Look forward to months of new releases in music and movies.
Boards of Canada — Tomorrow’s Harvest (June)
The Scottish wizards of instrumental electronica, better known as BoC, have defined the atmosphere of the new millenium with their enigmatic, daydreamy instrumentals. After an eight-year break following their last full-length work, the initial singles from Tomorrow’s Harvest point toward a new, brooding direction that is simultaneously tranquil and troubling.
Kanye West — Yeezus (June)
The harder-edged trends of hip-hop’s left field have left their imprint on the first few singles from West’s highly anticipated new album, including a punk/industrial-influenced aesthetic coupled with harsher vocals, percussion and bass. It has yet to be seen whether West’s status as mainstream genre flagship will help to steer his contemporaries away from the dominant pop/club-rap sound with this change in style.
MGMT — MGMT (June)
MGMT’s latest single “Alien Days” suggests an expansion and refinement of the neo-psychedelic grooves the band ventured into on 2010’s Congratulations. While it was this stylistic transformation that alienated some of the early fans of “Kids” and “Time to Pretend,” the new album may prove to be a smart commitment and a further chance to improve their new sound.
Wu-Tang Clan — A Better Tomorrow (July)
For an acclaimed group who releases material about twice each decade, a new album is quite an event. Although no singles have yet been released, the word is out and the buzz is steadily increasing, enhanced by the group’s showing at Coachella last month and by the fact that this year marks their 20th anniversary.
Washed Out — Paracosm (August)
Original chillwave creator Ernest Greene’s breezy production is tailor-made for the summer season; for those unfamiliar with his work, his 2009 single “Feel it All Around” has been the unofficial theme song for the popular sketch show “Portlandia.” On his second album, Greene is sure to elaborate on the perpetually chill aesthetic he helped create.
Man of Steel (June 14)
It is a sure sign of the long struggle to drag an old-time superhero into the contemporary age that the creative reigns of the Superman franchise are being handed to Zack Snyder, whose gritty yet artistic visual style made 300 and Watchmen some of the most mesmerizing of action films. Working with producer Christopher Nolan, Snyder may just succeed in making the man of steel a more frequent visitor to the big screen.
Monsters University (June 21)
Pixar’s 14th feature-length film will also be the third sequel (in this case, prequel) for the immensely successful animation studio. The story revisits the early scaring days of Mike and Sully as they are first introduced to each other in their college fraternity.
Lone Ranger (July 30)
Walt Disney’s latest family-friendly action film has the chance to spark a new franchise along the line of the Pirates series. With the star power of Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and Johnny Depp, along with the directing talents of Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean original trilogy), this western adventure has an auspicious start.
Pacific Rim (July 12)
Just when you thought that the likes of Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich had finally cornered the market on giant robot and monster movies, the genre receives an intriguing outing from Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), whose grotesquely intricate creations are often a mere visual bonus to strong storytelling.
Elysium (August 9)
South African director Neil Blomkamp’s follow up to 2009’s District 9 stars Matt Damon as a citizen of an impoverished future Earth, who must find a way to infiltrate an extremely luxurious off-world habitat known as Elysium.
Kick-Ass 2 (August 14)
A promising first sequel in a superhero franchise that has not yet worn out its welcome, Kick-Ass 2 goes all out in introducing a wild bevy of new heroes and villains, among them Jim Carrey in prosthetic makeup as ass-kicking patriot Colonel Stars and Stripes, Donald Faison as Dr. Gravity and a returning Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the audaciously titled The Mother Fucker.
ANDREW RUSSELL can be reached at email@example.com.