Looking ahead (and slightly back): February 2009-June 2009

I’ve been battling a cold this past week, so I’ve been neglectful of pretty much everything. So neglectful, in fact, a number of releases from February slipped my attention. A recent visit to Pause and Play actually yielded items of interest.

Morrissey, Years of Refusal, Feb. 17

Tommy Keene, In the Late Bright, Feb. 17

I threw in the new Morrissey album with the new U2 album, after listening to it once on Lala.com. It struck me as harder than Ringleader of the Tormentors. I may have to backpedal on that initial assessment.

Tommy Keene’s Crashing the Ether is still fresh on my mind, and I liked it. Didn’t love it, but I liked it enough to check out In the Late Bright.

Bill Frisell, Best of Bill Frisell, Vol. 1: Folk Songs, Feb. 24

This collection brings together various folk covers Frisell has done over the years, but honestly, if it’s covers you’re after, stick with Frisell’s brilliant 1993 album, Have a Little Faith.

Mirah, (a)spera, March 10

I keep meaning to check out her other albums.

BoA, BoA, March 17

BoA unveils her self-titled US debut one week before Utada Hikaru unleashes her second English-language album. About the only exposure I’ve had of BoA is her collaboration with m-flo. I’m curious, but I’m not anticipating …

Terry Riley, In C (Legacy Edition), March 24

I’m really looking forward to hearing this piece remastered.

Pansy Division, That’s So Gay, March 31

1998’s Absurd Pop Song Romance is the closest Pansy Division got at being serious. Then the band majorly scaled back their activity to the point of unofficially breaking up. 2003’s Total Entertainment brought them back to their more novel roots, and judging by some preview tracks, this album promises the same. They’re kind of like a gay version of the Dead Milkmen, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.

Bob Mould, Life and Times, April 7

Mould turned this album around pretty quickly, considering District Line was released only last year.

FACT, FACT, April 14

This band is from Japan, and somehow, Vanguard is releasing their first album in the US. I’ve never heard of them.

Depeche Mode, Sound of the Universe, April 21

The last recent Depeche Mode album I remotely liked was Exciter from 2001.

Leo Imai, Laser Rain, April 22

Haven’t listened to the "Taxi" or "Synchronize" to determine whether to expect a sophomore slump. Usually a laundry list of guest musicians — this time including TOKIE and Ishiwatari Junji from SUPERCAR — is more marketing ploy than an indication of indie cachet.

Tommy heavenly6, TBD, April 29

Between the Tommy february6 best album and the Tommy heavenly6 best album — both recently released — I preferred the latter. I would have bought the former a lot more if the influences skewed more toward Nick Rhodes and Martin Fry than to Jellybean Benitez and Jam and Lewis.

Patty Griffin, Downtown Church, May 19

A quick Google search indicates Downtown Church is a gospel album. Huh. I’ll wait till she decides she wants to record something like Flaming Red again.

Grizzly Bear, Veckamist, May 26

Nico Muhly contributes some orchestral arrangements on this album. Although Yellow House got a lot of acclaim, I never really warmed up to it. (I’m playing it right now as I type, and I think the Department of Eagles album is better.) I’m hoping Muhly can do for Grizzly Bear what he did for Samamidon’s All Is Well.

Sonic Youth, The Eternal, June 9

I think the only thing really notable about this album is the fact it’s not being released on a major label.