Overall, live music is pushed back. Not cancelled! This is an important distinction as we see shows move from January to March or from March to May.
But we need songs to guide us to spring. Fortunately, the next few weeks will be filled with good things. And the loud ones. And sublime ones. And those that hit like world famous club bangers. Here are the albums that will give them to us.
“Laurel Hell”, Mitski, expected February 4
This is where Mitski goes from underground champion to mainstream star. His game plan for doing this? Release songs that blend modern electro with “Flashdance” vibes (“The Only Heartbreaker”), and Kate Bush mystique with downtempo magic (“Heat Lightning”), and electro, “Flashdance,” Kate Bush and downtempo tracks (Love Me More”).
“The Wrath of the Clouds”, Marissa Nadler, scheduled for February 4
On the heels of her ninth solo album, 2021’s “The Path of the Clouds,” Boston-based Marissa Nadler delivers another minor masterpiece. ‘The Wrath of the Clouds’ features an eerie maritime epic to rival ‘Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner’, a haunted waltz and a few covers performed in its unique folk doom style.
“Heterosexuality”, Shamir, expected February 11
Shamir has done garage rock, indie pop and synth-based dreamscapes before. They have all been great. They all look like prologues. “Heterosexuality” rumbles and whispers like a big statement. He combines pain with industrial music, healing with Top 40 grooves, both with grunge (sometimes in one piece).
“Lucifer on the couch”, Spoon, scheduled for February 11
Spoon’s 10th album rocks. That was the plan. Written and recorded over the past two years, the Kings of Indie album unloads the big guitars, the weird guitars, the big hooks and the weird hooks. “It’s the classic rock sound written by a guy who never had Eric Clapton,” frontman Britt Daniel said. Also: “I spent a lot of 2018 and 2019 listening to ZZ Top,” he added.
“Life on Earth”, Hooray for the Riff Raff, expected on February 18
Hooray for Riff Raff’s 2017 album “The Navigator” in my list of the 10 best albums of the decade (great and powerful songs about youthful naivety and ancient wisdom, gentrification and genocide). For the sequel, she promises an LP of “punk nature”. The world is a mess. It’s just the artist to meditate on disaster, survive and thrive.
“The Tipping Point”, Tears for Fears, due February 25
Early singles from “The Tipping Point” were heavy: the title track bottled the agony of watching a loved one lose their battle with a fatal disease; “Break The Man” takes over the patriarchy. The duo also walked through them with touchstones of Tears for Fears sonic heritage. Expect an album full of intimacy and goliath hooks, new wave glints, soulful turns and folk harmonies.
“Crash,” Charli XCX, scheduled for March 18
Last year, a fan on Twitter asked Charli XCX if Janet Jackson was still an inspiration for “Crash.” She replied with the best and weirdest thing you could imagine: “janet but also cameo, sister sledge, serge gainsborg (cq), steve vai black eyed pea, charlie puth, cyndi, rick james, taylor dayne, boy meets girl, belinda carlisle and more.” If half of that is true, this LP will rock a generation.