Last night, The Village Voice released their annual Pazz & Jop poll, which ranks the best albums of 2011 as chosen by hundreds of critics. tUnE-YarDs' w h o k i l l had the distinction of winning the top honors (while Shabazz Palaces clocked in a respectable 10th). The release of Pazz & Jop means we can finally put a nail in the coffin of 2011 and dispense with the end-of-year list-making for good, or at least until December rolls around. But all this talk of last year's favorites got us thinking-- what local albums are we most looking forward to hearing this year? In no particular order:
Perfume Genius, Put Your Back N 2 It (2/21, Matador)
When his debut album, 2010's Learning, came out, much ink was spilled on Mike Hadreas' harrowing tale of rehab and near self-destruction. The album that came out of his experiences was whisper-soft, sensitive, and a bit insular. "Though Learning's voyeuristic window into Hadreas's experiences resonated intensely with many people, his new album... is much more universal," assures his label, going on to explain that the new release deals with " intimacy, power, family, secrecy, and hope." Matador also states that Put Your Back N 2 It has a much more full, lush sound than Learning's spare instrumentation. For an in-depth look at the new album, head to Matador's site, where Hadreas explains each song in detail.
Jessica Dobson and co. follow up 2009's New Caves EP with their first full-length. The current-Shins-and-former-Beck guitarist has returned to the Deep Sea Diver moniker for the album (she played for a time under her own name), which is yet to be titled. The release will be celebrated on February 24th at Columbia City Theater. Brush up on your DSD by reading Erin's great interview with Dobson and her husband/bandmate Peter Mansen from last year, and (I never say this) heading to their MySpace to listen to the delightfully skewed pop of the aforementioned EP.
The debut full-length from Kendra Cox and Meagan Grandall has been a long time coming-- when we profiled them last April, it was still just a glimmer in their eyes. But the dreamy duo has come a ways since then, and their upcoming full-length is one of the local releases we're most anxious to finally hear. In the meantime, you can listen to two (old, great) tracks at Bandcamp.
Damien Jurado, Maraqopa (2/21, Secretly Canadian)
As we discussed last week, this will be the local album to beat in 2012. Jurado's songwriting achieves new heights with every release, so the anticipation for this record is almost unbearable to the serious DJ fan. His second album with producer Richard Swift, Maraqopa explores a new, psychedelic direction while still staying true to Jurado's signature style. Hear first single "Nothing is the News" (and read Eric's track review) here.
Yuni in Taxco, TBA
The prolific experimental pop quintet released two albums last year-- the planned third is due to arrive soon. I'm a big fan of their previous efforts, which mix psych, surf, and African influences for a unique sound you won't hear anywhere else in Seattle (and which you can listen to on their Bandcamp) and this new one is sure to delight equally.
With zero details on this album save the knowledge they've been in the studio, I don't know what the gentlemen of Pickwick have up their sleeves for 2012. But after reflecting on their achievements in 2011-- their self-released Myths EP clocked in at #9 on the KEXP listener-voted poll for the year's best album and #10 on Sonic Boom's list of 100 bestsellers, they were championed by Sound on the Sound, NPR, and The Stranger, and they sold out venues across town from the Croc to the Neptune-- it's safe to say this will be a highly-anticipated doozy of a record.
Grynch, Perspective, (3/2, self-released)
"The King of Ballard" announced yesterday via Twitter that his new album, titled Perspective, will be out March 2nd, and the release show will happen the same night at Neumos with The Bar (Bambu and Blue Scholars' Prometheus Brown), Chev, and DJ Swervewon.
The long-running, prolific, and generally amazing drone metal legends celebrate the release of their latest full-length at the Highline on February 25th. You can get a taste of the new disc (the follow-up to last year's Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I) over at the Spin website.
Fleet Foxes side projects
Yesterday, Sub Pop announced they had signed Poor Moon, the new project of Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott (both of Fleet Foxes and Crystal Skulls) and brothers Ian and Peter Murray (The Christmas Cards). Meanwhile, Fleet Foxes drummer J. Tillman is also rumored to have signed to the label under the name Father John Misty. His first album under the new name (he's released many excellent solo records under his own), Fear Fun, is allegedly due May 1st. It's up in the air as to which one we'll still be talking about next year, but for now we're excited for the prospect of both releases.
Absolute Monarchs, TBA
The other project of My Goodness' Joel Schneider is the sonic opposite of that band's radio-ready garage. Absolute Monarchs' sound is meaner, harder, and tailor-made to revive the adjective "skronky." Look for their debut full-length, out soon on Seattle's newest label to specialize in all things heavy, Good To Die Records.
Other people we hope release new music this year: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Say Hi, Robin Pecknold, Kaylee Cole, Hey Marseilles, Ruler
What album are you most excited for in 2012? Add it in the comments!