I know I am a little late on this, but here are the albums that I am looking forward to hearing the most. Please understand this is not my guess at what will be the best albums of 2012, or my attempt at finding the pulse of what the general public is most excited about. These the 12 albums that I am personally the most excited about.
Also know that I have excluded several albums that have already been released that surely would have made this list, had I done a month ago, including the new ones by Sharon Van Etten and Dr. Dog, which were both released this week.
12. Fanfarlo – Room Filled with Light (2/28)
These guys put out of my favorites of 2009 with their debut Reservoir. They have such a fun and full sound, and I am in love with the way they incorporate horns into their music without making it ska or cheesy elevator music. Here is a live session of one of the songs from the new album.
11. Passion Pit – TBA (TBA)
Here is another band whose debut album, Manners, found a spot on my 2009 year end list. And I am in desperate need for some new good dance music. Lead singer, Michael Angelakos, announced in August of 2010 that they had already started work on the follow-up to Manners, and that they wanted to release it in the spring of 2011. Here is to hoping that the delay results in an album filled with tracks I can play at all the various parties and weddings I am scheduled to DJ this year.
10. Diamond Rugs – TBA (4/24)
After the last two Deer Tick albums, and the phenomenal Middle Brother album, I am a huge fan of John McCauley, who is fronting yet another super group album. This time he is teaming up with members of Los Lobos, Black Lips, Dead Confederate, and Six Finger Satellite. McCauley is a phenomenal songwriter and as he proved last year, with my favorite album of the year, he is a great team player. This could be a hell of a rock album.
This excellent singer/songwriter never seems to disappoint. This go around he has enlisted the help of several great female vocalists, including Ingrid Michaelson and Sia. Listen to this great live recording of one of my favorite songs of his that never made it on any of his full-length albums.
8. Phoenix - TBA (TBA)
Very little details are known about the forthcoming follow-up to one of the greatest pop albums of the last decade and yet another album off of my 2009 year-end list. It will be hard to top the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which is why I was glad to hear that this new album will be a more experimental departure from the pop sounds of their previous efforts.
7. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball (3/6)
I can’t help but love The Boss. Even though I was disappointed with most of The Promise, and Working On A Dream, there is no way I will be able to resist going out and getting this album when it comes out this year. The first album since losing his long-time band-member and friend, Clarence Clemens, should be an emotional one, and I will be all ears.
6. Mumford & Sons - TBA (TBA)
The only reason this album isn’t higher is because I just don’t know how you follow up a debut album as good as Sigh No More. I just can’t allow myself to get as excited as I wanna be. As a huge folk fan, these guys are just right up my alley, and I have loved the spiritual nature of their lyrics.
This girl’s voice is absolutely phenomenal. If you haven’t heard her 2010 debut, Suburban Nature, you are seriously missing out. Got the chance to see her live shortly after releasing it back in the fall of 201 and I was just blown away by the power and control of her voice. A few of the songs on the upcoming record were included on last year’s CD/DVD combo release, The Way the Sound Leaves A Room. Take a listen to the title track from that short effort.
4. Grizzly Bear – TBA (TBA)
These guys released my favorite album of 2009, with the stellar Veckatimest, and then followed that up by scoring the soundtrack for fantastic Blue Valentine. But 2011 left me hanging, other than an announcemnt on their Facebook page in December promising a new album in 2012. That is the extent of my knowledge of the new release, but that should be enough to hold me over for now. Here is a song off of Daniel Rossen’s forthcoming solo EP.
3. Fun. – Some Nights (2/21)
Lead singer Nate Ruess is seriously one of the most fun and dynamic singers and songwriters in the game. I have literally loved everything he is done. His first album with The Format, is one of my absolute favorites, and since teaming up with Andrew Dost of Anathallo, he has been creating some of the most enjoyable pop music around.
2. The Shins – Port of Morrow (3/20)
Thank you Zach Braff for using Natalie Portman’s character in your excellent film, Garden State, to introduce me and the rest of the world to the wonderfulness that is The Shins. I absolutely loved 2007′s Wincing The Night Away, and it has been way too long since we’ve heard anything from them. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Mercer’s Broken Bells projects, but I can’t wait to hear the new stuff from The Shins.
1. The Beach Boys – TBA (TBA)
I still have a hard time believing that it’s true. The Beach Boys have been my favorite band since I was just a wee lad, and I had just given up on the idea of ever getting to see “The Beach Boys” live, let alone get a new album will all new material. Sure most of the guys have been touring through the years, but Wilson and Love and the rest of the gang are actually back together writing and producing and then performing together. I can hardly contain my excitement.
I had the great opportunity of doing some good ol’ manual labor yesterday at work. I spent the afternoon by myself workin’ on our indoor climbing wall. It was a little slow movin’ but I really enjoyed it, because it gave me the opportunity spend some time alone with my thoughts (which unfortunately doesn’t happen all that often) and of course it gave me a chance to catch up on some old podcasts.
Seeing as I am kind of obsessed with podcasts and subscribe to a ridiculous amount, I had a lot to listen to, from a fun and fascinating podcast about the Muppets, to a live music session with the Cold War Kids, to an interview with Rosanne Cash done by NPR’s Terry Gross. They were all really fun and entertaining, but it was the Rosanne Cash interview that really stood out among the pack. At the time of the interview, Rosanne had recently released her newest album, The List. This record is a collection of cover songs that she selected and recorded from a list that her father, the legendary Johnny Cash, had given to her when she was just 18. He recognized that his daughter was missing out on a good majority of the music that had influenced him, so he made a list of the ’100 essential country songs’ and gave it to her as a both a gift and a bit of a homework assignment. What an incredible gift.
The rest of the afternoon,I found myself of how much I would have loved to receive a gift like that and how excited I am be able to pass on a list like that to my own children someday. Then I started thinking through what my list would be called and what songs I would put on it. But then I thought back to a question that Gross had asked during the interview. Terry pointed out the fact that the past several years had been rough on Rosanne, with the death of both of her parents and her stepmother June Carter and then she lost her voice for three years then to top it all off had to go through brain surgery. “It’s been a rough period. And when people go through a rough time, I mean some people turn to religion, some people turn to drugs or alcohol, some people have nothing to turn to, some people are lost, some people find this inner strength…there were times in your father’s life when he turned to drugs or pills and, but through all his life, I think he had a sense of Jesus in his life….So what about you? (What) have you had that has kept you through all this?” To which Rosanne responds “I adhere to the religion of art and music and small children.”
Yeah it’s pretty awesome that Johnny was able to have such a great musical influence on his daughter. The List is an incredible album. I highly recommend it. Her cover of Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country” is incredible and the duet she does with Springsteen on “Sea of Heartbreak” is breathtaking. But unfortunately it won’t last. As wonderful and powerful as music is, if she keeps looking to it alone for healing and comfort, she will eventually be let down. I am still thrilled about that day that I get to pour hours into making the perfect Beach Boys mixtape for little boy or little girl to listen to while they go to bed. But I am even more excited about the opportunity to spend every day sharing with my kids the love that Jesus has given to me. And it is my hope that rather than getting focused on grooming my child’s musical tastes that I will be able to pass on something much greater. So what kind of an impact are you going to have on your children? And are you being intentional with what you pass on to them?
It’s plastic synthesizers, neon pinks and greens and all things huge and tasteless. The decade of decadence is governing our culture, music especially, selling nostalgia to the middle-aged and novelty to their children.
The death of Michael Jackson, no doubt the most affecting music story of the year, has created an outpour of covers, tributes and endless video montages, not to mention an ungodly number of CD sales. But while the King of Pop’s death may have supplemented the resurgence of the 1980s, the era’s influence reappeared long before June 25.
Observe two of pop’s biggest stars of the moment: Kanye West and Lady GaGa. With his shutter shades and self-professed Star status, West is the figurehead of the revival. Lady GaGa’s career thus far has been aping that of Madonna’s, though, like West, she’s found success in the rhythms and pastel synths of the 1980s.
But the era’s influence on the world of pop is not so recent, as 80s stars have laid claim to concert ticket sales for the latter half of the decade. Before last year was half over, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen had grossed $133.9 million in concert tours alone, according to Pollstar.
Barbra Streisand struck concert gold in 2006 and Tina Turner, another 80s icon, grossed $83.5 million from January through July of 2009. Bands from The Police to U2 (well, obviously) recently enjoyed a lucrative reunion tour, according to the trade magazine.
Consumers continue to pour out money for concert tickets to win back a piece of their romanticized youth, to relive corners of their lives that have long been darkened. But it’s bigger than that.
At the moment, the U.S. is on the brink: of forfeiting our decadent way of life, of joining the ranks of the unemployed, of losing ourselves in political correctness. Everything is exaggerated and merged. As in the 1980s, huge change is coming quickly and, as in the 1980s, pop is filled with big, loud character.
Perhaps artists like West and GaGa aren’t as proactive as they think they are, since they’re essentially reacting to the world around them. They aren’t producing culture as much as transmitting it. The message here is underscored by its means of delivery: LOUD is back.
Rosanne Cash has announced the release of a new album of country cover songs to be titled The List. The album gets its title and inspiration from a list of quintessential country songs that her father, the legendary Johnny Cash, had given to her back in 1973. The List will be her 12th studio album, but her first covers album. This time instead of showing off her incredible song-writing skill, she will be showcasing her incredible voice.
Apparently Johnny noticed that his daughter had become obsessed with The Beatles and Southern California rock and pop music, and felt that she didn’t have a proper knowledge or understanding of country music. So he gave her a list of “100 Essential Country Songs” and told her as a part of her education she needed to learn them. Fortunately for us, the list stuck with her and made an impact, and now she is sharing a piece of that list with us through this great album.
Don’t be mistaken, just because this songs she is covering on this album are country songs doesn’t necessarily mean that The List should be categorized as in the genre of country. These songs really are that great and I feel like in the same way that they are able to transcend time, they are able to transcend genre. Not to mention, Cash has four stellar guest performers on this album, none of which are country artists (Rufus Wainwright, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Tweedy, and Elvis Costello). You can listen to one of the tracks off of the new album here.
The List (Oct. 6th)
1. Miss the Mississippi and You
2. Motherless Children
3. Sea of Heartbreak (w/ Bruce Springsteen)
4. Take These Chains From My Heart
5. I’m Movin’ On
6. She’s Got You
7. Heartaches by the Number (w/ Elvis Costello)
8. 500 Miles
9. Long Black Veil (w/ Jeff Tweedy)
10. Silver Wings (w/ Rufus Wainwright)
11. Girl From the North Country
12. Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow