The summer tends to be something of a cultural black hole. With individuals nationwide fleeing the drudgery of everyday life for warm, peaceful, and exotic locales, the need for contemplation of cultural artifacts is largely subsumed by the need for heat and hotties.
The film fanatic suffers most deeply from this high-minded hiatus (Smurfs 3-D anyone?), but the music nerd is a casualty as well. This summer offered a mere smattering of quality new releases, with most of what came from both major labels and small independents proving underwhelming.
It has only been in the last two weeks, with summer slowly fading away, that exciting new music has returned to the airwaves. Recent releases by Balam Acab and Thundercat have gotten us more than a little excited in the FP offices, and the music to come is overwhelming in its potential. Below is a list of the most exciting and most anticipated releases of the upcoming season. There are a lot of them. We hope you find something you’ll like.
September 6th – The Rapture, The Grace of Your Love
The story of The Rapture is the story of pop music in the 21st century. When “dance-punk” arrived in the early 2000s, it seemed like a sea-change; retrospectively, it seems like a fad. The Rapture’s sophomore record Echoes seemed like the movement’s manifesto; now, it’s another shard in the dustbin of history, hoping to be rediscovered by young people in ten years.
The constant stream of new releases and rapid turnover of musical trends has left us here, and unfortunately it obscures an important fact: The Rapture, like many of its contemporaries, is a pretty good band. And, not surprisingly, its new record In The Grace of Your Love is a pretty good record. It won’t change the course of history or launch 10,000 ships, but it is filled with danceable, soulful, engaging rock songs. And, given the fact that there’s little else to pick up this week, it’s more than worth your time.
The Rapture – “How Deep Is Your Love?”
September 13th – Girls, Father, Son, Holy Ghost; St. Vincent, Strange Mercy; Neon Indian, Era Extraña; Cymbals Eat Guitars, Lenses Alien; The Drums, Portamento; Toro y Moi, Freaking Out; Das Racist, Relax
This week, on the other hand, has plenty new records to pick up, a few of which are likely to end up on some year-end lists. I’ve never hidden my love of Girls, and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark stands as one of the most singular and innovative artists currently working in pop. Das Racist, your favorite multi-ethnic Wesleyan-born rap group, will drop their debut full-length in an effort to save this sad year for hip-hop. Other than Freaking Out, a short set from Toro y Moi, the rest of the records are sophomore, sink-or-swim efforts from one-time indie darlings. Time will tell.
Girls – “Honey Bunny”
St. Vincent – “Surgeon”
Neon Indian – “Fallout”
September 20th – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Hysterical
Please refer to the section entitled “September 6th” and replace “The Rapture” with “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.”
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Same Mistake”
September 27th – Dum Dum Girls, Only In Dreams; Bjork, Biophilia; Twin Sister, In Heaven; Youth Lagoon, The Year Of Hibernation; Sleep∞Over, Forever; Spank Rock, Everything is Boring and Everyone is a Fucking Liar; J. Cole, Cole World: The Sideline Story; Mastodon, The Hunter; Wilco, The Whole Love
Yeah, I know: I listed too many records. But, in fairness, this is a big week. Indie-style records will be dropping from megastars (Bjork), superstars (Wilco), and future start (Twin Sister, Youth Lagoon, Sleep∞Over), while there will be more than enough to keep hip-hop heads (J. Cole, Spank Rock) and metalheads (Mastodon) happy. This one day might set your listening back by a few weeks.
Dum Dum Girls – “Bedroom Eyes”
Sleep∞Over – “Romantic Streams”
October 4th – Feist, Metals; Zola Jesus, Conatus
A great week if you like the female voice. The sunnier set can enjoy the new Feist record, while the gloomier girls can grab the new Zola Jesus. Everyone wins!
Feist – “How Come You Never Go There”
Zola Jesus – “Vessel”
October 11th – Future Islands, On The Water; High Places, Original Colors; Ryan Adams, Ashes & Fire
Something of a slow week unless you enjoy precious indie electronic music (like I do) or Ryan Adams (like my co-editor does). Luckily, a precious indie electronic Ryan Adams album is almost certainly in the works.
Ryan Adams – “Lucky Now”
October 18th – M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
There are other potentially exciting releases this week (the sophomore effort from New Jersey’s Real Estate, the debut from promising Denver outfit Gauntlet Hair), but this is my column and I’m giving M83 sole billing. Band kingpin Anthony Gonzalez has always made dramatic, wide-screen music, and this double-LP promises to be his most ambitious offering yet.
M83 – “Midnight City”
October 25th – Justice, Audio, Video, Disco; Tom Waits, Bad As Me
A new record from Tom Waits is always reason for excitement. Bas As Me is his first proper LP since 2004′s Real Gone and his first since his long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As for the French production due Justice, their debut record † was one of the most spectacular dance records of the last decade; from what we’ve heard so far, Audio, Video, Disco may very well top it.
Tom Waits – “Bad As Me”
Justice – “Audio, Video, Disco”
November 1st – Lou Reed & Metallica, Lulu
Yes, this is really happening. It’s based on a pair of German Expressionist plays from the turn of the 20th century. Lou Reed referred to the record as “maybe the best thing done by anyone, ever.” There’s really nothing else to be said.
November 8th – Oneohtrix Point Never, Replica; Atlas Sound, Parallax; Cass McCombs, Humor Risk; Hubble, Hubble Drums; David Lynch, Crazy Clown Time
Not to be outdone by Lou Reed and Metallica, David Lynch (yep, that one) will be releasing his debut record of electronic music this week. Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs guests. I feel obligated to listen to this.
Eminent experimenter Lynch leads of whole host of experimental releases this week: Parallax is the latest from Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox’s laboratory side project; Hubble Dreams is the debut from guitar sorcerer Ben Greenberg, and Replica has been described as “an electronic song cycle based around lo-fi audio procured from television advertisement compilations.” A challenging end to an exciting fall.
Atlas Sound – “Terra Incognita”
David Lynch – “Good Day Today”
Hubble – “Nude Ghost”