January was spent catching up with every one of those lists of "Best Albums/Concerts/Songs of 2011."
You thought during February, maybe you could rest and get to know that album by The Decemberists (it's called "The King Is Dead") or finally learn how to pronounce Bon Iver (it's like "bone ee-ver").
But no. The year 2012 is upon us, and there are way too many concerts coming and too much music being released to dwell on 2011.
You can't take February to wait. There's too much that's happening before March.
Now is the time. But fret not. We're here to help.
Take a peek at our music preview for these early months of 2012.
Your ears will thank you.
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Ben Kweller, “Go Fly a Kite” — Kweller's releasing his sixth solo album (he also played with Radish as a teenager), this time on his own label.
Paul McCartney, “Kisses on the Bottom” — The former Beatles album title refers to a song lyric about including X's and O's on a letter, not to the human anatomy. On this record, McCartney covers some of his favorite old-time songs and includes a few originals.
Of Montreal, “Paralytic Stalks” — Not much is known about this Georgia-based indie band's new album, but fans have loved the two songs the band released online: “Wintered Debts” and “Dour Percentage.”
Van Halen, “A Different Kind of Truth” — This is the first full-length Van Halen album since 1998's “Van Halen III” and the band's first with David Lee Roth since 1984's “1984.”
Cursive, “I Am Gemini” — The Omaha band's follow-up to 2009's “Mama, I'm Swollen” is a concept album, this time about brothers Cassius and Pollock — one good and one evil that were separated at birth.
Sleigh Bells, “Reign of Terror” — This noisy pop duo has a habit of making incredibly infectious music. This album is supposedly bigger, heavier and noisier than anything they've done to date.
Bruce Springsteen, “Wrecking Ball” — This is more of a solo album for Springsteen though it does include members of the E Street Band, including Clarence Clemons who passed away last year. One single, “We Take Care of Our Own,” has already been released.
Magnetic Fields, “Love at the Bottom of the Sea” — Stephin Merritt and his band are back with Merge Records and back to using synthesizers.
The Decemberists, “We All Raise Our Voices to the Air”-- Known well for their live performances, The Decemberists are releasing their first live album. It's a 20-track double CD (and triple vinyl) album that was recorded at 12 different concerts from last year's tour for “The King Is Dead.”
Odd Future, “The OF Tape Vol. 2” — The Odd Future hip-hop collective and leader Tyler The Creator have been lauded for their rap genius and simultaneously criticized for homophobic and misogynistic lyrics (and behavior).
The Shins, “Port of Morrow” — James Mercer took some time off from The Shins to play with producer Danger Mouse in Broken Bells. Now he's back to it with a brand new album and a new label, Aural Apothecary.
La Sera, “Sees the Light” — If you like Zooey Deschanel on She & Him albums, you should get out and find La Sera's new album. On it, Katy Goodman of the Vivian Girls delivers sunny surf pop.
The Mars Volta, “Noctourniquet” — This prog rock band has been notoriously secretive about the new album, though they have played much of it in selected live performances.
Nicki Minaj, “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded”— Though its similarly titled to her debut album, “Pink Friday,” the title refers to the reappearance of Minaj's rap alter ego, Roman Zolanski. We know it sounds strange, but if it has anything like “Super Bass” on it, we'll be in line to pick it up.
Rascal Flatts, “Changed” — This extremely successful country music band is hoping for another platinum album. With a song like the just-released “Banjo” — and millions of fans — they shouldn't have a problem.
M. Ward, “A Wasteland Companion” — After stints with Monsters of Folk and She & Him, M. Ward is back with another solo album.
Insane Clown Posse, “The Mighty Death Pop!” — You may hate ‘em, but tons of juggalos love them. ICP's 12th studio album will be another in a series of albums about the band's “Dark Carnival.”
Craig Finn — Friday
w/ Mount Moriah at Slowdown (Get Tickets!)
Finn has taken a break from fronting popular bar rock band The Hold Steady to release an album called “Clear Hearts Full Eyes.”
K-Ci & JoJo — Feb. 17
At the Omaha Music Hall (Get Tickets!)
This soulful R&B duo is actually made up of brothers Cedric and Joel Hailey. They had hits with songs such as “You Bring Me Up” and “Last Night's Letter” in the late ‘90s and were also part of Jodeci.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks — Feb. 17
At Slowdown (Get Tickets!)
After a successful run with his seminal indie rock band, Pavement, Stephen Malkmus is back out on the road with his other band, The Jicks. They've got a new album, too: “Mirror Traffic.”
Barry Manilow — Feb. 29
At CenturyLink Center Omaha (Get Tickets!)
All you Fanilows should get excited. Barry Manilow, singer of familiar songs such as “Mandy” and “Copacabana,” is coming back to Omaha. And tickets are available for anyone's price range: They start at only $9.99.
Cursive — March 3
w/ Ume at Slowdown (Get Tickets!)
One of Saddle Creek Records' biggest bands, Cursive is back with a new album, “I Am Gemini.” Since the band's last record, Tim Kasher took some time off to record a solo album and EP.
Big Gigantic — March 4
w/ Minnesota at Slowdown (Get Tickets!)
Most electronic music is performed from a laptop or turntables. Big Gigantic does that, too, but they also have a real, live drummer (no drum loops here) and saxophone. Their performance at Red Sky Music Festival last year was one of the fest's best sets.
Puscifer — March 7
At the Omaha Music Hall (Get Tickets!)
You probably know Maynard James Keenan as the frontman of rock bands Tool and A Perfect Circle or maybe you've had his wine from Caduceus Cellars.
But he also has another band, Puscifer, which is more experimental in nature. In the past, the band's live show has had more of a variety show vibe with skits, musical numbers and more.
Lady Antebellum — March 10
w/ Darius Rucker, Thompson Square at Mid-America Center (Tickets are sold out.)
This country trio has made a killing on the backs of the heartbreak song “Need You Now” and “Just A Kiss,” a song about taking things slow. Be warned:
This show is sold out, so try to find a friend with extra tickets.
Kansas — March 17
w/ UNO's Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra at the Holland Performing Arts Center (Get Tickets!)
The “Carry On Wayward Son” rock band is teaming up with orchestras on this tour for an extra kick.
The Mynabirds — March 23
w/ Big Harp at the Waiting Room Lounge (Get Tickets!)
The Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn's been holed up in an Oregon recording studio working on a follow-up to her soulful debut album “What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood.” This tour will be her chance to debut the new material.
Peter Frampton — March 31
At the Orpheum Theater (Get Tickets!)
Peter Frampton continues his 35th anniversary tour for his smash live album, “Frampton Comes Alive!” We know you can't wait to hear him play “Baby, I Love Your Way.”
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones — April 1
At the Holland Performing Arts Center (Get Tickets!)
It seems like banjo's been making a comeback with even comedian Steve Martin releasing a banjo album. But for Bela Fleck, it never went away. He's joined by master of the bass guitar, Victor Wooten, and others in this Grammy-winning band.
Death Cab For Cutie — April 11
w/ The Magik*Magik*Orchestra at the Omaha Music Hall (Get Tickets!)
This alt-rock band's seventh album, “Codes and Keys,” has been nominated for “Best Alternative Music Album” at this year's Grammys.
St. Vincent — May 14
At Slowdown (Get Tickets!)
St. Vincent made one of the best albums of last year, if all of the music magazines are to be believed. “Strange Mercy” was also her highest-charting. It hit the charts at No. 19.
Nickelback — May 22
w/ Bush, Seether, My Darkest Days at CenturyLink Center Omaha (Get Tickets!)
These guys might be the biggest rock band in the world right now. The band's new album, “Hear and Now,” includes singles such as “Bottoms Up” and “When We Stand Together.”
Son Volt — May 24
At the Waiting Room Lounge (Get Tickets!)
Son Volt frontman Jay Farrar was once in Uncle Tupelo (a band he shared with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy). The band's still touring on “America Central Dust,” its excellent 2009 album.
Some big tours are anticipated this year. Here's what we hope to see on tour (though no guarantees any of these make it to Omaha).
Springsteen's 2012 tour keeps him mostly on the East Coast and Europe through the month of July. Here's hoping he swings through the rest of the U.S. during the second half of 2012.
The arena rock band is staying mostly on the outskirts of the U.S. (the Coasts and the South) in its 2012 jaunt with David Lee Roth. The tour currently runs through June.
Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw
The country stars' “Brothers of the Sun” tour continues in the U.S. this summer, mostly at huge football stadiums. The closest they come to our parts is a June 10 show at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
The Rolling Stones
This year is the Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary as a band, but no one's sure (not even the Stones themselves) whether they'll get on the road this year or not.
With a new album, we can always hope for a tour from the former Beatle. McCartney last performed here in 2005. Tickets to that show sold out in 14 minutes.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Though it's been delayed do to frontman Anthony Kiedis' foot injury, RHCP's tour has dates all over the U.S. and Europe through October. Maybe they can fit another Midwest show (say, Nebraska or Iowa?) in there somewhere.
It wasn't so in the past, but Omaha is now host to two different music festivals. Maha Music Festival is indie-focused while Red Sky Music Festival has a much broader appeal.
So, what do we know about this year's festivals?
Maha — Aug. 11
Red Sky — July 17 to 22
Maha will return to Stinson Park at Aksarben Crossing.
Red Sky will once again be at TD Ameritrade Park and MECA parking lots.
No lineup has been announced for either festival. And so far, neither festival has given a date to expect an announcement.