According to Pitchfork, Stephin Merritt is working on the next Magnetic Fields album, with a target date of spring 2007. This means that in the first half of 2007, we can look forward to new albums from Wilco, Radiohead, the Shins, and the Magnetic Fields. This is almost too good to be true! (and it probably is; I'll wager money that either Radiohead or Wilco's album will be delayed until late '07) It's nice to see that Merritt is putting out a Gothic Archies album this fall, in collaboration, apparently a Lemony Snicket-related project with Daniel Handler. But their bookstore tour is not coming to Minnesota, which is completely inexplicable because I think everyone would go absolutely cuckoo if the Gothic Archies were to come to town.
Also, I've been thinking about the new Shins album. It wouldn't surprise me to see this one get hyped into the stratosphere. You thought they had expectations to live up to going into Chutes Too Narrow? Now, instead of merely the entire indie community watching them, they've got every kid over the age of 16 watching them to see if they can make more cool songs like that were in Garden State. I have a knack for hyperbole when it comes to these things, but I don't think it's outrageous to say that Wincing the Night Away is one of the most eagerly-awaited albums of 2007. Just so you know, folks: I've heard one of the rumoured tracks for the album, tentatively titled "Won One Too Many Fights," from a live James Mercer bootleg from 2004, and it's a nice tune. Hopefully things will work out, because I think Mercer is the type who could easily suffer a breakdown a la Brian Wilson or Rivers Cuomo if the public is unreceptive to the new material. At least if the Shins break up, it would give hope to a musical collaboration between Mercer and A.C. Newman...or maybe that's just my own personal fantasy.