Hey: Albums! In case people still care about these things, here’s a batch of potentially interesting releases arriving in the coming weeks and months:
A$AP ROCKY Long.Live.A$AP January 15 Pretty sure I’ve listened to the title track to Long.Live.A$AP, A$AP Rocky’s proper debut LP, at least 250 times in the past week, and that shit kills me every time: The glacially paced, paranoid throb underpinning Rocky’s sleek cadence — “Where they shoot without a purpose, services ‘n hearses/ Kids who ain’t deserve it, can’t survive the thing you’re worthless/ Strangers make me nervous/ Who’s that peekin’ in my window with a pistol to my curtains?” he intones — giving way to a billowy chorus of Slowdive guitarpeggios and Pharrell-style falsetto exhaling a “live forever” worldview. Not even Eric Woolfson can stop me from believing in the power of this magic. Long.Live.A$AP has been forever delayed, but the 15th it finally gets its due date. And yeah it’ll be worth the wait, especially considering a lineup more impressive than the ’27 Yankees: Guest appearances by Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, Santigold, Action Bronson, and Florence Welch, among others; production by Hit-Boy, Clams Casino, Danger Mouse, and friggin’ Skrillex.
CHRISTOPHER OWENS Lysandre January 15 You may remember Christopher Owens from Girls. Not that Girls. Not that Girls. This Girls. You may also remember him as an escapee from the terrifying Children of God cult, which makes the Westboro Baptist Church seem reasonable and moderate. Last year, he escaped from Girls, though that experience didn’t fuck his world up quite as much (I think). In fact, it inspired Owens’ upcoming solo album Lysandre—a prog-folky concept thingy that’s apparently (according to Owens’ press materials) “a coming of age story, a road trip story, a love story” to do with Girls’ first U.S. tour in 2008, as well as a trip to Paris where our hero fell in love with a girl named Lysandre (played by Julie Delpy…just kidding). I hear that the album “delivers a heartbreaking rumination on love, longing, friendship, adventure,” which sorta sounds like a review of The Hobbit but is actually another line I copied and pasted from Owens’ press materials, so I’m not sure how heartbreaking it is in toto, but this song is durn poignant (also, sweet flute, even if it sounds like the supermarket music, which was distinctly trippier/bellbottom-ier than elevator music, that I remember hearing in the mid-’70s).
FREE ENERGY Love Sign January 15 When last we left Philly power-pop fivesome Free Energy, they were rockin’ every club like it was a concrete sports arena circa 1978 and they were like an end-of-night all-star jam of Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, Badfinger and Rick Springfield power-chording their way through earworm after earworm. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy had taken a shine to them and produced their 2010 DFA debut Stuck on Nothing, which got them pegged as “the new Weezer.” Three years later the party’s still mostly raging on Love Sign (out on the band’s own label), though it’s tempered with a bit of sadness, like it’s 2:30 a.m., you’re starting to sober up, and you know the girl on the other side of the room you’re crushing on doesn’t really like you like that, but you’re still determined to have a good time anyway. “Hangin’,” like a few other tracks, sounds like Third Eye Blind crossed with Def Leppard, and there’s a lot of cowbell on this album. So plan accordingly. [ TOMAHAWK Oddfellows January 29 With all due respect to Fantômas—mostly because Buzz Osborne’s in it, and other than sucking up to Fox News the fella can do no wrong—Tomahawk is the best Mike Patton supergroup project, mostly because ex-Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison is also in it and he is the greatest guitarist of all time. Don’t argue with me. There hasn’t been a Tomahawk album since 2007’s Anonymous, which came out the same week as the John Cusack psychological horror film 1408 and damn that feels like a million years ago, right? But the good news is that All That Changes at the end of January with the release of Oddfellows, which still features the competent drumming of John Stanier, but they’ve secretly replaced the fine bass Kevin Rutmanis usually served (until leaving during Anonymous) with Fantômas/Mr. Bungle/etc.’s Trevor Dunn—let’s see if anyone can tell the difference! From the few clips we’ve heard, Mike Patton does his fun mouth tricks and there’s lots of genre hopping and interesting time signatures. But if you’re like me and drool over every single note Duane Denison commits to tape, or ones and zeroes or whatever, this is a must-listen.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON Feeling Mortal Abraham Whistler is 76 and feeling mortal, so he’s putting out a new album called Feeling Mortal. Actually, KK was also feeling particularly mortal on 2009’s Closer to the Bone (which came a few years after the “I’m still here and I still kick ass so fuck all y’all” splendor of This Old Road), so that one had its share of twilight-years reminiscing and wisdom-nuggets (after all, like Jonah Lehrer, he’s a Rhodes Scholar) set to weathered, evocative Americana textures, and this one’s likely more of the same. Of course, more of the same from Kristofferson is better than just about anything else, even duck fat fries. My favorite KK story is everybody’s favorite KK story: When he landed his helicopter on Johnny Cash’s lawn to deliver a demo tape. But my second-favorite KK story is the one about him playing Jeff Bridges’ stunt double in The Big Lebowski toilet-dunking scene. OK—that’s not true at all (not true as in he wasn’t in The Big Lebowski, not not true as in it’s not my second-favorite KK story). However, I expect Feeling Mortal to be as true as true can be.
AZEALIA BANKS Broke With Expensive Taste February 12 So obviously next year’s Pazz & Jop winner (stone cold mortal lock), Harlem rapper/singer/seapunk/supergal Azealia Banks’ Broke With Expensive Taste, like Long.Live.A$AP, got pushed back a number of months but the wait’ll assuredly be worthwhile. The second-best rapper alive’s brand-new trap scorcher “BBD”—which refers both to Bell Biv Devoe and the fact that “bad bitches do (it)”—slays wholly and completely and it’s not even on the new album! Which means that either it’s so mindblowing that great shit like this ranks only as leftovers, or Banks is a horrible decision-maker. We’ll see. Here’s what she told Complex (real question: is that still in print?) about Broke: “It’s gonna be like this girl is trying to find her place in the world but she’s still trying to be young and have a good time. She’s still trying to look fresh so she’s gonna spit some shit about clothes. She’s gonna spit some bullshit, but then she might really drop some real n***a shit. It might sound artsy but it’ll have some real n***a shit.” [
ICEAGE You’re Nothing February 19 Remember when those Danish second-graders formed Iceage a couple of years ago and carpet-bombed America with their awesome Ian-rock (MacKaye + Curtis)? Well, now they’re all grows up, inked to Matador, and have apparently “written and re-written the short aggressive rock song” on their forthcoming You’re Nothing. Boom.
AUTECHRE Exai March 5 I always feel like the best way to really understand what long-running British electronic experimentalists Autechre sounds like is to read their track listings, such as the one on their forthcoming 11th offering, Exai:
1. “FLeure” 2. “irlite (get 0)” 3. “prac-f” 4. “jatevee C” 5. “T ess xi” 6. “vekoS” 7. “Flep” 8. “tuinorizn” 9. “bladelores” 10. “1 1 is” 11. “nodezsh” 12. “runrepik” 13. “spl9” 14. “cloudline” 15. “deco Loc” 16. “recks on” 17. “YJY UX”
Hopefully that clears things up a bit.
PURLING HISS Water on Mars March 19 You may or may not remember a couple months back we unleashed an Oscar-worthy short “audio slideshow” of Mike Polizze, head honcho of the Philly power-splarge trio Purling Hiss, talking about his guitars. Maybe you were thinking: “Who the hell is this dude from that rotten, Mummers-infested cesspool 100 miles to the south and why should I give one single fuck about his guitars?” Well, because he’s put them to phenomenal use on the psych-noisy Water on Mars, the band’s upcoming debut LP for Drag City. Mike’s a truly great dude, but even if he was a dickwad, there’s no arguing against his molten riffage and sharp songwriting sensibilities, which draw from J. Mascis, K. Cobain, and his pal K. Vile.
THE KNIFE Shaking the Habitual April 9 Much like Tomahawk, mysterious Swedish siblingtronica outfit the Knife hasn’t released an album in America in ages. Not since 2006’s very awesome and creepy Silent Shout, which came out the day before Fran Mainella resigned her post as director of the U.S. National Park Service, and we all know how long ago that seems. Fever Ray has been a moderately acceptable substitute, but those itching for more Knife play will get scratched with the upcoming Shaking the Habitual, which we’re assuming (hoping?) will be more sinister and moody and engaging alien-dance-pop for Jose Gonzalez to cover.