Here's some records to be excited about in 2011.
Cold Cave, Cherish The Light Years (Matador)
Cold Cave is bringing back the upbeat, down-n-out electronic pulse and thump of New Order and Depeche Mode. Love Comes Close was an obvious homage to the sounds of yesteryear, recalling the likes of Power, Corruption, & Lies through a 2000-and-something state of mind, with an obvious affinity for the lost, romantic, and mildly nihilistic throb of a Psychic TV. It was an evolution, in songwriting from what we'd heard from their earlier incarnations.
What we've heard from Cherish The Light Years thus far, an upbeat, anthemic banger “The Great Pan Is Dead,” is the band further evolving into its own creature. An amalgam of its electronic inspiration, crafted with a kind of impulsive energy that seems only natural from a man like Wesley Eisold, who spent his early years cutting his teeth in the hardcore scene. We're watching a natural progression of an artist and his comrades. That's what Cold Cave has been from the very beginning; a band never afraid to cull their talent and go beyond their roots. I can't wait to hear what this album has to offer in its entirety.
Here's hoping we get some new Prurient records in 2011 as well…
Tim Hecker, Ravedeath, 1972 (Kranky)
What can I say about Tim Hecker to really sum up the incredible, lush atmospheres he creates? It's actually rather hard, and it's easiest to just hand you one of his records. Hecker is brilliant and Ravedeath, 1972 is an album I was extremely excited to hear. By the time you read this, it will be out, having dropped on Valentine's Day — how suiting…
For those familiar with the work of Tim Hecker, he's one of the best at his trade, along with the likes of Fennesz, and on a slightly different level, acts like Belong and Stars Of The Lid. His music is textured, hazy, and absolutely gorgeous. You may not hear a hit single on a Hecker record, but you never have to worry about the experience lulling. It's the kind of music you put on and zone out to. It's a kind of religious experience. The face of god coming through the fractured, silver clouds to lend you levity about life and your place in the world.
Tim Hecker, “The Piano Drop”
Ravedeath, 1972 is going to blow your mind, fill your heart with fire, and blow your fucking skull out.
Belong, Common Era (Kranky)
This is an album I have been waiting for, with baited breath, since I saw a post on Belong's Myspace blog back in what seems like a million years ago. Simply stated, Belong's first full-length, October Language, was and still is a favorite album of mine. It helped push me into the ambient music realm and come to discover all the wonderful treats within the world, along with acts like Tim Hecker and Brian Eno, onwards to Harold Budd and then even into the more underground world of Type Records and so on and so on.
I had the pleasure of listening to Common Era a while back, and I must admit I was floored by its beauty, but also at the direction in which the band has drifted. This is a different beast than October Language, but obviously birthed from the same mother. There's an incorporation of beats and vocals, a further evolution from what they were going for on their Colorloss Record EP. The end result definitely possesses the density of all their works before – drifting, fuzzed out tones in pink, swirling reverb clouds, but this time there is a definite nod towards pop music. It's not like the band has gone all shoegazer, but there's a huge shift towards that. It's like My Bloody Valentine just went all out. Everything runs together in a beautiful, uplifting, epic way.
Mogwai, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop)
Mogwai is a band I will never stop loving. Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will is also one of my favorite of their records. I have loved Mogwai since I was a teenager, after hearing Come On Die Young, EP+6, and Young Team, so getting to take an early listen to Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will was an extremely awesome experience for me — as was interviewing the band.
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will sees them moving adventurously in a more upbeat direction, without sacrificing a single ounce of their huge, bombastic sound. Their guitars are vicious and sultry, coaxing out the rock demons and providing a soundtrack for a fast car and a dark night.
Mogwai, “Mexican Grand Prix”
If you're a fan of Mogwai, you'll love it, but I'll tell you this: Mogwai is taking shit much further than “post-rock” or whatever. They are a fucking intense, talented band, no one-trick pony. This is honestly, in my opinion, one of the greatest things they've ever done. Get fucking stoked.
Oh yeah, and how fucking rad is that album title?
Peaking Lights, 936 (Not Not Fun)
This album is already out, I know, but I had to include it because I think it's a big chunk of “fuck yeah” for 2011. I was a mega-fan of Peaking Light's last full-length, Imaginary Falcons, and 936 is every bit as good as that one.
Peakling Lights' “Synthy”
With 936, they're packing the mega-blissed, dubbed out vibes. The amps are blowing cool, pot smoke right in your fucking mug. The vocals are reverby and zoned. The synths are rippling, full of bright blooping pulses. Peaking Lights have managed to create their very own, signature sound. A lot of bands, especially in the Not Not Fun realm, have etched out this kind of similar, dub-influenced, psychedelic vibe that is absolutely brilliant, and I think Peaking Lights are a flagship example.
Peaking Lights have a handle on this type of sound, and also a level of songwriting talent and an authentic skill in the way they coax original sound from their instruments. They're a legitimately cool band. They sound cool, they look cool, they fucking make it work.
And last but certainly not least…
Tyler The Creator, Goblin (OFWGKTA)
Who has been following Tyler and Odd Future Wolf Gang's rise over the past year? They're all super-young, super fucking intense, and making some of the most notorious hip hop music in years. They don't fuck around, they don't sugar coat; they like violence, as well as cartoons, and aren't afraid to talk about any of it.
It's nice to see these kids going full-bore, not giving a shit, and doing things the way they want to do it. Nihilistic, raw, unadulterated, fucked up; the way I love it. Tyler is at the head of the camp, and we're all waiting on Goblin to drop with drool running out the corners of our mouths.
Tyler graced us with his presence in the form of “Yonkers” a couple days ago, and I think we all blasted a small load at what he'd created. Not only a fucking exciting song, but also an incredibly brilliant, artistic video that captured the vibe of the song perfectly.
Tyler The Creator, “Yonkers”
Goblin is going to send us all straight to hell, where we belong.
Next week, I'll talk about even more albums I think are going to shape 2011 into a killer year for music…