There have been a bevy of announcements regarding upcoming albums from some Astral Plane favorites to stoke our excitement. It’s easy to get bogged down in the morass of contemporary music. Attempting to keep up with the constant stream of releases, previews, mixes, etc. across dozens of platforms is a trying task. Outside of the hip hop world though, the EP/LP format still dominates the musical landscape. That’s not to say that physical releases are still remotely relevant, but whether you are buying an album on iTunes, or downloading it from Mediafire (RIP Megaupload), the format still dominates. That being said, the following releases are bound to be some of the most exceptional and forward-thinking of the coming year, and will most likely inhabit many spaces on year-end “Best Of” lists.
Ever since 2008, Outkast fans the world over have been cautiously optimistic that Three Stacks and Sir Luscious Left Foot would throw caution to the wind and deliver another full length. Big Boi‘s solo effort Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty proved that at least one half of the duo can still bring the heat, and while Andre 3000 has been wildly inconsistent over the last half decade, he has shown that he can still occasionally get focused and bring brief spurts of genius. Unfortunately, Friday brought news that a new Outkast album is presently out of the question. With that disappointing news though came hope that a solo effort from Andre is in the works. We already know that Big Boi is working on his sophomore effort and solo efforts from both, while not rivaling the immense nature of a full Outkast album, would dominate the 2012 hip hop landscape.
There aren’t many listeners who weren’t satisfied with James Blake‘s 2011 output. Two EP’s, an LP, numerous remixes, an essential mix and a world tour brought Blake from relative unknown London producer to commercial and critical darling. The majority of the listeners shaking their heads at Blake’s 2012 output held a certain disdain for Blake’s transition to a more vocal style. These listeners wanted an album full of “CMYK” style tracks, but instead got more of “The Whilhelm Scream” variety. It appears they might get their wish on Blake’s next album. In a recent Spinner interview, Blake professed that he has spent a lot of time in the clubs, and that his next effort will be more “agressive” and “electronically influenced” than his self-titled 2011 debut.
In the indie world, news of a new album from Baltimore duo Beach House circulated the net last week as well. Although unconfirmed, a tentative release date of May 15 has been alleged. The album will be titled Bloom and is set to be released on Sub Pop.
Last, but not least, experimental hip hop trio Death Grips signed with Epic Records today and will release two albums this calendar year. The first, The Money Store, will be released on April 24 and will feature two recent tracks that are available to listen to now (“Black Jack” and “Get Got”). The second album, No Love, will be released sometime in the Fall. Death Grips are far from accessible, but the raw talent is definitely there, and watching MC Stefan Burnett’s emaciated looking body writhe and jump around on stage is a pretty unique sight.