Thom’s Up / Thom’s Down

Story by Thom Fountain

Thom’s Up:

There was a point in my life not too long ago where I had an iPod that could hold roughly 756 gazillion songs but I only had space in my heart for three albums: Death Cab for Cutie’s “Transatlanticism,” Bon Iver’s “For Emma, Forever Ago” and The Daredevil Christopher Wright’s “In Deference to a Broken Back.”

These are albums that I can still always rely on to absolutely blow my mind. Luckily for me, this summer holds new records from (probably) each of these bands and more.
So far, the announcements for early summer releases have been simply gold. A new Strokes album is set for March. Death Cab will be putting out their newest album in May. The Daredevil Christopher Wright is almost done with their next album which we’ll hopefully see this year and rumor has it that Bon Iver is slated to kick out their long awaited follow-up to “For Emma” in 2011.

Of course, this wouldn’t be such exciting news if these bands hadn’t waited so long to add to their discography. EPs and side projects not included, the newest release from these groups was “In Deference” which came out in early 2009. “For Emma” was in 2007 and The Strokes have been milking “First Impressions of Earth” since 2006.

With that ranting out of the way, I can say I haven’t been this genuinely excited about a group of releases since, well, probably never.

With every up, though, there’s a…

Thom’s Down:

I know it’s still pretty early to be looking ahead to festival season, but so far things are looking pretty weak.

One of the first U.S. festivals that tends to hint toward some of the others is Seattle’s Sasquatch. With just a few exceptions, the headliners seem almost outdated. The Flaming Lips, Wilco and Modest Mouse don’t have any new releases and Iron & Wine, Bright Eyes and The Decemberists new releases just weren’t that good.

Even the rumors for Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, two of the biggest festivals in Chicago each year, are looking slim at best. The best guess for Pitchfork’s headliners is Drake (whose main fan base is similar to when he starred on Degrassi) and Pulp, a mildly popular ’80s punk band that is reuniting presumably because they can’t afford college for their children.

As I said, this is still early, but things aren’t looking too hot right now. And how else am I going to spend my summer? Playing sports? You’ve got to be kidding me.