january is such a polarizing month. after a pair of largely dormant weeks, swaths of artists and bands come forth with new album announcements, new songs, new music videos, and sometimes all three. along with promises of great things to come are great things that are actually delivered; januaries usually play host to a handful of stellar albums, and 2015’s edition didn’t stray far from this trend. as per usual in this segment, we’ll start with notable albums and eps before working our way down to single servings.
january 13th: teen daze – a world away
january 20th: viet cong – viet cong
both releases highlighted on dimestore saints this month were crucial for the projects that conceived of them. teen daze bridged an important gap between glacier and his forthcoming full-length, proving an adeptness at house music in the process, while viet cong demonstrated a convincing polarity between consonance and dissonance. while those efforts drew the majority of our attention, january was not devoid of new albums from industry heavyweights. noah lennox offered up panda bear meets the grim reaper to varying degrees of success, while the new bjork full-length was leaked two months premature and subsequently appeared on itunes. sleater-kinney unleashed their triumphant reunion album, no cities to love, while nashville newcomer natalie prass has been enjoying near-universal acclaim for her stellar self-titled debut.
january didn’t pass by without contributing its fair share of standout singles. sam ray shared both sides of his new ricky eat acid 7″, “context” and “walking around a garden at night,” while sharon van etten unveiled an unreleased track from the are we there sessions that will supposedly show up on an upcoming ep. new paltz duo diet cig quickly became a site favorite with their one-two punch of “scene sick” and “harvard,” both taken off of their upcoming over easy ep, a brash and earnest collection of songs that will hopefully spawn a full-length. meanwhile, other artists used january to tease new music from recently-announced projects. katie crutchfield’s third album as waxahatchee is due in april, bolstered by lead single “air,” and the mikal cronin’s announcement of his third solo effort for merge was accompanied by the excellent “made my mind up.”
now, onto some wisconsin-centric housekeeping business. december was a relatively quiet month, but it still witnessed the birth of ’58 belvedere, an experimental jazz trio currently sitting on their excellent debut rustic libertines. readers familiar with eau claire folk outfit rivers, who released the sprawling of dusk last summer, should take note that frontman dexter wolfe has partnered with siri undlin to form undlin & wolfe. the duo quietly dropped their silver lines ep last month, a four-song effort chock-full of spacious harmonies and wisconsin folk sensibilities that have followed the pair to their current minneapolis residence. rounding out the new-and-notable list is eric charles christenson’s solo project two castles, a step in the electronic direction as the lo-fi pop of his work in wisconsin built seems to have been put on hold.
thanks for making the jump with us to 2015. check back again at the end of february for our recapitulated thoughts on new efforts from quarterbacks, diet cig, and mount eerie, along with whatever news decides to rear its ugly head.