Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself, March
Bird is going it alone, self-producing and recording in his barn in Nowhereville, Illinois, which we think — we hope — bodes well for a bunch of whistling and reverting back to some of the odder melodies that filled 2005's perfectly imperfect Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs. (Breaks our heart to say it, but those last two records were pretty boring.)
Animal Collective - title and date tba
With Deakin having returned from his African safari or whatever it was, Pitchfork reports that all the collective is currently in the studio working on a new record. High-five, amirite?! If their live sets this summer were any indication, they're not looking to rehash the whirlpool sounds of MPP and will lean heavily on Avey Tare for vocals. This is perhaps best displayed with "Little Kid" — a real whopper that starts off with a merry little melody that might as well have been lifted from Pinocchio and ends with Avey fronting as a balladeer that will probably sit on top of my "songs of 2012" list. Sorry.
Cat Power - tba, no idea, maybe never
But no, really! Maybe this is the year! Matador has been tweeting teasers about Chan being in the studio and there were those two Webster Hall show earlier this summer...
Chairlift - Something, January
They've jumped from iPod-commercial buzz band on an homegrown record label, to almost being completely forgotten, to signing to Columbia Records. Look, here are some of the new songs. I think I like the the one on the iPod commercial best:
Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory, January
The 90s revival comes full circle with an album by a kid born in the 90s, shaped by Steve Albini's most token 90s-style production since the actual 90s. The Promise Ring is reuniting, on an unrelated note.
Diamond Rugs - title tba, spring
Here we have a supergroup boasting members of Deer Tick, The Black Lips, Los Lobos, Dead Confederate and Six Finger Satellite. Their first single, a heartbreaking Christmas ballad led by John McCauley's drunken drawl and a simple piano melody, is reportedly misleading of the record's sounds as a whole. They plan to rock pretty hard, actually. We assume large vats of beer were involved in its making.
Frankie Rose - Interstellar, February
To be honest, I never paid much attention to Frankie Rose's self-titled album when it was released last year. This was stupid, as it's since proven to be quite good, doing the girl-group-in-black-thing with far less goth than candy-coated pop. I look forward to this one so I can formally apologize in an album review.
Guided by Voices - Let's Go Eat The Factory, January (and now possibly even more later in the year) You know how The Pixies keep touring and touring and touring, but never release an album of new material? That sucks.
Grimes - Visions, January
If "Oblivion," an adult version of a Sesame Street bop-along, is any indication that Claire Boucher is opting to drop the heavy atmospherics of her former work, Visions is headed for big-time buzz, making Altered Zones proud in its afterlife.
Jens Lekman - title and date tba
We know there's definitely a full-length planned for 2012. We assume listening to it will make you happy, but also a little sad.
Lana Del Rey - Born to Die, January
I hate her, I love her, she's so pretty, how does she get her hair to look like that, that one video is cool, the other songs aren't as great, she actually named her album Born to Die, oh dear Lizzy.
Lissy Trullie - Lissy Trullie, March
A throwback to the days when buzz was garnered not by being re-branded into a gangster Nancy Sinatra by studio execs, but by dressing like a pixie-cut Julian Casablancas and being friends with The Virgins, who, apparently, were very hot in 2009, when Trullie first broke into the limelight with a five-song EP (which included a near-perfect Hot Chip cover, if you recall). Now we'll find out what she's been up to for the last three years.
MGMT - title tba, second half of the year
There's not too much information circulating about where the famously Brooklynized duo's heads are at in terms of sound and influence after they endured a bit of a backlash (undeserved, methinks) for their whacked-out sophomore album, but, as proven by their recent performances at the Guggenheim, they still have a thing for psychedelia. So we have that.
Of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks, February
Paralytic Stalks's first taste comes in the form of "Wintered Debts," a song ridding the band of ringleader Kevin Barnes' unfortunate obsession with funk. Instead, the strummy guitar that introduces the track quickly fades away, and Barnes finds himself in Sgt. Pepper la la land before eventually falling into a rabbit's hole of quiet, wintry orchestrations. And then when you think the song's finished, it's not. It's ridiculous, and also awesome.
Oberhofer - tba, early next year
Oh, hey, it's Brad Oberhofer, a 21-year-old kid with uncanny talent for recasting oddball pop songs into jittery post-punk. When we spoke to him for our annual envy index, he had just wrapped up recording his debut full-length for Glassnote. He unassumingly namechecked Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 as nightly listening material, got excited at the prospect of people hearing his re-worked demos, and expressed concern for how he'll translate the string components into a live setting (with the exception of two songs, he plays all the instruments).
Radiohead - title and date tba
Well, there have been long-running rumors that they're confirmed to headline Coachella, so we assume that means an album is also on the way. Go on, start thinking of what you have to offer on Craigslist for tickets.
The Shins - title and date tba
Last week my Mom asked me if The Shins are going to have a new record out soon.
Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror, February
It will probably be noisy. Maybe there will be an overly dramatic trailer for it. Maybe there will even be a song called "True Shred Guitar" and another called "Road to Hell."
Titus Andronicus - title and date, tba
If you follow Titus frontman Patrick Stickles on Twitter, than perhaps you've caught him hinting at what's in store for #LP3, the band's first record without founding member Ian Graetzer, or perhaps the album-related news bites have gotten lost in the sea of his every thought, of every waking moment, which he feels the need to share with his followers. In that case: They'll be back Upstate at Marcata studios recording under the watchful eye of producer Kevin McMahon, they've already had one "non-traditional" (in the contect of indie rock) musician sign on, and Stickles just asked if anyone has Colin Stetson 's e-mail address. #realtalk
Vampire Weekend - title and date, tba
Can't say we even know for sure whether this is happening for 2012, but look here: a photo posted on Rostam's blog of drummer Chris Tomson in the studio, presumably playing drums for a new album?
The Walkmen - title tba, spring/summer
After marking their 10-year anniversary as a band, The Walkmen's seventh LP will come just in time to see Hamilton Leithauser's vein throbbing out of his throat on the outdoor festival circuit. Phil Ek has signed on as producer, btw.
Wise Blood - title tba, February
Wise Blood is my Lana Del Rey: See? When the debut full-length drops in winter and Chris Laufman, the synth craftsman behind it all, spills his hyperboliized ego all over the pages of glossy magazines, my obsession will make sense.