1 THE DEATH OF CDs
Now that most people have made the switch to MP3s, CDs are glorified single-use data storage devices - and your trip to the record store is just a really slow version of iTunes.
2 MUSIC INDUSTRY MELTDOWN
With record label stock prices in free fall and the traditional music industry model on its death bed, look for the majors to make big changes in 09.
3 MSTRKRFT RTRN
The Toronto production duo have finally announced a release date (March 17) for Fist Of God, the long-awaited follow-up to their highly successful 2006 debut, The Looks. Steve Aoki's Dim Mak label is carrying it in the U.S., and guests include Ghostface Killah, N.O.R.E., John Legend, E-40, Lil' Mo and Freeway.
4 GUITAR GODDESS DOMINATION
The number of ladies taking a pass on bass, keyboards and tambourines in favour of axe-shredding glory is on the rise. See Land of Talk's Lizzie Powell, Billy the Kid, Parts & Labor's Sarah Lipstate and Marnie Stern for proof.
5 THE BOSS'S BIG DREAM
After Bruce Springsteen reconvened the E Street Band for Magic, there were whispers it wouldn't take another five years for the follow-up. True enough. Working On A Dream (Sony) is due January 27, just in time for the presidential inauguration. It's the Boss's way of saying thanks for breaking the curse - every other presidential hopeful he's supported in song wound up losing at the ballot box.
6 BOTTLE SERVICE BE GONE
True, we've been predicting (and hoping for) the end of the bottle service craze for a few years now, but there's nothing like a recession to put people off obnoxious public displays of wealth once and for all. Fuck the VIP rooms and get back on the dance floor!
7 ABUNDANCE OF FUNK
Former Slum Village producer/rapper Wajeed and his multi-instrumentalist sidekick Saadiq's new Platinum Pied Pipers electro-soul project, Abundance (Ubiquity) drops January 20. PPP (as they now call themselves) recruited the powerful voices of Jamila Raegan, Karma and Coultrain for the seriously funky disc.
8 CYCLONES BLOW AWAY FLOOD
If you've been listening to Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, Neko Case's last album, steadily for two years, you know that it's time to move on. So the release of Middle Cyclones (March 3, Anti) can't come soon enough.
Highly hyped Toronto duo Thunderheist have settled on a label (Big Dada) and set a date for their debut LP (March 31). They've already been touring the world and enjoying international acclaim mainly on the basis of their early demos and the Jerk It EP. So just imagine what they'll be able to do with an official release.
10 EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES
Emperor, one of the most influential black metal bands ever, captured a whole bunch of footage during their sporadic reunion shows (including a professionally shot gig at Wacken Open Air) for Live Inferno (April 21, Candlelight).
11 DUBSTEP STEPS UP
The throbbing subterranean UK sound of dubstep will finally break out of the underground in Toronto. But unlike in the London scene, it will be played alongside other bass-heavy genres to lay the foundation for a new sound.
12 FREEBASS FREE AT LAST
In the works for over five years, the Freebass supergroup of New Order's Peter Hook, the Smiths' Andy Rourke and Gary "Mani" Mounfield of Stone Roses infamy (three basses, geddit?) is finally near completion. Hook is dead set on having it on shelves by spring. Instead of one vocalist, they've got Ian Brown of the Stone Roses, Tim Burgess from the Charlatans, Haven's Gary Briggs, legendary drug dealer Howard Marks (who raps, apparently) and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.
13 TMDP ON YYZ
Local synth duo TMDP will take the dance world by storm when their self-titled debut drops nationwide in February on YYZ Records.
14 INTO THE LIGHT
Antony and the Johnsons' upcoming album, The Crying Light (January 20, Secretly Canadian), has good buzz behind it, partly due to vocalist Antony Hegarty's contributions to Hercules and Love Affair's extraordinary debut. Antony and the Johnsons' promising Another World EP also gave a sneak peek at what to expect from their third full-length.
15 INTERSCOPE'S THREE-HEADED MONSTER STOMPS THE EARTH
50 Cent, Eminem and Dr. Dre finally drop new albums and we see how much hip-hop has evolved since they last set the standard for lyricism, gangsterism and hyper-capitalism.
16 PLASKETT'S THREEWAY
Joel Plaskett's last release was an ambitious concept disc, but it's got nothing on his forthcoming triple album, titled Three (Maple Music), due in February. That's 27 songs guaranteed to clinch the Halifax rocker's reputation as a national treasure.
17 AN INEVITABLE LP
The Inevitable Backlash's Sex For Safety EP made for a splashy debut. Now the L.A. punk crew headed by singer/songwriter John Renton follows that up on March 3 with the full-length My Two Brookes.
18 DISCO'S REVENGE
The nouveau disco scene has been percolating underground for some time now, and this will be the year it manages to break out of music nerd circles and onto the general public's radar.
19 T.O. RAP ON THE MAP
This year will see local hip-hop blow the fuck up, find its voice - and audience! - and earn respect internationally.
20 HANDSOME FURS = WOLF PARADE'S DEATH
Wolf Parade put out a new disc last year, but co-founder Dan Boeckner's focus is clearly on the Handsome Furs. A new HF album, called Face Control (March 10, Sub Pop) less than 12 months later can't be good news for Wolf fans.
21 BLUR REUNION. YES, REALLY.
We told ourselves we weren't going to get excited about reunions any more. Not going to get sucked in. A Blur concert, though - this has our interest.
22 DISCOVER DEATH
Brothers David, Bobby and Dennis Hackney formed the proto-punk group Death in 1971 after seeing how Iggy Pop got down and demented. They put out one self-released single, but now Drag City has tracked down an album's worth of stuff that sounds like the missing link between Funkadelic and the Bad Brains. For The Whole World To See (February 17) is an early contender for punk discovery of the year.
23 14-YEAR FLOOD
If Axl Rose can deliver Chinese Democracy, the reunion of Jayhawks writing partners Gary Louris and Mark Olson isn't so far-fetched. The two will release their first new album together in 14 years, a stripped-down affair called Ready For The Flood (January 27, New West) that's closer to British folk than country-rock.
24 CRYSTAL CASTLES CRUMBLE
At some point soon, the kids will realize that two arrogant, untalented idea recyclers who jack everything from extreme metal to 8-bit with unparalleled insincerity have worn out their welcome. On to the next big thing with an impending expiration date!
25 DIGGING THROUGH NEIL'S VAULT
The first instalment of Neil Young's career-spanning vault dig, Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972 (Reprise/Warner) is set for February 24. The 10-disc box (in both Blu-ray and standard DVD) includes 128 rare tracks, a full-length documentary and 236-page hardcover book with handwritten lyrics and photos.