With summer—vacation, not temperatures — dwindling fast and the promise of fall upon us, we set our sights on closing out another year and fulfilling all those high hopes we had back in January. As a consolation for all your hard work, whether you’re lucky enough to have summer vacation or not, there are some stellar music releases coming up, to help you get into your groove or out of it or—they’re just going to be really good. Here they are, counted down to the one I am looking forward to the most. Go ahead, be excited.
5. Arcade Fire TBA (Merge) - October 29
You may have heard that Grammy award-winning indie mega-darlings Arcade Fire have been working with James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem fame) on their upcoming, and still unnamed (though there are rumors) fourth album. It’s not apparent yet whether this new and slightly unexpected pairing will usher in some massive sea change for the group, but I’d hazard a guess that this will either be clearly their best work or clearly their worst. It’s definitely worth being stoked about either way.
4. Dent May Warm Blanket (Paw Tracks) - August 27
Oxford, Mississippi multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Dent May’s joyful and eclectic first two albums established him as an unpredictable yet uber-talented one-man musical powerhouse. The first (The Good Feeling Music Of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
) was a cheeky ukulele romp with a roughshod gypsy/folk heart and a pop attitude and the second (Do Things
) a groovy and silken collection of full on adult contemporary (in the most fun way possible) pop songs about growing up and figuring shit out. If lead singles “Born Too Late” and “Let Them Talk” are reliable sources, Warm Blanket
will plumb the same washed out beach-funk depths of the latter, but with greater confidence and a bit more diversity of embellishment.
3. MGMT MGMT (Columbia) - September 17
After the brilliant electricity of Oracular Spectacular
, it took me awhile to warm up to MGMT's last album Congratulations
, in all its slow-burning psychedelic glory. But since I have, it has become my favorite album by the group and one of my favorite albums in general. Thus far, the duo has released two singles for MGMT
, the reverb-drenched ear-worm pop song “Your Life is a Lie” and the eerie “Alien Days,” which sounds as much like David Bowie fronting Pink Floyd as it does the best moments on Congratulations. Knowing MGMT’s penchant for pushing themselves, this album will deliver all the goods we are expecting and, best of all, others that we didn’t even see coming.
2. Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Tan Cressida/Columbia) - August 20
Fans have been waiting since 2010 for Earl Sweatshirt’s sophomore album. Since his initial return from exile in Spring 2012, the Odd Future rap prodigy has turned 18 and then 19, dropped one half-assed lo-fi flow (“Home”), done a handful of fantastic collaborations (most recently “Yacht Lash” with Riff Raff and Harry Fraud), and put out four deliciously dark and murky singles that have each showcased different aspects of his gift for rapping (most recently “Hive”). Amid obviously premature claims that he is the next king of hiphop, like the second coming of Nas, Earl will finally release what has the potential to be a true breakthrough album this month. Do not sleep on it.
1. Cults Static (Columbia) - October 15
Cults self-titled debut album was my favorite album of 2011 and propelled the young New York group to a level of indie-stardom no one could have predicted. Their infectious, full moon tinted, 50’s girl group inspired, sing and dance along songs are sweet yet wholly satisfying. Lead singer Madeline Follin has the kind of voice, part cheerleader and part lounge singer, that is as evocative of emotion as it is absolutely pleasant to listen to. Scant details about the sonic direction the band has taken with this record are scarce, but even without a single out—this album is something to be giddy about.