It is hardly a surprise that album release dates are jockeyed and shuffled around so often these days. In an era of advance singles, surprise(!) track drops, and literal snippet teases on “fill in the social media platform blank of choice,” it is debatable, or at least worth the conversation to some music fans and music industry-types alike, as to whether physical record releases are worth the effort and money to both make and purchase. It may even be these very conversations that push album release dates back.
I suppose this only pertains to a certain sort of musical artist, if we are being fair. There will always be bands, and thankfully record labels both small and large, that still see the album (and EP) as a work of art and accomplishment, worthy of putting to cassette, compact disc, or record. I wholeheartedly believe that as long as EPs and LPs are being made, there will be a loyal few to purchase them, even if that occurs in increasingly dwindling numbers. That said, all of the upcoming release dates mentioned are subject to change, as the cost (to heart) analysis debate rages onward.
Kevin Morby, “Oh My God,” available April 26 via Dead OceansPut this one straight to the top of my anticipated albums list. Kansas City’s finest is following up 2017’s “City Music” with a double album opus that will likely propel him to a new level of notoriety and fandom. Fans of well-crafted (what was maybe once called indie) rock ‘n’ roll that’s realized, crafted, and created by top-tier talent, take note.
Filthy Friends, “Emerald Valley,” available May 3 via Kill Rock Stars The first record from FFs didn’t disappoint, and neither will this one. For those unfamiliar, and for the sake of brevity, FFs exist as far more than the sum of their parts: Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and Peter Buck of R.E.M. are joined again by Kurt Bloch (The Fastbacks), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows), and Bill Rieflin (King Crimson) on their second full-length album.
Mac DeMarco, “Here Comes The Cowboy,” available May 10 via Mac’s Record Label The often misunderstood crooning clown jester and indie lo-fi’er releases 13 tracks on his newly minted label. Referring to the album title, Demarco told Pitchfork, “This one is my cowboy record. Cowboy is a term of endearment to me, I use it often when referring to people in my life. Where I grew up, there are many people that sincerely wear cowboy hats and do cowboy activities. These aren’t the people I’m referring to.”
Dommengang, “No Keys,” available May 17 via Thrill JockeyI first heard – and heard of – this trio from Los Angeles when they opened for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks in New Mexico. I was so impressed with their Cream- and Blind Faith-inspired heaviness that I’ve purposefully ignored advanced tracks from their upcoming third full-length so that it can pummel me by surprise. “No Keys” was recorded with guitarist and engineer Tim Green (Joanna Newsom, Howlin’ Rain, Sleepy Sun, Fresh and Onlys, Golden Void).
J. Robbins, “Un-Becoming,” Dischord Records Robbins is a stalwart of the D.C. and Baltimore music scenes as the singer and guitarist of punk/post punk/rock bands Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels, and others. He has also recorded and engineered many acts at his Magpie Cage recording studio in Baltimore. “Un-Becoming” was recorded between 2016 and 2019 and is his first full-length as a solo artist, set to be released in various formats for the seminal D.C. defining/based Dischord label.
Jon E. Lynch