We're looking forward to next Tuesday with great anticipation - and so should you. The date has been marked with a gold star on our calendar for some time. Here's why:
1. Andrew Bird - Noble BeastNPR's streaming of Andrew Bird's entire new album at their Web site has whet many an appetite for the next release from one of the best artists around. We've resisted listening all the way through - we're old-fashioned like that - but Oh No is a great leadoff track. A lot is expected from the whistling multi-instrumentalist.
His last record, Armchair Apocrypha, was near-perfect and better than The Mysterious Production of Eggs, his most popular, in our opinion. Plasticities is No. 6 all-time on our "Most Played" list in iTunes, and the whole album is packed with quiet grooves that don't grab you the first time but ultimately become part of your inner beat. The bar is very high.
2. Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying LightSpeaking of bars-set-high, Antony and the Johnsons' haunting EP from last year - Another World - gives fans high hopes for the full length, which features the EP's title track, a longing for escape while mourning what would be lost in the tradeoff. Another one that is actually available already via their Web site - a pre-order of the CD gets you the mp3s now - and another one we've resisted, at least so far.
(Part of the reason is that we want Jan. 20 to be a test run for downloading new albums over 3G from iTunes on our way to work. No more skipping coffee because we're busy downloading and syncing on Tuesday mornings...we hope. Funny how the other reason is that we're "old-fashioned.")
Antony was a little more subdued on the Another World EP - none of his characteristic vibrato workouts which have been known to drive certain exes insane - but we didn't mind. But on this one, we say let loose! We loved the darkness of Another World - but maybe this one can be autumn instead of midnight on Halloween.
3. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post PavilionUp until now, we've had no interest in this band. But after ignoring all the hype surrounding Fleet Foxes (which we play on repeat now, over and over and over and over), we're going to give the band a shot. Especially since our buddy Eric says it's the best thing since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And he was pretty obsessed with that one (as were we - it was our 2002 album of the year).
Pitchfork, too, gives it a 9.6 and calls it their most accessible. An entry point for a new fan? We'll see. And if you're already a fan? Then you've probably downloaded it already.
4. Bon Iver - Blood BankIt's only an EP, so maybe not enough to prove whether For Emma, Forever Ago was a fluke or the start of a long-term love affair, but we'll take it.
It's kind of a win-win; If it's great, you can be thrilled. If it's not so great, well, it'll only be a small disappointment.