For new albums:
- Vampire Weekend, Contra (XL). From the single it’s clear they can write more than one good song. Whether the world will still be interested in the multi-culti preppyboy thing in 2010 — more than two years after it began its hype cycle — is yet to be seen.
- Tony Allen, Secret Agent (World Circuit/Nonesuch). There will be a Fela Kuti assault beginning shortly, loosely centered on the opening of Fela! on Broadway on Nov. 23. His entire catalog — 45 albums — will be reissued again, this time by the reactivated Knitting Factory label. Here’s the latest by Tony Allen, Fela’s drummer, who has made some very good solo records, and his appearance on World Circuit (run by Nick Gold, the guy behind Buena Vista Social Club) promises something high-quality.
- Spoon, Transference (Merge). It hasn’t been proclaimed enough, but Spoon is the best band in America, and everything Britt Daniels has touched over the last 10 years has been just about perfect. Were there a healthier and less splintered mediasphere right now, and were there some justice, a new Spoon album would be celebrated like This Is It. UPDATE: Here’s a stream of a new song, “Mystery Zone.” Sounds great, though I’m not sold on the mellotron. (Or is it just a mellotron-esque sample?)
- Beach House, Teen Dream (Sub Pop). Victoria Legrand’s voice is the most wonderful thing to emerge from indie-rock since Cat Power. Which, to remind you, was nearly 15 years ago.
- Yeasayer, Odd Blood (Secretly Canadian). I really dug the prog-psych the last time around, even with the bassist’s haircut and mustache. Hoping it still sounds good. I guess I can’t complain about the facial hair anymore, but it would be good to see that gone. It has, after all, been more than two years. UPDATE: Free download of first single, “Ambling Alp,” here.