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2011 Musical Preview (Updated)

January 17, 2011

As is customary, my best of the year lists are followed in January by a preview of exciting things to come in the year ahead. So without further a do, let’s do a quick run-down of what albums have been announced for release in the next few months at least.

First up, cheery Brighton sextet The Go! Team return at the end of the month with their third album, ‘Rolling Blackouts’. It’s getting pretty good reviews, and so it should – while they don’t appear to have progressed their sound that much, it’s still entertaining, likeable stuff – have yourself an exclusive preview courtesy of the Hype Machine. January also sees the new album from Isolee. Out on the 21st via DJ Koze‘s Pampa Records, it’s called ‘Well Spent Youth’, and on initial inspections are very positive; characteristically deep and intricate production and a perfect balance between minimal and melodic.

After a somewhat average year for hip hop in 2010, this year starts promisingly with a new album from too-intelligent-to-be-popular Talib Kweli. ‘Gutter Rainbows’ is out on the 25th and sees him on a new label with production from the likes of Ski Beats, S-1 and Krysis. Here’s first single ‘Cold Rain’ for your listening pleasure:

Sticking with hip hop, there was exciting news recently that DJ Premier is planning to create a new Gangstarr record using rhymes Guru laid down with various other artists and producers from around the world. He told XXL Mag, “There are guys in Europe who say that they have seven or eight … It’s songs he did with them and they never finished it and they said I can have them. They reached out and were like, As long as you’re doing it. You can have the vocals.  I listened to them and I’ll make them shits sound like we were together. Well, we will be together because spiritually, he’s with me for the rest of my life.” Premier is also planning to release a DVD of unreleased footage of  Guru in action. Whether he’s turning in his grave is up for debate, but you can’t argue with new Gangstarr material.

Into February, and Scottish rockers Mogwai will be releasing the brilliantly titled, ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’. Out on the 15th of next month, the band’s seventh album was produced by Paul Savage – the man behind 1997’s ‘Mogwai Young Team – so I’m expecting big things. The week before that, Aussie synth-poppers Cut Copy are due to unleash their third album; Zonoscope. The band’s Tim Hoey told Spin, “We certainly are using all sorts of electronic instruments, more synthesizers, computers, all of that, but contrasted with more organic sounds, more organic percussion.” I’ve had a couple of listens now and I’m happy to report that it’s quite possibly their best work to date, lots of different styles attempted and almost all of them successfully; a healthy does of the Australian summer to get you through our winter.

The excellent album cover for Cut Copy's latest

Also out next month is Jamie from The XX‘s reworking’s of one of last year’s most interesting albums; Gil Scott-Heron‘s ‘I’m New Here’. It’s logically-titled ‘We’re New Here’ and XL have set up a wee website especially for the release.

Moving into the spring, things inevitably begin to get a bit more vague, although there are a few firm release dates already announced. One of those that really got me going was Ninja Tune‘s leak of the first track from Wagon Christ‘s latest; ‘Toomorrow’. ‘Manalyze This‘ is just the kind of jungle-y, early electro sampling fun required to blast off the January cobwebs, and has got me rather excited for the full LP, out on the 14th of March.

Maybe Toomorrow

Also slated for the spring is the long-awaited ‘Hot Sauce Committee Part 2’ from The Beastie Boys. Obviously delayed due to Adam Yauch’s throat cancer treatment – which, despite reports, is still ongoing – it’s apparently in the final stages and will feature collaborations with Nas and Santigold. On the subject of somewhat overrated American groups, The Strokes are apparently readying their next record for a March 22 release, whether it will be any good remains to be seen, but bassist Nikolai Fraiture recently told Zane Lowe, “Sonically, I feel it’s the album which should have been made between ‘Room on Fire’ and ‘First Impressions of Earth'”. Also American, but far from overrated, Queens of the Stone Age are back in March, although unfortunately just with a release of their eponymous début. It is all shiny and fully remastered though and has three lovely bonus tracks to keep you happy until they get their act together again.

There are also some more dance music highlights to look foward to  in March. First up, US deep-house maestro’s Soul Clap and Wolf+Lamb, will be teaming up for the latest in K7’s DJ Kicks mix series. “We have such a strong sense of collective about the way we do things at the Marcy Hotel and on the Wolf+Lamb label… We figured if we could bring that to a mix and keep it in the family, with people who’ve released on the label we would have something special,” said Gadi Mizrahi in a recent press release. The ever-reliable Fabric mix series is serving up a very tasty double header on the 7th of March, the Friday night mix comes from rising star Ramadanman – tidy tracklisting here – while the Saturday session comes from Chicago house master Derrick Carter equally exciting line-up here. Latest news from the Friendly Fires camp is that their new album, ‘Pala’, will be out in March as well. Finally, there’s the new album from off-the-radar German illustrator and producer Siriusmo. It’s called ‘Mosaik‘, it’s out on the 1st on Modeslektor‘s MonkeyTown Records and if the likes of ‘Das Geheimnis’ or ‘Nights Off’ are anything to go by then it should be fan-fucking-tastic.

Into April and we can expect the début album from DFA darlings Holy Ghost! If you nip on over to their website and give them your email address then in return you can download their excellent new single ‘Do It Again‘. On the fourth day of the fourth month out comes the fourth album by one of my favourite rock bands of recent times; The Kills. It’s called ‘Blood Pressures’, and that’s about all the info there is so far, have a gander at their website for a tracklisting and some vaguely pretentious blather about the recording. Finally, Warp weirdo Bibio is also set to bring out a new record in April. It’s called ‘Mind Bokeh’ and below is a sample of what it’s going to sound like. If you like what you hear then sign up on the website and they’ll send you a free track.

On the more speculative side of things, Kasabian recently told The NME that they’re working on a new album in time for this year’s summer festival performances, and according to posturing twat Serge Pizzorno it’s going to have the same ‘wow factor’ as OK Computer. Talking of Radiohead, their oft discussed next album should be out sometime this year, although any more detail than that is impossible. And sticking with big British bands, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree has added fuel to the reformation and new material fire by telling Gigwise that the band will ‘definitely’ do something together this year. “Who knows that it’s going to end up like,” he said. “What I do know is that we don’t want to commit ourselves to anything vast at the moment. We’re dipping our toes in the water, which is why we did the ‘Fool’s Day’ single in the way we did.”

As reported previously on this blog, Justice are also working on a follow-up to their religiously-titled début, the latest coming from Ed Banger head honcho, Pedro Winters, who told In The Mix, “If they need another year to make a record then I would give it to them. People always say ‘we’re waiting for the new Justice’, but if you look at some artists like Beastie Boys or Daft Punk, they sometimes take four years between albums, so we’re still on time with Justice. I’m confident in their skills and if the album is out in 2011 then I will be happy.”

More artists making me look silly are perennial album teasers The Avalanches. I really should stop deluding myself, but the latest in the sophomore saga is the revamp of their website and promises of special announcements in the coming months via their Twitter feed. I was also expecting to have heard a bit more about DJ Shadow‘s new album by now, but news is still disappointingly sparse for the time being, as are updates on previously reported new work from Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk, Battles or M83.

To help you cope with the brimming anticipation of all those albums, here’s something brilliant that’s already out. Julio Bashmore‘s latest EP, ‘Everybody Needs a Theme Tune’, deftly combines the best bassy bits from the Bristol dubstep sound and DirtyBird West-Coast house.

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