Lost in the Supermarket: 7 for ’11

The lowdown on the most anticipated releases of this young year

Throughout the holidays, it seemed like every local band I ran into was either putting the finishing touches on a new release, wrapping up tracking in the studio or making plans to enter the studio in early 2011. I don’t know if it was our criminally short summer or just a collective sense of ambition that drove so much creativity indoors, but there’s going to be a resulting juggernaut of compelling new releases in the first quarter of the year alone. Here’s my guide to the best of the bunch:

Kaylee Cole, photograph by Ben Blood

Kaylee Cole
In gestation: The long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s We’re Still Here Missing You, title TBA
Release date: TBA, sometime in 2011
Why it’s taking so long: The distinctive voice and precocious writing skills of this Spokane native (and now Seattle-based) singer-songwriter were so arresting that they landed her two major career coups that were also responsible for the long lead-up to her sophomore release. She’s been collaborating on the record with multitalented TV on the Radio producer and guitarist Dave Sitek, who also spent 2010 hatching the debut of his own TOTR side project, Maximum Balloon. She also inked a publishing deal with Chrysalis that dictates that the final product be shopped to national labels, which means that even when this album is done, there’s a whole other piece of the puzzle to resolve. However, as any member of a growing fanbase will testify, her gift for weaving disarmingly funny, confessional lyrics and plaintive, eerie piano around the most seductively dark voice this side of Chan Marshall makes the product well worth its protracted timeline. “It’s been a long process, but if the album had been done a year ago – like I had imagined – I am not sure I would have been emotionally and financially prepared to really tour behind it ‘real’ musician-style,” says the twenty-four-year-old. “But I have an inkling that 2011 will be my year. Or at least a year in which magical things happen.”

Throne of Bone, photograph by Nik Christofferson

Throne of Bone
In gestation: Tales of Triumph, the first full-length from the Seattle metal scene’s darkest angels
Release date: February
What producer Dave French says about the challenges of capturing their sound: “These guys are really like brothers,which makes for a badass band and also makes them a lot of fun to work with. They came to the studio after being in the woods all night. I don’t think [front man] Michael Frieburger had slept, and they just tore it up. We got most of the basic tracks that night.”

Smooth Sailing, photograph by Sean Sherman Photography

Smooth Sailing
In gestation: The fast-rising progressive metal band’s first album
Release date: Early April
How they approached their recording sessions: “Our friend Dave Green, who engineered the record, had the great idea to do
each take as an entire set,” says front man Chris Elizaga. “Each time we would play through the record in its entirety without gaps or pauses. It turned out to be a bit more exhausting than I expected, but we definitely came up with a great sound. While we were tracking guitars, [guitarist] Patrick Oiye would walk into the studio and turn into someone called ‘Tricky Bighouse.’ It was a bit confusing, and I must admit that I was kind of afraid of Tricky. He liked to live fast, and his intensity really came out in his guitar tracks. I haven’t seen Tricky since.”

Courtesy of Champagne Champagne

Champagne Champagne
In gestation: The second full-length from Seattle’s silky-voiced, party-starting hip-hop Romeos
Release date: Spring
What sets this apart from their eponymous 2009 debut: “The first notable difference is [MC] Thomas Gray is on the new record,” says group beat master Mark Gajadhar. “The beats are a little bit more spacey sounding. I kind of got into using weird sounds … car horns, rain sounds, random people talking. We also have a handful of new tracks that are guitar driven and kind of ride a Pavement or Sonic Youth sound.”

Fatal Lucciauno
In gestation: Respect, his second release on Sportn’ Life Records
Release date: Spring
Who’s on first? “My music is usually from a street hustler’s point of view,” says the controversial but soft-spoken Lucciauno. “My first project, The Only Forgotten Son, was thankfully overseen by D. Black and B. Brown, but on this one I’ve grown as an artist and a person. I got my Quincy Jones on, I’ve taken more control in executing the vision. I branched out and am working with a lot of people outside of the Sportn’ Life camp.”

Shabazz Palaces, courtesy of Sub Pop Records

Shabazz Palaces
In gestation: The Sub Pop debut of the city’s ambassador for the hip-hop scene’s artful side
Release date: Spring
What Sub Pop vice president Megan Jasper has to say about her latest charge: “[Front man] Ish is making the record himself in his home studio here in Seattle. All I know is that it will be a piece of art that will make Sub Pop proud.”

My Goodness, photograph by Robertsen Ashman

My Goodness
In gestation: The self-titled debut from Seattle’s answer to the Black Keys
Release date: Late January or early February
About working with producer Chris Common: “Chris has a ton of experience recording analog albums, so that was sort of the impetus for us going through him,” explains vocalist/guitarist Joel Schneider. “Plus, we only had a week to do the record, so it was nice to have someone whose knowledge and experience definitely expedited the process. He had some great ideas and really went above and beyond what we had initially expected of him. As far as the people who have never heard us live are concerned, I’ve always had a hard time describing our sound. The two types of music I listen to the most are classic blues – Junior Kimbrough, Muddy Waters, R. L. Burnside – and ’80s DC punk – Fugazi, the Monorchid, Rites of Spring. I guess when I write I pull out of both genres.”

Spac3man, courtesy of Sportn’ Life Records

Other notable local releases for 2011
Cave Singers (Jagjaguwar, spring)
Virgin Islands (Mt. Fuji, May)
Spac3man (Sportn’ Life, spring) •