If you thought 2011 was a great year for music, 2012 is only going to raise the ante. In the indie realm, Grimes‘ Claire Boucher, an under-the-radar hero of 2010 and 2011, will release her new album Visions on March 12 via 4AD. Expect it to be awesome as well as “post-internet,” whatever that means. The Weeknd got quite a bit of attention from the indie community in 2011 with his trifecta of impressive R&B albums, and in 2012 he will compile and remaster the three discs for physical release with numerous bonus tracks. New albums are also forthcoming from Memoryhouse, Sharon Van Etten and the XX. If the Flaming Lips will operate in half as impressive a manner as they did in 2011, expect some more amazing things from their camp, including collaborations with Yoko Ono and her Plastic Ono Band, Nick Cave and Bon Iver. The Magnetic Fields will release Love At the Bottom of the Sea in March, and are accompanying the release with a tour, and based on personal experience, you won’t want to miss when they hit up your town. Hear their new tune “Andrew in Drag,” over here.
As far as electronic music goes in 2012, we have a lot to look forward to. First and foremost, Flying Lotus is going to be, in some way shape or form, unleashing his new album at the Coachella Valley Music Festival. If he stays consistent with his previous work, this new album could signal a paradigm-shift in the genre, so you’d best be paying attention. Actress will follow up his oblique, weirdly fascinating 2010 album Splazsh with a new LP, R.I.P. Mouse on Mars have signed to Modeselektor’s Monkeytown Records to release their new album, Parastrophics, of which there is a nice little sampler here. Araabmuzik will unleash the sequel to last year’s dazzling Electronic Dream with the appropriately titled Electronic Reality. The Sri Lankan MPC guru is gaining popularity fast, producing tracks for the likes of Jim Jones, Cam’ron, Lloyd Banks and Styles P in 2011. His collaboration resume is only going to get bigger and more impressive from here on out. London’s Burial has released some of the most compelling and controversial music that the UK electronic scene has to offer, including 2007’s iconic album Untrue. His new EP Kindred is due any time now. You can hear a sample of a new song from the album called “Ashtray Wasp” over here. The Knife are at work on the follow up to their own mid-naughts masterstroke Silent Shout. We know nothing of the new album, but it’s definitely something to look forward to.
In the hip hop world, all eyes are on L.A. hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, and they are taking their chance to blitz the industry with at least five forthcoming releases from the crew as a whole as well as its individual members. In early to mid 2012, expect new albums from Tyler the Creator, Hodgy Beats, Mellowhype, Syd tha Kid, Frank Ocean, and a mixtape from the entire crew in March titled The OF Tape, Vol. 2. Parallel to Odd Future’s success is that of Green Ova Underground, a comparably young and talented group from Oakland, CA which includes the likes of Main Attrakionz, Shady Blaze and more. L.W.H., one of the group’s producers, wowed me with last years the Tape Hiss Hooligan, possibly the group’s most sophisticated and all-encompassing statement, and he is following it up with an instrumental album called CIA TV, due out early this year. In other news, Aesop Rock is prepping his new LP Skelethon, Madlib and Freddie Gibbs are collaborating, Nas will release the long-awaited Life is Good LP which features the killer single “Nasty,” and rumours are still abound over the possibilities of a new Outkast album, solo albums from Andre 3000 as well as Big Boi, or a combination of the three.
Myriad reunions albums and tours are imminent for 2012. First and foremost, Brian Wilson has rejoined the Beach Boys, and a tour is certain while a new album is more speculative. The Stone Roses, Dead Can Dance, and Spiritualized are also all slated for reunion albums and tours. After celebrating the 20th anniversary of the legendary Screamadelica last year with extensive reissues and touring, Bobby Gilespie’s Primal Scream are set to release a new album, and Kevin Shields is involved, so don’t be surprised if the thing never gets released. The Avalanches are allegedly done with the decade-in-the-making-follow-up to Since I Left You, so there’s nothing to it but to do. When I heard Mazzy Star were reunited for touring as well as a new album, I lost all composure as it was, but I freaked when I heard that they do in fact actually still have it. As far as true, legendary vets go, Scott Walker and Bobby Womack are both slated to release solo albums in 2012.
There are plenty of anticipated but unconfirmed releases that are ripe for 2012 release. Animal Collective, Sigur Ros, the Walkmen, Phoenix and Modest Mouse have all been recording recently, the latter with Big Boi behind the production helms, and if that doesn’t catch your interest, nothing will. Based on their release pattern, it’s about time for a follow-up to Beach House‘s incredible 2010 album Teen Dream. Aphex Twin claims he’s been sitting on six albums for lord knows how long, and last year he convened in Poland with Jonny Greenwood to honor the legendary composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Will 2012 be the year for a new Twin album?
– Alex Tieberg-Bailie