It's a slow, slow week for electronic music in Seattle. Everybody's still hung-over from New Year's Eve, it's cold and wet out, rave is still dead, etc., etc. So on that miserably pessimistic note, here are a few things I'm excited about for 2007. I figure if I don't make bold, uninformed claims in print now I'll have nothing worth regretting come 2008.
New LCD Soundsystem Album = Better Than Exercise
Okay, this one's not really a prediction. I've heard this record, Sound of Silver, and it's amazing—better than 45:33 and certainly better than LCD Soundsystem. That eponymous debut mostly just hid a couple possible singles amidst James Murphy's proficient but disappointing pastiches, leaving the real meat for the bonus disc. But SoS actually works as a cohesive album as well as a handful of singles, integrating Murphy's dance and pop leanings into individual songs in a way that rarely happened on the last record. I don't want to give away too much, in case anyone is waiting with fingers in ears for the album to appear via proper channels, but I'm certain this will be one of the year's best records.
!!! = Not Dead
Nic Offer is no James Brown by a long shot, but Offer's got a leg up on the Godfather of Soul—he's alive! And !!! are a fairly hard working (and fully hard partying) band for a bunch of hippies, and they're a hell of a lot funkier than most white boys with horn sections. I predict that while Myth Takes won't contain anything better than "Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story)," the band's live show will be one of the best things to come through Seattle all year.
Crystal Castles = Not a Band
Crystal Castles are some kind of anti-band duo out of Toronto who make a big deal about never practicing, giving combative interviews, and sounding like an '80s video arcade being torn apart by feral art students—like Karen O fronting a remixed Black Dice. It's not going to wow any ethnomusicologists, but it's pretty fun, especially their infectious single "Love and Caring." I predict this band will break up before ever making it to our corner of the States, and that will be a shame.
Johnny Jewel = Slept On
This is (finally) going to be eccentric Portland producer Johnny Jewel's year. Glass Candy and Chromatics' recent showcase at Club Pop was a high-water mark for the struggling monthly night, a seething, massive death disco fueled by a pair of rare (and in the case of Glass Candy, abrupt) performances by Jewel's bands. With new 12-inches on the way and rumors of a DFA remix in the works—it would be the first time Jewel has allowed another producer to touch his work—here's hoping Jewel forgives Seattle for its impatience and legendary stiffness and graces us with another ace performance or three in the coming year.