2013 – Things For Which I’m Excited

I know, 2012 just ended and you are still trying to catch up with all the new stuff you might have missed.  But, things move quickly in the 21st Century, so out with ’12 and in with ’13.

Below are some bands set to release records in 2013 that I am rather eager to see and hear.  When available I’ve shared the teaser tracks (some of which were released in 2012, technically).  Enjoy!

  • Veronica Falls  After hearing the below single from their forthcoming second album, Waiting For Something To Happen, I am eagerly awaiting these English lads and lasses newest release.  More dreamy, catchy pop with romantic yearning.  Can’t get enough.
  • Yo La Tengo – Last year I spied Ira and Georgia at a Kelly Hogan show in Chicago.  I thought their presence was curious but now I’ve discovered/learned that they were working on their upcoming record with local producer (and Tortoise and Sea and Cake member) John McEntire, who also worked on the most recent Broken Social Scene record.  I’m hoping from more magic from Hoboken’s finest.
  • Widowspeak – A couple of weeks back, I saw was drawn to “The Dark Ages” because of the throwback/retro Fleetwood Mac looking photo still for their new album.  Much to my surprise there was definitely a 70s vibe but far more of the Television and Joy Division variety, layered and quirky guitar tracks reminiscent of Warpaint or Wye Oak.
  • Foxygen — I have a general life mantra/theory that if I hear a name, a word, or an idea at least three times in the course of a small window of time, then I should probably be (a) doing some research on it and (b) there is something (generally promising) afoot.  In the last month, I’ve heard Foxygen reference in various podcasts, radio programs and read about them in print.  It makes me think they are on the verge of big things.  If you listen to their first records, Take the Kids Off Broadway, it definitely sounds like it.  With a retro sound reminiscent of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti or MGMT on their overlooked psych rock masterpiece, Congratulations, this duo of friends since adolescence are making some seriously creative and groundbreaking music that runs the gamut of garage rock, blues, psych rock, R&B, and the intersections between.  At times vocally evoking late 60s/early 70s Jagger with decidedly more U.S. West Coast Psych-Blues, this band has all the qualities to be the next big retro rock hit.  Check out the lead single “Shuggie” below.
  • Kacey Musgraves – I am a sucker for a sad or saccharine song and this little narrative about life in a small town is gorgeously depressing.  Kacey’s voice has the rich sweetness of the South with a hint of country, but she doesn’t seem to be destined for pop Country fame but rather the sort of alternative route of Americana and Folk, in other words, think more Civil Wars and less Taylor Swift (though I’m still waiting for Taylor to do a record with someone like Danger Mouse or Timbaland to help bolster her indie cred).
  • Earl Sweatshirt – Yet another solo effort from a member of the Odd Future collective that could be our generation’s version of the Wu-Tang Clan, yet with a far more curious and perplexing pedigree.  Allegedly Earl was in boarding school in Samoa when making this record.  I’m totally intrigued especially because the opening track, “Chum” (below), has the revisionist approach to Rap/Hip Hop that makes me think we might be on the verge of returning to another golden age for the genre.  With a beat that simmers rather than overhwhelms, this track is spellbindingly addictive.
  • Josh Ritter – If this first cut, “New Lover” , from his forthcoming album is any indication, Josh Ritter will be winning Adult Alternative hearts all over again; or at least appear in some rather poignant RomCom movie montage (studio execs take note).  The lyrics are both biting and brilliant, a great breaking up tracks.  Musically sounds a lot like “Catch the Wind” by Donovan, one of my favorite tracks of his. #MellowBlue.
    • Listen to “New Lover” via NPR’s All Songs Considered Winter Preview, here.
  • Low – If you don’t know Low, you are seriously missing out.  Then again, you might have started listening and fallen asleep given the band’s penchant for languid, low-key instrumentation and their decidedly turgid tempo.  Despite that description, I adore their work and heard that Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) helped produce or engineer this album.  Can’t wait to see what the American Aquarium Drinker has done with these guys.
    • Listen to “Plastic Cup” via NPR’s All Songs Considered Winter Preview, here.
  • Danny Brown – Vocally speaking Danny Brown is to rap what Dylan was to folk, eschewing melody and favoring authenticity.  His voice either grates on you or pleases the weirdo-lovers out there.  And, Brown apologizes to no one and lives by his own beautifully strange credo.  Rumor has it that Grimes is appearing on this record!
  • Atoms for Peace – Thom Yorke’s side project and follow up to the Eraser already sounds like a continuation of his obsession with fusing layered guitar work with deep bass and downtempo grooves.

Other rumors, miscellaneous thoughts and wishful thinking:

  • The National – No official word on a new record but they’ve been posting photos from their recording sessions.
  • Sigur Ros in the US! And I have plans to see them both in Chicago and San Francisco.
  • Gashcat – Based on last year’s Devil Kid Demos and the live performance I saw in November, I think this band is on the cusp of cult Indie explosion.  Hope the demos portend of great things to come.
  • Fleetwood Mac reunited.  The sticker price is high on this stadium reunion tour but is it worth it?  We’ll see.
  • An other Ty Segall record/band?!?! Is their a Guinness Book record his aiming for?
  • Arcade Fire with James Murphy (aka LCD Soundsystem) producing?
  • A new Neutral Milk Hotel Record?  A boy can dream can’t he?
  • The naming of the Kanye West/Kim Kardashian baby?  I don’t go in for pop culture too often these days but this one is just too rich 😉
  • The Smiths reuniting to play any show?  Please, please, please let us… you know the rest.

…and many, many more great things to come.  What excites you?  Feel free to comment and add to the list!


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