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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Anticipating Music 2009 – Anxious Ears Await

Five to Watch

2008 is but a distant memory now. It was a brilliant year for new music discoveries of all types and some excellent efforts from musical acquaintances more familiar. Barely into the third week and excellent new music releases are all ready rocking socks and stirring hearts. The new Animal Collective, Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Antony Hagerty releases are all exceptional in their own right and set the stage for a what will no doubt be a stellar year in song. I’ll look ahead to some of the more promising artists (new and old) set to deliver music to waiting ears this Year of the Ox. Watch out though, you might just discover your favourite new band.

Emmy the Great

London (UK) based singer song writer Emmy the Great is finally coming out with her debut album “First Love” on February 9th and after countless of demos and EPs anticipation couldn’t be any greater. Here’s the tracklisting:

1. Absentee
2. 24
3. We Almost Had a Baby
4. The Easter Parade
5. Dylan
6. On the Museum Island
7. War
8. First Love
9. MIA
10. The Easter Parade 2
11. Bad Things Coming, We Are Safe
12. Everything Reminds Me of You
13. City Song

Want to hear the voice that has been enchanting me for quite some time now.

Here’s the video for the first single First Love:

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Next up is the New York four-piece The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. The energetic rockers seem to be on the fingertip of countless earnest music bloggers hands right now. The release of their highly anticipated debut album is now only a couple weeks away and songs are beginning to float about the tubes. One listen though and you’ll be hooked. These guys are having fun and it really translates well into the music. It’s great to see a band on the verge of becoming one of the big things of 2009 and I’m certain they’ll live up to the hype from what I have heard so far.


This duo are poised to be the breakout rap all-stars of 2009, as their debut The Spirit of Apollo livens up standard American hip hop with Brazilian funk elements (incidentally their name stands for North America/South America). But the most appealing aspect of N.A.S.A.’s output is the astounding list of guest stars, which includes Kanye West, Santogold, and Lykke Li. In the, Now It’s Time for Something Completely Different Department - it’s been confirmed that Tom Waits lends his distinctive ‘gravelled’ vocals to a track called “Spacious Thoughts”, certainly more than enough to pull me into this creative enterprise. Great promise would be an understatement.

Little Boots

Originally from Blackpool, Lancashire, UK and a graduate of Leeds University, Victoria Hesketh has adopted her nickname of Little Boots as her stage name.

Another left field moniker that I am certain we will all be hearing a lot about in 2009. Witness Ms. Hesketh’s recent rocket ride to stardom as the BBC recently proclaimed the DIY-electro superstar as the official "Sound of 2009". With substantial props like that, she can no doubt start planning a big change in lifestyle. Like fellow “MySpace-ation” Frankmusik, Little Boots has been teasing her fan base with an ever-cycling array of tracks on her MySpace, as well as an clever selection of weekly pop covers on YouTube. The grainy videos feature the dimunitive songstress hammering away at her Casio whist wailing away toward the sky. Each week, Ms. Vicky Boots attacks her track of choice with the same intensity and sincerity, be it Hot Chip or Miley Cyrus or just check Youtube and trust me… Stay tuned for her electro pop debut sometime in the second half of the year.

Alela Diane

Signed to Rough Trade and will release her new LP To Be Still in February. The record is the follow-up to Diane's critically-acclaimed 2006 debut The Pirate's Gospel. That record brought the Nevada city, CA-reared musician a dedicated following across the globe (especially in Europe, where she recently finished a tour of mid-sized concert halls). Considering that early copies of The Pirate's Gospel were given away to friends in hand-sewn covers just a few years ago, this is not only quite a leap, but a well-deserved one.

Other favourites with new releases planned for 2009.

Iron & Wine
Fruit Bats
Elvis Perkins
The Hylozoists
Boy Least Likely To
Neko Case
Bishop Allen
Land of Talk
Marissa Nadler
Rock Plaza Central
Fever Ray

Which bands are you most looking forward to hearing from in 2009? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section.


Blair Whatmore said...

I'm eagerly awaiting the new Wilco album. Sky Blue Sky has grown on me more and more over the past year or so, but Tweedy's recent comments about the new album being a return to "using the studio as an instrument" really got me excited. I feel like this could be a great one... not that they've ever released anything truly sub par...

Sean Wraight said...

I agree Blair. I too am anxiously awaiting output from the Wilco camp. I have spoken to a handful of people who had all but dismissed Sky Blue Sky. Shame for them, it's a grower yes but once you get it, it's pure magic. As a song cycle the album is amazing.

Curious though... What is your favourite Wilco album?

(Thanks for the comment by the way!)


The R.O.B. said...


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Certainly looking forward to the new:
Neko Case
Final Fantasy
Lily Allen
Junior Boys

I did not know that Hylozoists have a new album forthcoming. Yay!

The new Andrew Bird is wonderful, I agree, and although I have heard mixed reviews of the new AC Newman, I can't wait to get my hands on it.

For the record, my favourite Wilco album is Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Just in case you are taking votes.

Blair Whatmore said...

Favourite Wilco album?
Being There wins. Hands down. I love YHF (and the amazing documentary), and I understand why it will likely be looked at as their masterpiece in time, but Being There is certainly my favourite group of songs. I miss powerpop Wilco!

Sean Wraight said...

R.O.B.- That is indeed another potential great one. I've only heard the lead off single but if it is any indiction of the rest of the recording, this may in fact be Metric's year.

Barb - Some great additions there. The A.C. Newman has not yet grabbed me. At least not like his last release.

As you can see... The Wilco fans are speaking and everyone has a different opinion.

Blair- Good on you for picking Being There. One of those records I loved at the time but have moved on to a new favourite. In my case, it's A Ghost is Born. In all its difficult glory it remains in my top ten of all time.

Thanks for the comments to all of you.


katrocket said...

I haven't heard reports of anything in the works for 2009, but I'd love some new releases from:

Nouvelle Vague
Pink Martini
Sufjan Stevens
Emilie Simon
Gunther Pleasureman

Sean Wraight said...

KAT - I agree. Your list is a good one. (Even Gunther Pleasureman, although my retinas may never be the same now.)

Looking forward to a new release from Sufjan as well. It's been a while since we've gotten some new material so I suspect this year could be a fruitful one.


Phronk said...

Another Decemberists? Sheesh, I'm still catching up on their old albums.

I hadn't heard of these new ones, but I'm liking what I'm hearing, particularly Emmy the Great and Little Boots. Thanks!