Happy New Year and hope you had a good one. I’d not intended to take such a long break from the blog, but I hope you had a good time.
It’s fair to say that 2013 was a pretty great year for music, and there was no shortage of releases for people to get excited about. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that it’s becoming increasingly common for albums to appear with little or no fanfare. Three cases from the year that spring to mind are the surprise announcement of David Bowie’s first album in a decade, The Next Day on his 66th Birthday on January 8. Towards the end of the year, a matter of days after Beyonce’s label chief had told the world that her fifth solo album would be out at some point in 2014, it was released overnight via iTunes. And after a gap that made The Stone Roses and Guns ’n’ Roses seems slight by comparison, My Bloody Valentine suddenly stuck their head up above the parapet and announced that their twenty years in the making m b v would be available in a matter of hours – and it was.
Of course, these were surprises for different reasons, with the big deal with Bowie being that it was assumed he had quietly retired. But as far as we know, this is what to expect in 2014 (NB dates are for the UK).
Even January looks like being not as dead as you might expect. January 6 sees Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks release the sixth Malkmus solo album Wig Out At Jagbags. The same day will also see the release of Plagues of Babylon by Iced Earth, Nina Persson Animal Heart and Patterns Waking Lines. A week later, January 13, the day of the latest Bruce Springsteen album High Hopes, Broken Bells release After The Disco, Gyratory System Utility Music, East India Youth Total Strife Forever,Run The Jewels Run The Jewels and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings Give The People What They Want. January 20 is the day that Mogwai (above) Rave Tapes, Warpaint Warpaint, Rifles None The Wiser, Beth Nielsen Chapman Uncovered, Sophie Ellis-Bextor Wanderlust and Mary Chapin Carpenter Songs From The Movies hits the street. January 27 is a busy day with releases from Cymbals The Age Of Fracture, Dum Dum Girls Too True, Indica Shine, Of Mice and Men Restraining Force, Primal Fear Delivering The Black, Red Dragon Cartel Red Dragon Cartel, David Crosby Croz, Paul Rodgers Royal Sessions, Mike Oldfield Man On The Rocks, and You Me At Six Cavalier Youth.
Watch out for bored journalists somewhere writing about a possible Britpop revival for ooh, at least half an hour (it was twenty years ago after all), when in late January there are re-issues from Ocean Colour Scene (Ocean Colour Scene and Marchin’ Already, released on January 20), Gene (who re-issue their first four studio albums Olympian, Drawn To The Deep End, Revelations, Libertine and the compilation To See The Lights on January 27), Cast (who re-issue All Change, Mother Nature Calls, Magic Hour and Beetroot on January 27 and two of Luke Haines’ 1990s acts The Auteurs and Baader Meinhof (re-issuing New Wave and Baader Meinhof, respectively also on January 27).
February will see Katy B Little Red, Maximo Park Too Much Information, Young Fathers DEAD, Quilt Head In Splendour, Rosanne Cash The River And The Thread, Grand Magus Triumph And Power, Family Rain Under The Volcano, Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You Tomorrow, Within Temptation Hydra, Arthur Beatrice Working Out, Seth Lakeman Word Of Mouth and an as yet untitled McFly album (February 3). There will also be releases from Cheatahs Cheatahs, Temples Sun Structures, Neil Finn Dizzy Heights, Cage The Elephant Melophobia (February 10), We Are The In Crowd Weird Kids and Death Vessel Island Intellectuals (February 17), St. Vincent St. Vincent and Milagres Violent Light (February 24).
March meanwhile will give us the release of Rufus Wainwright’s compilation Vibrate on March 3. This will be followed by Metronomy Love Letters, Joan As Policewoman The Classic, Fenster The Pink Caves, Blood Red Shoes’ self-titled fourth album and Elbow’s sixth as yet untitled album (March 10), Lyla Foy Mirrors The Sky, Sabina Toujours, Black Lips Underneath The Rainbow (March 17),Jimi Goodwin Odludek and Johnny Cash’s unreleased album Out Among The Stars (March 24). This month will also see the release of Kaiser Chiefs Education Education Education And War and Band Of Skulls Himalayan (March 31).
In Scotland, Edinburgh has often played second fiddle to Glasgow, but there are new releases expected from Withered Hand, Broken Records, Meursault and The Last Battle. No confirmed release dates as yet, but well worth keeping an eye out for.
There are albums with titles but no firm release date as yet… including Manic Street Preachers Futurology, Kelis Food, Tori Amos Unrepentant Geraldines, Professor Green Growing Up In Public, Azealia Banks’ long awaited debut Broke With Expensive Taste, Blondie Ghosts Of Download, Beck Morning Phase, and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s duets album Cheek To Cheek. LCD Soundsystem are also expected to release a live album of their final show in New York.
…while there are a number of artists who have been spotted near studios of late, including Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Interpol, Wu-Tang Clan, Brian Wilson, Adele, Damon Albarn (who is said to be working on both a solo album and a new Blur album), The Horrors, Staves, Carl Barat, Health, Charlatans, Howler, Best Coast, Muse, Big Pink, Alabama Shakes, Lily Allen, Bodycount, Black Submarine, Bwani Junction, Dead Weather, Cypress Hill, Snow Patrol, Jay Electronica, Emeli Sande, Sia, Solange, Flying Lotus, Foster The People, Liars, Let’s Wrestle, First Aid Kit, Courtney Love, Mastodon, Maccabees, TV On The Radio, Lana Del Rey, Metallica, Frank Ocean, Nine Black Alps, Modest Mouse, Rita Ora, TLC, Smashing Pumpkins, Wild Beasts and last but by no means least, Kanye West.
And artists who seem to have been working on new albums forever, including U2, La Roux and Klaxons are set to have albums out. Outkast are also set to return in 2014. Me? Well, I’ve already set aside Christmas money for vinyl versions of Mogwai, Warpaint and Stephen Malkmus…
You can also stream the Stephen Malkmus album in its entirety: