If you're a fan of Australian music, then you're probably reeling at the news of the return of Melbourne sample maniacs The Avalanches on their new single "Frankie Sinatra" and their upcoming album Wildflower, out on July 8. It's been nearly sixteen years since The Avalanches left us with their groundbreaking masterpiece Since I Left You, and our extreme thirst for another album is about to be quenched. In light of the highly welcome return, we're taking a look at some of music's other incredible comebacks.
In the 60s, Scott Walker was a theatrical pop singer with a silky smooth baritone voice who released four critically well-liked albums that didn't make much of an impact on the charts. In 1995, after languishing in relative obscurity for decades, his record Tilt created a bold new sound for Walker that finally had everyone pricking up their ears. Walker is still theatrical, but now his theatre is gruesome, with Walker bellowing dark and often disturbing lyrics over harsh, industrial influenced soundscapes. His two solo albums since Tilt, 2006's The Drift and Bish Bosch in 2012 only got more experimental and difficult, but it's obvious that Walker is having the time of his life revelling in his perverse and shocking creations.
If legendary soul beat poet Gil Scott-Heron - the man who arguably invented rap - hadn't passed away in 2011, his 2010 album I'm New Here may have been the harbinger of an incredible second wind. Updating his sound, but keeping the same old voice, Scott-Heron tapped into the grit and grime of contemporary hip-hop and electronic music, which, as it turned out, was a perfect fir for his aged and wise voice. The rough and raw sound of the record spawned a remix album that (for once) didn't suck, and revitalised Scott-Heron's pop culture presence to the point where his sampled voice popped up on a major hit alongside Drake and Rihanna. It was an amazing end to an amazing life.
In distinctive Kate Bush style, the elusive songbird didn't come crashing back like some of the other artists on this list. Following a relatively quiet period after her incredibly productive and creative run through the 80s, Kate Bush released two albums in 2011. The first, Director's Cut was a tentative reevaluation of her career, and the second was one of her most fully formed and stunning artistic statements. 50 Words for Snow is a long, delicate record, indulging Bush's penchant for storytelling like never before. In one song she's a snowflake falling to earth, in another a wandering spirit searching for a lost dog, and in yet another a time traveler. It's unlike anything she did before, but still the same wonderfully unique Kate Bush.
My Bloody Valentine
To a generation of alt-rock fans, Irish band My Bloody Valentine and their unbearably tiny (and for a while, hard to find) catalogue were almost mythical. The band released their masterpiece Loveless in 1991, spawning a legion of imitators of their earth-shaking roar (a sound dubbed "shoegaze") and then quickly disappeared. All of a sudden, one evening in February 2013, the news started spreading across the internet that there was a new My Bloody Valentine album for sale at that very moment. Not a lot had changed about the band's sound in 22 years, but there's still not really anyone who can touch the majesty of their soaring, shimmering guitars and cooing vocals.
The enormous neo-soul masterpiece Voodoo seemed to completely drain D'Angelo in 2000. The singer with the gorgeous falsetto retreated from the public eye and performed very little during a tumultuous time in his life. Voodoo increased in stature over the years but D'Angelo remained all-but silent until late 2014 when he announced that his new album Black Messiah - credited to D'Angelo and The Vanguard - was coming. It came a bit earlier than expected, almost entirely by surprise, which D'Angelo said was motivated by enormous upheaval in the American black community at the time. Black Messiah is urgent and fiery at the same time as it's a salve, contrasting mean and dirty funk with gorgeous ballads. He knew he has it in him all along and returned exactly when he was needed.