2009 ended a great decade in many genres of music with the breakout of many musical acts bunched into the pastiche, irrelevantly-named world some call “indie.”Bands such as Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, and Passion Pit found themselves in the mainstream consciousness with catchy pop numbers that were forward-thinking, as well as just plain fun.
2010 will certainly find itself bringing forth many anticipated releases from artists that are often lumped into this category.
Perhaps the most anticipated is the currently-untitled 5th record of Brooklyn band The National, whose previous record, Boxer, helped promote them from virtual unknowns to anthem-churning rockers selling out venues such as Philadelphia’s own Electric Factory last spring.
The National may have also gained some fame from the numerous places their songs were used, such as in an episode of “Gossip Girl” and Barack Obama’s campaign videos in 2008.
In the more immediate future, however, are other releases pending from other class acts, big and small. Gorillaz, a longtime outlet for Blur frontman Damon Albarn’s hip-hop and electronica obsession, is set to release its first album in five years, titled Plastic Beach.
While Gorillaz have a knack as it is for writing catchy, groove-oriented tunes that are hard to displease anybody, the guest list on this project is dazzling enough to be worth the impending hype.
Among the better known names guest star on the album are Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, De La Soul, Lou Reed, and Mick Jones & Paul Simonen of The Clash. Plastic Beach is set to release March 9.
Also of note for the sheer, bizarre nature of the release is Peter Gabriel, famous for songs such as “Sledgehammer” and “In Your Eyes,” whose last record of original material was in 2002.
Gabriel will release an album of exclusively covers on Feb. 15, featuring songs from a number of groups using only orchestral arrangements and vocals.
From a man of Peter Gabriel’s musical caliber, it’s curious to see what his arrangements of these songs will sound like.
Songs featured include “Heroes” by David Bowie, “Flume” by Bon Iver, “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” by Radiohead, and “My Body is a Cage” by The Arcade Fire.
Other established artists to keep on the radar this year:
-Longtime electronica act “Massive Attack” (whom many will know for their song, “Teardrop,” being the theme song for the show House) will release their 5th album, Heligoland, on February 9.
-Noise-rock outfit “Liars,” after taking a bit of a break, will release their 5th album, Sisterworld, on March 9.
-“Ted Leo and the Pharmacists” will put out their 6th album, The Brutalist Bricks, March 9.
-Jersey punks “Titus Andronicus” will release their sophomore full-length album, The Monitor, also March 9.
Lastly, on a bittersweet note, Jonsi Birgisson, vocalist and guitarist for Icelandic post-rock band “Sigur Rós,” will put out his first solo effort, Go, March 23, shortly after recent news surfaced that the band scrapped what would have been their 5th record and are currently on an indefinite hiatus.
So, for the first quarter of this year, there’s a shorthanded list of upcoming releases to look out for.
While this list may not concern more well-known acts to most of you, popular music is in constant flux, and thanks to the Internet, music is that much more easily accessed.
The next big thing can be just about anything given the right formula. In any case, happy listening to you all.
John Wood is a third year student at West Chester University majoring in Communication Studies. He can be reached at JW632840@wcupa.edu.