There was us thinking that 2007 was a pretty splendid year for albums, and then we get a look at this little lot. Ahead of feature pieces outlining our acts of the year (to be), here DiS scans a number of key releases on the music calendar, taking in a host of established acts and a plethora of bands about to take that ‘next step’.
British Sea Power
Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade, released January 14)
However banal the title, away from Open Season’s retiring grace, DYLM? finds British Sea Power contentedly striding back towards the Kendal eccentrics’ initial raucous brilliance. Though the usual charms remain, with odes to Big Daddy sat beside open invites to Polish gentleman to invade British shores, working with former Arcade Fire affiliate Howard Billerman and Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Efrim Menuck introduces an untapped grandeur that should appeal equally to the red wine drenched sophisticates as the established army of foliage-waving enthusiasts. SS
The Magnetic Fields
Distortion (Nonesuch Records, released January 14)
Made with the aim of sounding “more like Jesus and Mary Chain than Jesus and Mary Chain”, Distortion departs from the soft-rock path of predecessor i to burn up in feedback and three-minute pop songs. That said, they aren’t the sort of three-minute pop songs you can just throw away; Stephin Merritt’s unerring way with a hook pulling us back to this record countless times over the last month or so. Get informed here, expect an interview with Merritt this week and visit our Drownloads ‘blog today to get a free sample. KK
In The Future (Jagjaguwar, released January 21)
The very headiest nod-along psyche-rock around currently comes courtesy of this Canadian collective, whose self-titled debut was deemed something of a masterpiece by many an approved critical publication. New songs aired during their recent UK tour suggested noticeable progression and incorporation of more immediate, ‘pop’ elements, and In The Future certainly delivers in the accessibility stakes. Expect radio – 6Music for sure, and maybe even Radios 1 and 2 – to pick up on a couple of choice standouts before long.
What Are Friend For (FatCat, released January 21)
Brighton-based quartet Charlottefield have long been firm favourites of a number of DiS scribes, their jagged punk noise most appealing to those raised on a diet of Fugazi and their ilk, and their second album takes the template left by 2005’s debut How Long Are You Staying and tears it up, reassembling the scraps into something a lot nastier. Already a phenomenal live proposition, expect their new long-player to attract many more discerning ears the way of the four-piece.
The Mars Volta
The Bedlam In Goliath (Universal/GSL, released January 28)
Omar and Cedric’s latest is predictably as ‘out there’ as records get these days, taking key cues from album number two Frances The Mute in terms of instant appeal and twisting compositions into strange new shapes and sizes. Better than their third LP Amputechture after a few listens, The Bedlam… should go some way to appeasing those fans left less than impressed by said record. Look out for an interview with its key architects on DiS in the coming days. (News.)
Bullet For My Valentine
Scream, Aim, Fire (Sony BMG, released January 28)
Already massive in metal circles, Bullet For My Valentines’ anticipated second album will see their profile go stratospheric if the reaction in the heavier end of the rock press is anything to base such predictions upon. The Welsh quartet might not have all that many hardcore admirers amongst the DiS writing staff, but that they’ve nearly ten million profile views on MySpace is an indication of their considerable audience. Could Scream… be a number one album? Quite possibly…
19 (XL, released January 28)
While the jury’s still out at the DiSopolis regarding Adele’s singles to date – ‘Hometown Glory’ possesses a certain something, for sure, but her new ‘Chasing Pavements’ standalone is plod-along dross to say the least – 2008 needs A Truly Big Voice while Winehouse remains in a state of seemingly self-inflicted meltdown, and 19-year-old Adele (Laurie Blue Adkins – good name) is the most likely candidate to cross over into an already welcoming mainstream. With ‘Chasing Pavements’ a fixture on Radios 1 and 2 as of right now, Adele’s success in 2008 is assured. Her debut album’s reception? We’ll see…
These New Puritans
Beat Pyramid (Angular/Domino, released January 28)
DiS has been fighting TNP’s corner ever since we first came across the Southend-spawned art-rockers, and their debut LP’s a true early-year treat for the senses. Its release date has been moved back from late 2007, and Beat Pyramid now finds itself nestling beside a number of heavyweight albums scheduled for their first outings in the last week of January, but from a critical perspective few will be as praised as this astonishing debut. Catch them on tour this month with British Sea Power, and expect them to be one of the buzz bands of this year’s South By Southwest, too, in March.
Women As Lovers (Kill Rock Stars, released January 29 – US details)
Jamie Stewart’s emotionally fragile Xiu Xiu project releases its sixth studio album proper later this month. According to Pitchfork, the new LP is "more approachable or communicative on a basic human level" than any previous Xiu Xiu album. Collaborators include Michael Gira (Swans, Angels Of Light) and John Dieterich of Deerhoof.
Made In The Dark (EMI, released February 4)
Away from its occasionally clumsy predecessor, Made In The Dark is Hot Chip’s most consistent record yet as awkward rhymes sit beguilingly beside their usual bouts of fractured electro-pop. Sharing as much in common with The Neptunes as Toto, ‘Ready For The Floor’, the record’s centrepiece originally written for Kylie, is the most blatant chart-botherer the outfit have written since ’Over and Over’ with the Alexis Taylor-headed melancholic melodies riding up compulsively against their splintering minimalism. Expect a bespectacled spectacular. SS
Street Horrrsing (ATP,released February 11)
As Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung’s cold scream rings out over their industrial decay through children’s toy mics, recorded with Mogwai’s John Cummings and Part Chimp’s Tim Cedar, Fuck Buttons’ debut is a droning post-rock behemoth. From its fittingly deranged title – taking its cues from dubious urban equestrian pursuits – to its bleak-beated soundscapes, its six tracks reign supreme over 40 minutes, lapping against the mind like an electronic tide disorientating and drowning the listener. SS
Crystal Castles (Last Gang, released February 18)
Specialists in giving up three minute bursting bubbles of glitch witch nonsense batter, what does a Crystal Castles full-length sound like? The fizz of evil Mountain Dew? A Catherine wheel being strapped to your face? Three Japanese fighting fish? Or just this, with details alluding to an hour or so of dangerous brilliance. KK
I Was A Cub Scout
I Want You To Know That There Is Always Hope (Abeano/XL, released February 18)
The debut from two-piece electro-emo sorts IWACS has been called “pretty awesome” by one-of-two Todd Marriott. Well, you’d hardly sell yourself short in such matters, would you? Featuring contributions from members of both Youthmovies and Tonight is Goodbye, we’re expecting I Want You To Know… to sound rather fuller than its makers’ basic make-up might suggest. Catch them on tour with Rolo Tomassi next month.
Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (Kranky, released February 18) /
Microcastle (Kranky, release date TBA)
Bradford Cox is showing himself to be a machine. After Cryptograms gathered plaudits from around the towns last year, the Deerhunter lynchpin has decided to go it alone as Atlas Sound, away from his Atlantan cohorts, after racking up an impressive repertoire posting lo-fi recordings of solo efforts on his blog, with Let The Blind… the detached idyll that Deerhunter – whose third record, Microcastle, is also slated for a 2008 release – have a now infamous knack of painting. SS
American Music Club
The Golden Age (Merge, released February 18 in US / February 4 in UK/EU via Cooking Vinyl)
The Mark Eitzel-led outfit’s second LP following their 2003 reformation – they’d split in 1994 – is already attracting plaudits from press and radio, and is the first release following the band’s move from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Like 2004’s Love Songs For Patriots, AMC’s latest again combines familiar elements of stateside rock music past and present to create something quite unique. (News.)
Ghost Games (Gypsy Eyes, released February 19 – US details)
The first album from these Washington DC-based avant-funk freaks to feature new singer Breck Brunson is a typically manic collection of retro rock-hued modernist befuddlement. Among the best acts witnessed by DiS at 2007’s South By Southwest, The Apes’ fourth studio LP following releases through Les Savy Fav’s Frenchkiss label is a three-thumbs-up winner of surreal lyrical content and toe-tapping breakdowns.
Title TBA (Warner Bros., released February/March, probably)
Metallica’s first album for Warner Bros. doesn’t yet have a confirmed release date, but it’s expected in the spring. The thrash legends worked with producer Rick Rubin on their (apparently progressive and melodic) ninth studio album, their first for five years, and it’s been described as the ‘missing link’ between 1988's ...And Justice for All and 1991's self-titled ‘black’ album.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Mute, released March 3)
Studio album fourteen from Cave and his Bad Seeds comes hot on the heels of his astounding Grinderman album of 2007. Will Dig… possess a similar raw intensity, or should we expect a degree of understatement? Cave’s suggested it’ll tread a similar garage rock path – but the greatest thing about the Australian singer and his cohorts is their unpredictability. We expect magnificence, whatever form it ultimately takes. (News.)
Afterparty Babies (Big Dada, released March 3)
"My dad said I was an afterparty baby; this goes out to all the accidents out there; keep on making mistakes" - ‘Do I Miss My Friends?’ Canadian rapper and ex-Pitchfork scribbler Rollie Pemberton returns with his second album as Cadence Weapon in March. Afterparty Babies (details) is the quick-fire follow-up to September ‘07’s Breaking Kayfabe and early signs excite; the even busier, even wickeder lead single ‘In Search of the Youth Crew’ out through Big Dada now. Alternatively, hear it at MySpace; Rollie chats like he knows you want to. KK
Be Your Own Pet
Get Awkward (XL, released March 18)
Even if the cheap palpitations brought on by their debut record have long since passed, the thought of a new Be Your Own Pet LP does prick up our ears; especially when guitarist Jonas Stein is saying things like “I've been into the Kinks. Nathan's been digging on the Misfits a lot lately… we really like Animal Collective" and the songs are called ‘Food Fight’ and ‘Zombie Graveyard Party’. Details. KK
Midnight Boom (Domino, released March 18)
Yes, the new single sounds like a Mighty Boosh ditty cast aside because its lyrics are just too ridiculous, but The Kills’ third album is sure to make an impact more considerable than past efforts. Could this have anything to do with the dating of a certain super model? Of course, but we’re nevertheless expecting a record of sleazy and sexy minimalist rock thrills. There can be no doubt that VV and Hotel have better tracks up their sleeves than the nonsensical comedy clunk-stomp of ‘URA Fever’.
Antidotes (Transgressive/Sub Pop, released March)
Remixed following the band’s less-than-satisfied reaction to the work of TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, there’s no doubt that the pressure’s on one of the country’s hardest touring acts to deliver with their debut album. What we’ve heard is promising enough, though, to dispel chances of an early doors backlash – this is great modern pop music made by guys with lofty ambitions and the technical abilities to deliver material that’s arrestingly stimulating. (News.)
Good Nature (Drowned in Sound, released March)
The much-anticipated debut album from Oxford’s favourite alt-rock sons finally arrives in March, preceded by a single release for ‘The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor’ in February; the track is currently picking up radio play. Without delving into too many details, we’ve obviously heard Good Nature a fair few times, and it’s obviously excellent or else DiS wouldn’t be releasing it. D’uh.
Title TBA (label TBA, released March/April probably)
Details are sketchy to say the least, but influential Belgian rockers dEUS have been working on the follow-up to 2005’s Pocket Revolution in their own studio and its release is expected in the spring. A world tour should follow, and another album is already planned for 2009.
Saturdays = Youth (Mute, released April 15)
Mute’ve managed to tempt resident space captain Anthony Gonzales from the clouds long enough for him to record a new album; Saturday = Youth picking up where Digital Shades: Volume 1 left off and adding the grand whimsy of older M83. New track ‘Couleurs’ goes for the slow-burning and pulls it off effortless. Hear here; other album details reside in this news story. KK
Blood Red Shoes
Box Of Secrets (Mercury, released April 18)
Delayed by label changes though it is, Blood Red Shoes’ debut long-player still sounds sparklingly immediate – we’ve had it on in the office lately. As intense as their live sets can be, it’s a firecracker of an album that’s certain to shout down doubters of the opinion that the pair can’t translate their excellent singles into an album of note. Fact: they have.
Title TBA (Suicide Squeeze, released spring/summer)
They’ve lost a member but gained a new label, and instrumental metal-heads Russian Circles, who won a great many fans here when they toured the UK for the first time in August 2007, are likely to deliver on the promise exhibited by debut album Enter (2006, Flameshovel / 2007, Black Records) with its Matt Bayles-produced follow-up. Details are few and far between currently, but recording as we understand it is finished, and Botch/These Arms Are Snakes bassist Brian Cook has been involved in studio work. Exciting. Russian Circles tour with dälek stateside throughout February.
Title TBA (Longest Mile, release date TBA)
“The energy is back, and the songs are tighter, faster and, dare I say it, a bit more playful than before.” This, for many, will be the signal of intent that The Futureheads needed to send out. With News And Tributes being met by an ignorant wall and lukewarm reception, many have pined for a return to the stuttering post-punk posing of their debut. After breaking from 679 last year to begin a life of independence on Longest Mile, spearhead single ‘The Beginning Of The Twist’ underlines this as the potent return most were hoping for from the Mackem gents. SS
MF DOOM & Ghostface
Swift and Changeable (Nature Sounds/Lex – release date TBA)
Patience is starting to wane after all the anticipation for Swift and Changeable’s release last year came to nothing. But, under any circumstances it would be difficult not to plant tired blinkers upon this collaboration between Ghostface and MF DOOM, optimistically mooted for a 2008 release through Lex. Produced by DOOM (whose somewhat erratic behaviour will be cause for concern in tying up loose ends), with a helpful posthumous hand from J Dilla, ‘Angeles’ is a decent signal that it should be worth the wait and, with the highly-anticipated release of the next Madvillain record, a signal that DOOM is far from in the gutter. SS
And a few others for your consideration…
agaskodo teliverek, Psycho Goulash (spring?);
Beach House, Devotion (February 26, news);
Boris, Smile (April);
The Breeders, Mountain Battles (April 7, news);
Broadcast, Title TBA (summer?);
Coldplay Title TBA (spring/summer);
Cut Copy, In Ghost Colours (February);
Dead Meadow, Old Growth (February 4, news);
Dan Deacon, Title TBA (April);
Destroyer, Trouble In Dreams (March 18, news);
Dr Dre, Detox (June);
Elbow, The Seldom Seen Kid (March);
Errors, Title TBA (summer?);
The Faint, Title TBA (summer?);
Final Fantasy, Heartland (summer?);
Forward Russia, Life Processes (spring);
Franz Ferdinand, Not Yet (possible title) (spring/summer);
Gnarls Barkley, Title TBA (September);
Guillemots, Title TBA (March/April);
Guns N Roses, Chinese Democracy (???);
Islands, Title TBA (???);
Johnny Foreigner, Title TBA (summer?);
Junior Boys, Title TBA (???);
The Killers, Title TBA (autumn/winter);
The Lemonheads, Title TBA (April);
Lightspeed Champion, Falling Off the Lavender Bridge (January 21);
Los Campesinos!, Hold On Now, Youngster... (February 18, news);
Courtney Love, Nobody’s Daughter (spring/summer);
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Real Emotional Trash (March)
Massive Attack, Weather Underground (working title) (???);
MGMT, Oracular Spectacular (January 21);
The Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride (February 19, news);
N*E*R*D, N.R.3.D. (spring);
Nada Surf, Lucky (February 18);
Neon Neon, Stainless Style (February);
The Notwist Title TBA (???);
Oasis, Title TBA (summer);
Portishead, Title TBA (April);
The Postal Service, Title TBA (autumn?);
The Raconteurs, Title TBA (summer?);
Eugene S Robinson, FIGHT: Or: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Ass-Kicking But Were Afraid You'd Get Your Ass Kicked For Asking (January 22);
Rolo Tomassi, Title TBA (???);
The Silver Jews, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (April);
R.E.M., Accelerate (April);
School Of Language, Sea From Shore (February 4);
Tapes N Tapes, Title TBA (summer?);
Weezer, Title TBA (???);
Why?, Alopecia (February 22);
Wolf Parade, Title TBA (summer?);
The Young Knives, Superabundance (March 3).
What albums are you most looking forward to in 2008?