2013 was a huge year for music, chock-full of amazing releases. Oddly enough, a handful of bands that all released music that year have yet to release anything new in the seven years since. It’s all just one big coincidence, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Will they ever follow up their albums from 2013? Only time will tell.
My Bloody Valentine – Last Seen on February 2, 2013 – mbv
Often seen as the forebearers of the shoegaze genre, Dublin’s own My Bloody Valentine are no strangers to taking long breaks between albums. Before mbv finally arrived on February 2, 2013, listeners had been waiting since 1991 for the fabled follow up to the groundbreaking Loveless.
Many had lost hope, thinking My Bloody Valentine would never release another album. But on a relatively rainy February 2nd seven years ago, Kevin Shields and Co. finally released their third album. Following up an album as monumental as Loveless couldn’t have been an easy feat, and Shields’s perfectionism was possibly to blame for the 22-year long wait, but it was well worth it. Sure, when Loveless came out in ’91, it sounded unlike anything else at the time, (even today, it still sounds wholly unique). By 2013, the world of music had changed quite a bit, but mbv was a perfect follow up, arriving at the exact right time.
Now, seven years after mbv’s release, we’re again waiting on My Bloody Valentine’s promises. In 2018, Kevin Shields said not one but two new My Bloody Valentine albums were on their way with a tentative release the following year. Although Shields missed his self-imposed deadline by a year now, the group did perform a few new tracks live back in 2018. They sound incredibly convincing. If mbv is any indication, their future releases will be well worth the wait.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Last Seen on February 26, 2013 – Mosquito
It’s strange to think that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have gone seven years without releasing any new material. Their last album, Mosquito, was released on February 26, 2013, and it saw the band returning to their more rock n roll roots after their electronic detour in 2009’s fantastic It’s Blitz.
Mosquito’s lead single and opening track, “Sacrilege,” is (as everything the Yeah Yeah Yeahs do) so incredibly cool. From Brian Chase’s tight drumming, Nick Zinner’s impeccable guitar playing, and Karen O’s effortless vocals to the gospel singers that appear near the final third of the song, this was an amazing album opener. The following tracks as just as good, many ranking up there with the best YYY tracks of all time. The quiet and contemplative “Subway,” the DEVO-inspired “Mosquito,” and the romantic “Wedding Song” all show the trio at the top of their game. This album doesn’t show a band that’s run out of ideas or that’s grown tired of their sound. So it’s somewhat mysterious why they haven’t released a new album in over seven years at this point.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs announced a hiatus in 2014, which they returned from in 2017. In the interim, frontwoman Karen O released a solo album (Crush Songs in 2014) and a collaboration with Danger Mouse entitled Lux Prima in 2019. Guitarist Nick Zinner’s worked on various albums and recently joined The Rentals as their new guitarist. Drummer Brian Chase also released a solo album in 2013 titled Drums & Drones.
In 2017, the trio reissued their groundbreaking debut album Fever To Tell as a deluxe, remastered set. It’s only a matter of time before we get a new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album and I’m certain it’ll be just as incredible as we all hope it’ll be.
Daft Punk – Last Seen on May 17, 2013 – Random Access Memories
Daft Punk is another group that’s well known for taking their time between albums. Human After All was released in 2005, making the wait for Random Access Memories span across eight years. But those eight years of waiting were well deserved. “Get Lucky,” the eternal “song of the summer,” heralded the coming of the French duo’s return. But with this song—and this entire album—we were treated to a reimagined Daft Punk. One that traded in their electronic sequencers for real instruments played by human musicians.
More of a 70s throwback, Random Access Memories introduces us to a more mature, more refined Daft Punk. The album cover is reminiscent of music from yesteryear; those iconic helmets front and center. Even the name “Random Access Memories” seamlessly combines the duo’s robotic aesthetic with the idea of nostalgia.
It’s not an overstatement to say that Random Access Memories is an incredible album. It’s one that only a few musicians could take on and successfully accomplish. In fact, it seems like an almost impossible undertaking, but Daft Punk pulled it off brilliantly. The album also features a plethora of unexpected guest vocalists and musicians. Of course, there’s Pharrell Williams and Nigel Rodgers but we also hear Julian Casablancas, and Panda Bear, among others. This album became an instant classic back in 2013 and it continues to sound as fresh and nostalgic as ever.
So, what’s next for Daft Punk? It’s hard to tell. They did produce The Weeknd’s 2016 album Starboy (which features the very Daft Punk-y “I Feel It Coming“). Perhaps we’ll see a surprise album drop from Daft Punk in the coming months or years, but for now, at least we have four incredibly releases from them to listen to. If Random Access Memories ends up being their final release, then it’d be an apt closer to their incredible tenure.
Boards of Canada – Last Seen on June 5, 2013 – Tomorrow’s Harvest
Boards of Canada are as reclusive as they come, with their last live show taking place way back in 2001. Much like Daft Punk, Boards of Canada’s previous album was released in 2005, with their most recent release coming out in 2013. It’s rather curious since the members of both electronic duos are not in the spotlight all too often. While Daft Punk is well-known for their high-tech robot helmets, Boards of Canada are a bit more reclusive, only doing select interviews through email correspondence and avoiding any live performances.
In 2013, brothers Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin released Tomorrow’s Harvest, their fourth release under the Boards of Canada moniker. It’s a strange, often uncomfortable album that permeates with each subsequent listen.
There’s something inherently strange about Boards of Canada releasing new music. Their songs often make use of old samples that evoke a sense of childhood and nostalgia, with a strange layer of uncertainty. It’s almost as if they’ve captured the actual sound of past memories within their music. It’s uncertain if there’ll ever be any new Boards of Canada music. Perhaps they have dozens of albums ready to go, but only their close friends and family have had the pleasure of listening to them (A very common practice for Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin).
As much as I love Boards of Canada, I understand their choice of being reclusive and only releasing music sparingly. Music creation is clearly something they do out of love, not a necessity.
Sigur Rós – Last Album Seen on June 17, 2013 – Kveikur
Sigur Rós may quite possibly be the most famous band from Reykjavík. Their most recent album Kveikur, came at a time of change for the band, with instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson’s departure. Sveinsson’s final album with the group was the often-overlooked Valtari, which was released in 2012. Then, a little over a year later, Sigur Rós released Kveikur. Now a trio, Sigur Rós was made up of ethereally enigmatic frontman Jónsi, bassist Georg Holm, and drummer Orri Páll Dýrason. Kveikur saw Sigur Rós taking on a darker, heavier tone, although delicate and graceful arrangements still appear throughout the album. Kveikur could be seen as the opposite of their previous effort Valtari. While Valtari focused on winding, emotional, and orchestrally-heavy songs, Kveikur is much more immediate.
Never before had Sigur Rós released a new album so quickly after their last one (usually taking from three to four years between releases). But the quick turnaround gave me, for one, hope that we’d see many more new releases in the following years. I was sadly mistaken.
In the years since Kveikur’s release, Sigur Rós have been in the headlines quite a bit. In 2018, sexual assault allegations against drummer Orri Páll Dýrason came to light. Subsequently, he left the group. In 2019, the group was indicted for tax evasion, but they were cleared a few months later.
This year, Jónsi released his second full-length solo album, Shiver, which came ten years after his first solo album, 2010’s Go. Oddly enough, Shiver’s album cover is very reminiscent of Kveikur’s. Perhaps this is a hint of Jónsi acknowledging his group’s most recent release, or perhaps it’s simply a coincidence.
Now a duo, Sigur Rós are in limbo. Will we ever see a new album from them? Perhaps Kjartan Sveinsson may reunite with his former bandmates to rekindle this Icelandic group’s flame.
I love finding these odd coincidences within the music industry. Back in 2017, the list of bands that released music in 2013 and had yet to release anything new was much longer, including artists such as MGMT, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, and the Arctic Monkeys. Today, however, those artists have finally released follow-ups, many of which were very, very good. I hope that the bands listed here release something new soon, and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with.