Extra day or not, February seems to have flown by, and it was a fine month for music lovers, with a slew of decent record releases to fill your shelves and/or your iTunes library. Today we’re looking ahead to March, which seems to start with a rush — there’s a heap of good releases on March 6 — and then just tails off somewhat. But never fear, we’ve still found ten albums that should most definitely be on music lovers’ shopping lists this month. Click through to see our selections, and let us know what you’re looking forward to. Yes, Madonna fans, even you.
Pond — Beard, Wives, Denim (March 6)
Pond generally get described as a Tame Impala side project, which isn’t entirely fair — sure, they certainly share members with the precociously talented Australian psych trio, but they’re also very much an ongoing proposition in their own right. Beard, Wives, Denim is their fourth record together, and it’s streaming at the Hype Machine this week, so you can listen via the embedded player below. Alternatively, you can just smoke about 36 cones and freak out to the video above. It’s all up to you.
Magnetic Fields — Love at the Bottom of the Sea (March 6)
Speaking of streaming, we noted in our regular Monday write-up of free online album previews that you can hear Love at the Bottom of the Sea all week at NPR. We won’t repeat ourselves too much about the record here, except to say that any album that includes a songs like the above “Andrew in Drag” is absolutely OK with us.
Xiu Xiu — Always (March 6)
If Xiu Xiu’s Twitter account doesn’t induce a sufficiently morbid depression — here are some recent highlights — then rejoice, because indie’s walking existential crisis has a new album due out next week. It’s called Always and it sounds as angsty as ever — there’s a track-by-track guide here, which reveals cuts with cheery names like “I Luv Abortion” and “Born to Suffer.” If a new album’s still not enough Xiu Xiu for you, you can also check out his split 7″ with Dirty Beaches — he covers Erasure’s “Always” (which isn’t on the album, confusingly).
Bruce Springsteen — Wrecking Ball (March 6)
If you’re like us and you haven’t been diligent enough to stream every single new Springsteen track as they’ve been drip-fed to various outlets this week, you’re probably also waiting for the moment that you can just get the whole damn record and play it. It’s a good time for a new Springsteen album — you can imagine that the subprime crisis and its associated economic effects would have given him plentiful subject matter, and a look at the song titles (“This Depression,” “Death to My Hometown,” “Shackled and Drawn”) suggests he’s been thinking along similar lines.
Holly Golightly feat the Brokeoffs — Long Distance (March 12)
This is apparently a selection of old songs re-recorded with the Brokeoffs — i.e. Golightly’s husband, with whom she’s been performing under the Brokeoffs moniker since the mid-2000s. The tracklisting for this new album apparently comprises a roughly equal mixture of covers (including Sam & Dave’s “You Ain’t No Big Thing,” her original version of which you can see above) and originals, a selection that Golightly describes in the album’s press release as “my top ten tracks prepared from scratch and served up fresh.”
Spiritualized — Sweet Heart Sweet Light (March 19)
Regular readers of this site may well have picked us for epic Spiritualized weenies, and as such it’s no surprise that we’ve been hanging out for the release of Sweet Heart Sweet Light. In fact, we’re lucky enough to have already scored a promo copy, and we’re happy to report that it’s a lovely piece of work. There’s nothing revolutionary here, and the album’s unlikely to win the attentions of non-fans, but if you’re like us, it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed. Now, about that tour…
The Shins — Port of Morrow (March 20)
It’s been five years since the world’s had a new Shins record, and in that time, James Mercer’s switched labels, fired his band, had two children, and made a cameo on Portlandia. It’ll be interesting to see how all this water going under the proverbial bridge affects Port of Morrow, but for now there’s still only one new track at the band’s official site — it’s called “Simple Song” and dropped back in January. If it’s an indication as to what Port of Morrow will sound like, well, it sounds like the Shins — perhaps less lyrically oblique than his work on, say, Chutes Too Narrow, but still instantly recognizable.
White Hills — Frying on this Rock (March 20)
We’re usually up for pretty much anything on Thrill Jockey, and we’re also up for nasty, distortion-laden psychedelia, so we’re rather looking forward to this new release from NYC duo White Hills. They describe their sound as “fuzzed-out motorik spacerock,” and their bassist goes by the name “Ego Sensation”… What’s not to like?
Lee Ranaldo — Between the Times and the Tides (March 20)
It’s still hard to believe that we will most likely never hear a new Sonic Youth record, but at least the blow is softened somewhat by the fact that what we’ve heard so far of Lee Ranaldo’s new solo record is really good. We’ve always felt that Ranaldo’s songwriting was Sonic Youth’s secret weapon — the bit when he yells “Kick it!” in “Hey Joni” is one of our all-time favorite musical moments — and we’re very much looking forward to hearing the rest of Between the Times and the Tides. Also, Ranaldo’s website is pretty great and worth checking out.
La Sera — Sees the Light (March 27)
La Sera’s the side project for Vivian Girls’ Katy Goodman, and it draws on the same classic Ramones vs. girl group influences as her “other” band. If such things are your bag, we have a feeling you’ll find a lot to like in Sees the Light. Also, the video above was directed by Vice Cooler, aka Hawnay Troof, who’s rather overdue a new album himself.