Spring is loaded with big releases
If music in 2010 has left you disappointed so far, that may change in the next few months. The spring season will see major new releases from acclaimed artists like LCD Soundsystem, Broken Social Scene, The National, MGMT, and more.
Below, in alphabetical order, are the 25 albums we're most looking forward from now through mid-May. Note that all release dates are U.S. dates (unless otherwise noted), and all "download this" links go to Hype Machine, where you can find the recommended tracks on a variety of music blogs.
(Warp, March 23)
The tenth album from the veteran British experimental electronica duo is -- like its predecessors -- filled with cryptic song titles and even more cryptic songs. The pricey vinyl edition features The Designer Republic's usual terrific design and packaging work.
Download this: Known(1)
New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh
(Motown, March 30)
The singer-musician's sequel to her acclaimed 2008 release features contributions from ?uestlove, Lil Wayne, 9th Wonder and Madlib. Where the prior album was digital and political, the new album aims to be analog and personal, with live instrumentation ranging from harps to piano to Theremin.
The Bird & The Bee
Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates
(Blue Note, March 23)
The duo of Greg Kurstin and Inara George tackle the catalogue of another legendary pair: '80s stars Hall & Oates. Included on this all-covers album are The Bird & The Bee's takes on classics like "Sara Smile," "Maneater," and "Private Eyes." Oates himself joined the band on stage at a recent performance, so, apparently, he can go for that.
Download this: Private Eyes
Broken Social Scene
Forgiveness Rock Record
(Arts & Crafts, May 4)
One of the most anticipated albums in all of 2010 finally arrives in May, when the Canadian indie-rock collective Broken Social Scene returns with their first album in five years. Tortoise's John McEntire produced the LP, which features a huge assortment of guests from bands such as Metric, Stars, Pavement, and The Sea and Cake. Singer Leslie Feist also returns.
Download this: World Sick
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim
Here Lies Love
(Nonesuch, April 6)
A two-disc concept album about the life of former shoe-loving Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos, Here Lies Love has been in development for many years, and former Talking Heads frontman Byrne has performed the entire song cycle live a handful of times, dating back to 2006. The recording features over 20 guest vocalists, including Tori Amos, Santigold, Sia, Allison Moorer, Natalie Merchant, Cyndi Lauper, St. Vincent, Sharon Jones, Steve Earle, and Nellie McKay.
Download this: Please Don't (feat. Santigold) or watch the video below:
(Merge, April 20)
Dan Snaith's follow-up to 2007's Polaris Music Prize-winning Andorra 83 features a guest appearance from Born Ruffians' Luke Lalonde. Like previous albums, "Swim" blends electronica elements with a mix of instrumentation into a complex but catchy whole. Here, though, Snaith aims for a more "liquid" and "fluid" sound -- as the album's title suggests.
Download this: Odessa (or watch the video below)
(Anti, April 6)
The '60s pop-rock influenced Philadelphia band make the jump to a new (and bigger) label for their stripped-down sixth album after touring with some of indie rock's biggest names over the past five years.
Download this: Stranger
(Warp, May 4)
Thom Yorke guests on one track of the third full-length release -- described by the artist as a "space opera" -- for the Los Angeles-based producer. Known as "FlyLo" to fans and "Steven Ellison" to relatives, Flying Lotus is also the composer of much of the music heard on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim bumpers.
The R.E.D. Album
(Interscope, April 20)
Kanye West, Timbaland and Pharrell are among the producers on the L.A. rapper's Interscope debut, which follows 2008's LAX 65. Guests may include Akon, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Justin Timberlake, and Robin Thicke, although details are still sketchy, and the release date may get bumped yet again.
(Mute, March 23)
After a brief detour into a more acoustic sound (2008's Seventh Tree 78), the beats are back on the synth-heavy, 1980s-influenced Head First, the UK duo's fifth album. At just 38 minutes, the album is also free of filler.
Download this: Rocket (or watch the video below)
The Hold Steady
Heaven Is Whenever
(Vagrant, May 4)
The rockers -- whose last three studio albums have scored 85 or better -- reunite with "Separation Sunday" producer Dean Baltulonis for their fifth album. The band have suggested that the new record is both more diverse and more complex than previous efforts.
James Murphy / Various Artists
(Virgin, March 23)
Noah Baumbach's new dark comedy Greenberg was scored by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy -- the first time the DFA leader has worked in film. The resulting soundtrack blends nearly a dozen Murphy originals with a new LCD Soundsystem track ("Oh You") and a few songs by other artists ranging from Galaxie 500 to Duran Duran. The results are quite different from typical LCD; Rolling Stone describes Murphy's new tracks as sounding like "seventies-style California pop."
Download this: Oh You (Christmas Blues)
(Warp, May 18)
The British soul singer enlisted Beck, Feist, Nikka Costa, Wilco's Pat Sansone, and members of Grizzly Bear for his follow-up to 2008's Jim 72.
Download this: Compass
(XL, April 6)
"Go" is the solo debut for Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi Birgisson. You'll certainly recognize his distinctive voice (although he is singing mostly in English for the first time), but the mainly acoustic, string-heavy music --produced by Peter Katis (The National, Tokyo Police Club) -- is different from what you've heard on Sigur Rós records.
Download this: Tornado
The singer's fifth studio album will be her first release in four years, if it arrives as anticipated this spring. This electronica-heavy set -- her debut for new label Interscope -- includes production work by will.i.am, David Guetta, Boys Noize, and Diplo & Switch, and lead single "Acapella" has already topped Billboard's dance chart.
Download this: Acapella
(Morr Music, April 27)
The Munich, Germany electronic-pop band -- which includes vocalist Valerie Trebeljahr and The Notwist's Markus Acher -- return with their first album in five years.
Download this: Remember
(DFA/Virgin, May 18)
This still-untitled nine-song disc will be James Murphy's final release under the LCD Soundsystem name. This follow-up to Sound of Silver 86 -- one of 2007's most acclaimed releases -- was recorded in Los Angeles.
Meth Ghost and Rae
(Def Jam, March 30)
Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon share the mic on this 12-song set that was produced in part by RZA and Mathematics.
Download this: Our Dreams
(Columbia, April 13)
One of 2008's most pleasant surprises was the debut album Oracular Spectacular 78 from poppy indie rock duo MGMT. That album earned MGMT fans like Jay-Z and Paul McCartney as well as a pair of Grammy nominations. "Congratulations," their eagerly-awaited follow-up, was produced by Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom and recorded with their full touring band. Don't expect a retread of their first album, however; the new disc eschews the immediacy and catchiness of the singles-heavy "Oracular" for a more complex and complete album. Yes, some of you will be disappointed.
Download this: Flash Delirium
(4AD, May 11)
With acclaimed albums of literate, guitar-driven indie-rock like Boxer 86 and Alligator 81 already under their belts, The National have a lot to live up to. But early word on the self-produced "High Violet" indicates that it could be their most accessible album yet -- if not their best. Count us excited.
Watch: The National performing new track "Terrible Love" on Jimmy Fallon:
The New Pornographers
(Matador, May 4)
The fifth album from the Canadian indie-rock supergroup is more rock-oriented than its last release, 2007's mellower Challengers 74. Neko Case will again contribute vocals alongside Carl Newman and Dan Bejar, and Phil Palazzolo returns as producer. Guests include St. Vincent's Annie Clark, Beirut's Zach Condon, Okkervil River's Will Sheff, and the Dap-Kings horns.
Download this: Your Hands (Together)
The Radio Dept.
Clinging to a Scheme
(Labrador, April 20)
This third album from the Swedish shoegaze outfit was originally due in 2008 -- but we promise it really will surface this time. Whether it sounds closer to their acclaimed debut Lesser Matters 84 or the more synth-heavy follow-up "Pet Grief" remains to be heard, although leaked early tracks suggest the album will stake out a middle ground.
Download this: David
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
I Learned the Hard Way
(Daptone, April 6)
The Brooklyn collective fronted by Sharon Jones continues to evoke the funk and soul sounds of the 1960s and '70s on this, their fourth full-length, which was produced by Bosco Mann.
Download this: I Learned the Hard Way
She & Him
(Merge, March 23)
The indie-folk duo of M Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel return with a second album that includes a cover of NRBQ's "Ridin' in My Car" and a guest appearance from Tilly and the Wall.
Download this: In the Sun
Raymond vs. Raymond
(La Face, March 30)
The superstar singer's sixth studio set -- said to be a deeply personal album that touches upon his recent divorce -- includes the single "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)." Ludacris and will.i.am guest on the 14-track outing.
Download this: Lil Freak (feat. Nicki Minaj)
What do you think?
What albums are you most looking forward to this spring? What did we leave out? Let us know in the comments section below.