July 2, 2011

Celebrated Summer: AwkwardSound's Third Quarter Music Preview

As we head past the mid-way mark of 2011, we're looking at a good news / bad news scenario. The good news is that there's been plenty of album releases to be happy about since January. The bad news? The next three months a.k.a. the dead of summer is just that -- Slim pickings that doesn't hold the star power of last year's onslaught of hotly anticipated heavyweight releases, but none the less, some very intriguing, formidable developments in the works. Given that AwkwardSound has made habit of spotlighting the more interesting offerings of each quarter since the year began, it wouldn't be fair to ignore the notable releases that will likely tidy us over until the temperatures drop. Release dates of course are subject to change, and if late-breaking news requires another appendix, AwkwardSound will keep you afloat while you're playing catch-up poolside...

Pictureplane's Thee Physical
Release date: July 19, 2011

If you still haven't found the soundtrack to the summer, look no further than the sophomore effort by dance noisemaker, Pictureplane. Propelled by the synth-scorching lead single, "Real Is a Feeling," and the slow-burner, "Post Physical," Thee Physical refines the dance beats and electronic experimentation heard on the 2009 debut by Travis Egedy with a showcase of confidence and cohesion as a vocalist and pop music maker. Zola Jesus guests on the track "Trancegender."

The Horrors' Skying
Release date: July 26, 2011

On their sophomore effort, Primary Colours, UK rockers, The Horrors, pulled a surprise 180 on the music world by reinventing themselves from a gothy post-punk band to a ethereal nu-gaze act. The curiosity as to where these Brits will be heading next on LP 3, Skying, runs high, but if the lead single, "Still Life," alongside the recently leaked, "I Can See Through You," are any solid indication of what's to come, it appears The Horrors are attempting to defy gravity with a bigger, atmospheric sound.

Ceremony's 6 Cover Songs EP
Release date: August 9, 2011

The big news of the week is that Bay Area hardcore band, Ceremony, are leaving their home at Bridge Nine Records and have an inked a deal to release their upcoming 2012 album on indie heavyweight, Matador Records. With the recent success of Fucked Up, the pairing makes a bit more sense, but it'll mark the end of an era for the little-known act who just last year put out AwkardSound's second favorite album of 2011 and were named one of the year's Best Breakthrough Acts. Before they depart Bridge Nine to join the big leagues, however, they'll be offering up a swan song in the 6 Cover Songs EP which will see the quartet paying homage to an array of influences such as The Pixies, Wire and and Crisis.

WU LYF's Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
Release date: August 23, 2011

The debut by the "mysterious" Manchester outfit has garnered a lot of viral buzz on the Internet leading up to its release. AwkwardSound has already shared its opinion on WU LYF's Go Tell Fire to the Mountain and has found that their brand of post-rock meets post-indie satisfies the smoke and mirrors they've created since turning the music world on its ear. While the LP is already available in the UK and Europe, this will be the date when you can physically get hold of WU LYF here in the United States.

Male Bonding's Endless Now
Release date: August 30, 2011

A year after their debut album, Everything Hurts, resonated here on AwkwardSound's Best Breakthrough Artists of 2011 list, Male Bonding are moving right along with the follow-up, Endless Now. Unlike the fuzzy lo-fi approach the self-professed "post-pop punk" trio took the first time around, the UK act plans on filling in the gaps this time with craftier songwriting, longer plays and an overall bigger sound, as evidenced by the album's highly enjoyable first listen, "Bones."

Mates of State's Mountaintops
Release date: September 13, 2011

Indie pop's hardest working mom-and-dad duo still aren't letting diaper and lunchbox duties and lunchboxes stopping them from living the rock and roll life. Mates of State return with their sixth LP, Mountaintops, a self-produced effort by Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel with Chris Coady, who has been on a hot streak and in-demand after working on some of the past year's biggest indie releases (Beach House's Teen Dream, Cold Cave's Cherish the Light, Gang Gang Dance's Eye Contact) helping them out on mixing duties. Mates of State recently premiered a new video for Mountaintops' first track, and here's hoping Coady's involvement gets them past the more-of-the-same rut heard on recent outputs.

Wild Flag's Wild Flag
Release date: September 13, 2011

Since the announcement of this supergroup's formation, which includes members of seminal all-female indie rock acts, Sleater-Kinney, Helium and Minders, the world has waited on baited breath for full-length debut by the Carrie Brownstein-fronted Wild Flag. The LP's Recommended Listen first single, "Romance," is a high-energy spectacle that shows how natural it was for these four women to work together and will sure appease fans of any of the members' prior projects. Above all, it'll be nice to hear some well-wrought womanly aggression back in the indie rock world, given the wave of '60s girl-group-influenced sounds that have diluted the fury of the female in recent years. Speaking of which...

Dum Dum Girls' Only In Dreams
Release date: September 27, 2011

San Francisco noise pop darlings, Dum Dum Girls, will be following up the release of their recent He Gets Me High EP (which featured a great cover of The Smiths' "There Is a Light That Will Never Go Out") with their sophomore LP, Only In Dreams on Sub Pop Records. The effort promises to pick right up where He Gets Me High left off with fleshed out production and heavier guitar leads in addition to vocal contributions from all four members of the band. However, the album should mark a dark departure away from the sunny, carefree love odes of past DDG work. Shortly after the release of He Gets Me High, frontwoman, Dee Dee, lost her mother to brain cancer. She says the fallout from her personal tragedy had a profound impact on the writing process of Only In Dreams.

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