Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Top Five Tuesday:
Where Do We Go From Here?

Lately I've been rambling about the legions of album releases due in the coming months. I've heard a few tracks that scare me. Thankfully there have also been many that have piqued my curiosity.

I thought I'd compile some artists with upcoming 2008 releases that, for one reason or another, I'm regarding with special interest. A few of these bands have nowhere to go but up. Others...worry me a bit.

5. Wolf Parade – Ah, Wolf Parade. Recently I was listening to KEXP’s Cheryl Waters, a DJ with impeccable taste, and she mentioned that Wolf Parade was one of her favorite artists of all time. Really? How can you know that after just one album? Certainly Spencer Krug is a talented musician, spearheading WP and Sunset Rubdown as well as working on projects with Swan Lakes, Frog Eyes, and so on.

Still, the band that snagged a coveted 9.0 Pitchfork rating now faces the dreaded second album, a daunting obstacle for any band -- even more so with a band looking to match the success of their debut. (Clap Your Hands, anyone?) Will WP continue down a similar path? Or perhaps take a cue from Sunset Rubdown and focus on slower tracks like "Modern World"? Will they rock? Overproduce the shit out of it? Here’s hoping it’s not the latter.

4. Deerhunter – The machine Bradford Cox is scheduled to release another album this fall – Microcastle – due out on Halloween, according to Exclaim. This is one of the few on the list that I am confident will be good, I take it back incredible, though I’m most curious about how the album will sound.

In that interview with Exclaim, Bradford said the following:

“I don’t really like using effects that much. I like them only because sometimes you need them to get a certain desired feeling or sound, but I don’t like for a song to depend on a metal box working and having fresh batteries in it. I guess I just get tired of depending on technology. The root of the song should be there already and I think you should be able to play these songs whether you have these things or not."
So does that mean the band is moving more toward territory staked by the Fluorescent Grey EP? I’m getting tingly all over thinking about it. And Let the Blind Lead… hasn’t even been out for a month.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially in love with Bradford Cox.

3. Built to Spill – With a band as consistent as BTS, it’s unfortunate that their 2006 reunion album You in Reverse failed to recapture the band’s brilliance. On their upcoming album, this listener would love to see them combine the less polished approach to YIR with the more complex melodies demonstrated on Perfect from Now On.

If nothing else, YIR showed the band isn't unafraid of trying new things, and that is why I’m confident the band will return with a triumphant follow-up album.

2. of Montreal – Early 2007 saw the release of the phenomenal Hissing Fauna, and with it, a new of Montreal was born. K Barnes and company simultaneously released their most depressing, most melodic, and most danceable work to date. So now that you’ve purged your soul of all that, what’s next?

I'm intrigued not only by what Skeletal Lamping has in store for us, but also by its relatively quick release. Might it be the Amnesiac to Hissing Fauna's Kid A?

1. Portishead – Seriously, this album is due out in April and aside from the cover art I don’t know a damned thing about it. Does anyone?

It’s been eleven years since the release of the self-titled Portishead album (ten since Roseland NYC Live), and all we’ve heard since is Beth Gibbons' side project with Rustin' Man (yawn) and a few under-nourished instrumental tracks on the band’s Myspace. I’m not sure what to expect here. And to be honest, I'm a little afraid.

If the album artwork is any indication, are we to gather that Portishead's Third will sound exactly like the band's two previous efforts? Perhaps the more important question is, will that be enough?

Other artists to watch in 2008: Junior Boys, Menomena, My Morning Jacket, and apparently, Gang of Four.

Also, when is that freakin' MBV album I've heard so much about coming out?


Hackworth Artifex said...

Beth could sing with nothing but a Casio for back-up, and I'd still get weak in the knees. /swoon

Joshwa said...

Actually Portishead covered a Serge Gainsbourg song in '06 that was fucking fantastic. I have hope.

Joshwa said...

Because I adore rangelife so:

SonicRyan said...

Gang of Four? Huh. I'm not getting my hopes up that it'll be good, but perhaps they'll actually tour the midwest.

The Moon said...

I NEEDS me pretty much all of these... with the exception of maybe Gang of Four... their last album wasn't so hot.

Thing is, I think, unlike bands like Tapes'N'Tapes and The Islands (whom I believe everyone is just wait to sound like the Unicorns) these are time tested bands... maybe with the excpetion of Deerhunter and Menomena... technically, but come on.

SonicRyan said...

Actually, BTS is probably the only time tested band of the five. Sure, Portishead has a legacy, but its a legacy built on only 2 albums. Techically, Menomena has more albums than Portishead.

Also, in what way are Wolf Parade time tested? They have one album, an album that came out less than 3 years ago! Yeah, they've got some EPs, but those songs made up the majority of the album, so...yeah, you see where I'm going with this.

The Moon said...

It's early and my brain no work good right now so I'm going to start out with numbers and then work with words...

Wolf Parade (as Spencer Krug) - 8LP's 3EP/Singles
~starting in 2002

Deerhunter - 2LP's 2EP/Singles
~starting in 2004

Built to Spill - 10LP's 9EP/Singles
~starting in 1993

Of Montreal - 9LP's 9EP/Singles
~starting in 1997

Portishead - 3LP'S 9EP/Singles
~starting in 1994

Junior Boys - 2LP's 6EP/singles
~starting in 2003

Menomena - 2LP's 4EP/Singles
~starting in 2001

MMJ - 5LP's 13EP/Singles
starting in 1999

As hinted in the list above, basically I consider Wolf Parade time tested becuz I consider Spencer Krug time tested. I mean, the man's been able to consistently release (GOOD) material in 2-4 bands over a 6 yr span...

If any one doesn't know those bands are: Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown, Wold Parade, and Swan Lake.

Speaking of there is also a new Swan Lake album due out this summer.

SonicRyan said...

Re: Krug
Why are we grouping all of Spencer Krug's projects into one? He's one of three principal songwriters in Swan Lake, and its completely unfair to both Dan Bejar and Carey Mercer to attribute all of Swan Lake to just Krug. (Lets get real here, the first thing you hear on the Swan Lake album is a freakin' Bejar song!) While we're on the subject of Mercer, Frog Eyes is more his project than Krug's, so again, attributing all of Frog Eyes' albumss to Krug, especially since Krug left the band in something like 2003, is also unnecessary and unfair to Carey Mercer.

Also, he isn't even the main songwriter in Wolf Parade, he splits duties with Dan Boeckner, so even attributing Wolf Parade's success to Krug is unfair in that respect. Look, I know you, and a lot of other people are crazy about Spencer Krug's work, but lets not forget that, Sunset Rubdown aside, he's not the principal songwriter and therefore not deserving of all the credit. Nor should we start attributing other albums by other bands to Wolf Parade just because Spencer Krug happens to play in all of them. We wouldn't attribute Destroyer, Neko Case, and The Slow Wonder (not to mention other projects I'm surely forgetting) all to the New Pornographers, would we?

The Moon said...

but are you truly trying to argue that the New Pornographers and all of their side projects do not keep up a certain standard level of excellence...?

That was really my only point.... Krug was just the longest WP tie. Handsome Furs - Plague Park was one of my favorite albums of 2007 so I definitely mean Boeckner no disrespect.

Also, Frog Eyes may be Mercer's baby but but according to Mercer, Krug is still a contributing member... at least during the recording process? Which would make sense, I mean they are friends?

None the less let me make something clear, I am not crediting Krug with being the sole talent of these bands... just a key member. In the way that you can see a consistent string of influence (at least talent). Some thing that I believe gives due warrant for a belief in a tested performance.

Femme Fatale said...

I can see both your points, though I do understand where you're coming from on that last comment, Moon.

For instance, I'm not sure it's fair to the other members of Deerhunter or Atlas Sound to worship at the feet of Bradford Cox just because he is the unifying thread. Though he IS the principal songwriter for those bands, so maybe the analogy doesn't hold up.

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