And yes, does sound like a new album next year! I'm thinking it's probably Crowded House. Between the upcoming reunion show and the personnel shake up, it's hard to see it as anything else.
My money is Neil going into the studio with Fleetwood Mac in some form.
This is my rationale for that:
Mitchell Froom is the current Fleetwood Mac producer (after doing Extended Play and Buckingham/McVie - which was meant to be a Fleetwood Mac album until Stevie Nicks refused to be a part of it). I reckon they will have booked time with Froom in LA and that is what is being referenced as studio time overseas.
I reckon Froom and Neil will then head back to Auckland to do more work on it at Roundhead. Neil possibly learned that Nick was going to be in Aussie at that time, so thought it was a good opportunity for the 3 of them to get together and do a Crowded House gig at the Blues Festival. The way Neil has spoken of the gig - he has just said that Mitchell will be joining Nick and him this time. I don’t read into this that Crowded House are fully reforming or recording. What I see is a valid version of the band just playing a opportunistic gig.
I know I am playing down Mark’s twitter announcement but I could imagine being told that he will be seeing announcements of Crowded House playing a gig and he is not part of the band for the first time in about 30 years as Being pretty devastating and hurtful. Mark had to put something out to the fans as everybody would assume he would be part of any CH gig. He just made it very clear that it was Neil’s decision not his. I just don’t see a new version of CH hitting the studio. It doesn’t make sense to me. A one off gig due to circumstances does.
Having seen Neil with Fleetwood Mac, I cant imagine him not wanting to get into the studio with them. He has even alluded to that in some TV interviews.
The song with Fleetwood “Not Like Other Men”, Neil referred to as on the fringes and that he shouldn’t have been playing it. The only reason I could think of for him thinking he shouldn’t be playing it is if it is meant for the Fleetwood Mac sessions. Otherwise, surely he is free to play any of his songs at will and not feel like he is doing something he shouldn’t.
Fleetwood Mac will not be wanting to publicize going into the studio at all. They did that last time and a Fleetwood Mac album never emerged and then they ended up backtracking. That would explain why it is not referenced in the article and the studio reference almost sounds cryptic. Even if they do get studio time, the dynamics of the band may mean that nothing actually gets released at the end of it anyway.
If Neil was to do a Crowded House album, I can’t see him not doing it at Roundhead. But I can’t imagine Fleetwood Mac all coming over to NZ to record. I would imagine they would do the bulk of recording in LA.
I guess only time will tell - I just think the CH gig with Froom makes more sense when seen in a Fleetwood Mac context of Froom and Neil taking advantage of spending time together trying to get a Fleetwood Mac record done, rather than Neil firing Mark, and bringing in Froom to replace him so they can do a Crowded House album overseas with a different lineup (eg. No Mark, no Matt). I find the latter hard to fathom.