March 2012 has been a pretty quiet month for new releases. Here are a few notable releases that you can expect to see in the shops soon.
UK’s Kaiser Chiefs return with new album Start The Revolution Without Me. I adored 2008’s Off With Their Heads, with its ridiculous bounty of jaw-dropping tunes. By contrast, last year’s The Future Is Medieval was completely underwhelming. For those of us waiting for the Chiefs to bravely return to form, the early reviews of the new album are almost universally negative. That’s never a good sign. If this album stiffs, it could be the end of the band. (Post-Script: it turns out that this ‘new’ album is really just a rehashed USA version of last year’s UK-edition of The Future Is Medieval with a few tracks swapped out, which makes it even more pointless than I feared).
Kelowna, BC’s Yukon Blonde return with their second full-length LP. I’ve only heard some brief snippets of Tiger Talk online, but it definitely seems like a change of direction for the band. The new album amps up the Sloan-y hook-laden pop-rock of their fine debut LP with new, punkier textures. What it lacks in immediacy, it more than makes up for in energy.
The Decemberists are about to embark on an indefinite hiatus. The band is not breaking up, but rumour has it that they could be taking a five-year break from recording and touring. To help tide us over, The Decemberists are releasing a double-CD (or triple-vinyl) live album called We All Raise Our Voices To The Air. It was assembled from the best performances on their well-received 2011 concert tour.
The Shins are back with new album Port of Morrow. As previously discussed on this blog and others, it should be interesting to hear what kind of sound the newly-reconstituted Shins are going for. Just a head’s up – I inquired about the vinyl version of Port of Morrow at my local record shop yesterday. While the shop has some CD copies in the back and ready to sell, it sounds like there have been some distribution issues with the vinyl version and it might not be on the shelves until the end of March.
Spiritualized also return with a new album called Sweet Heart Sweet Light (technically released on 19-March-2012, since Monday is the traditional UK new release date).
The Mars Volta are back with new album Noctourniquet. After staking out their territory with a succession of dense, frantic, hyper-hyphenated (progressive-jazz-psychedelic-thrash-metal-alt-rock) records, they broke their own mould with 2009’s relatively restrained Octahedron. Time will tell if the new sonics explored on that record have set the stage for this new one.
Record Store Days is coming up on Saturday, April 21st. Expect to see a rush of special releases in time for RSD 2012. With summer just around the corner and Coachella’s kickoff to the festival season, April should be a fun month for new records.