Top 10 Indie Albums to Look Out for This Summer
Fri, 18 Jun 2010 11:25:56
The Love Language Photos
Wolf Parade Videos
Summers are synonymous with sunburns, BBQs and good ol’ fashioned blockbusters from your friends in the film and music industry. The release days themselves may have lost some of their luster – in the old days, kids, you really had to wait til the release day to hear the album – but it definitely still counts as a big event when a heavy hitter like Katy Perry or Eminem unleashes new tracks on the world. And it’s not just Katy and Em who you’ll be hearing again and again; from T.I. to M.I.A. , from Kylie to Korn, from Chromeo to Sheryl Crow, Summer 2010 isn’t hurting for major draws from the major labels.
For listeners looking to get a little further from the beaten path, though, there are plenty of indies ready to provide your summer soundtrack, from the indie-famous and the super-obscure. Here are ten albums to keep your eyes (and ears) on.
Wolf Parade – Expo 86 (June 29): Wolf Parade have spawned numerous side projects, as well as ongoing, John-vs-Paul-style debates between fans about the merits of frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner. Two intriguing tidbits about their third album, Expo 86: Krug claims the main criteria he used in judging the songs is whether he could dance to them, and the early buzz on the album is that rather than growing apart with success, Krug and Boeckner have never sounded more cohesive.
Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises (July 13): The curiously titled Admiral Fell Promises is the first album from Mark Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon that is entirely acoustic, featuring just Kozelek and a nylon-stringed guitar. If somber and reflective ain’t your thing, you probably don’t need to tune in – but you’re missing out on one of the most affecting singer/songwriters around.
The Love Language – Libraries (July 13): The Love Language’s lo-fi debut was an out-of-nowhere gem that didn’t get enough love last year. The retro-tinged, pop-savvy but still gloriously lo-fi Libraries should raise the band’s profile considerably – and, with any justice, make Stu McLamb one of the year’s breakout indie stars.
Carissa’s Wierd – They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave: Songs 1996-2003 (July 13): July brings a much-needed career retrospective for these sublime Seattle sadsacks, who were darlings of their local scene but never gained the traction they deserved nationally. Since they pulled the plug, band members splintered off and are all making music well worth attention – most prominently, former drummer Ben Bridwell, who now heads up Band of Horses.
Best Coast – Crazy For You (July 27): Anyone thirsting for a fun, super-catchy album straight from the beaches of California that doesn’t sound anything like Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” should proceed immediately to Bethany Cosentino and Best Coast’s Crazy For You, which is like a garage-spawned, feminine version of Brian Wilson and Phil Spector that’s more into weed and cats than surfing and hot rods. In other words, awesome.
Wavves – King of the Beach (August 3) - While several other bands in this list have already braved the buzz-and-backlash cycle and lived to tell about it, Wavves are still right in the thick of it. In the last year, Wavves main man Nathan Williams has gotten as much attention for live show meltdowns, bar fights and deals with Mountain Dew as he has for his music. Because of that, lots of people are itching to write Wavves off as “so 2009.” If there’s anything all those gossipy blog headlines have suggested, though, it’s that Williams doesn’t go down without a fight. Or actually, maybe it’s that he has a penchant for self-destruction. Will be interesting to see where this one goes.
The Arcade Fire –
The Budos Band – The Budos Band III (August 10): Any summer BBQ after August 10 should have a noticeably larger supply of delicious funk, thanks to the third album from Staten Island’s afro-soul marvels. The band’s restless touring schedule over the past few years promises to have them sounding tighter than ever.
Kathryn Calder– Are You My Mother? (August 10): Few gigs in indie music would be more daunting than filling in for Neko Case, but it’s a job that Kathryn Calder has done with aplomb as a member of The New Pornographers. She’s making her debut solo splash in August, and based on the strength of the opening track (already released out into the public), it seems like folks may soon have to include Calder when they’re naming off the people that make the New Pornos qualify as a super-group.