In recent years, as “Best Of” lists have proliferated and inched ever earlier into the fall, fourth quarter album output has borne little fruit. This year in particular, it felt like the music industry just shut down in Novemener and went fishing until January. The early winter months of November and December were a plain musical bore in 2012 to say the least.
Therefore, one would hope that 2013 should be ripe with all sorts of treasures and treats awaiting their release on the world. Here at HT, we’re chomping at the bit to get our hands on some new music and check out some new bands.
From the looks of it, we’re in for a treat in 2013. We’ve got some interesting stories in longtime greats coming out of retirement, some rock solid standbys who never disappoint, some epic collaborations, and some bands ready to bounce back from under-performing predecessor efforts. So without further ado, here’s a look at some of the albums we’re looking forward to most in 2013. Feel free to chime in with anything we may have dissed.
The Big Story Albums
Atoms for Peace – Amok
The successful musical friendship of two of today’s biggest rock stars in Thom Yorke and Flea has already impressed in the live setting, but the recorded material should take them to the next level as a band. The member who oft gets overlooked in the star power quotient of the supergroup is Nigel Godrich. The Atoms have one of the best producers in England built into the band. Godrich was behind the board for the vast majority of Radiohead’s catalog and worked on other standout productions like Beck’s Sea Change, U2’s Walk On, and Gnarls Barkley’s The Odd Couple. Finally, the art work for Amok has already made a statement on its own having been created as a building at XL Recordings home office and reflecting some powerful social commentary of a world run “amok”.
MGMT – MGMT
When MGMT released in long-awaited sophomore album Congratulations in 2010, fans were anxiously awaiting an album chock full of catchy party tunes to satiate their appetites after getting a taste of songs like Kids and Time to Pretend on Oracular Spectacular. What followed was a more moderate tempo psychedelic record that disappointed folks in search of more indie pop goodness. Thus far, only one song, Alien Days, has been performed live at a show in South America and it probably falls somewhere in between the two camps. In a recent interview, Andrew VanWyngarden mentioned that the band has been having a blast in the studio and “getting back to eating more ice cream during recording”, so we can only assume that bodes well for the output here.
My Bloody Valentine – TBD
Cult shoegaze heroes Kevin Shields and company are a divisive bunch. Some consider My Bloody Valentine one of the best bands of the 90s, guitar tone gods, and critically influential to indie rock as we know it. Others view them as a wildly unprolific and high maintenance band with a penchant for procrastination. Rolling Stone considers Shields the #95 most important guitarists of all time. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, this will be a huge music story this year as this third installment in the MBV catalog comes over 20 years since the release of of the seminal Loveless album.
Black Sabbath – TBD
With Ozzy fronting Black Sabbath for the first time since 1978 should prove a wildly entertaining ride. Having seen Ozzy’s reality show, it’s nearly impossible to imagine him fronting a functional band, let alone shredding with Sabbath considering he can barely assemble a peanut butter sandwich at this point. However, the catch is that they have Rick Rubin on board, so there is definitely an outside chance at this being a big surprise to the positive.
Dave Grohl – Sound City – Real to Real
The soundtrack to Grohl’s documentary on the famed Sound City Studios, he’s got a who’s who and a half lined up for collaborations, including, Macca, Stevie Nicks, the remaining members of Nirvana, Josh Homme, Trent Reznor, and none other than Rick Springfield. It’s doubtful that this will be any kind of unified work, but it should make for a noteworthy experiment and a fun listen at the very least.
David Bowie – The Next Day
This news shocked the world yesterday when David Bowie came out of album hibernation to announce his first album in almost ten years. The album is coming out in the US March 11, so this was a very well-kept secret, but they released a video to coincide with the news. We’re looking forward to hearing what the Thin White Duke sounds like at the ripe old age of 66.
We’ll Believe ‘Em When We Hear ‘Em
Pearl Jam – TBD
As it stands now, Eddie Vedder says the follow up to Backspacer is about halfway done. Jeff Ament called the album a “blank slate” as recently as November, so the progress appears to chugging along. Nevertheless, an album of this magnitude won’t come out in any hasty manner, so this one looks like a tossup as to if it’s coming in 2013. The band was widely tied up in various solo and side projects in 2012, but they seem to be universally focused on Pearl Jam in 2013, so stay tuned.
Daft Punk – TBD
The secretive electronic music duo Daft Punk is never keen to release much information about their endeavors, but rumors have swirled via a number of collaborators (Panda Bear, Chilly Gonzales, Paul Williams) who have confirmed involvement on the forthcoming fourth album. Some say it’s coming as soon as March 2013, but there is nothing concrete to go on here.
Dr. Dre – Detox
Detox is officially becoming rap’s Chinese Democracy, but this could be the year.
Arcade Fire – TBD
This one was well underway, but the band experienced a roof collapse during recording, and already had a late 2013 target, so this will likely end up coming down to the wire. As bands seem to be really shying away from releasing anything in the fourth quarter anymore, this one may trickle into 2014. The big news on this one is the involvement of James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem, who should add a shot of energy to the chamber pop superstars.
Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God
The first true Jim James solo album is waiting in the wings and early previews have been favorable. Musicians tend to feel self-indulgent and almost embarrassed by the desire to record an album where they play all the instruments, but for fans it’s a curiosity they love to embrace. When someone succeeds with a band to the extent MMJ has, it’s a rite of passage Jim James earned and fans will inevitably enjoy hearing how approaches the nuances in the rhythm section and subtle nuances around the edges.
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
All we really need to hope for is more of the same from the Glasgow lads., but after working with Peter Katis on the previous two full-lengths, Frightened Rabbit teamed up with Leo Abrahams for this project, a London Academy of Music alum who’s best known for his work with Brian Eno, David Byrne, and Jon Hopkins and playing lead guitar for Imogen Heap. Abrahams is a sonic guru and actually co-wrote Strange Overtones on Byrne and Eno’s Everything that Happens Will Happen Today, so the odds are fully in favor of this being a memorable one.
Vampire Weekend – TBD
The third full-length from Vampire Weekend is officially slated for spring 2013. I think we all know what to expect – catchy Soweto melodies, references to academia, salmon colored shorts and docksiders, and thoughtful rhythms. The formula works, and the band just gets more palatable as the kitschy buzz subsides.
The Milk Carton Kids – The Ash & Clay
We’ve heard this already and it’s a home run. The Ash & Clay sounds like a modern day revue of Simon & Garfunkel with just a hint of bluegrass.
Albums with Big Potential
Devendra Banhart – Mala
Cloud Nothings – TBD
Beck – TBD
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – //
Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze
Yo La Tengo – Fade
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – TBD
Superhuman Happiness – Hands
Ivan & Alyosha – All the Times We had
Eels – Wonderful Glorious
Junip – Junip
Nataly Dawn – How I Knew Her
The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
Alice in Chains – TBD
Black Crowes – Wiser for the Time (Live)
The Ones We’ve All Been Waiting For
Adam Ant – Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar in Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter
Darius Rucker – True Believers
LL Cool J – Authentic Hip Hop
Emmy Rossum – Sentimental Journey