The Feedback Loop is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.
Each year, blogs and publications and put out “best of” lists. Best albums of the years, best films of the year, and so on. For me, it’s always been important to be able to look back and reflect on the music that really affected me that year — to look back and see the trends that huddled together over the year and evaluate my own personal tastes. 2012 was year absolutely full to the brim of excellent releases — you can see our writers’ top picks here.
All that is good and well, but looking forward is nearly as important to me — to look down the road and be hopeful about the fact that people will continue to make interesting, entertaining, and challenging art. As far as 2013 goes, there are definitely a few unannounced albums I am holding out for. Some of my favorite artists such as Sufjan Stevens, The Arcade Fire, and Phoenix all have albums rumored for or planned for 2013. Will these popular indie bands undergo large changes in style like they have in the past or will the reiterate on previous albums?
On the pop front, I’m excited to hear a new slew of interesting singles from the likes of Beyonce, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga. On the other side of the spectrum, out of the Christian music industry I’m looking forward to a new Switchfoot album and the first try from David Crowder’s new solo project. I’m also really hoping to hear new albums from John Mark McMillan and The Civil Wars in 2013.
In other words, there’s a lot to look forward to. But here are five confirmed albums that I am have most looking forward to this year:
1. Christopher Owens – Lysandre
I previously wrote about this interesting singer-songwriter back when he was a part of his band Girls. The band had enjoyed a short run of albums, but their second and final album Father Son Holy Ghost was a whirlwind of an album, touching on a wide spread of genres and styles with a sense of youthful ambition. With Owens’ past of genre-swapping and personal lyrics, the debut album from Owens’ solo project is one of my most anticipated releases of 2013 so far.
2. Local Natives – Hummingbird
These guys released some of the most energetic and hooky indie tunes of 2011 with their debut album Gorilla Manor. If you haven’t checked out that album yet, catch up before the band’s sophomore effort comes out this month. It’s still up in the air as to whether or not Local Natives were something of a one-hit wonder or are here to stay for the long run, but their new album Hummingbird will certainly be the album to decide.
3. Five Iron Frenzy – TBA
Having recently revitalized their career with a Kickstarter campaign, the infamous Christian ska band’s newest album is finally due out this year — and after a 10 year wait, it’s safe to say that expectations are high. With all the waiting, you might start to wonder if this return album is ever really coming. But after hearing a free cut from the record in 2011, the song “It Was A Dark And Stormy Night”, the band’s comeback seems to be a serious one that might even feature some of the band’s most mature songwriting yet.
4. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
This band’s debut album that released in 2011 seemed like a revelation at the time — the quiet vocals and atmospheric sounds bending around the voice of sole musician Trevor Powers in really unique ways. But with releases from artists like Purity Ring who came out with a similar sound last year, Youth Lagoon’s The Year of Hibernation feels even more prophetic in retrospect. His new album, Wondrous Bughouse, is due out on March 5th and is one of my most anticipated albums of the year.
5. Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat
This ambient/folk artist makes really quiet, haunting music. It’s murky and long-winded enough to people good sleeping or studying music — but her music matches the sleepiness with a complexity you can really lose yourself in. The first track released from her new album “Vital”, shows the artist returning to her folk stylings as she softly strums her acoustic guitar in a sea of reverb and delay.
Those are five albums I’ve got my eye on this year, but what albums are you most looking forward to this year?