Thursday, 3 March 2011

My 10 Most Anticipated Album Releases of 2011

Entirely different list from my previous one, this takes us through the officially announced albums which I am looking forward to most during the first half of this year, in order of release date.
Please note release dates are correct at time of writing but my be subject to change if the artist/label feels like it.

The Strokes - Angles

Highly anticipated fourth album from the band hailed as the saviours of rock and roll ten years ago, would you believe it. The Strokes’s reputation is not without merit though, they’re easily one of the great urban storytelling bands of our times, and it seems as if the wider music community will never be able to shake off the magical feeling that comes around the build up to an album release. New tracks "Under Cover of Darkness" and  the recently-dropped "You’re So Right" seem to be a return to roots and an interesting new direction respectively ("I had some early R.E.M. vibes for a minute or two", says singer Julian Casablancas). I’ve got that magical feeling over this one, check out "Under Cover of Darkness" below and hopefully experience it for yourself.

Angles is released via Rough Trade on 21/3/11 in the UK and via RCA on 22/3/11 in the US.

 Bibio - Mind Bokeh

Bibio is the name given to electronic producer and Boards of Canada protégé Stephen Wilkinson, whose from my neck of the woods actually, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, UK. His signature sound often encompasses guitar and piano amongst bleeps and hazy textures. His work often contains elements of 60’s folk-pop and jazz, and I was both surprised and delighted when I recently heard one of his songs "Lovers’ Carvings" on an ad for Amazon's Kindle, taken from his 2009 album Ambivalence Avenue. However Mind Bokeh’s opening track "Excuses" sounds so far removed from "Lovers’ Carvings" that I’m expecting the album to be quite the ride once it’s released.

Mind Bokeh is released via Warp on 29/3/11 in the US and 4/4/11 in the UK/ROW.

Holy Ghost! - Holy Ghost!

Signed to the legendary DFA Records, Holy Ghost! have already released a ton of singles and high-profile remixes,  but we shouldn’t have to wait much longer for their debut album. Like their older brother labelmates LCD Soundsystem they produce New Wave and disco-sounding dance music, only more in keeping with those genres and groups of that time, such as the Human League and Soft Cell. Their 2010 Static on the Wire EP was well received, and produced gems such as "I Will Come Back", the video of which is a near-perfect update of New Order’s "Confusion". If that wasn’t enough to show you how great these guys are, take a listen to new album track “Do It Again” below, or download it here.

Holy Ghost! is released via DFA on iTunes on  5/4/11 and CD/LP on 12/4/11.

TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light

Like the Strokes, TV on the Radio’s reputation and critical acclaim they gathered over the past decade serves them well as fans await their fifth LP Nine Types of Light. Tunde Adebimpe’s sonically rich and diverse indie rockers stunned both critics and listeners alike with their albums Return to Cookie Mountain and Dear Science, pushing the boundaries of experimentation within the genre to the limit. Adebimpe’s soulful high vocal register and David Sitek’s often raucous distorted guitar lay the foundations, but what follows from track to track is anyone’s guess. The band’s knowledge and range of influences make them truly unique, and new album track "Will Do" is a welcome introduction to the new album, potentially one of the sexiest songs we’ll get to hear this year, and yet another new exploration for the band.

Nine Types of Light is released via Interscope on 12/4/11.

Panda Bear - Tomboy

This album in particular has been a long time coming for many, owing to both the rise in popularity of Animal Collective (reaching it’s current pinnacle in 2009 with the release of Merriweather Post Pavilion), and the huge fanbase of Panda Bear’s previous solo record Person Pitch in 2006. Both albums are milestones in the independent music scene and will likely be remembered as two of our generations finest. Whether Panda Bear’s (or Noah Lennox’s) new album will be comparable to these is anybody’s guess, but music fans of a particular nature have their eyes firmly on this one, and have rabidly been lapping up the stream of 7" singles in anticipation already. Lennox is certainly capable of producing great things, but only when his singles are heard in the album’s context can we really know if Tomboy is another of these.

Tomboy is released via Paw Tracks on 12/4/11.

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Post-rock instrumental Texans Explosions in the Sky create some of the most lush, emotive and grand music of their genre, drawing comparisons from Mogwai to Sigur Rós. They’re a band who seem to amaze and expand their audiences with each album, and this streak will likely continue when Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is released. The range of sounds gained from just drums and guitar are extraordinary in the hands of these guys, and the band are able to fashion album after album of tearjerkers and euphoric soundscapes often using just these. Personally I’m not the biggest post-rock fan but this music seems to work for me a lot better than most of this band’s contemporaries. Fans of the genre or those who like their rock a little more interesting will undoubtedly enjoy this once it’s released.

Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is released via Bella Union on 18/4/11 in the UK and 25/4/11 for the rest of Europe, and via Temporary Residence on 26/4/11 in the US.

Tyler, the Creator - Goblin

Cover for "Yonkers" single
Well any upcoming release from new hype vehicle Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, really. OFWGKTA are the hot topic of conversation right now for fans of underground hip-hop and the music blogosphere in general. The young LA-based collective have been hailed by some as the new Wu-Tang Clan, a statement undoubtedly with some weight behind it. Odd Future are nothing if not prolific: you can download several albums and mixtapes from each member over at their website if you’re into that sort of thing. Amongst the most prolific members of Odd Future, one that stands out most from the crowd is Tyler, the Creator or Wolf Haley, who wants everyone to believe he’s both a genius and a psychopath. The track "Yonkers" has gathered the most buzz to date, and will feature on Tyler’s second album Goblin, set for release sometime during April. I'll update once we get a better idea.

Goblin is released via XL Recordings circa 4/11.

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Chances are you’ve already listened to the songs on Fleet Foxes’ debut album, and if that’s the case you’ll likely want to open your wallet for when their follow-up arrives, Helplessness Blues. The band, led by Robin Pecknold combine traditional and English folk with Brian Wilson’s sense of melody and instrumentation to forge timeless tunes with the richest of harmonies. I will be interested as to whether the new album will be able to match up against the most gorgeous moments of the Sun Giant EP and Fleet Foxes, but the title track tells me that I don’t have much to worry about. Music like this exists out of time, place and fashion, and is something for all to enjoy.

Helplessness Blues is released via Bella Union on 2/5/11 in the UK and via Sub Pop on 3/5/11 in the US.

Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

I can think of no better example of the underground sonic experimentations coming from New York right now than those of Gang Gang Dance. Still widely unknown but with the acknowledgement of their peers, and with the potential to release a game-changing album. Overshadowed by some, yet easily identifiable, they are able to synthesise the sounds around their scene and yet achieve uniqueness and gratitude from many of those willing to dig to find them: Percussive dance punk with world, electronic, art-rock and hip-hop textures. The first track to be released from their new album Eye Contact is the opener “Glass Jar”, an eleven minute sprawl that rewards those who are prepared to stick it out. Hopefully the rest of the album follows suit equally as well. I’ll say no more.

Eye Contact is released via 4AD on 9/5/11.

Battles - Gloss Drop

Cover Art TBC
In my opinion, Battles’ debut album Mirrored is a modern classic. It somehow manages to be both nerdy, mathy prog-rock, and yet it’s dynamic brilliance means that to those who are aware of it there is no other substitute for bedroom dancing and freaking out, it wins you over without having to put up too much of a fight. However the group have experienced recent setbacks; after the departure of singer/multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton the remaining three members, each from other renowned bands, decided to scrap their material and work on their follow-up to Mirrored, Gloss Drop as a trio. Unfortunately no new songs have been released as of yet, however looking at the tracklist , the prospects of tracks with guest vocals from none other than synthpop legend Gary Numan and the wildly exciting frontman of Boredoms, Yamantaka Eye are enough to keep my appetite whetted, stretching the limits of what this band can deliver. I’ll end my list of my 10 most anticipated album releases of 2011 with the classic Battles song "Atlas", taken from Mirrored.

Gloss Drop is released via Warp on 7/6/11 in the US and 6/6/11 in the UK/ROW.

What albums are you looking forward to this year? I’ll be interested to see how these albums will compare to my expectations, what I’ll end up talking about at the end of the year, and how the releases of this year compare with 2010 and 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment