It’s safe to say that 2013, as far as music is concerned, is over. For the better part of a month every music blog has been writing about their favorite albums of the year, producing list after list after list of best song, best album, as well as separate lists for every genre under the sun. I’ve done my best to avoid it, choosing instead to do full album reviews of albums that I feel are worth talking about and that I had missed during the year. I thought that a better thing to do might be to write about some of the albums that I am hoping to see in the year ahead. There are a lot of artists that were silent in 2013, some of which haven’t produced in album in several years, which could be surprising depending on the artists. Here’s what I hope to hear in 2014:
When “Transference” came out in 2010 Spoon had felt like that reliable band that churned out album after album, with solid results. It’s not that they were predictable, per se, as much as they were completely dependable. Going back as far as “Girls Can Tell,” not just a classic Spoon album, but a classic album in general, Brit Daniel and Jim Eno have been turning out unshakably poppy, tuneful albums. From what I remember “Transference” seemed to take a step back from all that, not reaching to the heights of their previous, fantastic, ridiculously named, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.” Though I think that “Transference” is a fine album, it’s not necessarily my go-to when I pull a Spoon album off the shelf. Brit went off and did an album with a newly formed band, The Divine Fits, which was actually really good catchy retro-synth pop (can we consider music that is reminiscent of the 80’s retro now?). Here’s to hoping that Spoon returns to the fold in 2014 and that their nearly 4 years away from the studio allowed them to rest up and re-group to record some great new tracks.
Speaking of indie-rock stalwarts, Patrick Stickles’ New Jersey based punk rock band has three absolutely perfect albums under their belt. “The Airing of Grievances” is about as good as a debut album can get, and then they put out “The Monitor,” one of the best albums that I have ever heard. “Local Business” stripped back some of the high concept of those first two albums and delivered some straight ahead riff-based rock that shows the band easily churning out a full album’s worth or singles. Seeing the band this past September and accosting Stickles at the merch table (ok accost is a strong word, but I did talk to him when he clearly did not want to talk) he said that they would have a new album “ready to go in 14 months.” I remember this specifically because that was a strange number. Anyway, I hope that’s true, and I look forward to a new Titus album in November 2014.
I’m a huge Shellac fan. I’ve written about Albini’s casual mention earlier this year of a new album being ready to go (and then I went on to write about something completely different, but trust me it’s in there somewhere). Who knows what the hell will happen though. It’s not like the band needs the money, or is even in it for that reason. Whenever they put it out they’ll put it out and then probably tour a little bit behind it and then lock themselves in the studio again to work. I know that this is probably an unpopular opinion, as their fans are pretty fanatical and unmutable in their view of the band, but I really didn’t like their last album “Excellent Italian Greyhound,” so I’m especially looking forward to the next one. Here’s to hoping that it is closer in sound to “At Action Park,” or whatever.
If you’re going to release albums that are barely a half hour long, I’m going to want more than one every few years. I know that they have said repeatedly that they hate being in the studio, but unfortunately it’s a part of life. Both of their releases have been stellar so far, and I’m sure that whatever they come up with next will not be disappointing, so I hope that they get on it.
My favorite album of 2013. But I have the same complaint as with Japandroids. I mean, the album was EP length at best. I hope that this group of young kids has another great album in them because “Sunken” was an enviable debut and if they can pull off another album that good I think their status will be solidified as a force in the music world, whereas right now they are just hopefuls.
Of course I’m going to say of Montreal. I’ve loved everything that they’ve done, and sure “Lousy With Sylvianbriar” just came out barely a few months ago, but Kevin Barnes has been on a good run, releasing a lot of music year after year and constantly taking his writing to new and exciting places. With every twist and turn I’ve been on board, so let’s see how much farther he can take it.
That just about sums up what I am hoping for in the coming year. Of course I’m also looking forward to the unexpected, the bands that haven’t released anything yet and therefore aren’t on the radar. That is always the most exciting part of writing a blog, the getting new stuff dropped into the mailbox, or linked to on soundcloud. So here’s to another year of new sounds by bands new and old, the expected and the unexpected.