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One Thirty BPM’s Guide to Second Half of 2011 Albums

By ; July 1, 2011 at 2:22 PM 

Terminal Twilight – House Of Love
(July 12th)

Last year’s Black and Blue EP was one of 2010’s best-kept secrets, but the secret will be out on July 12 when the Los Angeles duo release their debut full-length. They’ve posted an absolutely epic preview to their SoundCloud, ensuring us that we’ll get to enjoy more of the disco-lounge-lizard synthwave that the duo have already proved more than capable of producing. I have a hunch that this album is going to be on constant rotation come July.

– Josh Becker

Terminal Twilight – House of Love preview


Twin Sister – In Heaven
(September 27th)

Twin Sister offered up their first two EPs entirely free, which was nice, and extremely generous considering the quality of Vampires With Dreaming Kids and Color Your Life. Now, many bands are currently making music of the same ilk as Twin Sister, but not many, if any, do it as well as them. From Andrea Estella’s deceptively good lyrics delivered in a sugary sweet near-whisper, to the light electronic use, to the pure dreaminess of the guitars, there is plenty to take in. Their EPs certainly caught the attention of ears the world over, most notably Domino Records, who re-issued them on vinyl, and will release their debut In Heaven. When you consider the pedigree of the current artists on their roster (Animal Collective, Wild Beasts, Four Tet to name but a few), that’s no small feat.

– Rob Hakimian

Twin Sister – “Bad Street”


Sharon Van Etten

When we caught up with Sharon back in February she told us all about how The National’s Aaron Dessner had been helping her to expand her sound for her third album. Now, people who like the spare, stripped down efforts of her first two albums (particularly the debut) may be a little wary of Van Etten adding too much to her sound that she loses some of the intimacy of her recordings. To this I have two things to say: if anyone can make an intimate song from a large arrangement it is Aaron from The National, and, anybody who has seen Sharon recently with her live band knows that she can rock too, so maybe it would be pretty awesome for her to go big for album number three. Whichever way she ends up going, I’m sure this next set of songs will be packed with just as much charm and surprising elements as her last two have. Check out new song “All I Can” below.

– Rob Hakimian

Sharon Van Etten – “All I Can” (live at SXSW 2011)


Veronica Falls

In a city like London, new bands appear and fade away on a weekly basis, but when one truly stands out, they stick around and gain momentum playing support slots consistently all over the city building up talk around them. That’s exactly what’s happened with Veronica Falls who have been on the tip of the tongue of London hipsters for a couple of years now, and with good reason. Their music owes a debt to The Velvet Underground and other bands of that era, but the sardonic humour of their lyrics, delivered in demure-yet-playful manner is truly unique. The band’s dedication to touring has made them into a live band to be reckoned with, so even if this release is slept on upon its release, you can rest assured they’ll get people’s attention touring behind it.

– Rob Hakimian


The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
(August 16th)

After the great exodus that was 2008, Philly’s own back alley, synthesized rockers The War on Drugs had been effectively thinned out to a mere three members. Though, one thing that was readily evident was that front man and lead guitarist Adam Granduciel still had those lofty aspirations which found him delivering classic-tinged rock that made sure to soak its Americana in a fine digitized hue, slowing down for little (if anything) along the way. Down-trodden tracks would continue to seem insistent, and the noisy walls that made up The War on Drugs’ textured existence would remain in tact. The 2010 EP Future Weather further traveled down this rabbit hole, but given its nature of being assembled from older, scrapped recordings, it offered precious little in the way of what to expect as far as a follow-up to 2008’s stellar Wagonwheel Blues. Thankfully, we’ve recently learned that Secretly Canadian will, in fact, be releasing the upcoming Slave Ambient on August 16th. And, what’s more, back in May we got our first taste of said album in the form of lead single “Baby Missiles,” which finds the band totally still intent on expertly soundtracking your road trip across the Continental United States.

– Dan Rivera

The War On Drugs – “Baby Missiles”


Washed Out – Within And Without
(July 12th)

It’s rare to find an artist whose sound is so aptly described by its name. Such is the case for Washed Out (a.k.a. Ernest Greene), and he is set to make waves with Within and Without, which drops in a little under two weeks. Greene has had to work for every bit of acclaim he has received. Three successful EPs and tracks like “Feel It All Around” and “Belong” have put the Georgian bedroom artist on a lot of people’s radar and landed him a deal with Sub Pop. Borrowing elements from 80s synthpop, lo-fi, “chillwave,” downbeat, and whatever other micro-genre of electronic music you care to mention, Within and Without is primed to soundtrack those crystal clear summer nights where there’s nothing better to do that drift away with your thoughts, or the perfect background noise to reenact the scene depicted on its cover.
Take a listen to the absolutely beautiful “Amor Fati” below.

– Brendan Frank


WATERS – Out In The Light
(September 12th)

WATERS is the solo project of Van Pierszalowski, formerly the leader of Port O’Brien. Port O’Brien were always an energetic band, but mostly in a fun sense. Judging from “For The One” and early live performances from WATERS, Pierszalowski has put a lot more passion and even anger into this album. Watching him live conjures images of an early Conor Oberst, which (to me at least) is very high praise indeed. Those people who like their rock music straightforward with a kick of emotion should look forward to this album, which is seeing release through City Slang in September.

– Rob Hakimian

WATERS – “For The One”


The Weeknd – Thursday / Echoes of Silence

In addition to being one of the best R&B releases of the year, House of Balloons is destined to go down as one of the best mixtapes in recent memory. Abel Tesfaye, the enigmatic Torontonian responsible for the deliciously sultry R&B of The Weeknd sure has his plate full for the rest of the year. Two more mixtapes and a collaboration with Drake are on the block for the second half of 2011. Thursday, which is supposed to be the second in the “trilogy” could theoretically drop between now and October, and Echoes of Silence is supposed to follow sometime after. For an artist who possesses such massive crossover potential, the sheer prodigiousness of Tesfaye’s ambition in his first year on the scene isn’t all that surprising. Expect big things from him going forward.

If you haven’t already, take a look at “The Birds (Part 1).” If you have any doubts that the success of House of Balloons can’t be replicated, this should put them to rest.

– Brendan Frank


Wilco – The Whole Love
(September 27th)

At this point in their career, what do Wilco have to prove? As was proven by Sky Blue Sky and Wilco (The Album), the band will earn accolades from critics and fans alike for even the most middle-of-the-road material. (Because, really, is Jeff Tweedy capable of making a bad album?). And whatever new music they create is unlikely to really make a large dent in their live setlist, which will always, it seems, stick firmly with their now classic material from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born. So, is the most we can hope from a new Wilco album just the promise of more Wilco touring? Our hearts all say no, and I would never be one to count Wilco out of making another classic album.

– Philip Cosores

Wilco – “I Might”

[Flash 9 is required to listen to audio.]


Zola Jesus – Conatus
(October 4th)

From chocolate syrup to sheer white satin -now how’s that for versatility? Wisconsin’s own Zola Jesus (nee Nika Roza Danilov) returns this October with Conatus, and if the first single, “Vessel,” is any indication, we can expect her most industrial album yet. That’s not to say there isn’t darkness to be found here, but “Vessel” finds Zola melding the “‘gothic” “synthwave” (“insert ghostly adjective here”) sound of the Stridulum releases with the treated piano she employed on “Lightstick,” the final track from the Valusia EP. The hook gets straight to the point; her lyrics, on the other hand, sound gauzy and bellowing in the thick of a reverb haze, much like her veiled face appears on the new album cover. The best of Zola Jesus is that despite all her gloomy witchery, she’s just do darn likable. Her music is majestic but never pretentious; her sincerity rings loud and clear from deep within the echoes of her beautiful, opera-trained voice, allowing her to emote complex emotions in a way that so many of her peers in “the scene” simply can’t. Though her songwriting is often beautiful, it’s really her voice that sells these songs, and it ensures that she’ll never become just another ironic upside-down triangle in a sea of last.fm spammers.

– Josh Becker

Zola Jesus – “Vessel”

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