Mexicans wave hello

• MEXICAN acoustic duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela are due to follow up their cult classic debut album in 2009.
The pair have left their adopted home of Ireland to fly to Ixtapa in Mexico to record their second studio album, due to be released in Summer 2009.
• The new album from Colin Blunstone, formerly of The Zombies, is also in the pipeline – however its release has been delayed due to an exploding mixing desk.
Fans waiting for the release of The Ghost Of You And Me are now likely to have to wait until March for the album, which has been a Guns N’ Roses-esque 13 years in the making.
• 2008 surprise package Frightened Rabbit are to release a live album titled Quietly Now! in the New Year.
The acclaimed Scottish indie rockers will follow up their album The Midnight Organ Fight with the recording made at the Captain’s Rest in Glasgow.
The band will also play fates at The Musician, Leicester, and Glee Club, Birmingham, in March next year.
• West Yorkshire band Random Hand will release an new album, Inhale/Exhale, next February.
The up-and-coming ska-meets-metal band are also playing in Nottingham and Birmingham in the New Year in support of Reel Big Fish.
• Folk’s brightest young star, Benjamin Taylor, releases his new album The Legend Of Kung Folk Part One (The Killing Bite) next April.
The artist, the son of stars James Taylor and Carly Simon, is being tipped for big things with the release.
• Teitur, the most promising musician to come from the Faroe Islands probably ever, is to make his UK debut next year.
The artists will release his debut album The Singer and single Catherine The Waitress early in 2009.
• If all of this is music to your ears, you can read more from the pop world online at www.echoisaacashe.blogspot.com

Fall Out Boy out

• FALL Out Boy’s fourth album, Folie A Deux, marks a maturing of the group’s immensely popular sound.
Taking their distinctive pop punk rock to new levels of symphony and harmony, the polished LP features the hit singles I Don’t Care and America’s Suitehearts as well as their cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It.
Speaking about the release, frontman Pete Wentz said: “Honestly, we have never been a critically acclaimed band or ‘cool’ band, but we have always moved the needle because of our fans and we don’t want that to change.”
• Urban brand TwiceasNice have compiled their three-CD Urban Club Album Of The Year.
The storming compilation, mixed by Shortee Blitz, Scottie B and DJ Ironik, features hits from Rihanna, Sway, Estelle, Britney Spears, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Sean Paul, Usher, Flo Rida, Dr Dre, Brandy and many more.
• Refreshing singer songwriter Jason Mraz’s new album, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things hits stores on December 29.
The patter of acoustic artist Mraz, that has spawned hits such as I’m Yours and Make It Mine, is also teamed up with Colbie Caillat and James Morrison on the LP.
• The hottest ever cuts from the garage scene have been put together for the bumper The Very Best Of Pure Garage.
Spread over four CDs mixed by Matt “Jam” Lamont the collection of old skool, bass, vocal and nu garage features tracks by artists including Craig David, Dreem Teem, MJ Cole, Shanks And Bigfoot, Azzido Da Bass, CJ Bolland, DJ Zinc, Mr Oizo, and DJ Luck And MC Neat.
• If all of this is music to your ears, you can read more from the pop world online at www.echoisaacashe.blogspot.com – and there’s still time to log on and vote for your favourite Album Of The Year for 2008.

Albums Of The Year 2008

Black Mountain – In The Future
Stoner rock from Canadians Black Mountain which sounded like an instant classic.

Evol Intent – Era Of Diversion
Dark drum and bass with inflections of metal and rap that matched the mood of 2008.

Get The Blessing – All Is Yes
Riff-driven post-jazz stompers from a group with “a pathological hatred of chords”.

Kaki King – Dreaming Of Revenge
An other-worldly collection of songs from an impossibly talented guitarist and drummer.

Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel
The sound of Gary Numan dancing to The Klaxons from Castle Donington’s finest.

Neon Neon – Stainless Style
This ’80s-tinged, unlikely collaboration based on an even more unlikely theme was a brilliant fusion of styles.

Portishead – Third
Work-shy Bristol-based trip-hoppers Portishead released their third album in 17 years – and it was worth the wait.

Stateless – Stateless
Carefully crafted indie songwriting given a turntablist makeover.

Thrice – The Alchemy Index vols. III and IV: Air & Earth
Completing a quadrology of four EPs, this album had all the elements of a rock classic.

Young Knives – Superabundance
Belton-based band The Young Knives released their most polished and potent arty punk to date in 2008.

Season’s Greetings

YULE have been mad not to have noticed that, in the words of Slade‘s Noddy Holder: “It’s Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiist, maaaaaaaaaaas!”
As my Christmas present to you, tomorrow I’ll unveil my Top 10 Albums Of The Year 2008, revealing who is following in the footsteps of previous acts behind Albums Of The Year such as System Of A Down, The Libertines, The Beatles, Prodigy and Arcade Fire.
You’ll also find out if anyone can join Biffy Clyro as double winners – groups in the running this year include The Kooks, The Killers, Hot Chip, Tokyo Police Club, Eagles Of Death Metal, Bloc Party and Seth Lakeman.
Then, on December 18, you’ll have your chance to vote which of my shortlist should be crowned Isaac Ashe’s Sound Advice Album Of The Year.
The vote runs until midnight on New Year’s Eve.
However, until then I’ll be taking a festive breather to play with my new toys.
So let me take this chance to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year – and I’ll see you in January with some top tips for the year ahead.
Happy holidays.