California English: 5 Albums to Look Forward to in 2012

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

As we welcome 2012, I look to new music releases to provide the soundtrack for the semester ahead. Below are a handful of expected album releases, by artists old and new, that I am particularly excited about.

Hospitality, Hospitality
Release Date: January 31

The Brooklyn trio Hospitality creates catchy pop songs that you can easily fall in love with. This was especially the case when I first heard the band’s single, “Betty Wang.” Hospitality’s record label, Merge, states that the bands self-titled debut album “…should be listened to as a whole, though every song registers as a single.” Sounds like we are in for a treat!

Tennis, Young and Old
Release Date: February 14

Cape Dory, the debut album from husband and wife duo Tennis, was one of the most pleasant albums of 2011, filled with gorgeous beach-influenced pop tunes. The band’s most recent single, “Origins,” indicates that their sophomore album effort will have a more mature feel and even richer sound. The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, who held production duties on Young and Old, has most likely aided in this transformation.

*Tennis will be playing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 6!

Fanfarlo, Rooms Filled With Light
Release Date: February 27

I fell in love with Fanfarlo’s flavor of folk-pop immediately after downloading their 2009 debut release, Reservoir. For their second album, the band attempted to make their sound even more eclectic, opting to work with Ben Allen, who helped produce Animal Collective’s highly acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavilion. Singles such as “Shiny Things” have a newfound electric feel, but the band’s trademark harmonies remain.

*Fanfarlo will be playing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Thursday, March 8!

The Shins, Port of Morrow
Release Date: March 20

It has been five years since James Mercer and his main musical group, The Shins, released the wonderful Wincing the Night Away. Since that time, James Mercer has signed with a new label, formulated a new band lineup, and worked on his side project, Broken Bells. He toured with The Shins last year for the first time since 2009 (I had the good fortune of seeing them this past September at the POPPED! Music Festival). If the first single for the album, “Simple Song,” is any indication of what’s to come, Port of Morrow may just be the band’s best release yet.

Way Yes, Walkability
Release Date: March

Sad that Vampire Weekend hasn’t released any material recently? So am I! While the music of those Columbia University grads can never be replicated, Way Yes is another great option for catchy afro-pop tunes. On tracks such as “Automail,” shimmering guitars are accompanied by an infectious chorus and bouncy percussion.


    • Thanks for the kind words Anand! Just responded to your email and am stoked about the possibility of Way Yes and Loyal Divide playing at Swarthmore!

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