What’s on your iPod: Looking forward to 2012

Justin Jones

I’m looking forward to putting all of the following albums on my iPod in the coming months and I think you should be too.

1. Dr. Dog, “Be The Void”

Philadelphia natives Dr. Dog first came to my attention with their 2010 release, “Shame, Shame” and since then I’ve been hooked on their distinctive, old-school blend of folk, psychedelia and pop. “That Old Black Hole,” the first single from the band’s upcoming release is a solid, groove-oriented track that builds to what may well be my go-to spring break breakdown.

2. Leonard Cohen, “Old Ideas”

I caught wind of Cohen’s latest project by way of The New Yorker. They recently published a poem/song of his called “Going Home” that’s due to be released on “Old Ideas” and the lyrics really caught my attention. They are deceptively simple, and written in a voice that seems strikingly relevant in spite of Cohen’s age. And if the sparse, eerie production heard on “Going Home” is any indication of the rest of the album, “Old Ideas” may prove to be a truly austere, thought-provoking experience.

3. Andrew Bird, “Break it Yourself”

The latest addition to Bird’s extensive catalogue is the result of what seems to have been some semi-impromptu sessions in the multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter’s barn in Western Illinois. Bird, in an interview with Paste Magazine, described the sessions as a “mix of distilled, grounded songs and some wild soloing.” 2009’s “Noble Beast” was a rather tame, if well-thought out record, which makes the prospect of a relatively raw, honest record very promising.

4. Sleigh Bells, “Reign of Terror”

While Brooklyn-based noise pop duo Sleigh Bells’ first full-length album “Treats” was sometimes too abrasive for my taste, their unique approach to writing pop songs definitely deserved the ample praise it received. And though the title of their sophomore attempt, “Reign of Terror” doesn’t bode well for those of us inclined to less caustic musical experiences, the first single sounds like at least an attempt at something new.

5. Rufus Wainwright, “Out of the Game”

Wainwright’s latest album is reportedly his poppiest yet. It’s being produced by Mark Ronson and apparently includes guest appearances by Sean Lennon, Nels Cline, and members of the Dap-Kings. Wainwright spoke with Rolling Stone about “Out of the Game,” describing it as “manly,” “commercially viable” and “danceable” — and though all these adjectives seem to contradict what I’ve come to understand about Wainwright’s aesthetic, I have enough faith in his skill as a songwriter and composer to be able to say that I’m definitely looking forward to whatever he’s been working on.