December 17, 2012

AwkwardSound's 10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2013

Another year in music has been conquered, and while the last few weeks of 2012 will likely be spent here at AwkwardSound checking out some overlooked albums from the past 12 months or reacquainting he earbuds with LPs that deserve a second listen, AS can't help but start looking forward to everything coming our way in 2013. It's not so much of a worry as it is a curiosity, but 2012's release schedule featured a majority of indie and alternative's power players, so what does that leave in the new year? From what has already been confirmed (or can at last be lumped into the "highly likely" pile,) bank on the breakthroughs and recent BUZZSounds to step up to the plate alongside constant innovators. The stakes rise for the artists the closer you get to #1 on AwkwardSound's 10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2012...

10. VÅR - TBA | Expected: Spring 2013

Elias Bender Rønnenfelt is set to have a pretty busy year in support of not one, but two highly anticipated albums. VÅR is his experimental synth project with fellow Dane Loke Rahbek of metal punk act Sexdrone, whom AS has been keeping close watch on since they made their presence felt in 2012 thanks to the breakthrough efforts of Rønnenfelt's main focus, Iceage. Most recently, the duo's latest listen finds promising clarity searing its way through the formerly murky production of early material. It's hard not get to get excited about anything that's burgeoning out of the Copenhagen scene these days, whether it be from Rønnenfelt or his contemporaries, and with Sacred Bones co-signing this release, AwkwardSound has come to expect only the best from their catalog.

9. Beach Fossils - Clash the Truth | Expected: February 19, 2013

Several months ago, Beach Fossils' primary songwriter Dustin Payseur told SPIN that their new album would see him rebelling against himself and attempting to "make something really noisy." We've had time to get use to the idea of hearing the jangly surfside pop quartet concocting the perfect storm with this year's sole single "Shallow," and more recently, finally heard the waves crash on Clash the Truth's Recommended first listen "Careless." AwkwardSound is banking on the NYC band's sophomore effort being the album they hit their stride with, and it probably won't hurt that the breakout success of former guitarist Zachary Cole Smith's project DIIV should invite new listeners to the sound he was a part of first.

8. Sky Ferreira - TBA | Expected: Spring 2013

After taking several detours and re-directions, the long delayed formal debut from pop songstress Sky Ferreira is finally going to arrive in 2013. We got an early taste of where the bold-eyed beauty has evolved with her sound on this year's reintroduction EP, Ghost, featuring the hot year-end listmaking single, "Everything Is Embarrassing." While details are scant as of time of posting, it's likely that Ferreira's Capitol debut will see her teaming up with trendy of-the-moment producers Dev "Blood Orange" Hynes and Ariel Rechtshaid, as well as pop perfectionist Jon Brion. With all the right help in place and promising previews already popping up, it's hard to imagine how this won't be the version of Ferreira she has been striving toward over the past few years, and a rumored appearance at this year's Coachella punctuates those good feelings.

7. YVETTE - TBA | Expected: TBA

BUZZSound alum
and 2012 Breakthrough honorees YVETTE have been baiting us over the past year with a couple of excellent singles (most recently, the Recommended Listen "Radiation",) and what's been most exciting about this as we lead up to the arrival of the Brooklyn duo's formal debut in 2013 is hearing their brand of pedal-ravaged noise rock tweak itself ever so slightly, coming into a new formation with each output. The details of what YVETTE have in store for listeners on their long-play aren't known, but if their track record is any indication, expecting a few surprises might not be incredibly uncalled for.

6. Charli XCX - TBA | Expected: February 2013

The second pseudo-indie pop princess on this list whom AS can't wait to hear her breakthrough amount into big waves in 2013 is none other than that dark glam chanteuse from the UK, Charli XCX. In 2012, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter began to amass her buzz with mixtapes, a listmaking single in "You're the One," writing a hit for Icona Pop and had the opportunity to introduce herself to larger audiences as she opened for the likes of Coldplay and Robyn. Charli XCX's as-yet-to-be-titled first full-length is reportedly penciled in for a February arrival, but don't be surprised if that somehow gets pushed back for some production refinement and to build momentum leading up closer to festival season. Like her friend Sky Ferreira, Ms. XCX also worked with producer Ariel Rechtshaid on the effort, which I guess makes 2013 a big year for the former frontman of the Hippos, as well.

5. Mr. Dream - Hawgs or Montreal Sex Machine | Expected: TBA

No, you are not reading an old post from December 2011. While Mr. Dream originally planned on delivering their sophomore effort tentatively titled Montreal Sex Machine this past year, listeners had to make do with the bold riffed adventure to the strange place known as Fatherland on their solid hold-me-over EP instead. Potential reasons behind this delay? It turns out one unidentified member of Mr. Dream is pulling to name their next effort Hawgs while drummer Nick Sylvester (and ultimately the guy in charge of putting the album out on his Godmode Records label) is still standing his ground on the much more awesome of the two titles. I guess it should be reassuring that these dudes are so meticulous over the smaller details, because it has to bode well for the actual music behind the product.

4. Pissed Jeans - Honeys | Expected: February 12, 2013

Pissed Jeans  could not have picked a much more optimal time to make their return than in 2013. Their last effort was in 2009's really great and underrated third success King of Jeans, but in a year that was dominated by Williamsburg indie pop, the Philly hardcore rockers material got swept under the rug by listeners and critics alike (not like they would care, or anything...) Well, the musical landscape has changed in the past four years in that there are a lot more eardrums paying close attention to what happens in DIY punk and hardcore circles. On Honeys, Pissed Jeans might actually be embracing that by taking their gravely punk out of the basement and throwing it into bigger rooms, as they worked with producer Alex Newport on this go.

3. HEALTH - TBA | Expected: TBA

Los Angeles noisemaking quartet HEALTH have never made the same album twice, as their sonic palette consistently splinters off between tribal aggression and electronic experimentation as evidenced by 2006 thunderous self-titled debut, the static-driven sophomore follow-up in 2009's Get Color, remix LPs of both and this year's engagingly physical score for the Max Payne 3 video game. Frontman Jake Duzsik has gone on the record with Pitchfork about their forthcoming LP by saying, "It's a pretty linear culmination of what the band has been doing -- There'll be elements from the remix records and the stuff you hear in Max Payne. It's still going to be really drum-heavy and aggressive."

2. Cold Cave - TBA | Expected: TBA

Now that Wes Eisold seems to have wrapped up a reunion run fronting his seminal millennial hardcore band American Nightmare, he's retreating to the darkwave shadows masterminding Cold Cave -- But perhaps not to the project's softer-sided textures. The band's newest lineup incarnation is basically a stacked supergroup featuring members of the Aughties' best fashioncore bands, as Cody Votolato (ex-the Blood Brothers), Hunter Burgen (AFI) and London May (Samhain, Tiger Army) join the fray alongside Dave Stone (ex-LCD Soundsystem, The Melvins.) Eisold told Alternative Press that we should expect to hear a more "urgent" and "punk-sounding" version of the band on their next effort, and when you already have a member from each of AS' favorite bands during the high school and college years offering their services, this is a formula that will be impossible to screw up.

1. Iceage - You're Nothing | Expected: February 19, 2013

Like past Best Album-toting honorees No Age, Fucked Up and Ceremony, Copenhagen's Iceage are at that stage in their early career where pushing the boundaries is to be expected, yet the resulting innovation will no doubt change the landscape of noisy rock from here on out. You're Nothing is not only the sophomore follow-up to the post-punk quartet's bone-jarring 2011 debut New Brigade, but it's also their first release for indie powerhouse Matador Records that should in turn broaden the Danish DIY sub-culture champions well beyond the basement scene they burst from. As is per usual with Elias Bender Rønnenfelt and company, we don't know much about what they're aiming to achieve on You're Nothing just yet, and in this case, knowing less will ultimately work in favor of rewarding this listen.

And just in case...

My Bloody Valentine - TBA | Expected: TBA

Enough with the teasing already, Kevin Shields. With a UK tour already set for the spring, it's looking more likely than ever than the Chinese Democracy of seminal shoegaze from My Bloody Valentine might actually be coming our way if it doesn't already before the ball drops.

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