Our Most Anticipated Albums of 2011

Portishead – TBA
Due out 2011

Never has the musical landscape been more ready for a Portishead release than 2011. Half because of the sheer anticipation after the spectacular Third, and half because of the amount of dreamy, laid-back and electronic bands that have appeared. If Portishead continue on from Third on their electronic and gloomy path, album number four will be more than up to their usual standard. But don’t be surprised if they throw something spectacular into the mix.

– Daniel Griffiths

R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now
Due on March 8th on Warner Brothers

No matter what happens, R.E.M. classcisists will be covered in 2011, as the new Decemberists record is about as close to a vintage R.E.M. record as we will ever see again. Stipe, Buck, and Mills have moved far beyond that. Well, maybe not Buck. But the guitarist has no problem plugging in and turning the volume up, as shown on first single “Discoverer.” Look for Eddie Vedder to appear on the new disc as well. But seriously, The King Is Dead is your failsafe.

– Philip Cosores

Radiohead – TBA
Expected out 2011

Throughout their lengthy career, Radiohead have never failed to astonish critics and listeners alike. The Bends revealed a band who were unlike their peers; they were ambitious, with Thom Yorke singing mostly in falsetto, and they changed British music forever. Since the remarkable follow-up, OK Computer, Radiohead completely reinvented themselves, surprising almost everyone with their 2000 release, Kid A. Here was an unexpected electronic album by a band that dominated the British music scene at the time; a fuzzy beast of a record that was seen as unconventional, utterly experimental, and, to some critics, commercial suicide. And yet, years later, we still see it as a masterpiece. Amnesiac followed, far more than just a collection of b-sides, and Radiohead continued their compelling thrust into 2007, with the pay-what-you-like sensation, In Rainbows. Plenty of other artists have since attempted the same method of distribution, showing the influence that Radiohead have over other artists in almost everything that they do. Which is why their newest album, years in the making, is going to be something special: Radiohead are not a band to shy away from breaking new ground. And with the title of one of the world’s most celebrated bands, it’s highly unlikely that their new album will be anything less than something equally as pioneering and accomplished as any other release within their extensive, nearly flawless discography.

– Alex Phillimore

The Rapture – TBA
Expected 1st Half of 2010

This one was supposed to be out last summer and The Rapture even played some shows, but then nothing happened. Well, there still isn’t a release date or title, but drummer Vito Roccoforte recently gave an interview to promote some Austrailian dates in which some info was conveyed, like the fact the album has been completed since June. “It’s our most creative album we have ever done, it sticks together well,” he said. “I think it’s really pretty too, a really beautiful album.” We’re sold.

– Philip Cosores

Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
Due out January 18th on Fat Possum

Though it may be pointless to characterize a year that hasn’t started yet, 2011 is shaping up to be the year of the departures. From Bright Eyes losing the country to Hercules and Love Affair moving away from disco, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Smith Westerns are changing their sound majorly for their sophmore release. But underneath the fuzzy guitar tones that populated their self-titled debut, Smith Westerns created traditional pop music through a channel of noise. Dye It Blonde, however, will be a Brit-pop infuenced album. The single, “Weekend,” makes rolling with the punches feel completely natural.

– Philip Cosores

The Streets – Computers and Blues
Due out February 7th on Atlantic Records

Mike Skinner is smarter than he looks. His real break under The Streets moniker came from his second studio effort, A Grand Don’t Come For Free, although his début already landed him some positive critical response. After the second disc, things slowed down for Skinner, and the critics weren’t quite so kind to him; perhaps they’d heard enough of his musings with the first two discs. Nevertheless, the new album is important for one major reason: it’s supposedly the last disc that Skinner will release under The Streets name. And, if leaked track “OMG” is anything to go by, then it will be another accomplished record with just the right amount of solo performances and guest spots. We’ll be sad to see him go, but hopefully Skinner will be ending on a high-note.

– Alex Phillimore

The Strokes – TBA
Expected Mid-2010

Another year approaches and it’s hard to believe that The Strokes still exist. Yet, it also seems like the new record has been on the horizon for two years. Rumors began swirling around the time the band made some festival appearances, rumors that suggested the band wouldn’t finish the album and that the personalities were pulling the band in too many different directions. But a November tweet from Julian Casablancas announced the album’s completion in the studio, with a few months expected to mix and push it out. Casablancas has also indicated that the record should sound like First Impressions Of Earth, their nearly 5-year old last album. Maybe this is all overblown by the media and the tension is much more mild within the group than most suspect. But I’d plan on getting tickets if they tour, just to be safe.

– Phillip Cosores

Tennis – Cape Dory
Due out January 18th on Fat Possum

Yes, that appears to be the much hyped husband and wide duo Tennis on vacation, possibly in Davenport or Half Moon Bay. The picture may leave something to be desired in terms of quality, but the feeling is pretty dead-on with the music: pop with a taste for the retro. It won’t be confused for new Rosebuds or Mates of State or Arcade Fire, but like those bands, there is something special about collaborators who are intimate on many levels. Plus, all this fuss has to be for something. right?

– Philip Cosores

Toro Y Moi – Underneath The Pine
Due out on February 22nd on Carpark

Remember chillwave? Neither do we! But the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it electronic movement didn’t really throw too much shit at us, it just now seems a little bigger in context to all musical genres mining the past for nostaligic atmospheres and retro sounds. That’s neither here nor there with Toro Y Moi, who looks built to last longer than the genre he rode in on. Hell, this could be his first album as far as most people know.

– Philip Cosores

Yuck – Yuck
Due out February 15th on Fat Possum

They came almost unnoticed out of the ashes of short-lived, NME-hyped teenage indie pop band Cajun Dance Party. The fact that NME have barely mentioned them, yet they have been on tour supporting Modest Mouse in Europe can only mean good things, right? Early samples from their album suggest heavy influences from early 90s rock, with some even calling them Dinosaur Jr. Jr. In a time when Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. are still touring and Pavement have reunited it was only a matter of time before this revival started and Yuck are the band leading the way.

– Rob Hakimian

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