If everything works out okay, this year could be a very good year for new music. The new Lucinda Williams album "World Without Tears" has hit stores so I didn't waste any time in picking up a copy. It's making a good impression so far but I guess the true test is whether I'm reaching for it in a month or two ("Essence" didn't survive that test). The new Radiohead album "Hail To The Thief" has already leaked onto the mp3-trading sites but isn't due for release until June 9. I haven't heard any of it so far but one thing I read said it was a return to the guitar based sound that made them famous in the first place. Another of my favourite performers John Hiatt will release his new album "Beneath This Gruff Exterior" on May 6. His last album "The Tiki Bar Is Open" was one of his best for a while so here's hoping he continues in that vein. The new one will be credited to "John Hiatt and the Goners". Fleetwood Mac are almost back together again (Mick, John, Stevie and Lindsey but not Christine) and their new album "Say You Will" is due for an Australian release April 28. This is their first studio album in 16 years to feature Lindsey Buckingham so I'm hoping for great things ("Rumours" and "Tusk" should be compulsory listening for all students of pop music). English two-man show Turin Brakes are following up their impressive debut "the optimist LP" with "Ether Song", apparently already released on March 11. Interestingly, the guys aren't able to play in the US because Gale was born in Iran and hence, can't get a visa (yep, the world's gone mad, if you hadn't already noticed). Pete Yorn has returned to his garage and recorded a follow-up to the solid "musicforthemorningafter" titled "Day I Forgot" which was released this week. A couple of my musically-educated friends recommended his last album highly but I didn't quite fall for it like they did - but he did win some cool points for covering a Springsteen song on the bonus disc. Finally, Jewel is trying something new on her album by trying on some dance and hip hop beats, apparently because some dance mixes of her previous songs got some good reactions. The new album is titled "0304" and will be in stores June 3. I once saw her live and was surprised at how she could rock (as her album "This Way" tried to demonstrate) and I came away thinking that her live performance showcased a different Jewel than what appears on her albums. It'll be interesting to see how she does this time around.