In 2011, several veteran rock groups will return with their first album in many a moon. On the flip side, we'll also see new discs from young groups trying to top their impressive earlier work. In alphabetical order, here are the artists I'll be keeping close tabs on in '11.
Black Stone Cherry
With Folklore and Superstition, the young Kentucky band Black Stone Cherry showed real promise. Their new album, and first in three years, is nearly finished, with a release expected around May. The Southern rock group have yet to really cross over into the rock mainstream: Could this as-yet-untitled disc do that for them?
Blink-182 reunited in 2009, but it's been a slow process toward making their first studio album since 2003's Blink-182. Nonetheless, it looks very likely we'll finally get that new album this year, with it being entirely possible that it'll arrive by summer. Before that happens, though, Blink fans can enjoy Give the Drummer Some, the first solo album from Travis Barker, which hits stores March 15.
Gavin Rossdale, now better known as Gwen Stefani's husband, has reactivated his old Bush band name to put out a new album, Everything Always Now. It was initially planned for an October 2010 release, but now it's unclear exactly when it'll come out. Of the original band, only drummer Robin Goodridge is part of the current lineup.
Foo Fighters received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year for their last disc, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. So what will they do for an encore? Apparently, frontman Dave Grohl has decided to make the band's new disc a sort of Nirvana reunion, bringing in Nevermind producer Butch Vig and recruiting bassist Krist Novoselic to play on one track. Grohl has promised that the new album, called Wasting Light, will be a pure rock effort. "In the 14 songs there's not one acoustic guitar," he told an interviewer. It'll come out April 12.
It's a bit of a long shot, but Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich hinted that we could get the follow-up to the group's Death Magnetic this year. "There's a bunch of balls in the air for 2011, but I think the main one is we really want to get back to writing again," Ulrich said in November 2010. Does that mean we'll see a new record by December? It's always possible, depending on how long the writing process takes. And with Metallica, that can take quite a while.
Queens of the Stone Age
Wasn't Radiohead's new record supposed to come out in 2010? It sure seemed like it, but after some loose talk from the band members about its imminent arrival, the follow-up to In Rainbows suddenly had no clear release date. And then out of the blue, the band revealed that The King of Limbs would be available for sale online February 18.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
We're used to long gaps between Red Hot Chili Peppers records, but it's been five years since Stadium Arcadium. Still, you can't accuse the L.A. group of being lazy: They had to find a new guitarist after John Frusciante left the band around 2008, eventually replacing him with Josh Klinghoffer. But the band have been steadily working on Stadium's follow-up, with a release date very tentatively set for summer.