In a recent post, I was lamenting the musical prospects for 2011 and then Radiohead, Mogwai and PJ Harvey pop albums in my lap. So in that spirit, here's a list of new musical exploits that I'm looking forward to in 2011...
Cat Power - TBC: I recently heard from a Cat Power concert attendee that she played some new songs which were amazing and 'worth the wait.' Despite rumblings the album might not come out until 2012, I'll immediately buy any album she releases.
Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys: I've been a recent convert to Death Cab and think they're pretty good. Apparently their new album is going to be less guitar-centric and using more synths. So I guess this year we finally get a new Postal Service album.
Bob Mould - See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody: As a big (BIG!) Bob Mould fan, the idea of an autobiography sounds amazing. If my superficial knowledge of Mould's life is anything to go by, it should be a cracker. Small town (NY) boy move to Minneapolis and forms seminal melodic punk band Hüsker Dü with Grant Hart and Greg Norton. Mould and Hart try to outdo each other in the songwriting department and also struggle for leadership of the band creating one of the most fertile songwriting battles since Lennon-McCartney. Wracked by addiction and infighting, the band splits acrimoniously after the suicide of their manager. Mould goes into the wilderness and produces the autumnal solo album Workbook, a largely acoustic based album a thousand miles from the Hüskers. Mould also forms Sugar, a power pop trio that rode the wave of grunge to give Mould some well deserved credit/cash for a movement he had a hand in influencing. Outed by Spin magazine in 1995, Mould has gone onto have a successful solo career post-Sugar in both rock and also dj'ing bear parties around the states - go Bob.
The thing about Bob is that even though he seems quite mellow now, when I first started following his career he seemed like the most intense person on the planet. Seriously, the most upbeat thing about his second solo album Black Sheets of Rain is the title. So if the autobiography captures any of the drama of these years at all, it will be a very insightful and moving account of life in the music underground. The book is co-written by Michael Azerrad who wrote the amazing Our Band Could Be Your Life, an account of punk and hardcore in the 80's (seriously, it's worth buying for the Butthole Surfers chapter alone). I was a little surprised by this as Mould comes off as a little unsympathetic in that book but whatever, at least he's not Greg Norton. I thought Hart and Mould hated each other but they seem like best buddies compared to Hart's appraisal of Norton recently (and Frank Black for that matter - sensitive Pixies fans beware).
Foo Fighters - Wasted Light: While I'm crapping on about Bob, he makes an appearance on the new Foo Fighters album (above) which I find very exciting. The other reason I'm excited is because whenever Grohl plays with Josh Homme, he tends to come back and make hyper aggressive Foo Fighters albums (the last one being One by One after drumming on Songs for the Deaf). The rockin' White Limo already appears promising so bring the RAWK!
Queens of the Stone Age - TBC: OK, so recording hasn't even started (although songwriting has) and recent live shows have apparently been underwhelming. But the re-issue of the first album has got Josh Homme back into his robot rock mindset and a near death experience has apparently made him approach life in a vulnerable and reflective way. Should be interesting.
Gillian Welch - TBC: She hasn't released an album since 2003. Could this be the year?
Radiohead - The King of Limbs 2: Radiohead conspiracist theorists are speculating that there is a Amnesiac-esque companion album to the King of Limbs. Good luck with that but I like your thinking.