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Thursday, August 27, 2009

2009's (Possible) Best Yet To Come

2009 has been a fairly solid year thus far in terms of new music releases and there is still four months to go. Some upcoming releases I am excited about in no particular order (well, maybe in a particular order):

Skeletonwitch - Breathing The Fire 10/13/09

Do you ever have a gut feeling that a band's new album is just going to be amazing? I have that feeling about the new Skeletonwitch.

Skeletonwitch's debut album Beyond The Permafrost was a blackened thrash metal tour de force that I very much enjoyed. My love for the band was cemented after seeing them perform live at the Scion Fest in Atlanta this past February and I've been chomping at the bit for new material since. I've already pre-ordered my copy of their upcoming album, Breathing The Fire, direct from Prosthetic Records and opted to get one of the package deals which includes a t-shirt and a CD.

Baroness - The Blue Album 10/13/09

Baroness' debut album The Red Album earned a lot of critical praise and that praise was certainly well deserved. Taking a more melodic approach to similar sonic terrains explored by fellow GA band Mastodon, Baroness have a sound that can appeal equally to fans of High On Fire and Explosions In The Sky. As with Skeletonwitch, I've already pre-ordered my copy of The Blue Album direct from the band's label, Relapse Records. And once again, I couldn't pass up the package deal of a t-shirt and cd.

Drive-By Truckers - The Fine Print (A Collection Of Oddities and Rarities 2003 – 2008) 09/01/09

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about how much I love the Drive-By Truckers, so my excitement for this release pretty much doesn't need to be stated. That being said, what makes this release so exciting is that 7 of the 12 tracks come from The Dirty South era which is when the band was creating some of its best work. It also means unreleased tracks with Jason Isbell on vocals which is a real treat for the DBT faithful. Tom Petty and Bob Dylan covers are also included.

Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue 09/29/09

After the passing of Layne Staley, myself and most others assumed that Alice In Chains passed away with him. His voice was so unique and so essential to their sound, that it simply did not seem like it would be fair to the band's legacy to soldier on under the name Alice In Chains with a new vocalist. But after a long hiatus, that is exactly what the remaining members are going to do with new lead vocalist William DuVall. I was extremely skeptical, but I've heard two tracks from the album and think they are both fantastic. While I'm still skeptical, my skepticism is now mixed in with a healthy amount of optimism that AIC has made not only a good record, but a fitting tribute to the memory of Layne Staley.

Converge - Axe To Fall 10/20/09

Converge has released three stellar albums in a row including and starting with the legendary (in extreme music circles) Jane Doe. While most consider that to be their OK Computer (ie. they'll never top it), they've certainly come close with the last two releases, You Fail Me and No Heroes. By all accounts, Axe To Fall continues in this tradition and only time will tell if this is the album is the one that can top Jane Doe. Members of Cave In and Genghis Tron (sonic brethren to Converge and great bands in their own right) make guest appearances on the album as do a host of others. Also, the band is headed out on tour with Mastodon, Dethklok and High On Fire this Fall which should be a pretty damn good show.

A.F.I - Crash Love 09/29/09

I don't know much about this release except that it is a new A.F.I. album and I like A.F.I. a lot, so I'm psyched to hear it. I think there is some sort of complicated ritual happening on Twitter that allows you to get links to new songs, but I have no interest in following anything or anyone on Twitter (except maybe Michael Ian Black).

Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg 10/20/09

Wolfmother's self-titled debut was a monster of a rock record that three years later I still can't get enough of. The Aussie band seemed poised for rock n roll greatness, but then fell off the radar. So where did they go? The drummer and bassist/keyboardist quit the band over personal and musical differences and the guitarist/singer vowed to carry on without them. He has recruited replacements and an additional guitarist and they are getting to ready to drop (or lay a) Cosmic Egg on the world. They have a lot to live up to after such a highly regarded debut, so hopefully they won't wind up with egg on their face (see what I did there? Man, I crack myself up.). A friend of mine has already heard the album in its entirety and swears that it is amazing, but this same guy hates Journey with a passion, so I'm just not sure that he can be trusted. Here's hoping he is right!

Russian Circles - Geneva 10/20/09

Russian Circles are right up there with Pelican and Explosions In The Sky in terms of kick ass instrumental bands. Their first two albums, Enter and Station, are so engaging that you don't even notice there are no vocals. I saw the band play live at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ earlier this year and they are a stellar live band too. Talked to them a little bit after the show and they are cool dudes to boot. Not much else to say here except that if post-rock instrumental stuff with a metal tinge to it sounds like it is up your alley, then this is your band.

Revocation - Existence Is Futile 09/29/09

After seeing a post about Revocation on MetalSucks, I clicked through to their Myspace page to hear some tracks and was instantly blown away. What you have here is band who goes for a metal smorgasbord with their sound. They go from tech-y death metal to thrash to groove metal ala Pantera in a completely seamless manner. The guitar solos I heard were blazing. And they are a trio which makes the sound they are pulling off all the more impressive. Another selling point for the band, for me at least, is the fact that they are signed to Relapse who, as I mentioned in an earlier post about their labelmates Howl, has superb A&R taste when it comes to signing extreme metal bands. As with Baroness, you can pre-order the album with a t-shirt from Relapse's webstore if you are so inclined.

Lucero - 1372 Overton Park 10/06/09

If anyone has gotten the fusion of indie rock and country music right, then it is this band. Lucero first came to my attention a few years back when I was out on the road with the North Mississippi Allstars for a week as they toured through Colorado. The Allstars' drummer, Cody Dickinson, had produced Lucero's first two releases and he and the other guys assured me that I was going to be blown away by them. I can't remember exactly which guy in the band said it, but one of them described Lucero as "an emo Jay Farrar". Well, I was blown away and promptly marched right over to their merch booth after the set and purchased their album. In 2003, Lucero released That Much Further West and it quickly became an all-time favorite album of mine. Nobody's Darlings would follow in 2005 and was another gem of a record (and was produced by Cody's father, the late, great Jim Dickinson). 2006's Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers did not excite me as much as it's predecessors, but it is in no way whatsoever a bad just found the band's sound evolving. I pre-ordered the latest album 1372 Overton Park from the band's webstore (once again getting a package deal, but this time with a zipper front hoodie instead of a t-shirt) and received 6 of the 12 tracks on the album as instant downloads. Ben Nichol's voice sounds more whiskey-soaked and cigarette stained than ever before and the band's sound continues to evolve. I won't lie and say I loved it right away because I didn't, but I do have a gut feeling that this will be an album that grows on me after a few listens (not unlike The Dead Weather record which I HATED on first listen, but have grown to love).

Ok, here are some other albums that I am equally excited about, but just too lazy to do more involved write-ups for (in order of release date):

Black AnvilTime Insults The Mind 9/1
Weekend NachosUnforgivable 9/1
MegadethEndgame 9/15
Shadows Fall Retribution 9/15
The Big PinkA Brief History Of Love 9/22
Between The Buried And MeThe Great Misdirect 10/27
PelicanWhat We All Come To Need 10/27

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