The end of the year is always the time when us music fans reflect back on the year that was.
But, greedy listeners that we are, we can’t help but to look forward to promised records on the horizon from some of our favorite artists. And while there are always the pipe dreams that might finally come to pass (new releases from My Bloody Valentine and the Avalanches, for example), I prefer to stick with more reliable options. Here are my Top 10 Most Anticipated New Releases for 2013:
Yo La Tengo – Fade (Matador, 1/15)
Critic’s darlings Yo La Tengo return with their first album in over three years, echoing the sound of their classic works from the turn of the millennium, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One and And Then Nothing Turned Inside-Out.
Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar, 1/22)
On the follow-up to this year’s underrated debut, “Take the Kids Off Broadway“, the core duo of Jonathan Rado & Sam France mix up a potent brew of late 60′s psychedelia and mid 90′s slackery, at least if the Kinks-ish advance track “Shuggie” is any indicator.
Pillowfight – Pillowfight (Bulk Recordings, 1/22)
The long-promised meeting of minds between beatmaster Dan the Automator and indie chanteuse Emily Wells finally sees the light of day. Two great tastes that, hopefully, will taste great together!
Amor de Dias – The House at Sea (Merge, 1/29)
As Alasdair MacLean’s beloved chamber pop band The Clientele are on indefinite hiatus, it’s reassuring to know he’s reconvened his project with Spanish singer/instrumentalist Lupe Nunez-Fernandez of the indie duo Pipas. Their second release promises further lilting folk-pop sounds with a light Latin twist.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II (Jagjaguwar, 2/5)
New Zealand by way of Portland, Oregon-based psych-rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra offer up an appropriately-titled sophomore release that suggests a slightly more unhinged Tame Impala. Kicking off 2013 with a US tour featuring the above-mentioned Foxygen makes for the first can’t-miss concert of the new year.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away (self release, 2/19)
Striking out on their own makes perfect sense for these post-punk legends, who have over the years made fans of the likes of Kylie Minogue and Johnny Cash. After a brief rowdy side excursion as Grinderman, Cave returns to his sweet spot with what is sure to be another memorable collection of dark and powerful ballads.
Atoms for Peace – Amok (XL, 2/26)
In lieu of a new Radiohead album (but who knows with those guys when they just might drop one on you!) Thom Yorke teams up with Flea, Nigel Godrich and percussionists Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco for the debut album of the Atoms for Peace supergroup project.
Johnny Marr – The Messenger (Sire, 2/26)
Guitar-slinger Johnny Marr has become the Jimmy Page of his generation, from his legendary run with The Smiths, to brief membership in bands like The The and Modest Mouse, to being a guest player on records by The Pretenders, Talking Heads, Beck, Everything But the Girl, et al. He makes his true solo debut this winter, which is certainly cause for great interest.
Devendra Banhart – Mala (Nonesuch, spring 2013)
It’s been awhile since Mr. Banhart almost single-handedly revived the “freak folk” scene around the turn of the millennium, but his newest release (his first in nearly four years, and his first for the semi-high-brow label Nonesuch) should bring him back into focus.
Polly Scattergood – unknown (Mute, spring 2013)
This London-based songstress struck me as the most interesting and faithful of the recent batch of Kate Bush acolytes with her 2009 self-titled debut. All we’ve heard so far from her belated follow-up is one track – “Disco Damanged Kid” – but it’s a winner and has me excited to hear more!
ERIC J. LAWRENCE