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Top Five Albums to Anticipate in 2009

James DuBray | Monday, February 9, 2009

The Decemberists: Hazards of Love (March 24th, Capitol)What’s Known: The aborted rock-opera’s first song is all over the web. The 17-song track list has already been released. Also, the group’s wordsmith frontman, Meloy, has been dishing all sorts of dirt on Twitter. Why Care?: Meloy has described the album as an “amalgamation” of Krautrock and the British Folk Revival with a pinch of stoner metal thrown into the mix. If that doesn’t sound mind-blowing enough, on the album’s opening track, “The Rake’s Song,” the nerdy frontman uses the adjective “divest” to describe a husband getting rid of his new wife and children by slaughtering them.

Great Lake Swimmers: Lost Channels (March 31, Nettwerk)What’s Known: A 12-song track list is on the band’s website and Stereogum is previewing one of the record’s tunes.Why Care?: This little known group of bearded Canadians produces a style of melodic folk reminiscent of Neil Young and early Mark Kozelek, aka Red House Painters.

Wilco: TBA (Spring, Nonesuch)What’s Known: America’s rock band once again returns to using the studio as an instrument to construct their seventh album to date and second with the current lineup. “The Colbert Report” debuted “Wilco The Song.” Wilco used their first trip to Alaska and a homecoming Lolla show to debut a new song or two and inform their ravenous fan base of an upcoming effort. Why Care?: Possible album tracks “Everlasting Everything” and “You and I” sound like they could belong on “Planet Waves,” while “Wilco The Song” is the best pop song the group has produced since “Heavy Metal Drummer.”

Golden Bloom:TBA (Summer, Unsigned)What’s Known: Notable friend of Guster, Shawn Fogel, will team up with a new group of buds and have a record out by this summer. After rifling through hundreds of mailed-in singles and albums, a “Spin Magazine” intern really liked an indie pop song called “Doomsday Devices.” A well-compensated “Spin Magazine” staff writer took the assist and featured Golden Bloom in a piece highlighting little known bands.Why Care?: First and foremost, unsigned bands barely exist anymore outside of college bars and high school garages. Second, and more importantly, “Doomsday Devices” is quite good.

Band of Horses:TBA (TBA, Sub Pop)What’s Known: Well, nothing, except that the band’s in the studio and will have an LP out in ’09. Ben Bridwell and the boys gave fans a nice surprise on their Myspace page. Milwaukee blogger Muzzle of Bees caught the hint and word spread. Why Care?: 2007’s “Cease To Begin” was a late-year surprise which ended up on just about everyone’s best-of list. If the new album is anywhere as good as the one before it, look for Band Of Horses to make an even bigger splash in critical circles.