Oh, hi there! Welcome to the first NEW MUSIC MONDAY post of 2018.
As the beginning of January is an utter wasteland for new music, we’ll take this moment to highlight some releases that we are looking forward to in the new year. This list will be in no way a complete picture of music in 2018, as many things will drop unexpectedly and many things may take us (and the world) by surprise. Probably, I’m just going to write about a lot of punk and metal that I’m excited about and Josh will write about a long list of stuff that you’ve actually heard of.
Porches – The House
Mid-January sees the release of a new album by Porches, Aaron Maine’s beguiling indie pop project. Having achieved a new level of attention and success with 2016’s Pool, it would appear that Maine has decided to stay the course with that album’s icy electronic vibe. His sense of melody seems undiminished in spite of the synthetic nature of the arrangements, however, and the preview track “Country” is particularly lovely. Colour me interested!
Lucy Dacus – Historian
Lucy Dacus released a really great album in 2016. In fact, No Burden may have been the only album of that year to win Jay Hosking‘s unabashed approval. Judging by the preview track, Dacus is back with more wry and literate compositions about life and love. I like it easily as much as the tracks on her previous release, and the way that the arrangement bobs and weaves unexpectedly is both clever and endearing. This is great, and I’m really looking forward to the album dropping in March.
David Duchovny – Every Third Though
Ha ha! Not really! But apparently this comes out in February and is his second album?! Can you believe that this is a thing?
Courtney Barnett – TBD
Her last proper release was a revelation and I’m very excited for an announcement from this one.
The Armed – TBD
Their sparse social media presence has alluded to the fact that they’ve been recording and working on something over the last year. 2018 is the perfect time for the return of THE WORLD’S GREATEST BAND.
ALBUMS THAT I’M NOT SURE ABOUT
Tool – TBD
Am I excited about a new Tool album? I’m not sure that I’d say that I’m excited, but after their super-long hiatus, I’m at least curious.
A Perfect Circle – TBD
See above, but with less interest.
MY MUSIC RESOLUTION FOR THE YEAR
I need to keep tabs on and explore more music from outside of my comfort zone. This may mean paying more attention to Josh and the breadth of music that he seems to take in, or getting together with my old friend Mike for a little hip hop and R&B 101. My tastes seem to run in the realm of angry white dudes and sad white women, and that’s a little bit too narrow to just be satisfied with in this day and age!
Lucy Dacus — Historian
Mark’s right: that was probably my favourite record of that year. I saw Dacus live last year and was really impressed with all of the new tracks. In fact, I enjoyed the ending refrain from “Night Shift” so much that I wrote it down to remember for later. I’ve got high hopes for Historian, maybe even more than the excellent No Burden.
Porches — The House
On the other hand, I’m not expecting as much from Porches’ next record. Don’t get me wrong; Maine had a string of releases that I absolutely loved (Summer of Ten, Scrap and Love Songs Revisited, Slow Dance in the Cosmos) and still listen to all the time. But his last record, Pool, was a disappointment in its early-90’s-themed production and diminished passion, even if the songwriting and vocals remained lovely. Here’s hoping we get more songs like “Country” and fewer like “Find Me”. It’s not terrible, but I can’t seem to get past the cold production and terrible sound palette.
Nine Inch Nails — EP TBD
Terry Razor decided to try something different this time around and released a couple of interesting EPs over the last year or so. The third is expected this year. While the first EP, Not the Actual Events, was an anxious mess perfectly appropriate for our newly anxious era, it was also not very nice to listen to, mainly because of a muddy, imbalanced mix. The second EP, Add Violence, was much more successful overall. It has me excited for ol’ Troy Raisin to finish up his sequence. Until then, I’m happy to read my illustrious colleagues visit to nin’s back catalogue, even if I don’t always agree with him (Year Zero is way better than With Teeth!).
Jay’s music resolution for the year
I am extraordinarily busy these days and, as such, every minute I have is precious. I would be kidding myself if I thought most pop music is going to do it for me. There are occasionally radio songs that I find surprisingly good, but mostly it’s a waste of my time and effort to explore what’s going on in the remnants of the “mainstream”. I like listening to bands, or music that approximates an actual band with actual drums. I like ambient electronic music and am listening to it more and more, since I can work to it; this is the best new record I’ve heard this year. So my resolution is to spend more of my energy on liking things and less on disliking them. Onwards and upwards.
Glen Hansard — Between Two Shores (Jan 19)
If there’s one thing I love more than the pleasing sounds of the Irish singer-songwriter behind the musical Once and one of my top ten records of 2012, Rhythm & Repose, it’s anything nautical-themed. Look at that dashing man of the sea! Between Two Shores is inspired by Hansard’s love of the ocean and sailing, and takes its title from the midpoint between a departure and a destination, and the anxiety over whether to turn back or go forward. This one will probably end up one of my year-end favourites.
Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet — Landfall (Feb 16)
I don’t understand much about the convoluted concept behind this collaboration—something about words, technology, and Hurricane Sandy—, but two musical acts of this magnitude, working together for the first time, are sure to create something interesting.
Cardi B — TBA (TBA)
After two top 20 singles last year including the massive chart-topper “Bodak Yellow,” Instagram rapper Cardi B is expected to release her hotly-anticipated proper debut album sometime this year. It’s gonna be huge, and Mark and Jay will surely hate it.
Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot I’m over the moon excited for this year. Rumours of new albums from Arctic Monkeys, Courntey Barnett, Kanye West, and my perennial favourites, Thrice, would round out this list if there was more information about them. Needless to say, 2018 will probably be defined more by surprises than by excitement.
Josh’s music resolution for the year
Fresh off my top 50 list from the exhausting roster of over 300 albums last year it’s hard to even think about 2018. But I discovered some fun records through Mark’s recommendations last year, so this year I resolve to check out everything Mark and Jay mentioned above, much of which I’m unfamiliar with.