Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New poll: What band's upcoming release are you most anticipating?

I wonder if I've reached critical mass with new music this year. I feel like I'm at an all-you-can-eat buffet, pants unbuttoned and stomach heaving with slow breaths, while the staff continues to cart out fresh steamtrays from the kitchen.

Suffice to say, our cup has overflowed in 2010 as far as new music is concerned. Dozens of noteworthy releases have slapped against the walls--some have stuck, and some of slid floorward into a congealed mass of forgettableness, leaving only a snailtrail of disappointment behind.

So I'm swearing off (most) new releases for now, digesting those that I've yet to fully appreciate and scratching my itch for new sounds by filling out my back catalog a bit. My diet won't last long, though, because a bountiful harvest awaits in the form of a stack of major releases that already have my stomach grumbling. Thus ends my extended culinary metaphor.

Not all of these releases are confirmed. Some are just announced, some are assumed based on empirical evidence. But that's enough to stoke the fires of anticipation, especially when we're dealing with artists of this caliber. Let's take a look at the bands in question:
Band: Radiohead
Confirmation Status: Suggested, although not confirmed. Colin Greenwood recently wrote that the group had finished a 'group of songs', carefully steering clear of terming it an album.
Projected Release Date: You never know with Radiohead. It could be tomorrow for all we know. However, I'd be surprised to see it this year. I'll say February 2011, because why not?
Reason for Anticipation: This should suffice.

Band: The Fleet Foxes
Confirmation Status: Album complete, announcement expected before too long.
Projected Release Date: If they don't get it out soon, they'll likely wait til at least January, to allow for inclusion onto Best of 2011 lists.
Reason for Anticipation: Their self-titled debut from 2008 was universally considered the best album of that year--it was ours, that's for sure.

Band: Iron and Wine
Confirmation Status: Confirmed.
Projected Release Date: Kiss Each Other Clean is confirmed for early 2011.
Reason for Anticipation: Steady quality output, including 2007's The Shepherd's Dog, which was HSW's inaugural Album of the Year.

Band: Bon Iver
Confirmation Status: Far from confirmed, but vaguely suggested in a recent interview.
Projected Release Date: I'd be surprised to see it before spring of 2011, if not summer.
Reason for Anticipation: Like the Fleet Foxes, he's got just one album under his belt, and it was incredible. The bar is set very high, but I bet he follows through.

Band: Bright Eyes
Confirmation Status: Basically all we know is that it exists. Jason Boesel, the drummer for Bright Eyes, recently tweeted this: "Just heard half of the new Bright Eyes record. Best sci-fi emo album of the last 20 years!!!" Dude, stop calling it emo. I mean, I know it kind of is, but I'd rather think of it in a different light.
Projected Release Date: No concrete evidence at this point, but I'd guess we'll see it by next summer.
Reason for Anticipation: I personally liked Cassadaga quite a bit, and thoroughly enjoyed his first solo record and his Monsters of Folk contributions. Conor is a good enough songwriter to carry any project, so I doubt the new Bright Eyes won't put his talents on display.

Band: The Strokes
Confirmation Status: Confirmed by the band.
Projected Release Date: Julian Casablancas curiously predicted it'll be out March 11, 2011.
Reason for Anticipation: What Chris Tucker is to cinema, the Strokes are to indie rock. Chris Tucker--a funny guy but not exactly Marlon Brando--only starred in two films last decade (Rush Hour 2 and 3). And because of it, he's considered a high-value star who makes Schwarzenegger-cash. Similarly, the Strokes have undersaturated the scene, and despite releasing only one universally heralded classic (although Room on Fire was pretty great), they've released and toured in such small doses that they've commodified themselves and are afforded top tier recognition. What I'm trying to say here is my anticipation owes less to the prospect of good music and more to the fact that the Strokes are actually doing something.

Band: Sufjan Stevens
Confirmation Status: Confirmed.
Projected Release Date: How about three weeks from now?
Reason for Anticipation: His last album proper, Come On Feel the Illinoise!, is considered a (if not the) triumph of the last decade. Like the Strokes, he's exhibited an almost excruciating amount of restraint in his output. But unlike the Strokes, he seems to only be improving over time.
Seven heavyweights, seven new albums to look forward to. Voting begins now and ends on Halloween...at midnight. /lightning crash

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