My Most Anticipated Albums of 2010

2007 was one of the best years in music in my recollection — career-defining albums from Spoon, The National, LCD Soundsystem, Andrew Bird, Arcade Fire, Dr. Dog, Dungen, Okkervil River, Menomena, Iron and Wine, and several others. (My list from that year is on the Grimey’s website.)

Stereogum has a great post right now listing their 69 most anticipated records of 2010, and the follow-up records to most of the highlights of 2007 are on schedule for next year. Based on this list, 2010 is going to be heavy with music from artists I already love and maybe beat 2007 in the race for the most great releases. Since I’m still in the spirit of making inane lists (see my “Favorites Albums and Songs of 2009” post), I thought I’d whittle the list down to the ones I’m looking forward to:

VAMPIRE WEEKEND – CONTRA
JANUARY 12 (XL)
All signs — including the three songs I’ve heard so far — point to Contra being a strong follow-up to one of my favorite records of last year. Seems as if they’re not making any radical stylistic shift, just building on the formula they set with the first record. I really liked that formula, so I’m looking forward to hearing the full album.

Vampire Weekend – “Horchata” (MP3)

THE AVALANCHES
TBA (MODULAR)
If you’ve never heard Since I Left You, you’ve missed one of the best sample-based dance records of the decade — if not one of the best ever. It’s been nine years since they released Since I Left You, and the follow-up is finally on slate for 2010. Interested to see what happens when an album is in production for nine years.

BEACH HOUSE – TEEN DREAM
JANUARY 26 (SUB POP)
Norway” is floating around the internet right now, and I’m impressed — great woozy guitar, beautiful vocals. I love what Beach House is doing but still looking for the album from them that crystallizes it, makes it all memorable and not just a wash of sound. Hoping Teen Dream is that record, and with a lead song as strong as “Norway” I think it’s quite possible.

Beach House – “Norway” (MP3)

SPOON – TRANSFERENCE
JANUARY 26 (MERGE)
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was the best record of 2007 in my book — the best example of everything that is great about Spoon and easily one of the finest rock records of the decade. So of course I’m looking forward to the follow up. The lead single “Written in Reverse” is on iTunes now, and it seemingly takes the Wire-esque “strip the rock song down to the bones” approach to it’s most basic — the song is basically one chord, minus a two-chord 20 second bridge. It’s all buoyed by one of Britt’s best and most engaging vocals. Can’t wait to hear the rest of it.

Spoon – “Written In Reverse” (Live 7/20/08) (MP3)

THE NATIONAL
TBA (4AD)
I’m still blown away by Boxer and Alligator and playing them frequently, so I can’t wait to see what they have on tap for Boxer‘s followup. According to Stereogum, their intention was to make a record that’s “happier” than Boxer, but the songs might not be trending that way. Fine by me.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
MARCH (DFA)
2008 and 2009 didn’t have a dance-oriented record that really moved me, but 2007 had two of the finest — Justice’s Cross and LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver.

MIDLAKE – THE COURAGE OF OTHERS
FEBRUARY 1 (BELLA UNION)
It’s been a while since Midlake released the undeniably “Fleetwood Mac-ian” Trials of Van Occupanther — one of my favorite albums of 2006. Evidently the band has labored heavily over the followup. According to the band, we should expect a move toward “British folk scene of late ’60s stuff.”

THE HOLD STEADY
TBA (VAGRANT)
The Hold Steady won me over at Bonnaroo 2007 with one of the most infectious live shows I’ve ever seen. 2008’s Stay Positive wasn’t an end-to-end winner, so hopefully the new record captures more of the energy of the live version of the band.

RIGHTENED RABBIT – THE WINTER OF MIXED DRINKS
MARCH 9 (FATCAT)
Loving the new live tune they’re playing (see below) — if any indication of the new record, they’ll improve upon what they did with ther last record.

Frightened Rabbit – “Nothing Like You” (Live On BBC6) (MP3)

ARCADE FIRE
MAY (MERGE)
I’d call Funeral one of the Top 5 records of the decade, and I thought Neon Bible was a great second third album. Can’t wait to hear what they do next.

FLEET FOXES
TBA (SUB POP)
Evidently the follow-up to my favorite album of 2008 is a little “less poppy” and “a little less upbeat”. Personally, the bright upbeat spots of their debut album were the points that balanced the rest and made it the perfect sunny morning album. I’m fine for some darker business, but hoping they don’t leave out that part of their sound that simply revels in the joy of playing music…

THE WRENS – FUNERAL (WORKING TITLE)
FALL (TBA)
The Wrens last record — The Meadowlands — came out in 2003, and I suppose most people figured their wouldn’t be another Wrens record. Evidently we’ll see a follow-up in 2010. I was a big fan of the heart-of-sleeve opus of The Meadowlands, so this is on my list of purchases for sure.

BAND OF HORSES – NIGHT RAINBOWS
TBA (SUB POP)
Yes, please — second album was better than the first, so keep it coming.

THE WALKMEN
SPRING (FAT POSSUM)
Man, The Walkmen are active. I just listened to Bows + Arrows for the first time in a while and was reminded how brilliant these dudes are.

DR. DOG – SHAME, SHAME
SPRING (ANTI-)
Despite a bit of a let-down in Fate, I’m still on board. Evidently we can expect something a bit more “punk” this time around. Fate tended toward goofy in spots, so this is a welcome suggestion.

MENOMENA
TBA (BARSUK)
Loved Friend and Foe, and was blown away by seeing them live (twice!) on Halloween Eve 2007 — giant baby costume and all. Hoping they also keep their tendency toward really awesome album art.

R.E.M.
TBA (WARNER)
Evidently my favorite band of all time is back in the studio making their fifteenth album. My fingers are firmly crossed that they’re making it quick and keeping the vigor they’ve had over the last two years intact.

MILES KUROSKY – THE DESERT OF SHALLOW EFFECTS
MARCH 9 (MAJORDOMO/SHOUT! FACTORY)

Can’t wait for this one. I’m a huge Beulah fan and hate that I didn’t really discover them until they had split up. Miles Kurosky is the former singer/songwriter from that late great band, and Stereogum reports that his first solo record is “a meticulously crafted, ambitious gem, utilizing a cast of more than two dozen musicians (among them several ex-Beulah members) playing a vast array of instruments.” If it’s as half as great as The Coast is Never Clear or Yoko, I’ll be pushing this one hard on everyone I know.

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5 thoughts on “My Most Anticipated Albums of 2010”

    1. Mark – Nice catch. I always forget about the self-titled first record (although it’s more of an EP). Great songs on that one too…

  1. I’m with you. Beulah’s final (sob) two albums were among the best of the 21st century. I listen to each of them every day. I’ve been waiting for years for the Miles Kurosky solo album.

    If you can’t wait any longer (I won’t be able to!) for the full “Desert of Shallow Effects” looks as though there’ll be an EP in a couple of weeks:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=miles+kurosky&x=0&y=0

    P.S. — Check out what looks like a preliminary track list:

    http://www.last.fm/music/Miles+Kurosky/+tracks

    … ahh the titles alone …

  2. Ah, I’m loving Vampire Weekend right now.

    I’ve been thinking it’s quite easy to discover good music these days. Our friends are great filters and points to explore.

    Do you have any suggestions for discovering old music? I feel like we’re always biased by influenced by what’s new and I know I’m missing a lot by putting less energy in looking back.

    Have any tricks for me to start discovering old music?

    Amazon deals and top 100 lists?

    1. Nate: I’m feel you. Funny thing is, I’ve noticed I typically buy more re-releases of older records I’ve managed to miss than new stuff. In 2008 and 2009, I spent a lot of time going back to stuff I had never heard.

      The easiest way for me to dig backwards is to use the present as a starting place. When I hear a record I like, I generally try to read reviews to see if anyone quotes another record or artist as an influence — AllMusic.com has great reviews and often references influences. PItchfork does a decent job of the same (they’re music snobs, but at least they’re literate music snobs). I like the “Related Artists” features on Lala, too.

      The most common point of reference to me is just talking to people whose tastes I like. Working at Grimey’s has been awesome for broadening my knowledge — we recommend stuff to each other all the time. If there’s some newer stuff you particularly like, let me know — I’ll try to cook up some “if you like this, you’ll like this” references. That’s the most fun part of working in a record store.

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