28 Feb 2016

For the Calendar : Records to look forward to in 2016

I think the majority of nice, normal people don't really keep a mental list of records that they're looking forward to in the near future. It's okay though, because yr favourite pretentious music blogger, that is me Calum, does just that, and has compiled them all into a nice long list for all to read. Here's a selection of could-be-great records to look forward to this year.

The second Eagulls LP
Leeds' post-punk quintet released 2014's standout guitar debut with the all-killer no-filler Eagulls. On it, you can find 10 of the most complete, gnarly post-punk songs with thundering basslines, whirring guitars and frontman George Mitchell's deranged vocals. They have a followup chalked for May, by the name of Ullages, and from the sound of their two singles - My Life in Rewind and Lemontrees - they're changing their sound up quite a bit. Although the guitars on Eagulls had an ethereal shoegazey sound to them, they were dissected by ravaging basslines. On these songs, the band take a more dream-pop approach, with slow moving melodies and dreamy guitars right in the foreground. It's still Eagulls though, with George Mitchell's inescapable vocals still shrill and piercing. This is definitely one to look forward to, and if you get the chance to see them in a small enough venue, seeing them live might be just as essential as hearing this record.

The LCD Soundsystem comeback record
LCD Soundsystem are one of the greatest bands active in my lifetime, and after the release of third record This Is Happening they took an indefinite hiatus. The new year though saw them announce that they'd be back for a tour, explaining with such heartfelt integrity that you can't help but feel that James Murphy is 100% in it for the artistic reward of making more music with one of the great bands. I don't know what this record will be like, but I do know that it will quite probably be the music event of the year.

Parquet Courts' latest record - Human Performance
On April 8th, the latest record by New York's finest rock 'n' roll band's third full length comes out. Responsible for what I'd describe as indie rock's 2010's standout Light Up Gold, one of the most instant and thrilling guitar albums of the last five years, as well as plentiful fantastic records in more recent times, they're a band whose every move is exciting. When I first heard Light Up Gold, my first instincts were that this band probably had this one pinging indie rock sound and that they'd stick to it for the remainder of their career. However, after the release of last year's Monastic Living EP, essentially a half hour long Metal Machine Music equivalent where the band went out of their way to be as invasive and unlistenable as possible, the band have set sail for more experimental waters. 2 of Human Performance's 14 songs have been made available to listen to online, and they're making way for this to be a really very strong album. Berlin Got Blurry is a number that sounds so instantly cool, nonchalant, with the band going for a Transformer-era Lou Reed strut. The other track is Dust, which has an air of Television about it, as well as some effortlessly chilled deadpan vocals. Is this the Courts' most NYC album yet? We've only got a month and a half to wait and find out.

The Minor Victories record
Some supergroups efforts feel tired and unoriginal, with the big names struggling to bring with them the ferocious creativity that makes them big names. The news of supergroup Minor Victories is pretty damn incredible though - Slowdive's Rachel Goswell, teaming up with Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite and Editors' Justin Lockey. They've released one song, A Hundred Ropes, which is a brilliantly creative storming post-punk number that combines the ethereality of Slowdive on the vocal front with symphonic strings, an unstoppable rhythm section and some of the best synth slash guitar sounds you'll hear anywhere. It's primed the Minor Victories album to be a thing of real intrigue, and will probably be a cracking record as well.

NNA089: AJ Cornell & Tim Darcy "Too Significant To Ignore" cover artTim Darcy of Ought and AJ Cornell to team up for a record...
AJ Cornell is an avant-garde improviser, notable for such work as soundscapes and found music, and Tim Darcy is the frontman of Ought, a post-punk band prolific for creating brilliant jarring guitar lines and some of the most uniquely witty lyrics in music today. On March 18th, they're putting out an album out on Vermont-based label NNA tapes called Too Significant To Ignore. I've not heard a teaser cut yet from it, but essentially the description on NNA's bandcamp implies that it'll be more electronic than the Ought albums, but should still remain very much in the thought-provoking post-punk vain.

Bloody Radiohead
How long have we been waiting for the seemingly imminent LP9? It's definitely been a very long time. Any other band, and you'd probably give up hope, especially seeing as we've got no idea what this will be like or what direction the band will take, but with Radiohead you've just gotta assume that they'll do something really bloody good. Or at least something worth paying attention to. Also, the Spectre song they gave away at Christmas was very, very good, if not a little plain, so y'know, it's probable that if Radiohead do something this year it'll be essential that you at least give it a go.

Cat's Eyes' third record
Horrors side project, this is a collaboration between Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira. In 2011 they released a really beautiful self-titled symphonic pop record that was awash with some of the dreamiest and most haunting pop songs you'll ever hear. Then last year, they did the OST for The Duke Of Burgundy. Now, they're back with a third record. The first song off it Chameleon Queen is seemingly not too bad, with Zeffira's soprano and lotsa strings making a gorgeous soundbed for Faris' vocals, and although it's fairly unexciting this album could be a very good artsy pop record.

Public Memory - debut record from an upcoming electronic wizard
The dark, warped world of Robert Toher's music is something that's inescapably brilliant. The NYC producer's debut is out in a few weeks, and goes by the name of Wuthering Drum. If you're into the likes of Massive Attack and Kid A, this is basically for you - eerie and dark, the songs that have come off of it already, Zig Zag, Lunar and Ringleader summon such vivid atmospheres that make you feel uneasy, create images of walking home in an urban area late at night. It's out March 18th via Felte recordings.

Public Access TV - the debut
NYC hotshots Public Access TV said in a recent interview with us that they'd finished up their debut record, and although there's not a date on the way just yet, it's likely that it'll be with us over the next six months. Probably the pick of the classic NME-style indie rock bands to emerge over the past year or so, their album's looking to be a really solid one already with such cuts as On Location and In Love and Alone said to be on the record.

More Hookworms?! And a solo project
They've been teasing new music and all for quite some time, and I think off the top of my head they said that 2016 would see an EP and then an album for Leeds' finest Bringers Of The Noise. This is probably the only purely speculative record I've put on the list, but it's so exciting and the band have such a brilliant work ethos that I don't think they'll let us down. Debut Pearl Mystic and the follow up for The Hum were my albums of the year in 2013 and 2014 respectively, so I'm really bloody excited about this prospect. And if you missed it, frontman MJ released a solo song, and it's really quite gorgeous, as well as promising an album's worth of material, which is a great thought to tide us over til it happens.

PJ Harvey's new one...
PJ Harvey is an artist who has risen to prevalence via a string of incredibly strong records since the early nineties. The latest one is due April and called The Hope Six Demolition Project. It boasts the song The Wheel (the only song teased from it yet), and is set to coincide with her headline performance at Field Day, so obviously you've gotta just have blind faith that our Polly won't let us down with this album...

All the reformed shoegaze bands owe us material
Lush, Ride, Slowdive, the Jesus and Mary Chain, a bunch of incredible shoegaze and dream-pop bands that have reformed fairly recently to do comeback tours. They also, however, have all said that they'd like to work on new material rather than just dust off the classics, so records from all 4 this year might not be outta the question. Lush put out a song last week, and the others basically owe us something, so come on, let 2016 be another great year for the shoegaze revival.

That's it for this instalment of me building up albums that may well suck or never see the light of day. But hey, if all these mug us off, it's not all doom and gloom, because are tons more albums on the way I just can't be bothered to write about just here. But in 2016, it's worth adding as a footnote we're probably expecting new stuff also from MGMT, Polica, Kim Gordon, Yoko Ono, Violent Femmes, Primal Scream, Explosions in the Sky, The Dandy Warhols, Tacocat, White Lung, Oscar, Underworld and maybe even more Kanye to look forward to... 2016 will be a good year.

(written by calum cashin)