Several bands seem to be distracted by over-productive side projects, detours or, who knows? I need new albums by the following:
Spoon — The Austin, TX band last released 2007's excellent "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga," continuing an epic run of four near-perfect albums (it was their sixth full-length over all). The boys have been busy, front man Brit Daniels produced the White Rabbits' good new album "It's Frightening." It sounds (big surprise) a lot like Spoon — shades of the Walkmen — with unusual percussion occasionally replacing standard drum kits, captured studio chatter and sparse pianos fulfilling some of the rhythm duties. "It's Frightening" has some great sounds, it needs more great songs. This sounds harsher than I intended. It's a good record with some absolute standouts, namely "Percussion Gun," and "Company I Keep." Definitely worth checking out, especially for any Spoon fan.
Spoon drummer Jim Eno recently produced Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears' garage-soul riot "Tell 'Em what Your Name Is!"
Spoon will also headline each night their own three-day festival of sorts (named Spoon x3) at Stubbs in Austin from July 9-11. Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, ... Trail of Dead, Low, Dale Watson and Atlas Sound open on select nights.
All this Spoon news and yet, where's a new album? I haven't heard anything about the band in the studio, or writing fresh material, so a new one will probably be a ways off, but I always like surprises.
White Stripes — The band's last effort, "Icky Thump" was alternately brilliant, hum-drum and down-right awful. On two tracks, White's fashionation with the UK unfortunately translated into bag-pipe informed Scottish doodles. Since the spring '07 "Icky Thump" release, Jack White has arguably been the busiest man in rock 'n' roll. His other band, The Raconteurs, released 2008's mainstream-leaning grower "Consolers of the Lonely." His other other band The Dead Weather (he's at the drums this time) is set to release its debut next month. In the meantime, he managed to start a record label, Third Man Records, with a new Nashville facility featuring a vinyl record store, performance venue and studio. He also toured with the Raconteurs and is starting a new tour with the Dead Weather. All this doesn't leave a lot of time for the White Stripes.
But, in a recent interview, White said last month he is working on new White Stripes songs for an album that isn't “too far off. Maybe next year.”
UPDATE: This may or may not be complete bullshit, but apparently White allegedly maybe sorta might have also hinted at working on a solo album on top of it all.
Sufjan Stevens has also stayed busy, laying his indelible orchestration on the Welcome Wagon's debut ( a Brooklyn husband/wife duo singing original church songs — though you'd never know it unless you listened to the lyrics). The songs are good, but it's Stevens' production and arrangements that prove the album listenable for folks who otherwise keep things secular.
I'm pretty sure Stevens also released a Christmas album, I didn't bother.
His last full length of originals, 2005's "Illinois," is one of the best albums of the decade. More, please.
The Hold Steady — Yeah, yeah it's only been 11 months since the release of "Stay Positive," but dammit I'm greedy. And it's the band's fault they kept up a pace of an album every 1.25 years. Now they're locked in. They've been touring nonstop during that same time span, and I haven't heard anything about new songs. Figure it out, Craig. They did contribute a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City" to the War Child charity album this year, and released their first live album "A Positive Rage" packaged with a documentary DVD.