Prefix Release Guide: Winter 2011

    2010 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 dreleases 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 ten 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–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, us 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]

    This Denver, Colorado-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]

    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]

    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 January 11 on new label Fat Possum (switched over from Chicago-based HoZac), steps away from the scratchy haze of their self-titled debut for a lusher Britpop-influenced sound–as 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


    WireRed Barked Tree (January 10, 2011) preview
    DucktailsDucktails III: Arcade Dynamics (January 10, 2011) preview
    Jesse McCartneyHave It All (January 11, 2011) preview
    Nikki & RichEverything (January 11, 2011)
    Nikki & RichEverything (January 11, 2011) preview
    MillionYoungReplicants (January 11, 2011) preview
    British Sea PowerValhalla Dancehall (January 11, 2011) preview
    MinksBy The Hedge (January 12, 2011)
    DisappearsGuider (January 17, 2011)
    Anna CalviAnna Calvi (January 17, 2011) preview
    BorisLive In Japan (DVD) (January 18, 2011) preview
    The DecemberistsThe King Is Dead (January 18, 2011) preview
    Fergus & Geronimo Unlearn (January 18, 2011) preview
    Neon QuartetCatch Me (January 18, 2011) preview
    Robert PollardSpace City Kicks (January 18, 2011) preview
    AurelioLaru Beya (January 18, 2011) preview
    Pearl JamLive on Ten Legs (January 18, 2011) preview
    DoloreanThe Unfazed (January 18, 2011)
    White LiesRitual (January 18, 2011) preview
    Demdike StareTryptych (January 24, 2011)
    DeathSpiritual, Mental, Physical (January 25, 2011) preview
    Nicole AtkinsMondo Amore (January 25, 2011) preview
    Wanda JacksonThe Party Ain’t Over (January 25, 2011) preview
    Gang of FourC O N T E N T (January 25, 2011) preview
    Phil ManleyLife Coach (January 25, 2011)
    Amos LeeMission Bell (January 25, 2011) preview
    Ben + VesperHonors (January 25, 2011)
    Sidi ToureSahel Folk (January 25, 2011)
    Thank YouGolden Worry (January 25, 2011)
    AcrylicsLives and Treasure (January 25, 2011)
    Iron and WineKiss Each Other Clean (January 25, 2011) preview
    James BluntSome Kind of Trouble (January 25, 2011) preview
    John VandersliceWhite Wilderness (January 25, 2011) preview
    Fujiya & MiyagiVentriloquizzing (January 25, 2011) preview
    Apex ManorThe Year of Magical Drinking (January 25, 2011) preview
    Sic AlpsNapa Asylum (January 25, 2011) preview
    MonotonixNot Yet (January 25, 2011)
    Cloud NothingsCloud Nothings (January 25, 2011) preview
    DestroyerKaputt (January 25, 2011) preview
    Lia IcesGrown Unknown (January 25, 2011) preview
    DeerhoofDeerhoof vs. Evil (January 25, 2011) preview
    The Go! TeamRolling Blackouts (January 31, 2011) preview
    MenTalk About Body (January 31, 2011) preview
    V/AWerkschau (January 31, 2011)





    James Blake: James Blake [R&S]

    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]


    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]


    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


    V/APop Ambient 2011 (February 01, 2011)
    Strong Arm SteadyArms & Hammers (February 01, 2011) preview
    The DirtbombsParty Store (February 01, 2011) preview
    EarthAngels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (February 01, 2011) preview
    Sick of Sarah2205 (February 01, 2011)
    SeefeelSeefeel (February 07, 2011) preview
    IsoleéWell Spent Youth (February 07, 2011)
    Esben & The WitchViolet Cries (February 08, 2011) preview
    DiploRiddimentary (February 08, 2011) preview
    The BabiesThe Babies (February 08, 2011)
    Trail of DeadTao of the Dead (February 08, 2011) preview
    YuckYuck (February 08, 2011)
    Jessica Lea MayfieldTell Me (February 08, 2011) preview
    Wires Under TensionLight Science (February 08, 2011) preview
    KORTInvariable Heartache (February 09, 2011)
    Tapes ‘n TapesOutside (February 11, 2011) preview
    Gruff RhysHotel Shampoo (February 14, 2011) preview
    The DearsDegeneration Street (February 15, 2011) preview
    DeVotchKa100 Lovers (February 15, 2011) preview
    Bright EyesThe People’s Key (February 15, 2011) preview
    Shugo TokumaruPort Entropy (February 15, 2011) preview
    La SeraLa Sera (February 15, 2011) preview
    Win WinWin Win (February 15, 2011)
    BeansEnd It All (February 15, 2011) preview
    Drive-By TruckersGo-Go Boots (February 15, 2011) preview
    Twilight SingersDynamite Steps (February 15, 2011) preview
    PJ HarveyLet England Shake (February 15, 2011)
    Asobi SeksuFluorescence (February 15, 2011) preview
    Telekinesis12 Desperate Straight Lines (February 15, 2011) preview
    East River PipeWe Live In Rented Rooms (February 15, 2011) preview
    The FormsDerealization (February 15, 2011) preview
    AkonAkonic (February 21, 2011) preview
    Porcelain RaftGone Blind EP (February 22, 2011)
    The Cave SingersNo Witch (February 22, 2011) preview
    Adele21 (February 22, 2011) preview
    ArbouretumThe Gathering (February 22, 2011)
    DanielsonBest of Gloucester County (February 22, 2011) preview
    Gil Scott-Heron, Jamie xxWe’re New Here (February 22, 2011) preview
    BaysideKilling Time (February 22, 2011) preview
    The LuyasToo Beautiful To Work (February 22, 2011) preview