Spring has well and truly sprung! So, James Fleming has been hard at it, putting together a compilation of this Spring’s hottest upcoming records. 

Thrash metal kings Anthrax have a new album, due out on February 26th. The band behind such heavy metal classics as Among the Living announced their upcoming release last November, and metalheads the world over have been wringing their hands in anticipation. Ears will bleed and heads will bang as Anthrax embark on a tour of North & South America and Europe with such metal legends as Iron Maiden and Megadeth. The new record is titled All Kings and it has a high standard to meet. But if anyone can do it, it’s Anthrax.

In stark contrast to the former’s heavier than thou attitude, alternative folk-punks Violent Femmes new record is set to be released, March 4th. The band behind Blister in the Sun, and other indie classics (from back when “indie”, actually meant “independent”) are back with their first album since the new millennium, when they released Freak Magnet. A tour of New Zealand, Australia and a single date in New Jersey (of all places) kicks off on March 2nd. You won’t want to miss this. So watch this space.

And due to appear a week later, Brian Fallon’s (The Gaslight Anthem) solo debut hits the stalls on March 11th. Fallon has cemented his reputation as one of the top songwriters of the 20th century with his work in bands as the aforementioned Gaslight Anthem and The Horrible Crowes and seminal albums including: The 59 Sound, American Slang and Handwritten. The new record is entitled Painkillers, and all the fans of Fallon’s previous work are dying to hear what he sounds like solo. This is his first major project since The Gaslight Anthem went on hiatus last year. It’s gonna be awesome!

Also due out on the March 11th is Jeff Buckleys posthumous release entitled, You and I; an album featuring covers of artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, Sly Stone and The Smiths. But, included in the track list are originals Grace, and the previously unreleased Dream of You and I. It’s been nearly two decades since Buckley’s untimely accidental death, when a true creative individual was taken from us, far too soon. So to hear some new music from him is a real treat (or the lowest of cash-ins from a record label, take your side!)

“The godfather of punk”, Iggy Pop, unleashes his new record Post Pop Depression on the March 18th. Produced by Queens of The Stone Age main-man Josh Homme and featuring Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders and Dead Weather guitarist Dean Fertita, it’s Iggy’s seventeenth studio album – proving to be the most interesting musical collaboration of the decade. Homme has never released a record unworthy of our attention, and while Iggy has released the odd stinker here and there, the first three Stooges albums alone make those of us in the know stand up and take attention. There’s a tour of North America and Europe all set to kick off on March 28th in Seattle’s Paramount Theatre. Maybe if we all scream loud enough they’ll come to Ireland . . .

Shonen Knife were one of Kurt Cobain’s favourite bands, and it was his endorsement that turned many of us on to them. Yours truly being no exception. Their new album, Adventure, comes out on April Fool’s Day and it’s sure to bring a smile to this cynical world’s face. This happiest of trios specialise in bouncy, hook-laden pop-punk; a kind of Japanese version of The Ramones, if you’ll forgive the obvious comparison. With previous song titles including: Twist Barbie, Burning Farm and Banana Chips, Adventure will prove itself to be a cheerful record for sure.

While they may not have released a truly great album since the mighty Pinkerton, there are those of us that live in hope that the new Weezer record will be a stone-cold classic. Entitled The White Album (either a nod to The Beatles or a blatant steal, again, pick your side) it’s also set for release on April 1st. The more cynical among you won’t be so hopeful. But there are those who can’t wait to hear some new nerdy pop-rock from one of the original emo bands. It’s one of the landmark new releases of 2016. Be sure to get hold of a copy.