First of all, Happy New Year. Secondly, allow me to say previewing albums, when I have absolutely no idea if I will like them or not is weird, but hey, what do you want from me? Also take this list as nowhere near definitive, as countless albums and bands I have never heard of will undoubtedly populate my year-end list in December. For example, how many of 2011′s best albums from my list could I have predicted in January of last year? Four. And only one in the top ten. So here, without further ado, is a total crap-shoot of my most anticipated albums of 2012.
Bloc Party – TBA (TBD)
We last saw Bloc Party in 2009. When they finished touring behind 2008′s Intimacy, the band took a break so lead singer Kele Okereke could lift weights and make an electro album. But recently (only today actually) did Bloc make an official announcement that a new album was coming in 2012. What can we expect to hear on it? No idea. But I would like to echo former List Off’er Mike Pop and say, “just play some goddamn guitars on it.”
Morrissey – TBA (TBD)
This is (hopefully) the only album on this list that may never get made. Yes, the Mozzer has songs lying around (such as the excellent “People Are The Same Everywhere” above), but recently said, “I now no longer expect to live long enough to experience an offer to record for a grownup label … This topic would not sound quite so banal had I not mentioned it 47 times already. I promise I will not mention it again. The world, I expect, will somehow endure, even as the follow-up to Years of Refusal grows less and less likely. End of subject. I promise.” Well, here’s to hoping he’s just being pessimistic/mopey/sad/Morrissey. But at the very least, maybe we’ll get a book out of it.
Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (Jan. 31)
According to Consequence of Sound, Old Ideas is, “ten songs poetically address some of the most profound quandaries of human existence – the relationship to a transcendent being, love, sexuality, loss and death.” Or, as it is known in some circles, a Leonard Cohen record. One of music’s all time greatest poets will be putting out his first record since 2004, and I for one would sell everything to see a double-bill of Cohen and Tom Waits on tour in 2012. MAKE IT HAPPEN, AMERICA.
Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes (Jan. 24)
The Hold Steady frontman (and Westerberg disciple) Craig Finn is known as one of indie’s best storytellers, and he opens 2012 with his first solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes. With this record, all the songwriting falls on Finn, without the co-writing and support of the full, loud, band behind him. The results should be anything but boring.
Delta Spirit – Delta Spirit (March 13)
Quite simply, Delta Spirit’s History From Below was the best album of 2010. The northern-soul/americana-tinged guitar rock group claims to have finally found their sound, hence the self-titled record. This has gotta be the album I am most nervous about for 2012, since their first two records were truly triumphant pieces of nearly straight-up rock music.
Cursive – I Am Gemini (Feb. 21)
Hear a preview of I Am Gemini on Spotify here.
If Craig Finn is one of music’s great storytellers, weaving tales of the people who never left their hometowns, Tim Kasher is on the same level, but tells stories of people lost and broken so convincingly that you aren’t quite sure he isn’t talking about himself. Kasher released his first solo album in 2010 (The Game of Monogamy) and on top of Cursive also heads The Good Life (who are…ahem…better than Cursive, but that’s a different list. Cursive’s last album, Mama, I’m Swollen was a step up from the previous album, but not as strong as the few before it. But hey, if I Am Gemini is no good, 1. still catch them live, it’s amazing, and 2. maybe a new The Good Life record won’t be far off.
The Shins – Port of Morrow (March)
The Shins can be as indie-rock 101 as it gets, and to be honest, I didn’t really like their last record, Wincing the Night Away. But the album is on this list for one reason. It’s been around 5 years since the last release, and main songwriting force James Mercer is the only one still there. And, as mentioned in the Cursive graf above, if this album sucks, maybe there’s a new Broken Bells record on the horizon, or we can all just listen to Chutes Too Narrow and Oh, Inverted World.
Oh, and some guy from Jersey is making a record.