Friday, December 17, 2010

Preview: most anticipated albums of 2011

2011 is already shaping up to be a good year for albums. The following is just what I know about, doubtless there are things I’ve missed, or some of this may not materialize:

Dakota Suite & Emanuele Errante – North Green Down

This is scheduled for release on January 14th, so first out of the blocks for this one. It’s another album of classical pieces. I have heard the title track (which also featured on live album Vallisa) which is a filmic, piano-led piece perfect for January contemplation. Would be nice to get a ‘singer-songwriter’ album with Chris Hooson playing some guitar. As far as I know there is one in the works, You Can Leave But You’ll Never Make It Home Again, due next autumn. Also in progress are The Hearts of Empty, an ambient/late night counterpoint to 2008’s The End of Trying, recorded with David Buxton, and The Side of Her Inexhaustible Heart, four pieces to be recorded with composer Quentin Sirjacq featuring string quartet, clarinet and celeste. Looks to me that Chris’ heart is really in the classical side of his work at the moment.

Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Due out February 14th (how romantic) the next Mogwai has a typically uncompromising title. They have released Rano Pano for fans like myself to have a listen. This one is rather upbeat, in the mould of The Sun Smells Too Loud from their last album, The Hawk Is Howling, though there’s some healthy distortion going on. Hopefully the whole album won’t be in the same vein, as I do like to use Mogwai to soundtrack a good brooding session.

Low – C’mon (?)

It’s been a while since Drums and Guns, Low’s last album, released in 2007. This one was a major departure for the band, with percussion and sampling a lot more prominent. What’s good about this band is that, having looked a few years ago like they were in danger of painting themselves into a corner, they now have torn up the formula with 2 very different albums, The Great Destroyer and the aforementioned Drums and Guns. Alan Sparhawk has also been indulging his classic rock side on his work with Retribution Gospel Choir.

Twilight Sad

High expectations of these Scottish guys after 2009’s storming second album, the MBV-influenced Forget the Night Ahead. Personally I’d be very happy with more of the same, but it looks like they have moved on a bit with 2010’s epic Eastern influenced The Wrong Car single. They have also done some interesting remixes of older material with fellow Scots Errors and Mogwai. I just hope they don’t stray too far into the epic, stadium-oriented territory that The Wrong Car dips its toe into.

And So I Watch You From Afar

Next year is shaping up to be a big year for Derry’s finest, capitalizing on the excellent Letters EP and some chaotic live shows. Recent single Straight Through The Sun downplays their heavy distorted side, leaving them sounding like A Little Solidarity Goes A Long Way off their first album or a proggy Queens of the Stone Age. I expect more brain-crushing riffs on their second album.

Peter Broderick

Next year should see the delayed (through injury) follow up to 2008’s Home. Broderick can turn his hand to piano pieces, acoustic folk, classical and experimental music. Previously these elements were kept apart on separate albums and side-projects, but hoping to see them all coalesce on his next.

Others of note: Mark Eitzel will be doing a ‘strictly acoustic album’, the Horrors are recording their third album. Thurston Moore is recording a solo album Benediction with doppelganger Beck. Hopefully it’ll be in the vein of excellent previous solo album Trees Outside the Academy, which had an acoustic feel but still allowed for some electrics.

Lloyd Cole will be recording an instrumental album with Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, probably in the vein of 2001’s Plastic Wood and Queens of the Stone Age are going into studio to record a hopefully much improved follow up to Era Vulgaris, though Josh Homme may be distracted with his non-involvement in the Kyuss reunion.

On the reissue front, Neil Young is planning to release Archives 2, which hopefully will contain some of his unreleased albums from his prolific mid-seventies period. Rumoured are Homegrown, a somewhat downbeat album which was shelved in favour of Tonight’s the Night; Oceanside-Countryside, an acoustic version of 1978’s Comes A Time; and Chrome Dreams, some of which surfaced on the second side of American Stars n Bars. Hopefully they will be available on a reasonably priced CD set rather than some expensive box format.

And I haven’t mentioned Radiohead!