Here’s Neon Filler’s five key album releases to look out for during those first few cold months of 2012. Looks like it’s going to be a good year for independent and alternative music releases with some contenders for our end of year best of 2012 list already beginning to emerge.
Guided by Voices – Let’s Go Eat the Factory
Release date: January 1, 2012 (global outside US). Label: Fire Records
In 2010 the classic Guided By Voices line up of Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos and Kevin Fennell reunited for a series of shows in the US. But this was no mere trip down memory lane. The band has also been working on new material and plan to release two albums in early 2012. The first of these is Let’s Go Eat the Factory, which includes the single The Unsinkable Fats Domino. We’ve been given an exclusive listen and according to our reviewer it’s a “21 song set of vintage Guided By Voices lo-fi pop brilliance.” Read our full review here.
First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
Release date: January 24, 2012. Label: Wichita Recordings
This Swedish duo, who are still only young and were made moderately famous on YouTube a couple of years ago for their cover of Fleet Foxes’ Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, have already released two impressive albums. This, their third album, which has been produced by Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, is set to take them to the big time. The title track video has already been released and shows a new depth to their music. What’s more their vocals sound better than ever.
The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know
Release date: February 6, 2012. Label: Fat Cat Records
Forget the Night Ahead, the last album by this powerful, moody Scottish band made our Top Ten Albums of 2009 list. It quite simply blew us away.
We’ve had a listen to their next album. They’ve upped the production quality and clearly listened to a few later Depeche Mode albums but have lost none of their power. The full track list is: ‘Alphabet’/ ‘Dead City’/ ‘Sick’/ ‘Don’t Move’/ ‘Nil’/ ‘Don’t Look At Me’/ ‘Not Sleeping’/ ‘Another Bed’/ ‘Kill It In The Morning’.
Shearwater – Animal Joy
Release date: February 13, 2012. Label: Sub Pop
Shearwater, the band formed by members of Okkervil River and now a full time project for its singer and chief songwriter Jonathan Meiburg, have moved label to the mighty Sub Pop but look set to lose none of their trademark beauty. It’s all about nature with Shearwater, with their last three albums focusing on environmental splendour and tragedy. Animal Joy was recorded in their native Texas, includes the track Breaking the Yearlings and was produced by Danny Reisch. Their previous two albums have both been listed in our 2008 and 2010 end of year lists. We are already predicting a placing in our 2012 list for Animal Joy from what we’ve heard.
The Magnetic Fields – Love at the Bottom of the Sea
Release Date: March 5 (UK) March 6 (US). Label: Domino (UK), Merge Records (US)
The Magnetic Fields 1999 classic album 69 Love Songs reached the top 10 in our Top 100 Indie and Alternative Music Albums list. Love at the Bottom of the Sea marks a return to Merge, the US label that released 69 Love Songs.
This move bodes well for another stellar release from Stephin Merritt and his band. Contributors include Claudia Gonson, Sam Davol, John Woo, Shirley Simms, Johny Blood, and Daniel Handler. Merritt has promised a mixture of synth and acoustic instruments this time round.
Compiled by Joe Lepper