I've yet to settle my party line on music 2010: is it a year of mediocre workmanlike releases by older, established indie acts? Is it the year when millennials (ugh) finally gave up on the future and turned towards a half-remembered past via navel-gazing, stomach-turning nostalgia, manifested as self-indulgent bedroom-brat pop? Whatever it is, it surely can't be summarized in either of those sentences, or anything else that reductive. Hopefully several upcoming releases help fill in my Swiss-cheese best of list for 2010.
The Walkmen "Lisbon"
Sept. 14 (Fat Possum)
The classiest gents in the early 2000s NY rock revival, The Walkmen were largely an afterthought to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes, but Hamilton Leithauser and crew steadily refined their waltzing post-punk-meets-Dylan sound until releasing career defining effort "You & Me" 2008.
"Lisbon," due Sept. 14, promises to continue that hot streak with more sad trombones, warbly organs, dusty heartbreak and reverb-drenched guitars. I got his pre-ordered a vinyl, I urge everyone else to do the same.
Hear "Stranded" here.
Deerhunter "Halcyon Digest"
Sept. 28 (4AD)
Bradford Cox' first band has a restless ambition. Each album digs into more accessible regions of the record crate than the last for inspiration, meaning that Deerhunter's noisy, dissonant shoe-gaze of yore is slowly sounding more like his solo project's (Atlas Sound) sampled psychedelia. If "Revival," the first single from "Halcyon Days," is any indication of the record as a whole, Deerhunter's gone into full-blown '60s pop mode (with some subversive fuzz under the surface, natch). If the rest is anywhere near as strong, it could be an album of the year contender.
The Thermals "Personal Life"
Sept. 7 (Kill Rock Stars)
They wont ever make another album as incendiary as 2006's punk masterpiece "The Body, the Blood, the Machine," but not many others will either. That record still kicks my ass. Hutch has said in interviews that Cathy wrote songs for this record, a first for the Thermals, so we'll see where that takes them.
The Thermals "I Don't Believe You"
Other notable September releases:
The Clientele "Minotaur"
Superchunk "Majesty Shredding"
Black Mountain "Wilderness Heart"
The Black Angles "Phosphene Dream"
Bear in Heaven "Beast Rest Forth Mouth"
Fucked Up "Year of the Ox" (single)
The Vaselines "Sex With an X"
Justin Townes Earle "Harlem River Blues"
No Age "Everything in Between"