Sun Kil Moon — Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood (February 28)
It’s a shame that Mark Kozelek is such a twat, because his music over the last few years has been some of the best he’s ever made. Hopefully this release won’t be accompanied by another onslaught of dickishness; fingers crossed, and all that. Anyway, you can hear “God Bless Ohio,” which he released to accompany the announcement of this album, at his website.
Moon Duo — Occult Architecture Vol. 1 (March 3)
This is part one of a “a psychedelic opus in two separate volumes… an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.” Hoo boy. It rocks pretty hard, too.
Grandaddy — Last Place (March 3)
A new Grandaddy album! Jason Lytle and band have been back together since 2012 (they first split in 2006), but this will be the first new music they’ve released since reuniting, and the first new album in over a decade. Their late ’90s/early 2000s output was magnificent, mixing alt-country sounds with electronics and synthesizers to idiosyncratic and marvelous effect; the lead single from this album, “Way We Won’t,” suggests that the magic remains.
The Magnetic Fields — 50 Song Memoir (March 3)
Nearly 20 years after his opus 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt delivers another beast of a record, this one encompassing a slightly more modest 50 songs. That number isn’t chosen at random: there’s one song for each year of Merritt’s life — or, at least, every year of his life up until his 50th birthday on February 9, 2015, which is when he began recording this album. As its title suggests, it’s a record that finds the singer reflecting on his life; as the press release states, “Unlike Merritt’s previous work, the lyrics on 50 Song Memoir are nonfiction, a mix of autobiography (bedbugs, Buddhism, buggery) and documentary (hippies, Hollywood, hyperacusis).” Huzzah.
Julia Holter — In the Same Room (March 31)
A live album, and one that promises to be interesting listening, given that Holter’s live shows are always a case of never being entirely sure what one will get. This isn’t to say that she’s erratic (unlike, say, Cat Power), it’s just that every time this correspondent has seen her, the experience has been entirely different: sometimes solo, sometimes with band, sometimes with a synth, sometimes with a piano… still, whichever version of Holter this album captures, it’s sure to be worth hearing. (That’s the track from which the album takes its name, off Holter’s 2012 album Ekstasis, above.)
The Jesus and Mary Chain — Damage and Joy (March 24)
Some 18 years after they last got into a room together to record music, Jim and William Reid have managed to put aside their fraternal urges to kill one another for long enough to do so again. Kudos to producer Youth, of Killing Joke, for managing to facilitate this — and on the strength of cheerily-titled lead single “Amputation” (above), East Kilbride’s most notoriously surly brothers are as great together as ever.
U2 — Songs of Experience (TBC)
Look, say what you like about the delivery method of Songs of Innocence, because god knows everyone else (including us) has, but the album itself was pretty damn good as far as late career U2 goes. This album forms the other half of the band’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience” project, which takes its title and concept from a William Blake collection of the same name. Presumably they’ll be playing some of it, at least, on their upcoming tour to celebrate 30 years of The Joshua Tree. (Speaking of which, nothing has been released from Songs of Experience as yet, so that’s a nicely remastered version of The Joshua Tree highlight “Exit” above — remastered version of all the album’s tracks are on YouTube as of this morning.)
Chromatics — Dear Tommy (TBC)
Now that both Chinese Democracy AND the second Avalanches album are out, there’s a vacancy for the title of “Most Notable Album That’s Been Mooted for Years But Shows No Sign of Appearing,” and Dear Tommy seems to be doing its best to claim the prize. It was originally meant to be released in February 2015, and wasn’t; two years later, there’s no firm release date, but it’s rumored to be appearing at some point in 2017. Maybe.
Sky Ferreira — Masochism (TBC)
Also on the long-time-between-drinks front: it’s hard to believe that it’s been three-and-a-half years since Sky Ferreira released the excellent and largely underrated Night Time, My Time. In fairness, it’s not like this album qualifies as “delayed” (as Ferreira herself was at pains to point out on Twitter recently), but it’s been spoken of for quite some time — the first news that she was working on a second album came as far back as mid-2014 — so it’s welcome news to hear that it’ll arrive some time this summer. Ferreira’s had to put up with way more than her fair share of tabloid bullshit over the last few years, and Masochism should place the world’s focus squarely back on where it should be: on the music. (In the meantime, in lieu of any new music, that’s Ferreira’s Primal Scream collaboration “Where the Light Gets In” above — apparently Bobby Gillespie appears on Masochism, too!)
Also rumored for early 2017, with titles and release dates TBC:
At the Drive-In Alice Glass Blanck Mass Dirty Projectors Forest Swords Mount Eerie Phosphorescent Spiritualized St Vincent