By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
It's customary, this time of the year, to look back on the year that was. Pardon us, though, if we jump ahead for a minute.
Because, you see, while 2009 ended up proving itself quite the surprisingly impressive year in local music, 2010 looks like it's boasting an even more impressive offering. So, for kicks, let's take a look at some of the most anticipated albums expected to see the light of day at some point in the next 12 months.
Artist: Analog Rebellion
Album: Ancient Electrons
Release Date: January 26
Why We're Stoked: As PlayRadioPlay!, Aledo's Daniel Hunter earned himself a major-label deal for his debut album. Two years later, he's been ousted from his major-label contract, changed his band name and ditched his Postal Service sound for a darker Paper Chase-meets-Pixies feel. And it couldn't suit him any better.
The Courage of Others
Release Date: February 2
Why We're Stoked: 2006's The Trials of Van Occupanther broke out this quintet in a big way nationally, anointing these Dentonites kings of the retro-folk set. And for good reason. 2010's follow-up finds the band looking to again prove its position in that world, albeit with a darker, more European feel.
Artist: Damaged Good$
$pread Luv, Not Germ$
Release Date: February 14
Why We're Stoked: The fun-loving hipster-hop duo of Coool Dundee and Theodore Beard actually has two releases planned for 2010: first this mix-tape, then another full-length collaboration with the London-based producer who discovered them, Xrabit. The overall aesthetic, though—party-starting hip-hop over breakneck electro beats—will remain the same. And that's even better news.
Artist: Erykah Badu
Album: New Amerykah Pt. 2, Return of the Ankh
Release Date: February 23
Why We're Stoked: 2010 sees the queen of Dallas and neo-soul, the ultra-creative Erykah Badu, introducing listeners again to her New Amerykah. This time, though, fans can expect less political, less electronic fare. Early word has it that this album's heavy on the instrumentation side of things. Which means...more retro soul? Not necessarily: The two tracks we've heard seem pretty hip-hop heavy. Oh well. No use in trying to put Badu in a box; she's bound to burst out and shock us anyway.
Artist: Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights
Album: Pardon Me
Release Date: March 16
Why We're Stoked: 2009 saw Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights opening up for AC/DC, Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd and performing a winning Austin City Limits Music Festival set in the pouring rain. 2010 is setting up as an even bigger year for the band, though, as its year-and-a-half-in-the-making major-label debut will see the light of day just prior to SXSW. With its marketable, good-time Southern party-rock sound now slicker than ever, this act is primed to break out as the year pushes forward.
Artist: Doug Burr
Release Date: March
Why We're Stoked: The area's folk king scored major points with his 2008 release, On Promenade, an affecting collection of songs about small towns and self-doubt. 2009, meanwhile, saw Burr release something markedly different: a collection of songs inspired by Psalms called The Shawl. It was a fine release, fittingly beautiful and surely satisfying for Burr, who'd been holding onto those songs for years. This year, though, Burr returns to what he does best.
Artist: Fergus and Geronimo
Release Date: Early 2010
Why We're Stoked: Denton's Andrew Savage and Jason Kelly turned heads with their punk-meets-Motown sound in 2009. But Fergus and Geronimo has released only a handful of singles from the project. The good news: We hear the band's prepping its full-length for early this year. The band's amalgamation of styles worked wonders on early singles "Tell It in My Ear" and "Powerful Lovin'"; given a full-length for a playground, the prospects of what this duo might produce are exciting, to say the least.
Artist: Sarah Jaffe
Album: Suburban Nature
Release Date: Late spring/summer
Why We're Stoked: With just one EP to her name, Jaffe's already proven herself a major player in the local music scene; her soul-baring Even Born Again EP was the darling of our 2008 Dallas Observer Music Awards as Jaffe swept every category in which she earned a nomination. But while searching for a home for her full-length debut, Jaffe's catalog has been gathering dust on the shelf. Late in 2009, local label Kirtland Records came to the rescue, promising Suburban Nature's expedient release. An upcoming tour of the States and Europe in support of Midlake should only drum up more interest in this indie folker's chilling output.
Release Date: TBA
Why We're Stoked: As promotion for Alan Palomo's Neon Indian project and its phenomenal Psychic Chasms debut ramps down, 2010 should play largely like the early part of the 2009, which saw electro music fans drooling at the '80s-dance-music-on-steroids sounds of his VEGA project. No formal name or release date has been announced yet for VEGA's likely 2010 release, but we do know both its label (Fool's Gold) and its producers (multiple sources point to one of the band's new label mates), which is plenty to pique our fist-pumping interest for now.
Artist: The Polyphonic Spree/Tim DeLaughter
Release Date: TBA
Why We're Stoked: Last summer, on his band's blog, Polyphonic Spree mastermind DeLaughter released a slew of demos he'd been working on. It was never fully clear: Were these Spree songs-to-be or what? Spare and bare, these demos were a far cry from the Spree's standard fare—meaning we've either received a phenomenal front-row seat to DeLaughter's songwriting process or we've heard...something else. Either way, we'll take it.
...and, of course, all this is saying nothing of the new records we know are coming from Ishi, The Burning Hotels, Mount Righteous, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, Smile Smile, Eleven Hundred Springs, Nervous Curtains, Florene, FUR, Seryn, Bridges and Blinking Lights, Spooky Folk, This Old House, Menkena, Tre Orsi and The Beaten Sea, or the possible releases we've been hearing about from the likes of Pilotdrift, Fair to Midland, True Widow, The Paper Chase, Centro-matic, The Old 97's and even Slobberbone.
Yep. We're gonna have our hands full this year.
Hope you're ready.