodluck with their second album, Creatures of the Night, and a second album by popular dance producers and DJs, Pascal & Pearce. At the time of going to print they had just finished recording the album. It includes collaborations with Canadian EDM vocalist Quilla, LA rapper Kidforce and European house vocalist Paulina.
They also worked with South African artists Ard Matthews, who features on their new single, Fire Within, Tasha Baxter, Michelle Breeze, Lcnvl and Jimmy Nevis.
The most anticipated rock release of the year is Shadowclub. They are in the studio with top dark rock producer, Matthew Fink. The album is tentatively called Jaguar, although knowing the characters of the three members, this is sure to change at least four times before the album is completed.
Their debut album, Guns n Money, set a new standard in South African rock and established them as a force to be reckoned with on the local music scene. Having heard their live material, their new album will have to live up to the standard of Guns n Money. Gangs of Ballet will also have a great festive with their first full-length album.
One of the questions being asked on the local scene is: will AKA release this year, or won’t he? Another is: will Trompies release or won’t they? These artists are in studio, but the creative process can take time, and with AKA having to live up to the brilliance of his debut album, and with Trompies having to carefully craft an enormous comeback, the pressure is on.
Finally, look out for a debut DVD by Zonke, who has enjoyed the best two years of her life from a live performance and creative point of view as well as successful sales.
May y’all have a happy and musical festeev!