As we near the end of June, the halfway point of ought-six, we brace ourselves for the imminent deluge of "Best Albums Of The Year So Far" lists. If music blogs love one thing, it's little lists of favorite discs. The top-tens and top-twenties of 2005 started popping up so early (and so often) last year that I burned out on 'em before '06 even started. By the time I started to prepare my own, I realized I just didn't care anymore... for the first time in five years, I didn't do it. The early-birds sucked out all the fun, some coming even far before Thanksgiving, as if they used the appearance of Christmas decorations as a starting gun.
So in advance of all the 'Best So Far' lists you'll soon see, I thought I'd do something a little different for my Clicky Clicky guest-post, and talk about some albums that I'm most looking forward to in the second six months of 2006 (and in some cases, beyond). Some have solid release dates, others don't, and still others may wait until next year. Whatever the case, all give me high hopes...
- Sparklehorse | title tbd | September 2006 (tenative)
As the little bird says, Mark Linkous has finished the next Sparklehorse album, and it will tentatively be out in September. Some words from the site: "Contributors and Collaborations on the new LP include Dangermouse, Christian Fennesz, Scott Minor, Stephen Drozd, Dave Fridmann, Sophie Michalitsianos, and Johnny Hott. The new LP also includes an unreleased song from 'It's a Wonderful Life' featuring Tom Waits on piano." Bound to be brilliant.
- Yo La Tengo | "I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass" | September 12th, 2006
When James McNew joked that 'IANAOYAIWBYA' could be the title, who thought it would stick? Not me, but I love that it did. As they said "fifteen new songs, no covers", and one of them is the already shared MP3 'Beanbag'.
- The Album Leaf | "Into the Blue Again" | September 12th, 2006
Given that I've loved everything AL mastermind Jimmy Lavalle has put out, I expect the next full length to treat me no differently. Judging from the first preview track, 'Red Eye' (stream it on MySpace), my expectations are quite safe.
- Kristin Hersh | "Learn to Sing Like a Star" (tentative title) | Late '06 / Early '07
In Kristin's words, it's been mixed and mastered, and should now be in the hands of 4AD for a fall/winter release. Drums by her Throwing Muses bandmate (and one of my rhythmic heroes) David Narcizo, sure-to-be-beautiful string arrangements by the brilliant McCarricks. I absolutely can't wait for this one. The Muses will reunite this summer for a couple shows, and Kristin's current rock-vessel, 50 Foot Wave, will be opening up. After that gift, I'm looking forward to some solo K shows, and whenever the album arrives, I expect it will be a big part of my winter soundtrack.
- Tara Jane O'Neil | "In Cirles" | September 12th
Her solo work since Retsin & Rodan has improved with every release (and it was good from the get go), so I'm really psyched for album number four. Still haven't picked up her recent import EP, 'A Raveling', but the song clips on the Brainwashed site and at Darla are very promising.
- Pernice Brothers | "Live A Little" | September 2006
Yup, the latest news from Pernice headquarters is the title and a release month now that the tracks are mixed. More words from the latest update: "The lineup this time around included Peyton Pinkerton, James Walbourne, Patrick Berkery and Bob Pernice on their usual instruments, with Joe Pernice playing bass in addition to the stuff he usually does. Kara Pernice Coyne and Anne Pinkerton make vocal appearances. And Mike Deming did the string and horn arrangements. That’s right, strings. And horns." Sounds good to me.
- Eric Bachmann | "To The Races" | August 22nd, 2006
The ex-Archers of Loaf leader and the man behind Crooked Fingers sheds band names for his own on his Saddle Creek solo debut. Album cover here, eventual Bachmann website here.
- Secret Shine | "Beyond Sea and Sky" EP (tenative title) | September 2006
The surprise return of these self-proclaimed shoegazers was a welcome one, and I was happy to see the quick release of the 'Elemental' EP in February. I thought we might see an eventual album, but since the band is self-financed, EPs are what we're going to get until someone else foots the bill. You can hear samples from that first EP right here, and the next one arrives in September.
Other scheduled albums I'm looking forward to...
- The North Atlantic | "Wires In The Walls" | July 11th, 2006
Stream: 3 Songs
- Thom Yorke | "The Eraser" | July 11th, 2006
- The Long Winters | "Putting The Days To Bed" | July 25th, 2006
- Joan of Arc | "Eventually, All At Once" | July 25th, 2006
- Lambchop | "Damaged" | August 22nd, 2006
- Jason Molina | "Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go" | August 22nd, 2006
- Pajo | "1968" | August 22nd, 2006
- M. Ward | "Post-War" | August 22nd, 2006
- Liz Mitchell & Dan Littleton (Ida) | "You Are My Little Bird" | Late August 2006
- The Dears | "Gang Of Losers" | August 29th 2006
stream: 'Whites Only Party' | download 'Hate Then Love'
- Amy Millan | "Honey From The Tombs" | August 29th, 2006
download 'Skinny Boy'
- Now It's Overhead | "Dark Light Daybreak" | September 12th, 2006
download 'Let the Sirens Rest'
- Bonnie Prince Billy | "Then The Letting Go" | September 19th, 2006
- Decemberists | "The Crane Wife" | October 3rd, 2006
- Micah P. Hinson | "Micah P. Hinson And The Opera Circuit" | October 10th, 2006
- Robert Pollard | "Normal Happiness" | October 10th, 2006
In the works...
- Mary Timony | title tbd
According to Mary herself, in a recent update at the Kill Rock Stars site, "We are recording basic tracks in the in the beginning of July at Jay Robbins' studio in Baltimore. Then we are doing overdubs at home, and we'll mix in August. Brendan Canty is producing the record." Aces all around.
- Geoff Farina | a full-band album
The ex-Karate frontman will take a break from his softer solo side for his next release, according to this news item: "I've started recording some new band-oriented music at Andy Hong's studio (Kimchee) this month, with Luther Gray playing drums. I can't really say much about it until it becomes more definite, but I'm hoping to have a band-oriented recording out sometime early next year."
- Buffalo Tom | the 7th full-length
Buffalo Tom are finishing up their not-yet-titled 7th disc, and Bill Janovitz promises "a song or two to post up on the web soon". No news on who will be putting it out, so obviously a release date is up in the air. They've been playing a bunch of the songs live for quite awhile, and the album has some great guests: Mission of Burma's Clint Conley contributes some vocals, Chris Toppin and Hilken Mancini sing together, just as they did back in their Fuzzy days. Hope we hear about a release date sometime soon.
I was pretty well impressed with all the new stuff Radiohead played during their just-ended North American tour, even without the eventual studio-wizardy that will soon be cast over it. According to a
supposedly band-issuednow debunked MySpace announcement, the eventual album couldhopefully won't be their last.
Also in the works, with very tenative release info...
- The Cure | title tbd | Summer 2006
- Bloc Party | title tbd | August 2006
- Ted Leo & The Pharmacists | title tbd | Fall 2006
- The Shins | title tbd | October 2006
- Arcade Fire | title tbd | Late 2006
- Dinosaur Jr. | title tbd | 2006-2007
- British Sea Power | title tbd | 2006-2007
- Broken Social Scene | title tbd | 2006-2007
- Stereolab | title tbd | 2007
- Ida | title tbd | 2007
- The Postal Service | title tbd | 2007
- The Sea And Cake | title tbd | 2007
And a few anticipated reissues...
So what are you psyched about?
- Sebadoh | Sebadoh III | August 8th, 2006
At last, the 41 track, 2-disc set has release dates: July 10th in the UK and August 8th in the US. I lost the jewel case to my original copy many years ago, so I'll be happy to replace it. A bunch of unheard songs and 4-track demos is a hell of a bonus.
- Tortoise | "A Lazarus Taxon" Box Set | August 22nd, 2006
This 3xCD/DVD set collects a ton of material, including singles, B-sides, Japanese releases, compilations, and other random rarities. For a complete track-by-track rundown from Tortoise's John McEntire, head to Brainwashed.
- The Glove | Blue Sunshine (1983)
The Cure | The Top (1984)
The Cure | The Head On The Door (1985)
The Cure | Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me (1987)
(release dates tbd)
The reissue of the entire Cure catalog continues with what some fans would call a serious transitionary period. Robert Smith's more upbeat collaboration with Siouxsie & the Banshees' Steve Severin as The Glove didn't reveal its influence until 'The Head On The Door', when the Cure's poppier side resurfaced led to some poppier, more radio-friendly songs. 'Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me' was a more schizophrenic double-disc (and actually the album that brought me fully into the Cure-fan fold), parts of which hinted at the brilliance that was to follow on 'Disintegration'. All these reissues are packed with bonus tracks, and you'll find the full tracklistings over here.
- The Afghan Whigs | "Unbreakable" Retrospective CD | Late 2006
A supposed 'greatest hits' from Rhino, but I'll likely only grab it if there's some rarities or previously unreleased material on there (new songs?!). My Whigs collection is all too complete.