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Our Most Anticipated Albums of 2011

By ; January 13, 2011 at 12:00 AM  View discussion

The Antlers – TBA
Expected out 2011

The Antlers struck gold with their 2009 release, Hospice. In my entire life, I’ve never heard anything quite so emotionally demanding, regardless of medium. The tale of a nurse falling in love with his patient only to watch her die by the album’s climax is a narrative that we can all in some way, shape or form relate to. The next album by The Antlers has a lot to live up to; after crafting such an emotional masterpiece, will Silberman take the new LP down a similar heartbreaking route, or throw off his shackles as a melancholy troubadour and take the project in a new direction? Only time will tell.

– Alex Phillimore

Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Comittee Part 2
Expected out Spring on Capitol

Sadly, MCA’s battle with cancer is still the major topic of conversation in regards to the Beastie Boys. But, hopefully, that will change soon with the help of modern medicine and a little hot sauce. The latter is the second part of a series in which the first part is indefinitely shelved. While this may seem odd, and live dates may not be in the cards for the near future, this release is a positive sign for a group in need of positive signs. 2011 could be a big resurgence year for the Beasties in more ways than one.

– Philip Cosores

Black Lips – TBA
Expected out Spring 2011 on Vice Records

The Black Lips began touring a few months back and an album announcement seemed imminent. Well, here we are in January and it still seems imminent. The release, which is reported to feature production work from Mark Ronson, follows the disappointing 200 Million Thousand, which could have placed the band in the forefront of the punky-indie scene. Now, they are another bad release from seeming on the decline of relevance. We all hope this one is good. We’re betting it will be.

– Phillip Cosores

Blur – TBA
Expected out 2011

If “Fool’s Day” was anything to go by, new Blur could sound exactly like the old Blur which should be welcomed. Besides the fact that it’s possible we’ll be getting new Blur with Coxon, it’ll be interesting to hear what these now grizzled, old and more settled-down old men will make of modern Britain, with some new instruments and styles to incorporate. Expect Damon’s experiences with Gorillaz to have an influence as well. The reunion shows in 2009 showed a band energised and if that’s channelled into the studio it’ll be an explosive return.

– Daniel Griffiths

Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
Due out February 15th on Saddle Creek

Most probably questioned whether Conor Oberst would return to the Bright Eyes moniker that he built his career on, but the quality of his eponymous releases makes even the last Bright Eyes album –2007’s Cassadaga— look like audio gold. Will this continue the political direction he seems to have fully embraced? Will he remember that he is at his best when he is angry and raw? Will he find a way to mature without completely boring us? Jesus, I hope so. At worst, we get to hear the old songs again when he tours in the spring.

– Philip Cosores

Cass McCombs – TBA
Expected out 2011

Cass McCombs played shows in October and December in Los Angeles that featured new music, a Darker My Love member in his band, and even more confidence for the long-blooming singer. While it seems like we have been expecting greatness from Cass for nearly a decade, the fact is that we have already seen it. “Windfall,” “City of Brotherly Love” and “You Saved My Life” should all be classic tunes, and another great record from the songwriter might give his back catalog the attention it deserves.

– Phillip Cosores

Coldplay – TBA
Expected out 2011

Coldplay did something out of character in 2008. They made an album less focused on singles and more on a cohesive listing of tracks that flowed almost like a concept. Viva La Vida surprised me; it’s not until the third track, ”Lost!” that the album has anything close to a radio-friendly song, and even then it proved to be one of their best. In fact, the album in general was a thoroughly surprising success; the shoegaze breakdown of ”Yes” was one of many moments that took me off-guard and raised a cheeky grin. It seemed that by their fourth release, Coldplay had finally realised their potential. And so, with Brian Eno back as a collaborator, I hope that Coldplay remain in this new musical zone with their as-of-now-untitled fifth release: taking risks and reaping the rewards.

– Alex Phillimore

Cut Copy – Zonoscope
Due out February 8th on Modular Recordings

The quiet hiatus between Bright Like Neon Lights and In Ghost Colours has been done away with in anticipation of Zonoscope, the third studio album for Aussie dance-rock outfit Cut Copy. The album’s first two singles, “Take Me Over” and “Where I’m Going,” encapsulate Cut Copy’s new sound. The tropical drums and spacey synths on “Take Me Over” along with the chanting tambourine and tribal rhythm on “Where I’m Going” hint at a more refined pop taste on Zonoscope. As frontman Dan Whitford said about the album, “we wanted to explore a looping hypnotic trance and revise the whole palette of what Cut Copy was about.” Don’t be surprised if you see Cut Copy atop the major festivals this year, parlaying the last album’s success with Zonoscope‘s promise.

– Erik Burg

Danielson – Best Of Gloucester County
Due out February 22nd on Sounds Familyre

It’s been five years since we last hear from Daniel Smith, so that photo up there is not at all what the songwriter’s new “famile” is going to look like. Before you get upset or angry or skip to the next blurb, be comforted by news that Sufjan Stevens is now in the group (at least for the album) and Jens Lekman guests on the LP. The eleven-song set will be released on Smith’s own label will feature more traditional rock rhythms with the full arangements still present, at times approaching the cinematic in scope. Accessibility is in these days, so it might be a good change.

– Philip Cosores

Dead Man’s Bones – TBA
Expected out 2011

It must be tough being Dead Man’s Bones. Half your band is in elementary school. After soccer practice, there is just not a lot left in the tank. That is why the group resorted to having new kids in every town for their lone tour, and then resorted to heavy work last summer in Los Angeles, culminating in a show-stealing performance at FYF Fest that included the children dressing as famous dead people. The costume ideas (Coco Chanel?) screamed Silver Lake. So despite a wealth of new, and very good, material, I would bet the sophomore release will be another summer affair. Before you begin feeling sorry for the band, remember that Ryan Gosling is involved. It’s not that tough being Dead Man’s Bones.

– Phillip Cosores

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