Top 5 Most Exciting Music Acts

I should really clarify the post title; by “most exciting”, I mean which artists whose next album to which I am most looking forward.  Basically, its a list of artists who I think are in their prime producing fantastic music or I expect their next album will put them into that category.

5.  The Shins

What to hope for

I have mixed feelings about The Shins.  Not in a bad way, just… well… mixed.  Oh, Inverted World (2001) was unabashedly catchy, fun indie pop with a lo-fi flavor to it.  Chutes Too Narrow (2003) upped the production value, but I don’t think that really helped the album at all.  There are some nice tracks* like “Turn a Square” and “Those to Come”, but it lacked the DYI indie feel of their previous album.  What has me excited about The Shins next album is this: “Sleeping Lessons”.  The first song off Wincing the Night Away (2007) is a masterpiece.  This unique and deep sound is what the professional sheen of Chutes should have gone towards.  I goddamn love this song as I have professed before.  While the album’s singles have the more traditional Shins pop sound to them, I’m going to play a hunch and guess (and hope!) that the ground they explored in “Sleeping Lessons” will be given an entire album.  Out of all the artists on this list, I think The Shins can make the biggest artistic leap.

*”Pink Bullets” is about as wussy a track I can listen to and still enjoy.  Really, though… Flying kites?  The scent of foreign flowers?  That’s getting into Belle & Sebastian territory.

What to worry about

Not anything in particular aside from the possibility of being sucky.

4.  Editors

What to hope for

The Back Room (2005) is probably one of my top 10 albums of the 00s, so An End Has a Start (2007) didn’t have much of a chance of topping it.  While I don’t think An End Has a Start was anywhere close to as good as The Back Room, which was one of the most solid debut albums ever*, it expanded on their sound with “big” tracks like “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors” while preserving the powerful lyrical and melodic simplicity with “Escape the Nest”.

*The Back Room is even better if you consider the bonus disc.  Is “Colours” the best (non-Smashing Pumpkins at least) b-side ever?  The riff in the second half of the song is so incredibly catchy.  The way it’s built upon with repetitive vocals, big guitar chords, and eventually crashing drums is absolutely perfect.

What to worry about

Editors tries to make their sound even bigger and more appealing and creates a disastrous melodrama of an album.

3.  Boards of Canada

What to hope for

As far as consistent, well-put-together albums go, it’s difficult to beat Boards of Canada.  Music Has the Right to Children (1998) is an all-time great album, so it’s hard not to like the chances of a group whose done one of those plus another couple excellent albums.  That their last album, The Campfire Headphase (2005), was released was over three years ago only whets the apetite.  I believe they’ve mostly just been producing for other artists and doing the occasional remix/collaboration.  I’m extremely curious as to what direction their next album takes, as Campfire was similar to their previous two albums, but with a “hey we discovered guitars” type of thing to it.

What to worry about

The possibility of singers appearing on the next album – thats usually the next step after the “hey we discovered real instruments” album.

2.  LCD Soundsystem

What to hope for

I feel a little bad about this, but I like singles off of Sound of Silver (2007) far more than the other tracks.  It’s really not that close.  I do enjoy James Murphy’s brand of dance punk, but the places he took it to with “All My Friends” and “Someone Great” is otherworldly; “North American Scum” is as good an anthem for the US music scene as any.  However, I just couldn’t get excited about the other songs.  Sure “Get Innocuous” had a nice Kraftwerk vibe to it, but I didn’t find anything remarkable about them.  The exception is “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”, which is almost, but not entirely, unlike anything else LCD Soundsystem has done.  It really is enchanting.

What to worry about

A whole album of “New York, I Love You”.  The reason it was so effective was because it was so different.  The instrumentation gives it a very organic and “real” feeling when presented alongside The DFA’s other fare.  I just hope Murphy didn’t fall too deeply in love with this sound the way he admits he has with New York.

1.  The National

What to hope for

The National’s Boxer (2007) is deep, restrained work where I felt that I could get lost in almost any of its songs.  The National’s previous albums don’t even sound like their written by the same band and it really feels like they found themselves with Boxer.  Wonderfully wounded vocals, atmospheric piano, and some absolutely fantastic extra instrumentation get mixed together to bake a cake or something.

What to worry about

Worst case scenario: The National drops Boxer producer Peter Katis and reverts to their previous sound.  Their previous albums don’t sound like they were even written by the same people.  Plus, I’m going to say this now, it won’t be better than Boxer.  Still, I would take an album that’s on the same magnitude of greatness.

NOTE: Yes, apparently I am stealing the Pozterisk concept.

Arbitrary song of the day: µ-Ziq – Burnt Sienna

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One thought on “Top 5 Most Exciting Music Acts

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Music Acts I’m the Least Optimistic About « Completement Rate

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