2013- Get Excited

After last week’s recap of all things a cappella in 2012, I started getting excited about things to come in the a cappella world for 2013. I’ve done a little research, some secret conversations, and yes, a little speculating, to put together your very early guide to 2013.

To begin with, let’s talk about albums. For many/most of us, the vast majority of our a cappella consumerism occurs through purchasing and listening to recorded music, with occasional attendance at a live concert or festival (see below).  2013 is going to be chock full of new music for us to get our grubby little hands on.  Check out some of the artists who plan to release EPs or albums this year:

Straight No Chaser– If you didn’t know this already, SNC fans (“Chasers”) are rabid, excitable, and supportive (see the comments for my 2012 recap post). They are also incredibly helpful and generous of spirit. They have informed me that SNC has a new album, called “Under the Influence,” which is due to be released on May 7. Oh, and the group worked with Mervyn Warren and Mark Kibble (Take 6) on it. No big deal. #WHATISHAPPENING

Street Corner Symphony– The runners-up from Season 2 of The Sing Off are getting ready to release their second album, one which features all (or mostly) original songs written by group members, and which featured heavy involvement from Deke Sharon and Bill Hare. This was the first video released from this album. Count me in. Announcement on a release date coming soon.

The House Jacks– Since they released “Level” in 2010, the group has replaced everyone other than Deke Sharon and Austin Willacy. New album with the new lineup coming this year. I have been told there will be an EP released in China this spring (hopefully) followed by a full album for release everywhere else.

Sonos– The a cappella world has been anxiously awaiting a new Sonos album for more than 2 years. That wait is about to end. The new album, currently untitled (or at least title unknown) is going to feature all original music from the group, possibly as many as 15 songs. They will preview/premier tracks from this album at the Essential Listening workshop at Los Angeles A Cappella Festival in a few weeks, so if you are in the same time zone (give or take a time zone), you know where to be on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Transit– Back in 2007, Transit released a 7-song album which won a few awards (Best Pop/Rock Album CARA, for example) and which is still one of the best contemporary albums released in the past 10 years. Well, they’ve been working long and hard on a new album, and it’s coming in 2013. The album is in post-production now, and we’ll likely be hearing a lot more about it soon. The group has some other exciting plans for 2013 as well.

Blue Jupiter– Last year, Blue Jupiter released this promo video. This year, they’re a bit more ambitious. In fact, they will be releasing “something” which could range anywhere from a single album, double album, two separate albums, or even an all-digital collection of 20-30 songs. Wow.

The Exchange– Remember this? Yeah, these guys have been hard at work on their debut album, which is scheduled as of now to be released at The London A Cappella Festival on January 24-26. For now, you can listen to a few of the tracks here.

Rockapella– One of the longest-standing contemporary a cappella groups, Rockapella changed it up recently with their “Motown and More” show. The new album is coming in early 2013- will it follow the format of the new show? We’ll find out soon enough.

MICappella– The runners up to The Sing Off China are in the studio working on a new full-length album to follow their EP released in 2011. They have been working with Tom Anderson on arrangements, and Bill Hare, Tat Tong, Dave Sperandio, Freddie Feldman as well as Plaid Productions. It is tentatively scheduled to be released in March.

The Swingle Singers– Rumor has it the Swingles are getting close to releasing a brand new album. Perhaps they worked with Bill Hare last summer?

The Boxettes– Though it is still a work in progress, The Boxettes have been in the studio to work on a new EP. They’re raising money here (go ahead, kick in a few bucks…you know you want to) and we can all hope they get a release out in 2013.

The Edge Effect– These guys “neither refuse, nor require instruments” according to the video on their successfully-funded Kickstarter video.  Basically, they are a vocal band but are including some instruments on their new album, which should be released this year. The project will include a contribution from Marc Broussard. You know, like you do when you release a new album…

Voices Only Forte II– Last year, Voices Only released the first compilation of all non-scholastic, global a cappella music that I’ve seen, and it was good. I served as a nominator for this sequel, which is due to be announced and released very soon, and I can tell you- there’s some music on here that will blow your mind, and a lot of it comes from groups/performers you’ve probably never heard of.

I’m sure there are more releases planned, but this was the best I could come up with after a few days of research and communications. If you know of another exciting album coming out, drop it in the comments section or send me an email at dave@acatribe.com.

Festivals: There are a few new festivals and changes to existing festivals worth mentioning-

Texas A Cappella Celebration– In case you hadn’t heard, CASA is expanding its festival range to the Lone Star State. Not much info on this yet other than that it’s happening on March 9, 2013, in San Antonio.

SingStrong– This annual festival, the proceeds of which largely benefit Alzheimer’s research and local choral programs, has reproduced! In 2013, there will be 2 festivals, including the regular one in Reston, VA (near D.C.) on March 1-3 and the new one in Chicago, IL on March 22-24. No other details yet.

Camp A Cappella– What do you think about spending a week with The House Jacks, learning about a cappella music, singing, performing, recording, all on a college campus in OH? Hold on, it’s not for everybody. This new camp, put together by Deke Sharon and Brody McDonald is only for teens this year, but if it goes well, who knows what the future could hold.

Festival of Voices-this longstanding choral festival in Tasmania (!) is introducing a new contemporary a cappella track headed by Mr. Deke Sharon. The festival will be July 7-14.

Mile High Vocal Jam– This Rocky mountain festival returns after a 2012 hiatus on Feb. 15-16 with Urban Method and Musae performing, and members of Take 6 judging and running clinics.

* I have been involved in the very early stages of planning with Marc Silverberg for a possible a cappella festival devoted to vocal music in schools in Long Island, New York. We are looking for help with planning and logistics, as well as talent and volunteers, so please email us at liacappellafestival@gmail.com.

And for updated info on all the regular festivals, check back at the global Festival List very soon.


***Mouth Off– Ok, this is arguably BREAKING NEWS, so I could probably have placed it a lot higher in the post. I have confirmed with Christopher Diaz that Mouth Off will be returning in 2013! We can all look for some public announcements in the next month or so, and then a gradual build-up towards a full return sometime this spring. There may be some changes, and we’ll all have to wait and see what those are, but still- Mouth Off will be back!

Vocal Blog– Florian Städtler has started a very interesting new series of “Big Questions” about a cappella music. The first two posts are here and here.  He hopes/plans to get a lot of the questions answered by spring 2013. He also hopes/plans to make Acappellazone the primary resource for all things a cappella in the EU.

RARB– I can’t tell you much, but I think Mr. Dietz teased some suggestions about changes coming to  the Recorded A Cappella Review Board here.

Ben Spalding is working on a new book about Varsity Vocals which will be released late in the year. There will be chapters about all aspects of the competition process, from application videos to what to wear in performance and how to use sound reinforcement equipment, and a few chapters will be written by some very well known people in the a cappella community.

The Tufts Beelzebubs are celebrating 50 years of existence with a concert February 7 featuring alums including Guster, Peter Gallagher, and The House Jacks.

This is not strictly a cappella, but Claude McKnight (again from Take 6) has a new Kickstarter campaign to create a DVD or show dealing with how groups handle working together over time, and the pilot episode will feature Take 6 as the subjects.


Did you hear that they are making another season of The Sing Off in the U.S.? Another one somewhere outside the U.S.? Did you hear that they’re working on Pitch Perfect 2? Yeah, I heard all of these rumors as well. None is confirmed, and that’s coming from someone who would be connected to all such projects (if you can’t guess who, your contemporary a cappella card is hereby revoked).

Pentatonix is working on a new EP/album! Or not. This has been suggested all over social media, but is not confirmed by anyone. Considering they put out TWO last year, it would not be surprising. Also, they seem to be constantly working on touring, YouTube vids, etc., so they clearly have a lot of energy and desire to continually make music. We can certainly keep our fingers crossed.

So…looks to me like 2013 is gonna be another leap forward for a cappella. What else is coming our way? If you have some news, drop it in the comments or send me an email. I’ll be doing an update next week on some changes coming to the blog in 2013, but for now- get back to work so you can save some money for these new albums!

—-UPDATES (1/13/13)

Traces are close to releasing their debut album, which includes collaborations with Tom Anderson, Marty Gasper, Alex Green, and James Cannon.

Postyr Project will be releasing a new single next week, and a “reloaded album with 5 new songs” hopefully in March.

Texas A Cappella Celebration has launched a new website and announced headliners Delilah and Overboard.

Rockapella’s new album will feature music from their Motown and More show, as well as related music such as the Jackson 5 and others.


  1. Chad Bergeron   •  

    Oooh, Mouth off coming back? Time to either cut out one of my current podcasts or to start driving the long way to work….

  2. Dave Bernstein   •  

    Yep, I too was thinking about ways to reshuffle my This American Life, Radiolab, and Nerdist podcasts. Luckily, my commute is long enough to provide me adequate time for all. Now we just have to wait…

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