Much as he became known for the fascinating shapes his EPs have pulled and pushed dubstep, filtered electronics and bits of R&B through, he's talked for about as long as most have known him for his desire to record a vocal and piano album, and let's not pretend he didn't get that high in Sound Of 2011 for much other than Limit To Your Love. Released 7th February.
Although now based in Melbourne Lekman was in LA in December, during which time he played a couple of gigs showcasing a handful of new songs, one about stalking Kirsten Dunst, while wrapping up recording of the new album.
It's been a long, long time (well, no it hasn't, Backlash Cop came out in 2007, we mean figuratively), but word of at least two members is they're working on an album with hopes to have it out by autumn.
"This year there's a comic coming" says their press bloke. In other news Alexei claims "in my head the whole album is pretty much finished... every time we've had a few rehearsals to do new stuff, something else has cropped up that’s taken priority. Not complaining though, the longer the songs have to mature and develop with the three of us then the better they'll be for it.." He does however also claim the band are too heavily in debt. Basically, SEND THEM MONEY.
Josh T Pearson - Last Of The Country Gentlemen
After many, many years of only playing his Pentecostal apocalyptic/demonic preacher appeals live for most of the decade since Lift To Experience split, Pearson has signed to Mute and recorded an album of epic acoustic country ballads for release some time in spring. Here's one now.
Late last March the Long Blonde opened her own Myspace account with a song, Homeward Bound, produced by Bernard Butler. It, um, wasn't very good. After that, nothing, until October when she announced she'd signed an EMI publishing deal and could get back to writing. Watch this space.
Do you remember when Marling was previewing I Speak Because I can and said there was another album of her new material almost ready to go for 2010? No sign of that before year end, but rumour has it the material is still fit for purpose and will be released shortly.
Let's Buy Happiness
Plugged this very week by Coldplay, the Newcastle youths came up with one of 2010's very best debut singles in Six Wolves, a song that simultaneously evoked the Sugarcubes, Modest Mouse and the Sundays, who seem to be turning up as an influence with increasing regularity. The songs are iceberg monoliths in a sea of calm without stillness, led by Sarah Hall's skewed clarion calls. A single, Fast Fast, is due February 28th and was posted about two days ago, an album is promised for the summer.
Lord Huron is Benji Schneider of LA by way of Michigan, taking his own route to the shimmering haze of the sunkissed beach vibe, letting Afropop disintegrate in the heat, bringing his folk and calypso cassettes with him to the sort of overlapping, sample friendly stew members of Animal Collective habitually inhabit.
Not an unprolific band, but the launch of Heat Rash with new material and tour promises - one track has already surfaced - and Gareth dropping hints about writing new lyrics suggest something may be on its way.
The Lovely Eggs - Cob Dominos
Holly and David's first album together, 2009's If You Were Fruit, could only be described as 'bloody odd', veering from scuzzed out riffs and shouting to Daniel Johnston naive balladry, like a northern Moldy Peaches gone feral. The second album seems like it might be less accomodating, a track uploaded this week to their Myspace. Released 14th February.
The Loves - The Loves Love You
It's not a war, just the end of The Loves. After a decade together, a notion only held in language given nearly forty members have passed through Simon Love's bubblegum finishing school in that time, Cardiff-inaugurated 60s postmodern throwbacks The Loves are calling it a day with one final gig on 13th February at the Lexington and one last blast of ten songs, all of which are previewed below, in under half an hour. Apparently nearly called The Pains Of Being Poor Through Art, it features appearances by members of The School, Pocketbooks, Still Flyin', The Voluntary Butler Scheme and the Velvet Underground (Doug Yule, though) Released 17th January.
Low recording in a deconsecrated church sounds like a fine match. That's where they've been over the autumn recording an album possibly entitled C'Mon, featuring appearances by Wilco's Nels Cline.
The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh
As a couple of others in this rundown have, you'd expect the quiet hymnality of the Low Anthem to be recorded in a church. In fact, Smart Flesh was recorded in a deserted pasta sauce factory. All about the sonic space and resonance, apparently. Mixed by Bright Eyes sideman Mike Mogis, bowed saw and customised pump organ are involved. Released 21st February.
We weren't expecting it, we can't tell you anything else, but in their new year Facebook message they dropped in the line "Lucky Soul 3 will be hitting you some time in 2011".
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
As if Get Some wasn't a clue, Li's second album is said to be more direct, heavier and less accomodating, written in LA and inspired by time in the desert. The first proper single, I Follow Rivers, is below. Released 28th February.
Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers by sheenabeaston
Anthony Gonzalez has moved to LA and describes his new material as "very dreamy, powerful, intense", more like Before The Dawn Heals Us than Saturdays=Youth, and longer with spoken word sections.
Floorshaking, cinematic post-rock gentry have a new single out on 7th March, Critical Distance by name, with an album planned for early summer. Not the only Leicester band worth keeping an ear out for - malevolent voodoo blues-rock'n'roll attack dogs We Three And The Death Rattle already have a John Kennedy XFM session under their belts before so much as considering putting a single out, while the barely hinged post-hardcore of Codex Leicester has also got under Kennedy's skin. Meanwhile half-Leicestrian Moscow Youth Cult have their first EP set for February.
Lauren Doss' haunting woodland Meccano folk has been around for years, emerging as a compadre of Larrikin Love in 2006 and releasing a compilation of EPs in mid-2008 before going quiet bar a handful of supports early last year. Transgressive finally announced album plans in November and there's a 7" called Colour Of Fire listed for the end of January.
MJ Hibbett - Dinosaur Planet
Busy year for the East Midlands working man's bard, with a new one man space opera, Moon Horse, taking shape. Before that come the last few shows for his Edinburgh show of the last two years Dinosaur Planet (22nd January Autumn Store alldayer at Birmingham Victoria with Pocketbooks, Ace Bushy Striptease, KateGoes, LookiMakeMusic and Horowitz; 8th February The Old Coffee House, West London; 16th and 17th February Leicester Criterion), and above all its full cast recording, of which some of the hot studio action is accompanying.
The Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck
The most immediate point of interest with John Darnielle's latest hyperliterate life scripts is that a third of the album is produced by death metal figurehead Erik Rutan. Darnielle's famously a metalhead but says the album isn't like that at all and in fact sounds like, well, the Mountain Goats. Although, "If you have ever watched say a 70s occult-scare movie where one of the scenes involves a few people visiting a storefront fortune teller, getting their cards read, and then trying to feel super-hopeful about their predicted outcome when what they’re visibly actually feeling is dread, then you have a pretty decent idea of what the album is all about." Released 29th March in America.
We're entering a year of recession, cuts and reduced propensity to spend on fripperies. So of course the already fairly saturated festival market is teeming with people wanting a toehold. Friends Of Mine has grown out of a new band night into the fields surrounding Capesthorne Hall, Siddington, fourteen miles south of Manchester, on the weekend of 21st-22nd May. The Charlatans headline, as the Charlatans are wont to do with this sort of thing, on a bill which also features the Wedding Present, Buzzcocks, A Certain Ratio, The Phantom Band, Emmy The Great, Black Lips, Dutch Uncles, Cherry Ghost, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Hatcham Social and Kong, as well as DJ sets from - and who says Manchester's music scene is too retrogressive - Mike Joyce, Stephen Morris, Douglas Hart, Martin Moscrop, Dave Haslam and, with a certain sense of inevitability, Howard Marks. Weekend tickets are £89.50, children free. Meanwhile Headstock began last year as a one day event in Newstead and Annesley Country Park in Nottinghamshire, featuring Ash, Frightened Rabbit and Field Music, and designed to regenerate villages affected by pit closures. This year they're going for the long weekend, 9th-11th September. No ticket or bill details yet. ATP know how to run these things and their latest expansion plan comes to Ally Pally this year. I'll Be Your Mirror, named after the B-side of the titular Velvets single, is a weekender on July 23rd and 24th curated and headlined by Portishead with guests including PJ Harvey, Liars, Grinderman, DOOM, Beach House, The Books, Company Flow, Swans, Anika and Factory Floor. £59 a day, £100 both.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
"There will be a new Bad Seeds record next year... I've got to write one. I haven't written anything yet." Oh well, then. But we know he works to office hours and deadline dates, so who'd rule it out.
There's a single out on Jagjaguwar, Mermaid, out on February 8th stateside, with an album promised later in the year.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong
Produced by Flood, mixed by Alan Moulder. This is not what happens with bands who trade in unassuming indiepop fuzz wistfulness. On the evidence of Heart In Your Heartbreak not much has actually changed, which is a good think, Kip admitting it was mostly to "iron out all of our rough edges". Released 21st March.
Panda Bear - Tomboy
The next cutting from the AnCo monolith, the follow-up to Person Pitch was due out last September but a tepid response to early singles and live shows seems to have held it back. Now he's told the Wall Street Journal it's close to a final mix. Meanwhile he also let on that Animal Collective are to start writing again before the year is out.
Formerly known as The Conqueror, possibly now known as Lupercalia, this is the second half of the double album promised back in 2008, the first half of which was the inconsistent The Bachelor, this bit of which is more upbeat and lovelorn. Katie Harkin, Thomas White, Tilda Swinton and Groove Armada are involved somehow; release in May, they say.
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Recorded in a Dorset church and, following White Chalk's piano experiments, mostly written on autoharp. But of course. It's darker, more political and engaged with war, featuring a prominent sample of Niney The Observer's roots standard Blood And Fire. NME did a track-by-track. Released 14th February.
The Pre New
Members of Earl Brutus and World Of Twist doing new songs very much in the former's style, as well as 'covering' their work live? I'd say!
Public Image Ltd
You know how Lydon said the reason he did the Anchor adverts was to finance a PiL tour? Those went so well he's been able to start working on a new album, although plans have been indefinitely put on hold since stepdaughter Ari Up died but he thinks it'll be ready this year. He's also got a coffee table book coming out, Mr Rotten’s Scrapbook, a personal treasure trove telling his life story.
So as Blur went last year, so the His'n'Hers/Different Class lineup, waggishly referred to as "the original members" in the press release, go this year. So far confirmed are Primavera, Wireless and a slot uncomfortably behind the Foo Fighters at Isle Of Wight. We don't want to make out it's connected to the fact everything but the album got good promotion for Jarvis' last solo album, but...
Gangway! Jonny Greenwood said in November they're approaching completion, have no idea how to release it and will follow it with the cousin of all tours.
REM - Collapse Into Now
Said by all concerned to be a return to basis REM values. Yay! Produced by Jacknife Lee. Oh. Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith and Peaches are on it. Released 7th March.
Rose Elinor Dougall
Don't hold your breath given Without Why took eighteen months soup to nuts, but it's reported she went back into the studio in December armed with the new songs she's been playing live since months before that album's release.
Their year begins with Standard Fare On One Happy Island, a split 7" with the lively, playful Boston outfit on which they cover one of each other's songs and introduce an original. They've already been playing a few new songs live and in various forms, such as this one in someone's kitchen:
With a tour throughout May - Shepherd's Bush Empire! Man, they got big under the radar - an album is set for May, fuller figured if some of their recent live spectaculars are to be taken as gospel.
Even among the gang of shimmering Cocteau-heads emerging in 2010 Still Corners stand out a mile (yeah, we know they'd been around for a couple of years, we're making a stylistic point) Tessa Murray's spectral vocals float on a dreamy, very carefully made bed of reverberated, droning widescreen as much Angelo Badalamenti soundtrack as shoegazers. Sub Pop are putting out a single soon.
Ten years in August since Is This It. Suddenly every one of you feels that little bit older. We won't pretend we unstintingly think the fourth album will be amazing - have you heard the side projects? - but there's still a frisson upon learning recording finished in November. March, says Nikolai.
This time last year Summer Camp were, as far as most of us knew, somewhere between two and seven people, perhaps Swedish, almost certainly based in London, about whom we really knew nothing than a love of John Hughes films and Super-8 memories. A year of Stool Pigeon revelations, misled chillwave appropriations and found photo back projections later, an album is set for this year with Steve Mackey producing when he's not busy and advising on new forms apparently including electro and hip hop influences.
"We consider this album as a fresh start" say the band, whose 2008 debut wasn't notable for a lack of pointed enthusiasm. They have a new deal, having put that album out themselves, and a single to come, but first some non-album tracks have been offloaded on a free EP.
Those Dancing Days - Daydreams & Nightmares
Different but the same is about what we can say of the second TDD record. Fuckarias is according to the band the most aggressive thing on it, but growth from the pop kids they were on In Our Space Hero Suits is what they say they're aiming to get across. Released 7th March.
Three Trapped Tigers
Abrasive electronic textures, polyrhythmic analogue IDM, electronic math-rock...whatever you call it TTT pull it off with mighty amounts of aplomb, as they should with the album they started recording this week.
Trips And Falls
It may have been one of our sleeper favourites of 2010 but the original Canadian self-release was in August 2008, so it's explicable that they'd already be underway roadtesting songs for the follow-up the label expects this year. As well established by now all Song By Toad Records output will come across our watchful eye - promised are Animal Magic Tricks, King Post Kitsch, Jesus H Foxx and especially one Matthew let on about the other day about a collaborative effort between Meursault's restless Neil Pennycook, Jamie Scott AKA The Japanese War Effort and Glaswegian Fence associate Jonnie Common.
Under Alien Skies
See previous post.
The Victorian English Gentlemens Club
Writing, recording, touring UK and Europe with Archie Bronson Outfit, having a disturbing mannequin on stage. That's about the size of what the now returned to trio status TVEGC are up to, with some sort of churning menace doubtless following.
Wake The President
You're right, we did report not too long ago that the dark hearted jangly Glaswegians had split up. In fact it was just personnel changes and the Sandberg twins (and bandmates) finished their second album in mid-December.
The Wave Pictures
Just assuming that something new will come out of the David Tattersall pen in any given year is a gimme, but their third album for Moshi Moshi - an electrified one, it seems - is due some time in spring.
If something works, do it again. That's roughly the message the band have been putting out around sessions that started in October for the follow-up to Two Dancers' dark, lascivious wonders, essentially that it'll still mine the same bits of the human condition. Bit more piano and synth, though, it says here.
Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney have a new band? Yes please, and you'd best be better than the Corin Tucker Band record. Mary Timony (Helium, Matador Records solo career) and Rebecca Cole (nobody you've ever heard of) are also involved; beyond that, and the detail they're opening for Bright Eyes in New York in March, is up in the air publicly.
Wire - Red Barked Tree
The twelfth album and second without founder guitarist Bruce Gilbert continues the quixotic melodic art-pop clashes that have regularly lifted the last eleven, slightly less linear than Object 47, slightly more decipherable than Send. You'll hear conscious callbacks to their prime work without ever being openly self-referencing. Have a listen. Released 10th January.
You remember! Tweed, bassist called House Of Lords, that one about punching someone's dad? They were much better than you remember. Hopefully they will be again, they've been in LA over the autumn recording and are aiming for April.