Get excited for the rest of winter

One of the best things about a new year and changing seasons is the new music that accompanies each one. You know, for example, that summer’s going to have that one big release, and that one big release will contain the song that you will forever associate with said summer. It’s a great thing that happens every single year, without fail.

But of course, we aren’t talking about summer. We’re stuck in the middle of a strange winter, one that wants to be spring and then falls back onto its old snowy ways before it can commit to the sun.

The only way to survive such bizarre weather on top of the long walks to class and endless stacks of homework is, of course, to download (excuse me, legally purchase and download… cough, cough) some new music. Load your iPod up, and this winter might just flight by (who am I kidding…). This is a season full of high expectations, both for new and old faces, and it promises to be interesting at worst.

So, here for you, I have the upcoming releases that I’m most excited about and that I expect will help me to survive until we see some real sunshine… probably in May.

Lana Del Rey, Born to Die
Release Date: January 31

I cannot help it. I know everyone wants a reason to rank on Lana Del Rey, but I just cannot help it. If you read last week,

Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die"

you know I chose one of her songs as the soundtrack to your weekend. And I know we had that whole SNL catastrophe or whatever, but let’s get past it.

Lana Del Rey is here, and I have a feeling this album will silence some of the critics. Yes, up to this point, she’s been almost all hype – but now she has three singles, including the wonderful “Born to Die,” plus the eerie “Video Games.” The full-length debut, Born to Die, could probably survive just off of these three singles. However, I don’t think we need to worry about that.

I will be buying and downloading this Tuesday morning. It’s going to be the first thing I do. It should be yours, too.

Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror
Release Date: February 21

Reign of Terror

Sleigh Bells’ first full-length came out in 2010, following up an EP in 2008. Treats was a blast to the eardrums, a sonic kick in the face that made you want to dance while also kind of wondering what, exactly, it was that you were listening to. Songs from the album showed up in commercials due to a series of catchy hooks and lead singer Alison Krauss’ electronically filtered voice.

Reign of Terror looks to pick up where Treats left off. A promo video for their sophomore effort was released in December, and now the first full music video is out, this one for “Comeback Kid.” The song sounds like it would fit in nicely on Treats, and the video is a throwback if ever there was one (it’s so 80s themed it almost hurts).

This should be a good time.

Chiddy Bang, Breakfast
Release Date: February 28

Rap duo Chiddy Bang have existed mostly in the mixtape realm, surviving on the strength of aptly titled The Preview. This

"Breakfast" with Chiddy Bang

nine-song teaser of sorts has been available on iTunes for over a year, and it’s generated plenty of hype for the Philadelphia-based outfit. Chiddy Bang are known for their use of “alternative” samples, including sampling Passion Pit, Radiohead and, most notably, MGMT (there’s no way you could escape the endlessly hooky “The Opposite of Adults,” featuring “Kids” by MGMT, and there’s a good chance you heard “All Things Go,” a very Sufjan-inspired song).

Breakfast, coming to us February 28, has a lot to live up to (see Lana Del Rey above). “Ray Charles,” the first single, came out in January to kick off 2012. The video itself is kind of hilarious (there are quite a few faces made that I personally enjoyed), but the rapping is also crisper and clearer in this single. Basically, they look like they’d be a lot of fun to hang out with, and they sound like it, too.

Andrew Bird, Break It Yourself
Release Date: March 6

Andrew Bird is a much more seasoned musician than most of the others on this list. Break It Yourselfwill be his sixth solo release, on top of three albums released with his first band, Bowl of Fire, and a plethora of live albums (including one live

Break It Yourself

from Austin City Limits). Bird is also somewhat less accessible to an everyday listener; you can sample this by clicking on the link above and listening to “Eyeoneye,” currently streaming on his website.

Bird is what I imagine Arcade Fire meshing with Devendra Banhart would end up sounding like. If this intrigues you or excites you, I highly recommend scoping him out. 2009’s Noble Beast was a well-received album, and there’s no reason his follow-up coming in March should disappoint. Like I said, high expectations here.

Plus, if this sounds like you, you can preorder a Break It Yourself box set on Bird’s website. For $64, you get a “linen wrapped box” with a ton of stuff in it, including the album on vinyl, a digital download of the album and an Andrew Bird stationary kit.

No kidding.

Honorable Mentions

And there are a handful of albums that I’m excited about but, for one reason or another, can’t really make it on this list. In no particular order, we have…

  • The Big Pink, Future This: The Big Pink merit mention even though this album actually already came out (but I’m still excited about it). Hailing from the UK, the Big Pink make electronica-tinged alternative rock that I just adore and you should, too. You might even recognize a song by them that you didn’t realize you knew. The Big Pink recorded “Dominos,” which was then sampled by Nicki Minaj on her debut album, Pink Friday.
  • Speaking of Nicki Minaj, her sophomore effort is also due this season. However, originally slated for a February 14 release, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded has been pushed back and will now come out April 3. Despite the setback, Minaj has already released the first single and its accompanying video (which I mentioned last week) and is planning to ride on that leading up to her first-ever Grammy performance. However, “Stupid Hoe,” the aforementioned single, is already running into some problems of its own: It’s kind of terrible, and it has over 248,000 dislikes on the YouTube video right now (compared to about 118,000 likes… problem!). Hopefully this is not a preview of the rest of PF:RR.
  • Finally, The xx will be releasing an album sometime over this season, though a date has not been set (or at least not announced) and the title is still M.I.A. However, you can follow some of their progress on the Tumblr they started at the end of last year. Not only can you find some updates, but they also post their favorite songs and “pieces of inspiration.” Maybe something of theirs will help you out, too, if not their new music.






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