Thursday, September 30, 2010

The final quarter

Time for our three-monthly audit of everything we consider major coming up this calendar season. Well, as far as we can go, given you hardly ever get something of worth out in December.

British Sea Power - Zeus EP: 4th October
Nothing more to this than they weren't quite ready with a version of the album they were happy with, so jettisoned some songs that while good didn't fit and stuck them out in this nine track EP, only one track from which will be on the 2011 long player.

Clinic - Bubblegum: 4th October
Taking an overdue step back from the scuzz-Kraut-organ buzz formula that's worked so well they've repeated it over five studio albums, it's their most overtly pop album to date, somewhere between lounge-pop and garage psych.

Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz: 4th October
The two tracks eked out so far definitely point to a return to electronic fixtures Sufjan hasn't exploited since before all the states business began. It's not all like that, it says here, but it is all odd, culminating in a 25 minute freakout.

Belle And Sebastian - Write About Love: 11th October
Norah Jones is on it. So is Carey Mulligan. The last few albums, including God Help The Girl, have been wildly inconsistent and by all accounts this one has been cleaned up production-wise but with a return to post-Fold Your Hands... core strengths (adult pop melancholy, Northern Soul nods)

Islet - Wimmy EP: 11th October
Another six tracks of bizarre rhythmic motorik-drone splintering oddness ahead of a full-length next year. Still shouting and smashing cymbals all over the place. And yes, that odd one they do live where they seem to think they're a Cardiff dub band is here.

Paul Smith - Margins: 11th October
"Inspired by Will Oldham, Smog and Cat Power, Margins reflects a side of Paul Smith that we don’t normally get to see." Well, the single sounds not too far from regular Maximo Park, but we'll take their word for it.

The Walkmen - Lisbon: 11th October
It's already been out a month in America, and already had an 8.6 off P4K. The Walkmen do feel like a band who could easily follow The National into the wider arena, except that the Walkmen have already had their enormoindiehit in The Rat, but it feels like an album with plenty to prove.

Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern - Essex Arms: 18th October
The second in Hayman's Essex trilogy, which he describes as "about love in unloved places". Emmy The Great duets on a track, members of the Wave Pictures and Fanfarlo turn up, and things take an acoustic country-folk turn.

The Phantom Band - The Wants: 18th October
Twenty months on from the tremendously inventive Checkmate Savage, a follow-up already. The first sound on it is a baliphone (Ghanaian bamboo marimba) being sawn. The band credit a "spiritual adviser of sorts" called Mungo Bang. What can it all possibly mean?

Superman Revenge Squad - Dead Crow Blues EP: 18th October
Ben Parker's past comes back to haunt him again on the 4th as the Nosferatu D2 album gets a proper full reissue with iTunes availability and national distribution and everything. Now expanded with a cellist, Parker's Superman Revenge Squad guise gets a first release that isn't self-funded, still as keen on the words and the existential angst as ever.

Broken Records - Let Me Come Home: 25th October
Another quick follow up, sixteen months past Until The Earth Begins To Part, the band who started all this Edinburgh Scene business, by all accounts this one sounds rawer, darker and more subtle.

I Like Trains – He Who Saw The Deep: 25th October
Financed by PledgeMusic, so those who helped fund it will already have heard it. More straightforward, but more engaged with the here and now, and future, is the word. Oh, and the album launch on the 14th is at The Deep aquarium in Hull.

Warpaint - The Fool: 25th October
Some speculation that this could be a slow burner success in the way the not dissimilar XX have proved. Maybe, maybe not, but the four women of LA's light touch could make this quite special.

Her Name Is Calla - The Quiet Lamb: 8th November
The long side of 75 minutes in all, we've been waiting a while for the promise of this full length of slow swell post-rock shapes by the Leicester/Leeds outfit. You might want to consult Tom Morris' track by track.

Napoleon IIIrd - Christiania: 8th November
Named after an autonomous commune-derived region of Copenhagen, James Mabbett exploits the electronic outskirts on his second album. Come and see him and his labemates at our expense tomorrow.

Orange Juice - Coals To Newcastle: 8th November
Plenty of best ofs out for Christmas, obviously, but this one is special, the long awaited Orange Juice box set. Six CDs and a DVD in all, including session versions, live tracks and unreleased tracks.

Brian Eno - Small Craft On A Milk Sea: 15th November
The prospect of a new Eno album is always something to get excited about. Released on Warp, inspired by film soundtracks and improvised textures, it's in collaboration with experimental guitarist Leo Abrahams and Coldplay-sampled electronic ambient composer Jon Hopkins.

Stereolab - Not Music: 15th November
No, not a return from the hiatus they entered last April, but a second set of songs recorded during the 2007 sessions that brought about last album Chemical Chords. Meanwhile Laetitia Sadier has recently quietly put out a solo album, The Trip.

Talons - Hollow Realm: 15th November
Crushing, fractured riffs and dual violin dramatics from the Hereford-homed instrumental band, produced by Tom Woodhead and released on Big Scary Monsters.

Twin Shadow - Forget: 15th November
A hip namedrop in waiting, this is one George Lewis Jr. of Massachusetts, progenitor of new wave-informed synthpop, but not synthpop in that sense, produced and released by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor.

Munch Munch - Double Visions: 29th November
One that might come out of left field and surprise some, a Bristol outfit known for spectacular live sets, working with the highly rated James Rutledge without guitars but with a lot of percussion and keyboards for what they call 'power pop show tunes'.

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