Usually, the end of the year begins to run out of steam, especially in December, when anything but holiday releases and deluxe sets begins to slow to a crawl. I’ve come up with a shortlist of music to look forward to through the year end.
Dean Wareham’s six-song, two-remix release, “Emancipated Hearts”, is out Oct. 15th. I’ve had a chance to hear it, and it’s a wonderful genre-buster. He sings in his traditional whisper, but behind him are symphonic, flowing arrangements, with harsh, sweeping strings, howling backing vocals and roughed-up atmospheric guitar. Wareham’s record is gorgeous and sprawling — the first track, “Love Is Colder Than Death”, is a nod to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1969 film of the same name. The strongest part of the record, which I’ve dubbed the trio of decline, “The Deadliest Day Since the Invasion Began”, “The Longest Bridges In the World” (prepare to be swept away by the guitar riffs) and “The Ticking Is the Bomb”, feels like a death-knell to fading times: “We had a golden moment snatched from hands of time / Our golden singing moment …” It’s like the best of Belle and Sebastian and more. Listen closely and you’ll find the title track melting away into the exact melodic line from the classic “The Little Drummer Boy”. It’s really genius.
There’s also Tim Hecker’s “Virgins” (Oct. 14), a beautiful record of echoes, piano clanks and industrial drone — which becomes more about movement than the settling fog of the equally as pretty “Ravedeath 1972” (2011). Percussion and rhythm finds its way into his new record, filling in between the molten ambient sounds and constantly shifting tones. Cass McCombs’ “Big Wheel And Others” is out Oct. 15. Or try out the thundering insolence of The Coathangers’ single, “Adderall” (Oct. 15), featuring the great, cheeky line: “Adderall, we gotta take it all!” I’m anticipating releases from Four Tet (“Beautiful Rewind”/Oct 15), Happy Jawbone Family Band’s self-titled Oct. 15th Mexican Summer release, along with records by Kwes (“ilp”/Oct 15) and Sandro Perri (“Spaced Out” EP/Oct 15).
There’s the recent news about Morrissey’s resurfacing Penguin autobiography, due out Oct 17th in the UK. And that would be rather fitting, with his “Morrissey 25: Live DVD” being released five days later via Eagle Vision. I’m pretty primed for the upcoming, sensualized soundscapes of Poliça’s “Shulamith” (Oct. 22), sung by one of the most alluring singers on the planet (which doesn’t hurt), Channy Leaneagh. Judging by the two streaming singles, “Warrior Lord”, and my favorite, “Smug”, it sounds like she’s doing the smart thing by keeping her style intact. She’s taken that vocal distortion and perfected on it. As I’ve written before, Leaneagh has hit on something crucial about music — feeling trumps meaning. Creating moods and delicious flights of passion with her trailing vocal delays can often mean more than a piece of lyrical brilliance. In fact, it’s brilliance from another angle, like holding a piece of quartz up to the sun, and turning it in your fingers.
There’s also Active Child’s “Rapor” EP (Oct. 22), Arcade Fire’s heavily anticipated “Reflektor” (Oct. 29), Juana Molina’s “Wed 21” (Oct. 29), Widowspeak’s “The Swamps” EP (Oct. 29). I must admit, I’m waiting to see what some of the more popular artists like Eminem and M.I.A. have left in the tank for their Nov. 5th releases too. Christen Cappello (aka Club Girls) says she’ll be putting out a new single/video soon, and I can’t wait. Also, look for Magik Markers’ “Surrender to the Fantasy” (Nov. 19th), Xiu Xiu’s wild cover concept album “Nina” (Dec. 3rd), and perhaps releases from sharp-tongued rapper Angel Haze, Beck, Spoon, Sun Kil Moon, TV On the Radio, and Portishead’s Beth Gibbons. — David D. Robbins Jr.