10. Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse
When Scottish indie rock outfit Frightened Rabbit released their track and subsequent video for "State Hospital" last year I was pretty blown away. The song has the stamina and intensity of a stadium rock anthem, but wields weighty lyricism that cuts to images of suffering and hope. Overall, their EP release last year wasn't great, but just good enough to stir up a longing for their fourth studio full-length which is out today.
The legendary Nick Cave has stayed prolific as ever in the past few years with his Grinderman efforts and reissues with his band, and will be releasing his fifteenth studio record with The Bad Seeds on 2/18 via the band’s own label, Bad Seed Ltd. The debut single off the new record is called “Jubilee Street”. Check it out below:
Pissed Jeans are back with more of their corrosive, ear-punishing punk on their third full-length, Honeys. As Sub Pop points out: “Honeys stews on the kind of mundane, niggling things that keep you up late at night. It’s an ode to the misery and shackles of being a responsible adult, and the shame of one’s own narcissism.” That description, along with the buzzing guitar riffs of album cut “Cathouse” already have me sold.
7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II
Unknown Mortal Orchestra had a pretty fast climb to prominence as their debut self-titled LP found itself at the center of a critical love fest two years ago. Reaping instant acclaim, the Portland-via-New Zealand transplants toured their asses off, and the relentlessness of that experience has been the slow-burning fuel for their latest record, II, which is out today via Jagjaguwar. With frontman Ruban Nielson’s unique lyricism and seamless guitar-playing to boot, it is interesting to see where this next record will take us, as it is almost always the case that a sophomore LP will up the ante on production value. Listen to “So Good At Being In Trouble” below:
6. Autre Ne Veut - Anxiety
Known by friends as Arthur Ashin, this Brooklynite is fresh on the scene with his latest album Anxiety due out 2/26 via Mexican Summer. The newest single off the record is “Play By Play” and highlight’s Ashin’s dynamic renewal of 80s pop and R&B that raises eyebrows with its spellbinding percussion and Prince-like vocals. Listen below:
5. Doldrums - Lesser Evil
Canadian beat-smith Doldrums aka Airick Woodhead will release his debut record Lesser Evil on 2/25 via Arbutus. The Toronto DIY-er has released a few small EPs in the past and relies heavily on brief loops of samples and tortuous percussion. Woodhead’s high pitched hum is unmistakable, as his vocal tracks are often cut and warped to match the psychadelic vibe of his music. Listen to "Egypt" below:
4. Beach Fossils - Clash The TruthBack with their follow-up to 2010’s underrated surf-rock self-titled effort, Beach Fossils will release Clash The Truth on 2/19 via Captured Tracks. While the band has expanded with various members coming and going, it all started with mastermind Dustin Payseur, who recorded everything on the first record by himself, playing every instrument. As the musician received continued acclaim in the indie community, Captured Tracks took notice and brought Payseur on to record a sophomore LP. Payseur brought on some core band members for recording in a proper studio, including a feature from Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino on their track “In Vertigo”. Listen to their latest track "Generational Synthetic" below:
3. My Bloody Valentine -mbv
Remember My Blood Valentine? I don’t. Because I was two years old when their last studio record was released back in 1991. it’s been a long time coming, but in the last 22 years, after many rumors of a new material, lead singer Kevin Shields going crazy, and countless throw-outs, My Blood Valentine has finally released their follow-up to Loveless with mbv, which was released on February 2, subsequently crashing the online server that was facilitating the release. So far the album has gotten favorable reviews with The Guardian giving it a perfect 5/5 rating. Listen to the opening track below and stream the rest via YouTube.
Strait-up, Iceage is putting out some awesome music right now. Still riding off the coattails of 2011’s 24-minute hell-raiser, New Brigade, they’ve just released the video for the new single “Ecstacy” about a week ago. Picking up where they left off, the Danish teens let out a surge of dark energy on the track with chunky guitar riffs coating hair-raising shouts of “Pressure!” While it seems the trend has been for many current indie-punk bands to shift toward more refined, poppier territory, Iceage have committed themselves to louder and gnarlier thread of punk, one that requires cheap beer and trashed speakers. You’re Nothing is out 2/19 via Matador.
1. Atoms for Peace - Amok - 2/25
Perhaps the most anticipated album of 2013, Atoms For Peace’s Amok, is something like four years in the making. The supergroup was first concieved when Thom Yorke called Flea (bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers), Joey Waronker (drummer for R.E.M.), Mauro Refosco, and Nigel Godrich (Radiohead producer) together to play the entirety of Yorke’s solo record The Eraser in LA in 2009. Playing at Coachella in 2010 they were simply known as “??????” Since, they've slowly come into form, officially giving the band its name, releasing their first official single “Default” last year, and another “Judge, Jury, and Executioner” last month while detailing the release of their debut album. The tracks sound quite reminiscent of Yorke’s solo record Eraser, but there is definitely a stronger reliance on drum and vocal loops giving way to nuanced and textured sound that we’ve really yet to fully experience from Yorke. Amok is out 2/26 in the US. Listen to "Judge, Jury, and Executioner" below: