I don’t know about you, but I live a far happier life when I have something to look forward to every day. From my experiences, buckling down at your desk on a Monday morning is much more enjoyable when you have a pair of tickets to see your favorite band on Friday. Winter turns into Spring that much faster when you and your friends have plans to hit a music festival together in June. If you’re a musician, an upcoming gig makes each rehearsal and day leading up to that night much more meaningful.
In this vein, I’ve been doing something relatively straightforward for the past couple years to diversify those simple pleasures in life that make each day brighter. As a side note, I write about music all the time, so music is obviously a centerpiece of my joy. If you share a similar passion for music then this method should work to bring a little bit more excitement to your day-to-day, but if not, maybe not so much. What I do is at the end of each month, I sit down at my computer and put some deep research into upcoming album releases in the upcoming month. I’ll mark my calendar for each album that sparks my interest, and set two or three notifications at different time intervals to remind me of the the album’s release. Wednesday is a universally dreaded day, so I’ll usually set a reminder at noon on hump day for a Friday release. Anyways, it’s about that time of month where I put in some research, mark my calendar, and set my reminders. In this article you’ll find the five new albums I’m most excited for in the month of March.
The Shins – Heartworms (3/10/17)
Coincidentally, the first chronological album on this month’s list happens to be the record I’m most looking forward to. On Friday, Albuquerque-based indie rock band The Shins are slated to release their fifth studio album via Columbia Records. For fans of The Shins, it’s been a long 5 years. Heartworms comes as the first record since 2012’s critically-acclaimed Port of Morrow, which peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200. Heartworms was entirely written and produced by frontman James Mercer; a deviation from Port of Morrow which was co-produced by Mercer and 4x Grammy-award winning record producer, Greg Kursin (Adele, 25). I’m personally looking forward to hearing The Shins return to their roots with an entirely original album that lacks the influence of major-label production support. On March 3rd, the band released the records lead single, “Painting a Hole,” which you can stream below via Spotify.
Samantha Fish – Chills & Fever (3/17/17)
The last time Samantha Fish released a studio album, her record topped the Billboard Blues Chart. That album was 2015’s Wild Heart, and on March 17th the Kansas City-born singer-songwriter is set to unveil her 8th studio album, Chills & Fever, via Ruf Records. One reason I’m particularly excited for Chills & Fever is because she recorded the album in Detroit with members of the The Detroit Cobras. While Fish is known as a purveyor of the blues, she’s mentioned in interviews her real love is for raw, scrappy rock and roll. “I grew up on it,” she insists. “[I’ve come to] realize just how much that basic, unfettered sound means to me.” For this reason, she set her sights on Detroit, the home of soul, Motown, as well as the edgy rock-n-roll of Iggy Pop, Jack White, and The White Stripes. It was their she teamed up with The Detroit Cobras, a band whose insurgent ethic has made them a favorite in the Midwest punk/blues scene. Fish celebrates the release of Chills & Fever at New York City’s Highline Ballroom on 4/14. Buy your tickets here.
Spoon – Hot Thoughts (3/17/17)
On the same day Samantha Fish is slated to release Chills & Fever, Austin’s experimental indie rock band Spoon will unveil its ninth studio album, Hot Thoughts, via Matador Records. Hot Thoughts will bring Spoon’s illustrious multi-decade career full circle, as it will be the first album released on Matador since its 1996 debut album, Telephono. Unfortunately, it will also be the first Spoon album since 2002’s Kill the Moonlight to not feature multi-instrumentalist Eric Harvey, who quietly left the band after finishing a world tour in support of 2014’s They Want My Soul. In terms of album reviews, I place a considerable amount of trust in Metacritic’s ratings. This said, in 2009 Metacritic ranked Spoon as its “Top overall artist of the decade” based on the band’s consistently high review scores between 2000 and 2009. So far Spoon has released two singles from the new record titled “Can I Sit Next to You” and “Hot Thoughts.” You can stream “Hot Thoughts” below via Spotify.
Raekwon – The Wild (3/24/17)
Breaking away from this trend of rock music, I’ve emphatically marked my calendar for the release of Raekwon’s 8th solo album, The Wild. Best known as an original member of the timeless Staten Island hip-hop group, Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon launched his solo career in 1995 with the release of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Raekwon’s often considered the godfather of Mafioso rap, a sub-genre of Gangsta Rap characterized by references to famous mobsters and mafiosi, racketeering, and organized crime. When asked about the new record in an interview with All Hip Hop, Raekwon tells us The Wild “represents the times that we’re in and the vibe I’m getting from what I’m seeing going on in the world. And it’s me expressing my energy from the wild side.” Often praised for his substantive material and narrative lyrics, I’m looking forward to a highly relevant commentary on today’s state of affairs in The Wild.
Bob Dylan – Triplicate (3/31/17)
Capping off my list of noteworthy record releases is the incredible 38th studio album from the king of folk music, Bob Dylan. Recorded in Capitol Studios and scheduled for release via Columbia Records, Triplicate will be Dylan’s first three-disc album, featuring 30 songs across three thematically-arranged 10 song sequences. Like his prior two studio albums, Triplicate features covers of classic Americana songs. “I am finding these great songs to be a tremendous source of inspiration that has led me to one of my most satisfying periods in the studio,” says Dylan. “I’ve hit upon new ways to uncover and interpret these songs that are right in line with the best recordings of my own songs, and my band and I really seemed to hit our stride on every level with Triplicate.” To date Dylan has released one single from the three-disc album, his cover of Frank Sinatra’s “My One and Only Love,” which you can stream below via Spotify.