You've probably noticed that in a matter of weeks we enter into the fifth and, so far, most musically exciting month of the year. As I've pointed out repeatedly, May '10 brings no less than six exciting new releases from some real hard-hitters, as far as this blog is concerned. Throughout the month, I'll briefly profile each of the new releases, and in May I'll review each of them (to some half-assed degree) and, at month's end, declare a champion of HSW's Inaugural (and perhaps final, depending on next year's May slate) Indie Music May-hem.
Of course, I expect an album or two to creep into the mix over the month. LCD Soundsystem, for instance. This is an artist I've somewhat shamefully ignored in years past. But I could certainly see myself giving it a go this time around. However, this does not warrant it a spot in the fray, as I have little anticipation for its release. The six in contention are artists by whom I own/enjoy albums, and thus I consider them worthy of participation.
So keep checking in over the next couple of months to see how things progress. To whet your appetite, let's kick things off right now, with the first profile:
The Hold Steady
Album: Heaven Is Whenever
Release Date: May 4
About the Band: Minneapolis bar-rockers savant with a penchant for deep lyrics about the dichotomy of reckless youth and religion; set against a wall of rock bombast that'll leave you with sweaty skin and ringy ears.
Last Record: The pretty darned good but not great Stay Positive (2008), unless you count A Positive Rage, the 2009 live disc that does little justice to their live show. Stay Positive certainly exhibited some of the best qualities of the Hold Steady, but too often it felt like a rehash of Boys and Girls in America.
Reason for Excitement: How couldn't I be excited for a release from a band that's crafted two of my favorite records (Separation Sunday, Boys and Girls In America)? THS have earned my anticipation.
Reason for Concern: Keyboardist Franz Nicolay left the band, so it's possible that the keyboard/piano aspect of THS will be absent on the new record. And of course, diminishing returns. The last album wasn't as good as the one before it. Will the trend continue?
Early Indications: Several of the tracks are floating around. They're nice, but not top tier. Singles rarely are, right? It's the deep cuts that can make or break an album.
Prediction: Middle of the pack. I can't conceive a THS record being truly awful. I don't think Craig Finn or Tadd Kubler would let it happen. But I'd be surprised if it wound up as my favorite of the bunch.
Up next, a bunch of Canadians. Stay tuned...