Bloc Party - Four
Bloc Party spent a lot of time playing with fans' hearts last year. First, it was announced that the band was done for good (they had previously announced a hiatus in 2009 following the release of Intimacy). Then, it was announced that they would continue on, but without Kele Okereke as the lead singer, which would have pretty much been the end of the band in my eyes. It didn't help that Okereke was aggressively pursuing a solo career. Thankfully, all of that seemed to be either a joke, a lie, or prematurely announced (Kele's solo career was real, though). I'm beyond excited for this release, I love the band and their sound. I can only hope that all the playing around has made it worth the wait.
Blur - Parklive
This band has also been playing games with our hearts over the past year or so. They broke up in 2003 after 15 years of some of the best Brit-Pop out there. They reconvened primarily to begin performing together again, culminating in a show during the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. Throughout the early part of this year, they hinted at a possible release of a new album, even releasing two single, "The Puritan" and "Under the Westway." More recently, however, they have reneged a bit on the idea of a new album. Fingers crossed that they may go the direction of Bloc Party and get in the studio, but we'll have to be content with this live album recorded at Hyde Park just earlier this month.
"Under the Westway"
Yeasayer - Fragrant World
Yeasayer have previously released two albums, All Hour Cymbals and Odd Blood, each very different from the other, but both great. It can be difficult to maintain quality while changing their sound, but they've done it once and, since this also promises to be another shift in sound, they may be able to do it again. Early tracks have left me feeling a little hot and cold. I loved "Longevity" and "Glass of the Microscope," but felt less enthused on "Henrietta" and "No Bones." I can't say though, that I loved every track on their last release individually, so I hope that this album comes together just as well.
"Glass of the Microscope"