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Prefix Release Guide: Winter 2010

Last year felt more like an epilogue for the aughts than like the start of a new, distinct decade. The big albums were by acts like Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem and the Arcade Fire, all icons of the 21st century's first decade. In the coming months, though -- with no real "event" release on the radar -- we'll see releases by a number of acts that may come to define the sounds of this decade. Yuck, Cloud Nothings, James Blake, Tennis, MillionYoung, Rye Rye, Braids: All of these acts have spent the last year touring, dropping MPfrees, and steadily building buzz (you know -- the whole modern-hype-cycle deal), and they all have debut albums coming out this winter.

Which is not the say that the aughts are finished with us, or that we're finished with the aughts. It was just about 10 years ago that acts like Bright Eyes, Destroyer, The Decemberists and Iron & Wine were conspiring to make the indie-verse a more literate, sensitive place, and, appropriately enough, all four of those acts will be releasing new albums this winter. (The '90s are still with us too, of course: Look for new albums by Mogwai and PJ Harvey. (On second thought, the late '70s are also, somehow, still with us, too. This January sees the release of Wire's twelfth studio album.))

So while the movie industry unloads its most unwatchable pap on the American public, we savvy online music fans should have no trouble keeping busy with new albums by favorite acts both old and new. Here's a list of the ones we're looking forward to the most.

Tennis: Cape Dory [Fat Possum]

Release Date: 01.18.11

This Denver, Colo.-based band is made up of the husband-and-wife team Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, who play laid back surf-tinged music that draws heavily from the girl-group era. According to Denver Westword, the pair set out on a seven-month sailing trip on the Eastern seaboard where they started writing songs together as a “sort of a soundtrack” for their experiences. They first posted those songs online and attracted the attention of several high-profile music blogs, such as Gorilla vs. Bear. After dropping a 7-inch on the Fire Talk label and one on the Underwater Peoples imprint, they moved to Fat Possum for their long-playing debut.   ~Tony Sclafani


Braids: Native Speaker [Kanine]

Release Date: 01.18.11

Although the band had some buzz prior to late 2010, it was then that Canada's Braids garnered some big-time attention with compelling live shows and tracks like “Lemonade.” The swirling psych-pop bliss found within the single provides an ample preview of what listeners can expect on the quartet's debut, Native Speaker. The nine-track album features songs that come in at an average of six minutes, which allows for the band's knack for building melodies to fully develop. ~ Andrew Martin


Smith Westerns: Dye it Blonde [Fat Possum]

Release Date: 01.11.11

Smith Westerns haven't conquered the world yet, but they're set to release their second album before most bands have even settled on quitting their day jobs to pursue the whole music thing. Dye It Blonde, which drops on Jan. 11 on Fat Possum (the band switched over from Chicago-based HoZac), steps away from the scratchy haze of their self-titled debut for a lusher Britpop-influenced sound. Frontman Cullen Omori told Pitchfork, "We had more time to kind of think about what we want to make, and we also discovered a lot more music and therefore had better options as to where we could go with it." Lead single "Weekend" brims with slacker romanticism as Omori flirts behind a wah-wah sweet sounding guitar line, and the dreamy "Imagine Pt. 3" is lifted from last year's Fat Possum-released split with Magic Kids. Better enjoy them now while you can; to paraphrase Jalen Rose, once they're 21 and able to legally drink, it's all over.  ~Jeremy Gordon



January's release schedule, at a glance:

Wire: Red Barked Tree (January 10, 2011) preview
Jesse McCartney: Have It All (January 11, 2011) preview
Nikki & Rich: Everything (January 11, 2011)
Nikki & Rich: Everything (January 11, 2011) preview
MillionYoung: Replicants (January 11, 2011) preview
British Sea Power: Valhalla Dancehall (January 11, 2011) preview
Minks: By The Hedge (January 12, 2011)
Disappears: Guider (January 17, 2011)
Anna Calvi: Anna Calvi (January 17, 2011) preview
Boris: Live In Japan (DVD) (January 18, 2011) preview
The Decemberists: The King Is Dead (January 18, 2011) preview
Fergus & Geronimo : Unlearn (January 18, 2011) preview
Neon Quartet: Catch Me (January 18, 2011) preview
Robert Pollard: Space City Kicks (January 18, 2011) preview
Aurelio: Laru Beya (January 18, 2011) preview
Pearl Jam: Live on Ten Legs (January 18, 2011) preview
Dolorean: The Unfazed (January 18, 2011)
White Lies: Ritual (January 18, 2011) preview
Demdike Stare: Tryptych (January 24, 2011)
Death: Spiritual, Mental, Physical (January 25, 2011) preview
Nicole Atkins: Mondo Amore (January 25, 2011) preview
Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain’t Over (January 25, 2011) preview
Gang of Four: C O N T E N T (January 25, 2011) preview
Phil Manley: Life Coach (January 25, 2011)
Amos Lee: Mission Bell (January 25, 2011) preview
Ben + Vesper: Honors (January 25, 2011)
Sidi Toure: Sahel Folk (January 25, 2011)
Thank You: Golden Worry (January 25, 2011)
Acrylics: Lives and Treasure (January 25, 2011)
Iron and Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean (January 25, 2011) preview
James Blunt: Some Kind of Trouble (January 25, 2011) preview
John Vanderslice: White Wilderness (January 25, 2011) preview
Fujiya & Miyagi: Ventriloquizzing (January 25, 2011) preview
Apex Manor: The Year of Magical Drinking (January 25, 2011) preview
Sic Alps: Napa Asylum (January 25, 2011) preview
Monotonix: Not Yet (January 25, 2011)
Cloud Nothings: Cloud Nothings (January 25, 2011) preview
Destroyer: Kaputt (January 25, 2011) preview
Lia Ices: Grown Unknown (January 25, 2011) preview
Deerhoof: Deerhoof vs. Evil (January 25, 2011) preview
The Go! Team: Rolling Blackouts (January 31, 2011) preview
Men: Talk About Body (January 31, 2011) preview
V/A: Werkschau (January 31, 2011)





James Blake: James Blake [Atlas]

Release Date: 02.07.11

Twenty-two-year-old James Blake is arguably the most hyped new talent on the dubstep scene, having cranked out an impressive set of four EPs in the span of one year. This leads to the release of his debut, self-titled full length, which is being jointly released by A&M and Blake's own Atlas Label. Having been compared several times to acts like The xx and Burial in the past, the collection acts as yet another showcase for Blake's more soulful take on the bass-heavy genre, placing older successes such as "Limit To Your Love" alongside brand new material that features heavy R&B influence and his longing, rich vocal style.  ~Erik Ziedses des Plantes


Cut Copy: Zonoscope [Modular]

Release Date: 02.08.11

After toiling for four years with minor hits at home in Australia and in Europe, Cut Copy became more widely known in 2008. It was then that the trio would release their sophomore effort, In Ghost Colours, a receive raving reviews across the board. Following some tours and a handful of remixes, the Australian synth-poppers entered the studio again to record their third album, Zonoscope. In an interview with Pitchfork, band leader Dan Whitford explained that the music on here was created in a more more open environment through “weird, extended jams.” As a result, he said the album tends to have a more “repetitive, hypnotic, rhythmic” sound and a less straightforward approach than prior records. ~Andrew Martin


Toro y Moi: Underneath the Pine [Carpark]

Release Date: 02.11.11

Chaz Bundick opted to turn Toro y Moi into his latest project following the attention he received for a few singles in the chillwave realm. His debut, Causers of This, received favorable reviews from critics and opened up the door for a number of tours and festival stages throughout 2010. Though he ran into some issues on the road, such as being robbed, Bundick persisted and would go on to record his follow-up, Underneath The Pine. He's noted that it will be a much more festival-friendly piece, perhaps inferring that its 11 tracks have ditched the relaxed sounds of Causers of This for something a bit more dance-friendly. ~ Andrew Martin


February's release schedule, at a glance:

V/A: Pop Ambient 2011 (February 01, 2011)
Strong Arm Steady: Arms & Hammers (February 01, 2011) preview
The Dirtbombs: Party Store (February 01, 2011) preview
Sick of Sarah: 2205 (February 01, 2011)
Seefeel: Seefeel (February 07, 2011) preview
Isoleé: Well Spent Youth (February 07, 2011)
Esben & The Witch: Violet Cries (February 08, 2011) preview
Diplo: Riddimentary (February 08, 2011) preview
The Babies: The Babies (February 08, 2011)
Trail of Dead: Tao of the Dead (February 08, 2011) preview
Yuck: Yuck (February 08, 2011)
Jessica Lea Mayfield: Tell Me (February 08, 2011) preview
Wires Under Tension: Light Science (February 08, 2011) preview
KORT: Invariable Heartache (February 09, 2011)
Tapes 'n Tapes: Outside (February 11, 2011) preview
Gruff Rhys: Hotel Shampoo (February 14, 2011) preview
The Dears: Degeneration Street (February 15, 2011) preview
DeVotchKa: 100 Lovers (February 15, 2011) preview
Bright Eyes: The People’s Key (February 15, 2011) preview
Shugo Tokumaru: Port Entropy (February 15, 2011) preview
La Sera: La Sera (February 15, 2011) preview
Win Win: Win Win (February 15, 2011)
Beans: End It All (February 15, 2011) preview
Drive-By Truckers: Go-Go Boots (February 15, 2011) preview
Twilight Singers: Dynamite Steps (February 15, 2011) preview
PJ Harvey: Let England Shake (February 15, 2011)
Asobi Seksu: Fluorescence (February 15, 2011) preview
Telekinesis: 12 Desperate Straight Lines (February 15, 2011) preview
East River Pipe: We Live In Rented Rooms (February 15, 2011) preview
The Forms: Derealization (February 15, 2011) preview
Akon: Akonic (February 21, 2011) preview
Porcelain Raft: Gone Blind EP (February 22, 2011)
The Cave Singers: No Witch (February 22, 2011) preview
Adele: 21 (February 22, 2011) preview
Arbouretum: The Gathering (February 22, 2011)
Danielson: Best of Gloucester County (February 22, 2011) preview
Gil Scott-Heron, Jamie xx: We're New Here (February 22, 2011) preview
Bayside: Killing Time (February 22, 2011) preview
The Luyas: Too Beautiful To Work (February 22, 2011) preview
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