Each week, we preview a handful of notable albums scheduled to hit the shelves, plus offer a full list of the current new releases.
Too early? Hell, that was a question for a few years ago. Time hurdles forward faster and faster every day. And so now we have 1990s. That’s not just a decade; it’s a band helmed by John McKeown. McKeown spent the ’90s in a group called Yummy Fur alongside Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson, whom you may know a lot better from their current project, Franz Ferdinand. Cookies got help cooking up from one-time Suede member Bernard Butler.
Bat for Lashes
Fur and Gold
Yet another week, yet another release from a female singer-songwriter who performs under an assumed name (see St. Vincent, Tiny Vipers, Cat Power, et cetera). Bat for Lashes is the British artist Natasha Khan. Fur and Gold has been available overseas for quite some time. The album was recently nominated for the Mercury Prize, and Khan counts none other than Thom Yorke as a big fan. And she’s already garnered comparisons to Bjork, Kate Bush and Joanna Newsome. ~John Zeiss
Luka Bloom is the name Irish singer-songwriter Barry Moore performs under. Moore has been around for a while — he’s older than fifty — recording for various labels throughout his career. He recorded Tribe with Simon O’Reilly, another Irish musician, and the result is a more traditionally Irish-sounding album. Moore left most of the musical duties in the new songs to O’Reilly, only picking up his guitar on two of the tunes. ~John Zeiss
Budos Band II
New Yorkers like to rib Staten Island. Perhaps it’s the isolation, perhaps it’s the lack of (inter-)national prestige, perhaps it’s fallout from incessant Wu-Tang jokes, but SI is often treated like the red-headed fifth step-child of all the boroughs. Hell, even Jersey catches more respect on account of its beaches and gambling. But perhaps it’s the sheer difference between Staten Island and the rest of New York City that makes it so intangible to outsiders. No problem, because the truly open-minded are treated to a scenic ferry ride, gorgeous parks, congestion-free living, random Buddhist relics, and one of New York City’s hottest bands, the Bearded Ones — or, as they’re now known because one of the members shaved, the Budos Band. A product of the No Moore/Daptone/retro-soul revival, the Budos Band is actually one of the few groups to truly defy that nagging tag. Fusing Afro-beat, funk, soul, jazz, and the best of your favorite producer’s record collection, the group makes retro-sounding, modernistic music. Watch out, they may just become the next Led Zeppelin: The group follows up its 2005 debut with the simply titled Budos Band II. ~Dan Nishimoto
Don’t let ’em gas you: Common never really went away. Critics and fans widely panned 2002’s Electric Circus, practically setting up the 2005 follow-up, Be, to be anything but a let-down (sure didn’t hurt to have some quality beats, though). But your favorite God MC’s favorite emcee has shown a constant lyrical growth that has made every album required listening. And considering he could afford to give away the gloriously soulful “Play Your Cards Right” to a soundtrack, Finding Forever bodes well. Kanye helms the bulk of the record again, with some additional spots by Will.i.am and the late Jay Dee. Guests, again, are kept to a minimum, but count when needed: Say hello, D’Angelo! Along with a couple other high-profile guests, such as Gil Scott-Heron and DJ Premier, Common practically guarantees another welcome ride through the south side of town. ~Dan Nishimoto
Culver City Dub Collective
Culver City Dub Collective is the world-music-nicking project of Adam Topol, who’s possibly best known as Jack Johnson’s drummer but who also manned the skins for the Martinis, the band led by Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago. The name of the album is a play on words from the old computer system — in this case, the three letters stand for Dub Operating System. Making guest appearances on the album are Johnson, Ben Harper, Money Mark, and Jay Malinowski of Bedouin Soundclash. The Collective explores bossa nova and other Afro-Cuban sounds. ~John Zeiss
Gaudi + Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Here’s a project that gives globalism a good name. London-based producer Gaudi has taken vocals the late, legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan laid down in previously forgotten studio sessions in the late ’60s and early ’70s and set them over his own dub and reggae arrangements. So elements from three continents come together that make for a heady, atmospheric, somewhat spiritual mix. Khan was the most famous purveyor of Qawwali music, who many American music fans got to know through his two duets with Eddie Vedder on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. The album comes at this specific time to commemorate it being ten years since Khan’s death. ~John Zeiss
What, you thought hip-hop was dead? Hell to the naw. Hip-hop is alive. And it’s pissed. Not 50 Cent pissed. Not even Eminem pissed. We’re talking pissed that it’s been taking a piss on itself. Both the artists and the fans. It’s time to remind everybody. Kick in their doors. And let ’em know there’s nothing to be afraid of. Especially Keith Murr-ayyy. ~Dan Nishimoto
The Phantom Family Halo
The Legend of Black Six
The Phantom Family Halo hails from one of those cities that has loomed large on the American indie-rock map: Louisville, Kentucky, home of the legendary Slint. You may have noticed that band picked up the Phantom Family Halo as the opening act for its recent revivals of Spiderland. The Phantom Family Halo is centered on Michael McMahan, who plays in the reunited Slint and in the For Carnation, and Dominic Cipolla, who used to be in the Hookers. The band’s sound mixes that of its contemporaries with older psych-rock touchstones such as Scott Walker and 13th Floor Elevators. ~John Zeiss
Country Mouse, City House
Singer-songwriter Josh Rouse recorded his seventh-full length, the follow-up to last year’s Subtitulo, with friends and family in Spain. Not a bad way to make a living, I would say. Rouse describes the new work as having a wintry feel even though it was recorded in the summer. Again, in Spain. In a small city on the coast. The album’s name is a take on the Aesop fable “Country Mouse, City Mouse.” (And he likes the words “mouse” and “house” rhyme with his last name.) Rouse’s songs are still throwbacks to the classic ’70s singer-songwriter sound. ~John Zeiss
Tainted Love: Mating Calls and Fight Songs
Although Shivaree doesn’t cover “Tainted Love” on this album of the same name, the record is an all-covers affair. Ambrosia Parsley and her band handle the American standard “Goodnight Irene,” Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” and tunes from Gary Glitter, Phil Spector, Ike Turner, R. Kelly, and Rick James. Songs by super freaks, I guess, was the theme. ~John Zeiss
*Release dates may change. E-mail email@example.com with corrections or additions.