After years of documenting 365-day periods of music releases and listening to anything I can get my hands on, it is starting to become apparent when a good music year is on the horizon. For instance, 2011 started very mildly, and it took me a few months to find a handful of albums to which I could wholeheartedly commit. Twenty-ten wasn’t like that at all, though – right off the bat in January, there were three or four records I adored, a couple of which ended up making my top 10 for that year. As of now, 2012 is looking even more exciting than that.
Almost a month ago, the new Field Music record, Plumb, leaked to the internet, and I nearly shit myself. Not to gross anyone out, but I really love this band and can’t help but revert back to 2-month-old excitation whenever they release something. They are one of the few bands out there that possess a glorious triple-threat: Extremely insightful pop sensibility, ingenious musicianship, and a staggering degree of stubbornness. This combination has helped band leaders and chief songwriters The Brewis Brothers to create albums that are equal parts beautiful, brilliant, and veritable fuck-you’s to the current standards of modern music. It’s power pop created through a prog rock filter, and though it’s not always accessible or even understandable, it’s always adventurous and intriguing.
Field Music’s last album, 2010′s incredible Field Music (their second self-titled album, also known as Measure), was a ballsy double record that sprawled across the musical spectrum. Its breadth of unpredictability was only matched by its sheer length and its surprising consistency. For 2012, Field Music have again prepared two albums worth of material. But, in keeping to their too-cool-for-school ways, only one of them will be officially released (that is Plumb). Once they finished album #2, the band printed one vinyl copy and proceeded to erase all hard drives, DATs, or any other tapes containing any part of the album. As of right now, the only existing copy is the one vinyl pressing, which will be played at an upcoming art symposium later this year. Hopefully the album will be made available in some form after that, but it’s hard to tell with these guys. Fear not, though – I have been listening to Plumb obsessively for the last few weeks, and though it certainly shows the band continuing down a strange path, the rewards have proven to be numerous once the surface is good and scratched.
Here’s a live performance of the new single “(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing”. Live is how everyone should see Field Music, anyway – I saw them at recordBar awhile ago, and they easily rank as one of the best live bands around right now.
Also on its way in February of 2012 is Be the Void, the new album from Dr. Dog. I get more excited about this band all the time. Though their last album (2010′s Shame, Shame) was a slightly lesser effort than the previous one (2008′s Fate), the band has still shown incredible growth as songwriters as well as in the studio. A three-song teaser for the record has been leaked, and judging from that, this could be the best Dr. Dog album to date. The lead track, “That Old Black Hole”, presents that groovy, wayward old-school influence that I’ve come to love about the band, with some awesome roomy production and some great lyrics that utilize seemingly cliched contradicitions in inventive new ways. Out of the three songs, the two Scott McMicken songs are the best (as usual), though the one Toby Leaman jam is actually one of the sweeter of his I have heard. It may wear its T. Rex influence on its sleeve, but it certainly knows how to swing it around. Teasers can be scary, though – there’s a very good chance these are the best three songs on Be the Void, and I won’t have much to look forward to when the album is actually released. But, knowing how great Dr. Dog is, I bet that’s not the case.
The end of 2011 has been very busy for me, particularly, because I am currently involved in the making of two albums, both of which are very close to completion. My main band The Dead Girls (in which I sing, write songs and play guitar) are planning to release our third full-length sometime during the second quarter of 2012. It contains some songs we have been working on for the last two years, and some that we just wrote a couple months ago. That’s kind of how the Dead Girls work – we write and record as we go, and eventually, we have an album’s worth of stuff lying around. We definitely had more of a cohesive recording plan with this album, however, and I’m 100% doubt-free that it will be our best album yet. At the time, it’s untitled, but we’re working on that, too.
The members of Dead Girls are all devout air guitarists, and we made a little comp of our talents for our single “Hair Trigger” from our last album, 2010′s Out of Earshot. Check it:
I joined Hidden Pictures as their drummer almost a year ago, and it’s been a really fun project. Songwriter Richard Gintowt has a knack for great, straightforward melodies and a sense of storytelling that will resonate instantly with anyone who lives or has lived in the Midwest. Though I am a songwriter, I’m also a drummer at heart, and I’ve had a blast interpereting Richard’s songs and helping to arrange them – it’s something a little out of my comfort zone, but the album is coming together very nicely. Tentatively titled Rainbow Records, it will hopefully be out by spring 2012 as well.
Hidden Pics recorded a one-off song for a local compilation earlier this year, and Richard put together a little video for it. It was my first recorded drum track for the band.