New releases from Beck, Phantogram and Broken Bells are almost here

Now that all the best of 2013 lists are out of the way, it’s time to look ahead at the albums coming out and shaping music in 2014.

Rumors of new music from Adele, Grimes, Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, and A$AP Rocky abound, but the rumor mill doesn’t mean much these days and an artist could drop an album seemingly out of the blue at any moment (thanks to Beyoncé’s straight to iTunes surprise album last year).

Now that we have toasted the New Year and closed the books on the best of 2013 with this past Sunday’s Grammys, here are a handful of anticipated winter albums.


Who: Beck
What: An actual real audio album, not like his last release – a book of sheet music.
When: Feb. 25
The Details: Besides word from Rolling Stone, which praised Beck’s “Morning Phase” for “its gently psychedelic suspense and warming cosmic-cowboy reflection,” expect boho Beck’s 12th album to run the usual gamut of indie, funky stuff, and rock.


Who: Phantogram
What: The electro-rock duo releases album numero two, “Voices.”
When: Feb. 18
The Details: Phantogram released a self-titled EP in 2013 and shortly after mentioned their plan for “Voices” in 2014. This is good news for fans of the the New York synth rockers, because their last full-length was way back in 2009, with “Eyelid Movies,” a trip-hop inspired album that was littered with Sarah Barthel’s lush, breathy vocals and often compared to dream-pop luminaries like Portishead. If this is anything like the previous releases, it’ll be worth the wait.


Who: Broken Bells
What: Shins frontman, James Mercer and Brian Burton a.k.a. Danger Mouse, collectively knows as Broken Bells, will release their sophomore record, “After the Disco.” In anticipation, it’s streaming in full over at iTunes.
When: Feb. 4
The Details: According to Mercer the follow-up to their 2010 debut is a concept album interested in “what people in the Fifties and Sixties thought now was gonna be like.” Broken Bells are known for their grandiose sound, even though only two men are behind the musical project. Mercer notes that as a whole, fans should expect this record to have a darker, melancholy vibe to it. Check out Metro’s interview with the duo here.


Who: Gardens and Villa
What: “Dunes” will be the band’s first album on the Secretly Canadian label.
When: Feb. 4
The Details: Still trying to find their way, these guys find kindred spirits in Bowie and the Moody Blues, thanks to melodies dressed in the fanciful trappings of ’70s psychedelic jams. But unlike their predecessors, these four also weave in lessons from disco and new-wave synth-pop. This is the album where they come into their own. Trust us.


Who: Black Lips
What: “Underneath the Rainbow,” a follow up to the band’s 2011′s “Arabia Mountain.”
When: March 18
The Details: The tracklist is already out and word is that the album was recorded partially in Nashville with the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney. The new music is supposed to be a nod to old-fashioned roots music, and you can even expect an ode to Southern-rock greats Lynyrd Skynryd(!) on here.


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