Announcements for interesting 2012 albums are coming in faster than I can keep track of them. Here are just a few amazing albums we can expect this year:
Normal Love - Survival Tricks: It's been a long wait since the s/t Normal Love debut on High Two, but if you're a fan of the "brutal prog" approach, music with dense, complex compositions played with furious precision, this will surely be among your 2012 essentials. This one is expected around May on vinyl and CD, co-released by ugEXPLODE and Public Eyesore. A taste of what we can expect:
Normal Love's Upcoming Full-Length Album from Normal Love on Vimeo.
Extra Life - Dream Seeds: Extra Life continues to change lineups and instrumentation from album to album, but "Dream Seeds" is sure to be another deep, wild trip. Look for it on April 10th from Northern Spy.
Power Animal - Exorcism EP: If this is anything like Power Animal's debut, "People Songs," it will be a must-hear and the latest addition to a rich tradition of quality avant-pop from Philly. "Copernicus" in particular was a beautiful, touching song among my favorite musical moments of 2010. This one will see cassette and digital release in late February.
Captain Beefheart - Bat Chain Puller: The long-shelved "original" Bat Chain Puller is due to hit the mail via Zappa.com any minute now. They're taking pre-orders now. Relatively clean test tape bootlegs have circulated for years, but I'm definitely curious to hear the finished mixing and mastering from the source recordings. Bat Chain Puller a year after Smile! I guess there won't be anything left in the closets of rock & roll now.
Giant Claw: It looks like there are at least 3 new releases from the Giant Claw camp: a split with Electroluminiscent and a cassette release, "Clash of Moons," are already out--and an LP, "Haunted Planet" is on the way soon. If you're looking for some very well-composed and arranged synth music with nods to both pop and classical camps, Giant Claw is money.
Ergo Phizmiz - Eleven Songs: As noted at the end of a recent review of Things to Do and Make, we can expect a new Phizmiz record this summer. I'm still loving Things, and I'm amped to hear this one.
Eyvind Kang - Narrow Garden: Kang's latest release on Tzadik is due Feb 14th (tomorrow already!), and reviews are already coming in. It sounds like it's going to be a fairly tranquil, cinematic experience...
Mike Pride: Pride, one of my favorite drummers and composers, is working on a million bands and recording projects at once (as usual). Two I'm especially looking forward to hearing are a new recording from Period (with Charlie Looker of Extra Life, Darius Jones of Little Women and From Bacteria to Boys, and Chuck Bettis), and an album from the new "Nothing But Blues Trio" with Mick Barr and Jon Irabagon. A live-for-radio clip:
Ron Anderson - the man behind the mighty Molecules and Pak will be part of a quartet record arriving on Public Eyesore this month called "Closed Encounters of the 4 Minds." I don't know anything about this one yet, but I'm always interested to contrast Anderson's playing in improvised situations with his compositional style, and I'm guessing this one will be partly or mostly improvised...
Many Arms - s/t: Many Arms will be one of the next bands to get the "Spotlight" series treatment on Tzadik. I really dig what they brought to the gtr/bs/drm trio format on their last 2 full-lengths, and I'm psyched to check this out. I don't know how I feel about all of the Spotlight series records being eponymous, though. Obviously that's pretty conceptually limiting. I've loved all of the bands featured in that series so far, but I'm also glad that the Time of Orchids and Kayo Dot releases on Tzadik slipped through in the Composer Series, conceptually intact. Those were some beautiful albums with equally compelling album titles...
Ahleuchatistas: another wonderful--and often hyper--guitar/bass/drums trio, their website reports completion of a new album slated for release later this year. While they've been on the prolific side lately, this band's approach is so inclusive and creative, I doubt I could ever get tired of hearing new records them them.
A couple of potential releases: Will Gorguts finish a new record? Rumors are floating around that the band isn't happy with the recordings made so far and might be doing some extensive re-recording...Now that Behold the Arctopus has a new drummer (Weasel Walter of the legendary Flying Luttenbachers), will a recording studio be in their near future? Will a new album eventually surface from the Japonize Elephants, who have hinted at recording progress occasionally in the last couple of years? And Skerik of Critters Buggin and Les Claypool fame is working on a Kickstarter campaign to finish a record by an unusually "conceptual" group of his called Bandalabra--I haven't heard the music, but the description makes me think it might be a sort of West Coast version of NYC bands from the Zs family...