[The Lookahead is a monthly segment where we get to be all newsy and point out cool stuff going down in the next 30 days or so. We'll have cool Pittsburgh music shows and events, local album releases, and some national releases of interest. This is the good stuff we've heard about. Come back on the 1st of each month for more!]
This is the second part of our first entry in The Lookahead series. We brought you some noteworthy Pittsburgh events and albums earlier today, and now we have a list of national indie rock acts from whom we’re anticipating an album this month.
Okay, this came out last week so we’re technically not “looking ahead” to it, but goddamn, who cares, it is downright awesome. Disappears picked up Steve Shelley (of Sonic Youth) as a touring drummer last year, and now this is their first official recording with him behind the kit. This marks an interesting shift in their sound, but it’s difficult to place exactly. They’ve always had great rhythm, bouncing off touchstones of Krautrock and punk and psychedelic rock, so maybe it’s just a certain experienced attitude or freshness of ideas that shines through. Whatever it is, it is absolutely awesome. Recorded at SY‘s Hoboken studio, this album puts all of the band’s talents together in just the right ways, finds them singing about love, interestingly enough, and generally delivers on all fronts. Highly recommended.
Andrew Bird always seems to have something new stirring, and that wily whistle of his is as wild and inviting and catchy as ever. We caught him play in Pittsburgh back in the fall, and he was engaging and interesting, and maybe we caught a glimpse of some of these new tracks. Hard to say. Regardless, we’re eager, of course, to hear these tunes. They’ll sound exactly like Andrew Bird songs, but hey, that’s exactly what we want.
There’s a bit of a back story to be told about this third album from this North Carolina band, and you can read that on their label’s site, but the point is this: Bowerbirds really committed themselves to the making of this album. From the sound of the two singles they’ve released, and an accompanying video, that commitment has paid off. I’ll have to go back and revisit their earlier albums, and I’m eager to really dive into this new one.
I might not have noticed this band if they didn’t happen to share members with Tame Impala (who made my favorite record of 2010) but I’m glad I paid attention. The album name hints at a hazy vibe and the record delivers on that, with an echoey, oozey-guitar blend of psychedelia, funk, and folk rock. This album will be just right for lazy spring and summer days.
We tried to describe the interesting indie pop rock of Yellow Ostrich last summer, but there’s something about them that escapes description. I’ll tell you what, though; they really grab your ears and make you listen, and that’s what matters. From the few songs on this that I’ve streamed thus far, this album is looking to be another doozy. The band is off on a tour with Pittsburghers, 1,2,3, as well, so be sure to catch them if they’re in your town!
This album is a surprising hit, for me. It’s out there in the experimental pop realm. Pretty far out there, in fact, but it’s wildly listenable. Julia Holter appears to be quite the innovator, full of musical ideas that she can spread across this album’s hour-long canvas without making even a minute of wasted sounds. She has a great voice that weaves in and out and floats above and around and underneath these ambient sounds, and before you know it, you’ve forgotten what you were doing and are practically leaning into your headphones to see where she’s going next. At least, that was my experience! Can’t wait to hear this on vinyl. Should be exquisite.
This might be our most anticipated release this month. James Mercer has done some cool stuff with Broken Bells, but there’s nothing quite like a proper Shins release to make our toes tingle. You can stream a couple of tracks on their website in anticipation, and they have a video for “Simple Song” that is just fantastic. We’re sure this will be another great LP. How could it not be?
Kim & Thurston are no more. It seems like Sonic Youth are on their way out Alright, that’s too depressing. Let’s put that behind us. A Lee Ranaldo tune is always noticeable on a SY release, and I find myself looking forward to his contributions. Strangely, though, I haven’t explored his solo stuff all that much, save for some instrumental experimentations, which weren’t exactly my bag. From the sounds of this first single (see below), this albums show the man’s poppier side, and I’m quite intrigued to hear what that will entail.
Lower Dens‘ 2010 LP, Twin Hand Movement, was one of my favorites and those songs still stick in my head from time to time. There’s something about the way Jana Hunter’s vocals mix with the perfect percussion and shimmery guitars that makes something really memorable out of songs that sound, ultimately, somewhat forgettable. I mean that in a good way. This music is far more than the sum of its parts, and it’s hard to point out where that transition occurs. Give a listen to their new single, “Brains”, below, and see what I mean. I’m sure Nootropics will be sticking in my brains for months to come, too.
Lots of great albums coming out soon! These are just the ones that caught our eyes and ears. Have any thoughts on these upcoming records? Know of any others that we missed? Leave some comments and we’ll hash it out!