Early 2012 Music Preview
Here are some of the most exciting music releases set for the first few months of 2012.
First Aid Kit, The Lion’s Roar, January 17
The Lion’s Roar has actually already come out, but these Swedish sisters’ third album deserves to be in your iTunes playlist. My personal favorite off this record is Emmylou, an endearing folk love ballad with an emotional maturity that belies Johanna and Kara’s young age (22 and 19, respectively). First Aid Kit reminds us that even though the winter can be brutal, spring is right around the corner, and that great weather, like love, is worth waiting for.
Craig Finn, Clear Heart Full Eyes, January 24
Most are more familiar with Craig Finn as a member of the Hold Steady, but he is releasing his first solo album next week. The first cuts from Clear Heart Full Eyes (a take on the ubiquitous motto from Friday Night Lights, although knowing Finn’s songwriting tendencies the motif will probably appear throughout the album as well) mark a clear departure from the Hold Steady’s bar-rock, party anthem style into legitimate singer-songwriter territory. Finn has never been known for his vocal chops, choosing instead to express himself through deliberate spoken word rather than crooning, so it will be interesting to see how his style translates to a solo record. Fans can, however, expect the same sort of literary references, pontifications on youth culture, and genius lyrics found throughout the Hold Steady’s oeuvre. I’ll be seeing Finn perform in Chapel Hill soon, so I’ll be sure to report on how he handles himself live without accompaniment.
Shearwater, Animal Joy, February 14
To be honest, I only just recently learned of Shearwater despite their decade of existence and production. I really enjoyed Animal Life, the first single off the new record, and became an ever bigger fan when I realized that Will Sheff, frontman for Okkervil River, had helped start the project. Animal Life’s hooks and soaring melody offers a great introduction to the band, and I am excited to check out their back catalog and listen to Animal Joy when it is released.
Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror, February 21
With their debut record, Sleigh Bells managed to capitalize on the movement towards heavy, guitar-thrashing, hard-hitting electric pop that has coalesced into the pervasive influence of dubstep on the dance and club scene. If most dubstep sounds like Optimus Prime taking a shit, Sleigh Bells sounds like a Transformers orgy, with drum machines run amok that almost sound like machine guns rat-a-tatting. Reign of Terror’s first single, Born to Lose, is a clear indication that Sleigh Bells has no intention of dumbing down their sound in an effort to make their sophomore effort more accessible. Love it or hate it, their sound is here to stay.