2012 release dates are coming in fast, and you can find complete lists here or here. After some scrolling, we've selected the ones we're most excited for (excluding Grimes' Visions because we pretty much already talk about her too much). Mark your calendars.
French duo Air have long been masters of electronica space travel (and scores, see: The Virgin Suicides), so news of their involvement with the restoration of 1902 silent film Le Voyage Dans La Lune (Journey To The Moon) seemed to fit right in line. At first meant to simply soundtrack the short piece, the album eventually expanded into their 6th proper full length, and incorporated an unprecedented level of organic instrumentation for the act. Beach House's Victoria Legrand guests on the stunning "Seven Stars", and 3-piece Au Revoir Simone joins in on another track, so this thing seems poised for a big lift-off (on 2/7).
As one of the buzziest acts of 2009, Brooklyn noise pop-tarts Sleigh Bells saw their 2010 debut Treats explode with attention from lovers and haters alike. Whether you preferred the raw demos or the speaker-splitting finished versions on that album, there was no mistaking that these two had landed on a refreshing sound—mostly consisting of a sexy Alexis Krauss' shouting over Derek Miller's max-ed out guitar. "Born to Lose", the first cut from Reign of Terror (due out 2/21) just hit yesterday and it fortunately shows no signs of an overly evolved next direction, but does come in just a little easier on the ears, letting those patented chanty hooks hit softer and perhaps stay longer.
Another 2009 Brooklyn success story, Bear in Heaven crossed over to critical praise on there second album Beast Rest Forth Mouth, and was touring top bills by the end of that year. All eyes are on this next release, and you can actually hear it right now, streaming (droning) 400,000 percent slower than regular speed, which will bring the album to one complete spin by its 4/3 release date. Playful commentary on hype cycles of the Internet Age aside, these guys are serious about their prog-rock-ish anthems, and while that loveable Lindstrøm & Christabelle cover held us over last year, we're dying for more of them (preferably in real-time).
Jason Pierce's run has been legendary. First with English alt-rockers Spaceman 3, then through the late 90s up into today with Spiritualized, he's seemingly always done exactly what he's wanted. With 2008's masterpiece/comeback Songs in A&E, he received a long overdue round of credit for that. While the release was darker coming after a near death experience of his, it's not clear as to what tone will carry Sweet Heart Sweet Light (arriving 3/19), but Pierce has been quoted as saying it will embrace more poppy songs. And also that they were somewhat inspired by experiences performing their 1997 classic Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space live in its entirety, which all sounds promising.
It's been five years since The Shins last studio effort, and over a decade since Natalie Portman placed "New Slang" around the ears of Zach Braff in Garden State. In that time the sunny rock they made popular has continued to shine through younger acts, which further proves the band's lasting imprint on indie. Frontman James Mercer has stayed busy as part of Broken Bells with Danger Mouse, and running his own label, Aural Apothecary. The band has changed lineups, and left Sub Pop, and acquired the production help of Greg Kurstin—whose reputation balances the formulaic (Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Foster The People) with the credible (Beck, Flaming Lips)—but we still have hope, Mercer is too good not to. Port Morrow is slated for March.