“Don’t call it a comeback/I’ve been here for years.” – LL Cool J.
The comeback album, the album that a band makes to relive their glory one last time. The comeback album is why I bring you this article. Within the past five-ten years, we have seen the comeback of many famous bands of all genres, from A Tribe Called Quest, to Pavement, to Pixies, to Refused and countless more. Along with the reformations of these bands there has come fame and acclaim (as well as a fair amount of money I assume), however the one thing these reformations has lacked is the production of new music, which is something all the fans hope for.
However the creation of new material by a band can be seen as a double edged sword. Will the band make music of the caliber that they once did? Or will it crash and burn, as the band is completely different than when they wrote the bulk of their most famous music. One band that I think is notorious for the latter is Guns and Roses, and their album Chinese Democracy. This album, released 15 years to the day after their prior album, didn’t hold up to much of their previous efforts, and was a big departure from the signature GnR sound (though that is a whole other story). This year however I believe to be different, and should give hope to bands thinking about recording new music for their fans.
Already one band of great notoriety, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who reformed in 2010 have released a new album this year, their first in 10 years. This album, ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, was released just over a month ago with literally no advertising, as it just showed up one evening at their memorabilia stand. This album has garnered great acclaim, and is seen as bringing back post-rock to the forefront of obscure indie rock, and being a triumphant return to their classic sound. This album contains most of the classic Godspeed attributes, with great highs and lows, and everything in between. One thing I did find missing however, are the spoken word segments to the songs, that add to the dire soundscapes that Godspeed creates. None the less this album has brought Godspeed back to prominence and the whole genre they had forefronted with it. The new album consists of two main songs, Mladic (a reference to Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic) and We Drift Like Worried Fire, as well as two drone pieces. These songs had both been previously played live at concerts dating back to before the band broke up, though are only seeing official release now. Listen to it here:
Besides the release of the Godspeed album, there are a few albums that I am very excited to get my hands on that are expected to be coming out within the next two months. The first of these is the new Deltron 3030 album, Deltron Event II, which prior reports say is expected to be released sometime this month. Deltron 3030 consists of rapper Del the Funky Homosapien (known as a solo act, as well as for working with the Gorillaz) Dan the Automator (who has previously worked with Dr. Octagon A.K.A Kool Keith) and Kid Koala (also the Gorillaz). Their first album has become highly respected for its excellent lyricism, as well as for its production. The new album has been in the works since 2006, and has been through many delays to get to the point of 2012. It is however very likely that the album is to come out soon, if not this year, than likely next, as the trio have played many of the tracks from the album live over the summer. This album is likely to lead to recollections of the previous one, as it is also supposed to be a concept album of the dystopian future. One example of this is heard on the linked track, ‘Pay the Price’, which talks about things being the complete opposite of the way things that the protagonist is used to. Pay the Price:
The next album that I am very excited about is from two of underground hip hop heavyweights, MF DOOM, and Madlib, also known as Madvillain. They released their first, and only true album back in 2004, Madvillainy (they did release the instrumentals from this album as well, on a different album). Madvillainy is one of the crowning achievements in rap outside of the Golden Era of hip hop, and is personally one of my favourites. It includes great production by Madlib, and great flow and lyrics by DOOM. Both have worked on many different projects since the Madvillain album, however they have released a few tracks together since 2004. DOOM has stated though that the new album is expected to be released sometime by the end of this year, assuming their label, Stones Throw decides to release it this year. Here’s Madvillain’s most recent song, ‘Avalanche/Victory Lap’:
The final album, and the one I’m most excited to hear has been in the works even longer than the previously mentioned Chinese Democracy. This album is the new My Bloody Valentine album. My Bloody Valentine are known as the pioneers of the genre shoegaze, and have influenced everyone from the Smashing Pumpkins, to Nine Inch Nails, to even Radiohead. Much of this influence comes as a result of their most recent album Loveless, which was released 21 years ago. MBV have been fairly recluse until recently, having released only one new song up until this year, on a tribute album to the band Wire. However the band did get back together in 2007 to do some shows, and have done quite a few since. This year also saw the release of some previously unreleased tracks dating from around the time of Loveless. However the new album has been officially announced by band leader Kevin Shields to be released before year’s end. This album is expected to have at least a little bit of jungle influence to it, as the band had been working on some jungle influenced music since Loveless, but is still likely to contain much of the ear shattering distortion that the band are most known for. Here’s one of the newly released MBV songs, ‘Angel’: