Now that the dust has settled from the holidays and we’ve all collectively picked over 2013’s music offerings in search of our Top 10 Favorite Records of the Year, etc., we can all take a big breath and survey the field for our next new favorite records. But the list-making urge is strong, so to help feed the beast one final time, here are my Top 10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014 (based on scheduled releases, in order of impending release):
1) Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – Give the People What They Want (Daptone, released this week!)
If you are looking for your first taste of funkiness for 2014, look no further. Fresh from her successful battle with cancer, Jones heeds the advice of her own album title & offers up yet another example of what she & her crack band do best – bringing the fiery soul sound & getting those feet moving!
2) Damien Jurado – Brothers & Sisters of the Eternal Son (Secretly Canadian, 1/21)
Singer/songwriter Jurado has been a prolific & consistent presence since in the mid-90s. Based on the advance track, “Silver Timothy,” this new one seems to have a little more expansive production magic to it, perhaps influenced by his appearance on Moby’s last album, as well as working with producer-of-the-moment, Richard Swift.
3) Warpaint – Warpaint (Rough Trade, 1/21)
Local quartet Warpaint came out of the gate quickly in the late 2000s, with an acclaimed EP, a popular cover of a David Bowie song & a juicy opening slot on a tour with The xx. Their 2010 debut album also led to success, including some high-profile gigs, such as Coachella and the Hollywood Bowl. Thus, anticipation could not be higher for their sophomore album.
4) Maximo Park – Too Much Information (Daylighting (import), 2/3)
This UK band has been a bit under the radar on this side of the Atlantic, but I’ve always enjoyed their brand of heady, brooding, slightly aloof indie rock. This latest release features production assistance from David & Peter Brewis of Field Music fame, which, for me at least, is very much an added attraction.
5) Beck – Morning Phase (Capitol, 2/14)
Last year Beck promised TWO new albums in 2014, the first of which is described as something of a counterpart to his popular 2002 release Sea Change. Since then he has released a series of one-off singles that aren’t going to be on the album, so it is hard to anticipate just what this pop chameleon is up to. But you can always count on it being some fascinating listening.
6) Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar, 2/18)
I’ve heard this artist’s name bandied about over the past couple of years, touring with Bonnie “Prince” Billy & releasing her own, mostly acoustic, indie-folk records. She seems to be poised for a breakthrough on her fully plugged-in sophomore album, teased with the advance cut, “Forgiven/Forgotten.” For fans of Sharon Van Etten or Neko Case.
7) St. Vincent – St. Vincent (Loma Vista/Republic, 2/25)
Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, takes the opportunity of a change of labels to release that seemingly obligatory self-titled album. Early hints suggest that she is building off of her recent collaboration with David Byrne, whose spirited sense of artistic experimentation is a worthy model.
8) Nick Waterhouse – Holly (Innovative Leisure, 3/4)
Local independent label Innovative Leisure has been on a serious roll as of late, from the Allah-Las to Hanni El Khatib to Classixx. Waterhouse had one of their first successes with his 2011 album, but he’s back with his fun & funky retro R&B sound, loving recreated for the contemporary listener.
9) Autolux – TBA
Poking around online I discovered some suggestion that there is a new Autolux album on the horizon. Despite frequent gigging they haven’t released an album since 2010, so it is nice to know that they have more fuzzy indie pop to share. Having just been announced on the bill for this April’s Desert Daze festival only solidifies the thought that something seems imminent.
10) The Avalanches – TBA
There is no real evidence that a new album by these Australian mixmasters is ready to land, but a boy can still dream. There was a new Avalanches remix that did see the light of day last year (on a Hunters & Collectors tribute record, no less!), and given the bolt from out of the blue with the release of the new My Bloody Valentine album (not to mention surprise releases from the likes of David Bowie & Beyonce), it appears that anything can happen!