Even with commercial pop music in a pretty conservative place these days, there’s no telling where the next year of albums, anniversaries, old friends, new faces and lashings of gigs might go. Already the rock and pop calendar is starting to fill up with big names and events – U2, Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift will all tour later in the year, and the MOBOs will make their biennial visit to Glasgow in the autumn. Here’s what to look out for over the next 12 months:
Scottish indie rules
The big guns of Scottish indie hit the ground running at the start of the year: Belle & Sebastian unveil their (sort of) new dance direction on their latest album, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, released on 19 January, with their biggest hometown gig to follow at the Hydro on 22 May, Idlewild return from hiatus with their fluent new album Everything Ever Written on 16 February and The View wrecking crew are working on a new album with Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr on production duties, which has been mooted for release in March.
Boy band vs man band
At their present frenetic workrate, One Direction probably have about one more year of gas left in the tank before someone snaps or deserts. But even if there are cracks in the group veneer by the time they play the Hydro on 7 and 8 October, they can take heart from the model second life of Take That, who have survived the departure of two of their number and still managed to book five nights at the Hydro in late April and early May.
Return of the Mac
If Take That can tour with just three out of five original members, then MOR behemoths Fleetwood Mac were surely doing fine with four. However, the announcement that keyboard player Christine McVie will return to the line-up for the first time since 1998 confers a completeness on their forthcoming tour – not to mention the possible reinstatement of McVie classics such as Songbird, Little Lies and You Make Loving Fun to the setlist when they play three dates at the Hydro (16, 17 June and 8 July). Making up for lost years, there is also a new album in the pipeline.
Coldplay retire – or not
Great/tragic tidings came at the end of 2014, when Chris Martin let slip that Coldplay are at work on their next album, A Head Full of Dreams, and that, as far as he was concerned, “it’s like the last Harry Potter book – I have to think of it as the final thing we’re doing, otherwise we wouldn’t put everything into it.” Which sounds a lot like hedging his bets.
The queen of pop’s crown slipped a bit further last week when she reacted with characteristic overstatement to the leaking of demos intended for her forthcoming album Rebel Heart, first describing the unauthorised preview as “artistic rape”, then scrambling to release six tracks as “an early Christmas present”. The yuletide bundle – including proposed lead single Living For Love, and Nicki Minaj collaboration Bitch, I’m Madonna – was received with the enthusiasm reserved for a pair of patterned socks from granny. The full package won’t arrive until March.
Two of the most fabulous male divas of the 1980s return with new albums released on the same day (9 March). Marc Almond, who plays Edinburgh’s Queens Hall on 27 April, has never been away, though he had to be talked into recording The Velvet Trail, while former Bronski Beat/Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville has been in Australia but heads on to the dancefloor with Homage, a collection of disco-influenced originals. Meanwhile, veteran disco/electro producer Giorgio Moroder, fresh from his cameo on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, will release his first solo album in more than 30 years with guest vocals from Kylie, Britney Spears, Sia and Charli XCX. “74 is the new 24,” he claims optimistically.
A new home for T In The Park
Dedicated T in the Parkers, who said bye bye to Balado Airfield in 2014, are poised to say hello to Strathallan Castle in 2015 when Scotland’s biggest summer music festival moves 18 miles up the road to its new 1,000 acre site, situated close to Gleneagles Hotel and Auchterarder. T will retain its 85,000 capacity in the more boutiquey surroundings of a lushly wooded Perthshire estate with a 19th century castle as its centrepiece. Recent reports have suggested locals are predominantly onside with the festival flitting, with queues already forming to get into the Slam Tent...
Heavy metal has never been in fashion – ergo, it never goes out of fashion. But expect an earthquaking onslaught of sludgy riffola, schlock rock and fretboard mangling from some genre heavyweights in 2015 with new albums in the pipeline from thrash metal peers Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer, Motörhead and Black Sabbath making further recording plans while they still can (“time isn’t on our side,” notes Ozzy Osbourne with typical candour), “something big” brewing in the Iron Maiden camp and the usual news that Guns N’ Roses are readying an album for release sometime in the next millennium.
Come the summer, prepare for a veritable deluge of seasoned performers. Folk legend Peggy Seeger, half-sister of Pete Seeger and the inspiration for her husband Ewan MacColl’s deathless The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, plays Òran Mór, Glasgow on 27 June and Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree the following night. Jersey gentlemen Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons deliver the doo-wop to Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium on 6 July – here’s hoping someone can still handle the high notes. Neil Diamond graces the Hydro on 7 July, while Bette Midler takes her jazz hands to the same venue on 13 July. Cliff Richard celebrates his 60th anniversary in showbiz at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on 6 October. Who says pop is a young man’s game?