Van Halen, the New Walter's and Radiohead: Things We're Looking Forward to in 2012

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There was a lot to be thankful for in 2011 in the world of music, but, in some ways, it was also a pretty tough year. We lost some great people and almost lost one of our own. It's a crazy, topsy turvy world out there and, as usual, we held our hands up above our heads and screamed the whole ride.

But, it's almost 2012 and that means we get to look forward to a brand new roller coaster of crazy. The writers at Rocks Off put together some things they are looking forward to in 2012 and, as you might expect, they are all over the map.

I am looking forward to possibly seeing the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Halen all in the same year. If rumors come to fruition, we could get a three-night stand from the Stones in Houston. I have covered a lot of music since starting here in 2006, and seeing the Stones would really be the culmination of six years of pounding the keys. As for Sabbath and Van Halen, you can't get much more bedrock than those two, even if their new albums may be less than worthy to stand next to "Iron Man" or "Panama". But that of course remains to be seen and heard. Aside from those monoliths, I am just excited about all the tours and shows coming through town. It's definitely not going to be a quiet year, contrary to the economy. I mean, Houston gets two nights of Creed in April/May. God loves us something fierce. -- Craig Hlavaty

In 2012, I'm hoping that rappers in town continue to be as auspicious as they were in 2011. It was a really good, very productive 365 days. It'd be nice if that happened again.

Also, and nobody's really mentioned this yet, but I'm hoping that the videographers in Houston start getting more recognition. I'm going to petition pretty hard for there to be a Best Music Video category at the next Houston Press Music Awards. There are some really talented guys here doing some very neat things. There's Michael Artist and Tana and David Stunts and DJ Young Samm and the Evesborough camp and Fetti and so on (and those are only the rap video guys). They deserve to be highlighted as much as everyone else. -- Shea Serrano

Of all the music that I'm eagerly awaiting there's none I'm more excited about than Shellee Coley's full-length album. I've had the chance to listen to the demos at the Red Tree Studio, and it it the culmination of all my crush on Souther Gothic. It's haunting, empty, and features all the lyrical twists and brilliance that made us fall in love with The Girl the Stencil Drew. We're certain the finished product will leave everything else behind. -- Jef with One F

I'm really looking forward to SXSW this year (OMG, less than three months away). I worked the music festival for Rocks Off last year, and was able to do quite well despite not having an official badge. The running around, hustling for wristbands, meeting/making random friends, editing and writing until 5 a.m., walking on a post apocalyptic Sixth Street after the last band has gone home -- all that shit is invigorating.

I'm also going to attempt to collect my best concert images into a magazine type portfolio. The hardest part is choosing which photos to include. I've only been shooting concerts for a little over two years, but I've been fortunate enough to capture many beautiful images thanks to Rocks Off. Now that I'm also writing for the blog, I only hope that my articles reach even half the level as my photography. -- Marco Torres

Come ON, is 2012 here yet?! Seems like we already have a full year's worth of new music to look forward to, and for once, we'd rather not procrastinate. That Radiohead date at Toyota Center is certainly circled, along with Van Halen's latest "reunion" appearance. There's also the tour debut of Roger Waters and his Wall at the Woodlands, and even the magical day when Beyonce starts shedding all that baby weight. Superstars aside, though, we're equally excited to experience our first show at the New Walter's on Naylor and the return of Live Music Fridays at the West Alabama Ice House. We may be a year older, but live tunes still sound better with a cold beer.

As for recorded music, our anticipation is already growing its hair out to prepare for a new extreme metal opus from Swedish masterminds Meshuggah. Guitarist Marten Hagstrom suggested last summer that it could drop in March, and if our brains aren't sufficiently bent, we'll have to take some extraordinarily cold comfort from the new Madonna record penciled in for the same month. Then of course there's the new tunes from Fleetwood Mac, Soundgarden, and oh dear Lord 2012 is going to rule. -- Nathan Smith

My high school track coach used to always yell at me in a thick Louisiana accent, "Get out from them joggers!" In other words, run hard and separate yourself from the pack. I'm looking forward to seeing a few artists from the Houston underground hip-hop scene do that. It's a crowded pack of artists, but I tell you what, there are going to be some incredible, bold bursts of speed in 2012 and the hip-hop version of Steve Prefontaine is going to emerge and just shock the shit out of everybody. How do I know this? Because there are bound to be a few artists who believe in the apocalypse of 2012, and starting Jan. 1, they are going to live like they're dying. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you'd be surprised what can be done when you're driving up on the cliff. -- Rolando Rodriguez

Personally, it's been a very intense and satisfying 2011 in many ways, but I'm ready for a new year. On a personal note, I'm quietly anticipating the return of Chris Gray to his duties at the Press. I've been very blessed to stand in his shoes for a few months while he recovered and I still don't know how he does it all and with such skill. As great and fascinating as they challenge has been, it's almost time for me to return to my regularly scheduled life. Hopefully, that also means some killer music. Like others on this list, I'm eagerly awaiting the new Van Halen material. It could be horrible, but at least it's Dave! Also waiting for a Foo Fighters Houston date. They kill live. Beyond that, I hope to improve my own playing substantially this year and remind myself that an old-ish dog can learn new tricks. -- Jeff Balke

2011, in my opinion, was a pretty fortunate year for music -- albums and creative technological advances in the social and music realm (like Spotify) helped make 2011 a strong year for music. Hopefully, 2012 will continue this progressive trend. There are are a few specific albums I look forward to releasing in '12, particularly including an awaited follow-up to Grizzly Bear's 2009 Veckatimest.

Furthermore, 2012 will see releases from Magnetic Fields (Love at the Bottom of the Sea), Air (Le Voyage Dans La Lune, which borrows an all-time favorite image of mine for its album artwork), and Cat Power. Looks like Sleigh Bells will have another chance to win me over come with their sophomore release Reign of Terror come Valentine's Day, though I'm always skeptical. I also hope for some quality follow-ups in '12 from my favorite artists of '10and '11, from bands like Beach House, Titus Andronicus, and the National.

...And who could forget this Van Halen tour?

Lastly, Mr. Billy Corgan has shared his plans to continue his reissue trend and continue releasing remastered and rare early-Pumpkins era tracks for us super-fans; it goes without saying, I look forward to adding those to my record collection in 2012 as well. -- Neph Basedow

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