Looking ahead, May-July 2012

I would have gotten this preview out sooner, but two titles frustrated me in a search for information. Major labels need to be austere these days, which means US fans of artists with bigger international profiles are a second thought. Sure makes my job harder, but you gotta go where the money is.

Jeremy Denk, Ligeti/Beethoven, May 15

For his Nonesuch debut, pianist Jeremy Denk pairs Györgi Ligeti’s athletic Etudes with Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32. An intriguing combination …

Molotov, Desde Rusia con Amor, May 15 (Digital only, US)

I didn’t realize how starved I’ve been for Molotov till I learned about the release of this live album. The band’s official site announced it would be in stores on May 15. As far as I can tell, it’s a digital only release for the US. Amazon has no listing for the CD. That kind of sucks.

Sade, Bring Me Home, May 22

The problem with concert films is that in trying to be cinematic, they lose the theatricality of the stage. Such was the case with Lovers Live, a concert DVD of Sade’s previous tour in the early 2000s. Sade’s most recent tour was a Production (note the capital P), but I’m not sure if it can be captured on Bring Me Home.

Gossip, A Joyful Noise, May 22

Gossip made the jump to a major label with Music for Men, an album of reliable indie pop with the requisite reference to the ’80s still so puzzlingly fashionable. It didn’t have the bite of Standing in the Way of Control. So I have no idea what to expect from A Joyful Noise.

Sigur Rós, Valtari, May 29

For all the experimentation of Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, it sounded like Sigur Rós reached a stopping point, which the band wisely recognized. So after a hiatus that gave many fans reason to be concerned, the Icelandic quartet regrouped to make Valtari.

Onitsuka Chihiro, FAMOUS MICROPHONE, May 30

Onitsuka Chihiro’s first foray into covers seems pretty safe. The track list consists mostly of classic rock canon — Carole King, John Denver, the Beatles, even Lynyrd Skynyrd! I’m really not sure what to expect …

Paul Simon, Graceland (25th Anniversary Edition), June 5

Great. I just bought the 2004 remaster of this album which was reissued by Sony Legacy last year.

Guided By Voices, Class Clown Spots a UFO, June 12

The “classic” line-up that brought you Bee Thousand releases another album, mere five months after reuniting on Let’s Go Eat the Factory. Which is to say Robert Pollard is not doing what he doesn’t do best — editing. (I can’t say I was impressed with Let’s Go Eat the Factory.)

Sam Sparro, Return to Paradise, June 12 (International; US date TBD)

Sam Sparro’s marketing team posted a widget on Facebook trumpeting the release of his new album in June. What it doesn’t specify is the release date for the United States, which has yet to be determined. That’s a dumb move. “Hey fans, here’s a teaser to some music you won’t have access to because there aren’t enough of you to make it worth our while!” Way to inspire loyalty.

Tokyo Jihen, Bon Voyage, June 13

I don’t usually get Shiina Ringo or Tokyo Jihen live DVDs because, well, there are too many.

Smashing Pumpkins, Oceania, June 19

Is it really Smashing Pumpkins without at least Jimmy Chamberlain?

Sasagawa Miwa, Oroka na Negai, June 27

Sasagawa Miwa jumps back to the Avex family of labels with this mini album.

Duran Duran, Diamond in the Mind, July 10

Duran Duran hasn’t released a live album since Arena in 1984. I’m actually looking forward to this one.

Sacha Sacket, Double Gemini, TBD

Sacha Sacket pulled a Jonathan Coulter in 2010, recording and releasing a song a week for a year. He managed to get out 35, which were recently compiled into a single digital release titled Viscera. It was a bold effort, but after a while, the songs tended to blur. I’m still looking forward to Double Gemini, mostly because the promo shots preceding the album’s release have been really, really hot.