Hey everyone, can I ask a question? Are we sick of Miley Cyrus yet? No? Oh, okay.
The fact is that for some reason people can't seem to get enough of this girl shaking her ass on TV. That's fine and all, but it's a shame for all the true artists out there who are pouring their hearts into real, creative projects. Some truly exciting things are happening in music right now that sadly will go underreported in the wake of Mileygate.
So while everyone else is catching up on the starlet's latest alleged drug trip or what part of her body she showed the world this week -- Monday the Miley-obsessed media was dominated by a pre-VMA interview Cyrus gave the Sunday Mirror, where she called herself "messed up" -- let's explore some of those real projects, shall we?
10. Dance Gavin Dance Dance Gavin Dance has traversed a lot in just seven years as a band. They've gone through three lead singers in that span, and cycled through every other member of the band at least once, aside from stalwart guitarist Will Swan.
This time it's Swan, screamer Jon Mess, a whole new rhythm section, and new lead singer Tillian Pearson. Will this lineup work for them better than others? That remains to be seen, but it will surely be interesting to see what Swan and Mess gain from the wealth of new talent, and especially from singer Pearson who has huge shoes to fill.
9. Touche Amore One of the best young post-hardcore bands in the game today, Touche Amore has yet to put out a less than stellar release under their name. September 24 marks the release of their newest record, Is Survived By, and it looks like it's going to be a showstopper just like all their others.
8. Dream Theater I'll admit it: I'm no fan of Dream Theater's prog-metal stylings. It strikes me as, well, pretentious. Nevertheless, I did enjoy their first couple of albums before I feel like they got way, way too into themselves. However, I am looking forward to their self-titled release this month.
The major selling point here is that it's the first album with new blood in the band since the '90s. With new drummer Mike Mangini fully integrated into Dream Theater's songwriting process, perhaps the fresh injection of ideas will bring them back home to a winner.
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7. Goodie Mob Goodie Mob hasn't come together to put out an album since 2004's One Monkey Don't Stop No Show. The ATL boys then took a long break, during which time Cee Lo Green became a breakout superstar.
However, true to his roots, Green returned to his old friends for their new record, Age Against the Machine. It's another hip-hop banger like you're used to from these guys, and if you've had it with Green's R&B stylings you'll love to hear him go back to rapping.
6. Elton John In his later years, past all the '90s Princess Di bullshit, Elton John has settled into the niche of an elder statesman, making very respectable piano based rock and blues music that will be looked at as a rewarding though quiet addition to his vast legacy.
With his new one, The Diving Board, he's honing on his more experimental tendencies. Produced by T-Bone Burnett and written with Bernie Taupin (of course), it features an entirely new band -- his first completely new one since 1979 -- instrumental interludes, and was reportedly written in a short amount of time. By shaking things up, Elton could really be onto something this year.
5. Pusha T You may feel like Pusha T has been everywhere and done it all, but that's just because he's so active and in your face. The fact is that despite many mixtapes and guest appearances, the Clipse member and GOOD Music signee has never released a full-length solo album of his own.
All that changes in October, when his long-awaited My Name is My Name drops and lets the world see for the first time what Pusha can do without his Clipse partner No Malice, without GOOD Music head Kanye West, and without any buffer between him and his audience. This is Pusha's chance to shine, and given the hot material he's been on over the last few years, we should all be watching him.
List continues on the next page.
4. Arctic Monkeys This year the Arctic Monkeys played a heavy hitting set at Free Press Summer Fest, where they debuted some new material and thrilled with old hits. Now they're back with a whole new record, titled AM (get it?), and it looks like they're up to their same old tricks.
That's fine with me, as I love the sound these guys bring to the table. It doesn't seem like their sound has progressed much, but they don't need to. They've got an intense charisma and a winning formula for records anyway.
3. Grant Hart Few people know it, but Husker Du had three members. If you can name more than just Bob Mould, that's impressive. If you can name Greg Norton, you're a superfan. But right in the middle is Grant Hart, the melodic genius behind the band who never marketed his legacy into fame the way his erstwhile songwriting partner Mould did.
Hart is back this year though with a great new album called The Argument, his first since 2009, and it's a high-concept epic based upon Milton's Paradise Lost by way of noted author William S. Burroughs. Burroughs and Hart had been friends for a long time before Burroughs passed in 1997, and Burroughs left Hart the papers detailing his version of Paradise Lost that form the basis of this new record.
2. Franz Ferdinand For a band that exploded so huge between the years 2004 and 2009, you'd think Franz Ferdinand would have never faded from the spotlight. However, when internal tensions almost broke them up, they finally went away after 2009's Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. Now they're back with Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions, their first new record since then. It finds them rejuvenated as a band and gelling again just like they used to.
List continues on the next page.
1. Nine Inch Nails Though I blasted one particular single from the new Nine Inch Nails record Hesitation Marks, I can't help but be excited any time Trent Reznor releases a new record. So far reviews have been stellar, and it looks like NIN might dominate the world again. Regardless of your opinion, though, this comeback is an event that demands attention.
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