If there’s one sign that old-school business models are still in play in the music industry, it’s the glut of releases hitting shelves on January 20th, right when college kids get back to school for the spring semester. Animal Collective’s much-hyped (and recently leaked) Merriweather Post Pavilion finally arrives, and you can rest assured that in approximately 11 and a half months, it’ll be all over the 2009 year-end lists. The same can likely be said for Antony and the Johnsons’ The Crying Light, his first full-length since 2005’s critically drooled-over I Am a Bird Now. Also being released that day, New Pornographer A.C. Newman’s sophomore solo album Get Guilty, and Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast. For a slightly lower-profile record, check out You & I by New Zealand’s Cut Off Your Hands. The record, full of upbeat post-punk for fans of Hot Hot Heat before they got shitty, was released overseas last year, but is just now making its way to the States. Welcome it, and them. Then go pick up these records, too. In a store, please. Thanks.
Lily Allen • It’s Not Me, It’s You (Out 2/10)
It’s been an eternity since The L Magazine offices were dancing along with Lily’s fantastic Alright Still, so we’re particularly psyched for this one. How will she react to the media scrutiny she’s faced? All that personal trauma? If the record title is any indication, we think she’s doing fine.
Bruce Springsteen • Working on a Dream (Out 1/27)
It’s taken him 24 records, but finally… finally, he’s found the perfect middle ground between Arcade Fire and the Hold Steady.
Grizzly Bear • TBA
If there’s one point in 2009 at which you’ll probably stop hearing people talk about Animal Collective, it’ll be whenever the new as-yet-untitled Grizzly Bear record comes out. Let’s just hope they didn’t learn too much from that Radiohead tour.
M. Ward • Hold Time (Out 2/17)
Ward spent much of 2008 quietly backing up Zooey Deschanel as one half of She & Him, but he’ll take center stage once again in 2009, with a record that features guest appearances from Lucinda Williams and Deschanel.
The Decemberists • Hazards of Love (Out 3/24)
A few months ago, Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy told Rolling Stone that their new record is “a twisty, fantastical story about a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William, who is desperate for the two of them to be reunited; a forest queen; and a villainous rake.” Remind us again why everyone makes fun of them?
Morrissey • Years of Refusal (Out 2/17)
A few tracks from this record have been floating around the internet for a couple months now, and they’re as pleasantly mopey and melodic as everything he’s ever done. Now we’re going to listen to the entirety of his recorded output to see if he’s ever written a bad song.
Neko Case • Middle Cyclone (Out 3/3)
We never realize quite how much we miss Neko Case until she’s been gone for a while. 2006’s Fox Confessor Bring the Flood grew on us like crazy over the past few years, and with news that her upcoming release will include a cover of ‘Don’t Forget Me’, we’re thrilled to have her back.
Wilco • TBA
No official release date on this one yet, but Jeff Tweedy and the gang have vowed to release a more “performance oriented” record at some point in 2009. We don’t know exactly what that means, especially considering how “performance oriented” we thought Sky Blue Sky was, but regardless… new Wilco record.
Neil Young • Archives, Vol. 1 (Out 2/24)
Nevermind that you can’t play it because it’s only being released on Blu-ray for now, and that it costs almost $350 — the rumors have been flying for years, but it’s finally happening. The dude basically emptied out his entire basement, garage and attic and is putting it all out there for us to enjoy. Now, if someone would just tell us what the fuck Blu-ray is.