It’s that time of year, when we take a breather from the onslaught of last year’s releases and start speculating about what’s in store once this one starts heating up. If half the scheduled, reported and rumored new albums we’re expecting actually materialize, 2018 is going to be nuts. Major pop artists like Liam Payne, Frank Ocean, Ariana Grande and Sky Ferreira are prepping LPs, as are beloved veteran rockers from Bruce Springsteen to Paul McCartney and Jack White, and indie-rock heroes like the Breeders, My Bloody Valentine and Superchunk. Here’s a rundown of everything we know about what’s on the way.
Release Date: February 16th
The first recorded collaboration between multimedia visionary Laurie Anderson and string experimentalists Kronos Quartet focuses on the composer’s experiences during Hurricane Sandy, which flooded her West Village home when it hit New York in the fall of 2012. Landfall debuted at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in 2013 and has toured the world since; the quartet and Anderson’s electroacoustic clamor is augmented by the output of a software application called erst, which generates text from musical phrases. “These are stories with tempos,” Anderson said of the project in a statement. “I’ve always been fascinated by the complex relationship of words and music whether in song lyrics, supertitles or voice over.”
Album: All at Once
Release Date: February 23rd
The Jersey DIY heroes’ seventh album, which they recorded in Seattle, opens up the trio’s sound just a bit – synths and xylophones creep into the mix, and D.C. punk legend Brendan Canty adds a second drumming track to “Soft Domination.” “When you’ve been a band for 12 or 13 years, the resources can dry up and you just go back to what feels comfortable,” drummer Jarrett Dougherty said in a statement. “The other option is that you develop stuff that a younger band would not have been able to do.” But tracks like the biting lead single “Glass House,” which aims at the demands social media places on art, show how holding back can summon even more power. “It’s very simple – just bass, drums and two simple riffs,” guitarist-vocalist Marissa Paternoster noted. “In the past, I might have insisted on adding more. Practicing self-restraint is something I have consciously been trying to do.”
Album: Freedom’s Goblin
Release Date: January 26th
The SoCal wizard of noise’s latest album is a doozy: 19 songs on four vinyl sides, ranging from freaky garage jams (“Meaning”) to tender love songs (“My Lady’s on Fire”) to a fuzzed-out cover of a 1978 disco hit (Hot Chocolate’s “Every 1’s a Winner”). There’s also a tribute to his dog, Fanny, which Segall and his band tore through on Conan in December while wearing white lab coats. Recorded at studios including Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio, Freedom’s Goblin is one of the prolific musician’s widest-ranging releases. “[The recording process] was all about making the performances shine how they are and not trying to perfect anything too much and just have fun with it,” Segall said in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio last month. “The idea of it was to be as free as possible.” Hence the album title: “It’s a loose idea of the duality, or more the ever-unfolding idea of freedom,” he explained. “I’m a goblin, you know, but I’m also not a goblin, you know?”
Release Date: January 26th
At times more a performance-art experiment than a metal band, Portal have made a name for themselves by dressing up over the years as executioners (or in the case of vocalist the Curator, a grandfather clock) and recording avant-garde overtures that could serve as a soundtrack to either a Saw movie or a Francis Bacon painting. The band’s sound, a bit like death metal rearranged in a blender in the middle of a séance, has earned them high-profile fans such as Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo. Ion will be the long-running Australian group’s fifth LP and first full-length since their brilliant, mind-bending Vexovoid. Judging from the spooky teaser video they released for the album and the jagged juggernaut that is the album’s “Phreqs,” the record will be a worthy follow-up.