Now that we are almost a month deep into 2014, and the dust has begun to settle on all the 2013 talk, we are ready to take a quick preview of things to come. All of these artists below are set to release albums in the upcoming year, and below are our most anticipated. As with all things in life, sometimes musical expectations just don’t meet reality. For instance, last year the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s were at #1 on the list. Then they also ended up #1 on our “Most Disappointing Albums of 2013″ list as well. So as always, forgive us our blunders as they arise, and please feel free to let us know what you are excited about in 2014 as well. Onto the list:
10. Joanna Newsom
In 2014 Joanna will release her first album in 4 years. Now that she is married to Andy Samberg, I only hope to expect a mix of Joanna’s uniquely classical sounds blended with the nonsensical, over-produced gaudiness of The Lonely Island. Just kidding. Hopefully it is just classic, lovely Joanna.
“Birth in Reverse” / “Digital Witness”
Over the last five years, Texas guitaress Annie Clark aka St. Vincent has had as dynamic of a stretch as any artist. In 2009, she released her beautiful and eerie sophomore album Actor, followed in 2011 by Strange Mercy, my favorite album of that year, and a creative guitar pop masterpiece. In 2012, St. Vincent was not only our favorite live performer of the year, but she hooked up with another one of our favorites, the Talking Heads’ David Byrne, for the wonderfully funky Love This Giant which also landed on our best albums of 2012. After a year of touring a beautifully synchronized and horn-laden show with David Byrne in 2013, St. Vincent is due in 2014 to release her fifth album, a self-titled release that appears to be taking some notes from her time with David Byrne. So like I did in 2012 with the first two singles off Love This Giant, here is a double-song review of the first two singles off her upcoming self-titled album, “Birth in Reverse” and “Digital Witness”.
There has been no shortage of bright new female artists in the last five years from across the musical spectrum, from the aerobatic R&B of Janelle Monae to the post-punk assault of Savages, women have dominated in this new millennium musical frontier. Singer/guitarist extraordinaire Anna Calvi, who has been championed by legendary producer/musician Brian Eno, is the latest in a long line of autonomous artists hailing from the motherland creating her own concoction of gloomy goth, smoky blues, sizzling flamenco, all topped off with Calvi’s angelic yet treacherous voice. On her second album, One Breath, Calvi takes that step that you hope every artist promising artist to take on their second effort: a more confident and challenging creation for the listener.
We all love us some Edgar Wright (and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for that matter), so with the opening of The World’s End this weekend, we thought it appropriate to dig up the top ten apocalyptic songs. A few words about The World’s End first though. I am endlessly excited to see this movie, but it just has the worst title ever. The title is not bad in and of itself. It is descriptive. It is succinct. But unfortunately it is too similar to another apocalyptic comedy from earlier this summer (This Is The End) as well as a Pirates of the Caribbean poopcicle (At World’s End). This obviously won’t effect the quality of the movie, but its a pet peeve of mine from a differentiation standpoint.
Now that all that is out of the way, enjoy these top ten tracks for the end of times.
10. Prince – “1999″
Remember in 1982 when 1999 was in the distant future and probably the end of the world? Me neither, I wasn’t born yet. Coming in as the most danceable song on this list, “1999″ is a classic depiction of a party for the end of the world.
Andrew Bird: Fever Year
Directed by: Xan Aranda
One of the more prolific artists in recent years has been Andrew Bird, the Chicago singer/songwriter/violinist who has flood the music scene with almost obsessive touring and eight albums in the last decade. A week ago, my wife and I caught a director’s screening of Fever Year, a documentary about Bird. Although over a year after its debut, the film never was widely released and still remains unavailable on DVD per Bird’s request. But while only currently available to see through screenings, the film gives some very interesting snapshots into the life and ethic of this unique artist.