The walls of the Wonder Ballroom will sweat like George W. Bush at a live press conference as the Gossip celebrates the release of its fourth proper album, Standing in the Way of Control, in January. But unlike the prez, Beth Ditto will not fucking stutter.
Right on Ditto's bouncing heels, the High Violets will release To Where You Are, an album imbued with an affecting, undeniable sensuality that will alternately start and end many relationships come Valentine's Day. Sneaking up on Portlanders the whole time will be electro DJ Copy, who will have unfurled his debut LP, Mobius Beard, in early January. Both brilliant and accessible, this album will soon be soundtracking Jazzercise classes, which will be cool again by mid-March.
Knitting will not be cool by late spring, which will have Sub Pop nervously wondering, "What will all those twentysomethings do when they listen to the new Shins album? It's all about sleeping. Shit." Well, after all that Jazzercise, they'll fall asleep to it. But Shins leadman James Mercer, being the pop innovator, has a plan for the band's summer release. He will have created a music that seeps into the subconscious and controls dreams—in a good way—rendering the video iPod obsolete (thank God). When awake, the people of Portland will feast on music of a more energetic sort, counting releases by Viva Voce (out in spring), Talkdemonic (out in spring) and Menomena (out whenever they damn well please) as some of their favorite music to be awake to in 2006.
Some of you, though, will prefer the new Heroes and Villains (out in February), Quasi (out in March), Quiet Countries (out in February), Norfolk & Western (out in March) or Minmae (out in April). Despite some musical missteps, I see only joy for these people, except for the Norfolk & Western listeners. Sad bastards.
The two most highly anticipated albums of the year will be the Decemberists' first release for Capitol Records and the Lifesavas' follow-up to 2003's Spirit in Stone. The date of the Lifesavas release is still unclear, but rumor has it the trio is working on a concept album that will appear as the soundtrack to a nonexistent film. I'm hoping it's more The Soft Bulletin than The Life of Chris Gaines, and I think it will be, because, our rumormonger tells us, the group has enlisted Fishbone, Dead Prez and Vernon Reid (from motherfucking Living Colour) to play on it.
Not to be outcooled by Portland's hip-hop kings, Colin Meloy and his Decemberists will be recording with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla in a giant Dunthorpe mansion. The new album will be released, and the "Youth and Beauty Brigade" message board will light up with incensed indie-pop fans. No one will care. Instead, the world's pop fans will embrace Meloy and his band, resulting in 20 million units sold worldwide. Meloy will grow a beard, and rather than bemoaning the strictures of success like the last kings of Northwest music, he will answer all interviewers' questions with a "fiddle-dee-dee" and a sharp thwack from a trusty stick named Maurice.
That's what my tarot cards say anyway.