2011… The Year Ahead

With the flicking over of the calendar another 365 days begin and record companies slide into another release schedule. In the southern hemisphere we are inundated with festivals so the good part of January will be spent outdoors in the searing sun at the Big Day Out, Laneway Festival, Soundwave, Sydney Festival, Mona Foma and many more. Laneway this year promises to be one of the best with a killer indie-centric line-up that includes Beach House, last year’s wonderkid Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Holy Fuck and Deerhunter while in the stadiums around NZ and Australia the commercially bigger guns like Tool (did I see singer James Maynard Keenan checking out the surf at Whangapoua, NZ the other day?), Rammstein, Iggy & The Stooges and Primal Scream entertain the masses. For those that feel too old to endure the screaming hormonal teens and oppressive mentality and heat of the BDO you can always check out your faves doing sideshows. Some of those highlights will surely be Primal Scream doing Screamadelica, Grinderman at Enmore Theatre and Beach House at City Recital Hall in Sydney.

Once the touring madness of festivals die down there are still plenty of great gigs on the horizon in this part of the world. New Zealand’s The Clean and The Verlaines make long awaited visits to Australia, 3/4 of Kyuss promise to blow stoner rock  minds, Swervedriver will satiate the shoegazers while Mount Kimbie will bring the new wave of electronica to these shores.

Release-wise there isn’t yet a great deal to get excited about but as soon as you start thinking the year ahead looks a tad quiet then some new bands become bloggers delights and rise above the plethora of over-hyped contenders to become possible 2011 faves. One album that is hotly anticipated is James Blake’s debut full length. Coming on the heels of a bunch of remixes and EPs it looks to expand his template of white lost-soul vocals and delicate and ornate electronic compositions. No-one is doing what he is doing within the loosely termed post-dubstep genre at the moment other than perhaps Mount Kimbie and the more straightforward proposition that is Scuba.

In late January Iron & Wine drop their new album which by all accounts is heading for a straighter indie pop feel, eschewing the forlorn americana and folk that has been Sam Beam’s method to date. February will see the release of new material from a couple of UK stalwarts in PJ Harvey (Let England Shake) and Mogwai (the brilliantly titled Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will). The rest of the year should see new albums from Black Lips, Fleet Foxes, Battles, Beastie Boys, Jane’s Addiction, Kraftwerk, Blur, My Morning Jacket, Radiohead, The Strokes and Wilco alongside all of those new acts that will rise from the mire of obscurity for a fleeting visit or the start of a rich residency.

Here at Doubtful Sounds we’ll be venturing into some visual tweaks of the site, expanding our mixtape series and trying to beat the record of 165 different live bands we saw last year…

2011…

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