2018 Album Preview: 54 Most Anticipated Records – Rolling Stone
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54 Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

New music from Justin Timberlake, Jack White and Cardi B, and other records we can’t wait to hear

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.  

Selena Gomez

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Selena Gomez

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Selena Gomez proved her pop prowess with 2015’s Revival and continued to toy with her own persona and sound with her 2017 singles, which included the Talking Heads-sampling “Bad Liar” and the seductive “Fetish.” Her battle with lupus, however, has kept elements of Gomez’s music career somewhat stalled: The singer and actress canceled tour dates and got a kidney transplant this summer. Still, she’s been in and out of the studio with the likes of Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels (the songwriting duo behind “Bad Liar” and many of Gomez’s Revival tracks) as well as Jacob Kasher, Ryan Tedder and the Futuristics. Still, Gomez seems to still be – rightfully – taking her time with a new album, telling Billboard that her label has been “itching” for new music. “There is such power in saying ‘no,’ she said. “I like how we’ve presented the music this year because it wasn’t in an aggressive way; it felt very genuine.”

Rae Sremmurd, 'SremmLife 3'

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Rae Sremmurd

Album: Sremmlife 3
Release Date: January 
Rae Sremmurd teased Sremmlife 3 for nearly a year, but so far all we’ve gotten is an August single, “Perplexing Pegasus”; and Swae Lee’s standout vocals on French Montana’s summertime smash “Unforgettable.” Revolt TV reported that Swae promised that the album would drop in January. Other than that announcement, little is known about the Mississippi brothers’ latest, except that it will feature production from mentor Mike Will Made It’s Eardrummers squad, and maybe a Young Thug cameo.

Loretta Lynn, 'Wouldn't Be Great'

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Loretta Lynn

Album: Wouldn’t It Be Great
Release Date: TBA
The Country Music Hall of Fame vocalist delayed the release of her already-recorded new album Wouldn’t It Be Great until 2018 after suffering a stroke last May. Like the Grammy-nominated Full Circle that preceded it, the LP was co-produced by John Carter Cash and Lynn’s daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and cut at Johnny Cash’s cabin studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Boasting new songs like “I’m Dying for Someone to Live For” and “Ruby’s Stool,” written with songwriter Shawn Camp, Wouldn’t It Be Great also includes new versions of Lynn staples “Don’t Come Home a-Drinkin'” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” “You can’t get them anymore,” Lynn told Rolling Stone in 2016 of her decision to update her classics. “You’ve got fans that want it. So we will give them to ’em.”

A Perfect Circle

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A Perfect Circle

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The prog-metal supergroup fronted by Tool’s Maynard James Keenan used their 2017 tour to premiere the brooding “Feathers” and the chugging “Hourglass,” and studio versions of the storming “The Doomed” and the “silicon obsession” indictment “Disillusioned” followed a few months later. Shortly before the January release of “Disillusioned,” guitarist and co-founder Billy Howerdel took a break from recording to call into alt-rock stalwart Matt Pinfield’s podcast and offer an update on the album, the band’s first since 2004. “We are gonna be finished imminently – I’d say in the next several weeks, we’d be done with this record,” Howerdel said. The still-untitled LP should be out in the late spring or early summer.  

Liam Payne

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Liam Payne

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
As Payne readies his debut, he has a strong tailwind from lead single “Strip That Down,” an Ed Sheeran co-write that reached Number One on the American pop radio chart. That track featured an interpolation of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” and a guest verse from Quavo of Migos, and Payne-iacs can expect more of the same on the singer’s upcoming album. “I didn’t really want to nail myself down so … [I made] some super urban tracks and a lot of trap music,” Payne told iHeart’s Olivia Jones. But he also plans to appease fans hoping for some more traditional One Direction fare. “It’s really important to do something that you want to do, but you can’t forget your fan base, you can’t forget your roots,” Payne explained to Entertainment Weekly. “The hardest part of the job for me,” he added, “is waiting for the next song to come out.”

Sky Ferreira, 'Masochism'

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Sky Ferreira

Album: Masochism
Release Date: TBA
Sky Ferreira has kept busy since the 2013 release of her debut full-length Night Time, My Time. She appeared in Twin Peaks: The Return and Baby Driver, and she directed a holiday-themed video for Iceage side project Marching Church. She’s been using Instagram to keep people updated on the process of her second album. In April she posted snippets of new music to Instagram (collected here, via Dazed), and she said in a July post, it had been held up by “other people” who have since exited the picture. “I don’t know why this happens every time I make a record after a decade (yoinks) of doing this because…I MAKE POP MUSIC?!?? It’s not THAT complicated?” she posted. In December, she told The Fader that an amuse for Masochism­ – “an EP that is heavily visual, and the videos will all connect to each other in an abstract way” – would be out in February or March.

Ariana Grande

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Ariana Grande

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Ariana Grande faced the unthinkable in 2017 when a terrorist attack at her Manchester, England, concert killed 22 young fans. In the shadow of that event, she managed to keep working on the follow-up to her million-selling 2016 LP Dangerous Woman. “I started an album already a year ago, over a year ago, but I want to keep creating, and it’s not done yet,” the singer told told Billboard in September. “So I’m going to take my sweet ass time, so I’ll be rested and ready to go again as soon as possible.” A few months later, Grande posted a snippet on Instagram of her singing the phrase “you can feel it,” with a gospel choir riffing behind her. The video’s caption read, “see you next year.” “The things that she has to say on this album, it’s pretty next-level,” Pharrell Williams assured The Los Angeles Times. “Her album is amazing.”

Joan Baez, 'Whistle Down the Wind'

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Joan Baez

Album: Whistle Down the Wind
Release Date: March 2nd
As she began planning a farewell tour of Europe and the U.S. scheduled to start this year, the folk legend also began thinking about making one last record: “I had the feeling things are winding down and I wanted to do one more studio effort, and kind of the old-fashioned way,” she told Rolling Stone. With producer Joe Henry at the helm – an ideal choice given his previous work with legends like Bonnie Raitt, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and Mose Allison – that approach centered around Baez’s voice and guitar, with minimal, largely acoustic accompaniment and no famous-friends cameos. “We didn’t want guest artists,” says Henry. “Her manager said to me, ‘That’s not on her agenda,’ and I was delighted to hear it. I wanted to focus on her.” There’s little that’s old-fashioned about the material Baez chose, which includes songs by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (the title track and “Last Leaf”), Josh Ritter, and Anohni (whose “Another World” Baez calls “so deep and dark and beautiful”). Aptly for these times, the album ends with an 18th-century manuscript, “I Wish the Wars Were All Over,” set to new music. And how has Baez’s dusky-soprano voice managed to hold up so well? “She uses an old country singer’s trick,” says Henry. “She eats potato chips before she sings. It lends a good kind of grease to your voice.”

The Distillers

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The Distillers

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
It’s been 14 years since the last album from punkers the Distillers, eight years since Brody Dalle put out an LP under the name Spinnerette and three years since the singer released her solo debut, Diploid Love. But last year, Dalle hinted that she was working on new music, sharing a photo from her studio on Instagram with the caption, “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.” Then, on January 3rd, she upped the ante by posting a teaser video captioned “The Distillers 2018.” She hasn’t shared any other information about the lineup of the reunited band or potential touring plans. But it’s safe to assume that if she’s working on new music, it will be as raucous and defiant as her previous work. “I’m not afraid of aggression or conflict,” she told Noisey in 2013. “It’s a natural state of being for me. That’s what makes me feel alive.”

My Bloody Valentine

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My Bloody Valentine

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
It’s dangerous to assign a release date for a new My Bloody Valentine album – two decades elapsed between their 1991 masterpiece Loveless and their 2013 comeback MBV. Still, band founder Kevin Shields has predicted that the English shoegaze legends would soon release their fourth album. “We started recording it a year ago,” Shields told Pitchfork in November. “Basically, the record started off as an EP, and I realized it has to be, like, a mini-album, because it’s going to be at least 40 minutes long. So it’s going to be an album, but I don’t really know how many tracks it’s going to be. It’ll probably be seven or eight, by the looks of it.”

Joe Perry, 'Sweetzerland Manifesto'

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Joe Perry

Album: Sweetzerland Manifesto
Release Date: January 19th
The latest solo effort from the Aerosmith/Hollywood Vampires guitarist is a cameo-studded affair produced by Perry himself. New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, Ringo Starr’s son Zak Starkey and British belter Terry Reid are among the guests on Sweetzerland, which has “a wide variety of tunes,” according to Perry. Robin Zander of Cheap Trick handles vocals on the howling “Aye, Aye, Aye,” the product of a songwriting process Perry describes as “as fast as a ride on a Japanese bullet train.” Perry and his guests co-wrote all of the album’s tracks save one: A cover of the ’60s apocalypse protest “Eve of Destruction,” which features fellow Hollywood Vampire Johnny Depp on drums.

David Byrne, 'American Utopia'

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David Byrne

Album: American Utopia
Release Date: March 9th
David Byrne has spent much of the past decade collaborating with other artists – making albums with Brian Eno and St. Vincent and writing a musical with Fatboy Slim, among other projects. Now he’s putting out his first album since 2004’s Grown Backwards, but he hasn’t abandoned his collaborative spirit. The first single, “Everybody’s Coming to My House,” is an upbeat, rhythm-heavy dance rocker that he co-wrote with Brian Eno. Elsewhere on American Utopia, produced by Rodaidh McDonald (the XX, King Krule), he works with left-field electronic composer Oneohtrix Point Never, St. Vincent producer Doveman and Kelela collaborator Jam City, among others. In a statement, Byrne said the album’s lyrics present a different, at times more optimistic way of looking at the world right now. “The songs are sincere – the title is not ironic,” he said. “The title refers not to a specific utopia, but rather to our longing, frustration, aspirations, fears and hopes regarding what could be possible, what else is possible. … Music is a kind of model – it often tells us or points us toward how we can be.”

John Prine

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John Prine

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The prospect of new music from John Prine is something the veteran singer-songwriter’s fans haven’t gotten to look forward to in more than a decade. Prine’s most recent album of original material, Fair & Square, came out all the way back in 2005, so the mere mention of his as-yet-unnamed follow-up is noteworthy enough. “I don’t wanna just sit down and write a little couplet that’s kind of witty, or something. I’ve done that,” he told Rolling Stone last year. Instead, expect real firepower: He recorded with Dave Cobb at Nashville’s RCA Studio A and recruited guests like Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires and Brandi Carlile.

Kacey Musgraves, 'Golden Hour'

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Kacey Musgraves

Album: Golden Hour
Release Date: TBA
Kacey Musgraves’ second album, Pageant Material, was one of 2015’s most celebrated country releases, earning her a Best Country Album nod at the 2016 Grammys. Since then, fans have been eager for a follow-up, and in late 2017 Musgraves announced that they’d get it this year. Golden Hour doesn’t have a release date yet, but the details Musgraves has shared are intriguing. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly announcing the album, she revealed that Golden Hour would be “trippy,” with not-so-country artists like Sade and the Bee Gees serving as influences. Though uber-songwriters Luke Laird and Shane McAnally co-produced Musgraves’ first two albums, Nashville underdogs Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian took the reins on Golden Hour, another move to shake things up. “On this record, there’s the lonely girl, the blissful girl, the new wife, the girl that’s missing her mom, the angry girl, the sarcastic girl, the Sixties-sequined Cruella de Vil with the beehive, the shy girl, the life of the party, the winner, the loser,” she told EW. “They’re all characters on this record.” 

The Breeders

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The Breeders

Album: All Nerve
Release Date: March 2nd
Last October, the Breeders released “Wait in the Car,” their first new studio recording since the 2009 EP Fate to Fatal and first recording by frontwoman Kim Deal since her exit from Pixies. It was also the first offering from the group since the lineup that recorded their 1993 mainstream breakthrough Last Splash reunited. Now the tune, which is a jagged, bouncy post-punk rocker that finds Deal singing lyrics like, “Consider I always struggle with the right word/ Meow meow meow meow meow” (classic Breeders), has a home as the second track on All Nerve. The album, which features an appearance by Courtney Barnett on “Howl at the Summit,” contains 11 tunes that the band recorded in various studios around the south and the Midwest (including a session with Steve Albini). The title track finds one of the Deal sisters singing, “I won’t stop/I will run you down,” and it’s a promise we’re taking seriously for the rest of All Nerve.

Carly Rae Jepsen

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Carly Rae Jepsen

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
In October, Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen told a New Yorker Festival audience that she’d already written more than 80 songs for the follow-up to 2015’s E•MO•TION – a smaller amount than the 200-plus she had ready for that album, but nothing to sneeze at. “I was really highly attracted to this understated disco,” said Jepsen, who’s opening for Katy Perry’s Witness tour through the beginning of February. “In going into the studio sometimes I would realize that, ‘Oh, I wanted disco, but I’ve made a mambo.’ So, I’m not really doing any disclaimers about what this is going to be, because I think it’s got different flavors in there.”

The 1975, 'Music for Cars'

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The 1975

Album: Music for Cars
Release Date: TBA
The 1975 announced back in 2016 that fans should expect new music in 2018. The band had the name Music for Cars locked down for most of 2017, and possibly re-confirmed their plans for this year back in July with a cryptic Instagram video showing the neon sign from their sophomore album’s cover being turned off. In September, the band’s manager Jamie Osborne tweeted that sessions for Music for Cars would begin that month. No songs have been released yet, but frontman Matty Healy spoke about his aspirations for his band’s third album with Q last March. “If you look at third albums, OK Computer or The Queen Is Dead, that’s what we need to do,” he said. “I want a legacy. I want people to look back and think our records were the most important pop records that a band put out in this decade.”

Courtney Barnett

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Courtney Barnett

Album: TBA
Release Date: Spring 2018
Courtney Barnett’s 2015 full-length debut, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, catapulted the wonderfully wry Melbourne songwriter to international fame. That left her in a tight spot when it came time to make a follow-up: Barnett told RS this past summer that she spent much of 2016 “struggling” with songwriting, adding, “I just have this thing where I feel like everything has to be finished and perfect.” She got over that block by teaming up with like-minded Philly dude Kurt Vile for the low-key, excellent duets album Lotta Sea Lice, and as of late 2017, she was close to completing her next solo record. “I’m trying to come up with a title,” she told Zane Lowe in November. “It’s all one-sentence thoughts – you know, trying to come up with something clever.” In the meantime, Barnett will be joining her partner, Jen Cloher, as a backing guitarist when Cloher tours the U.S. starting January 23rd.

Car Seat Headrest, 'Twin Fantasy'

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Car Seat Headrest

Album: Twin Fantasy
Release Date: February 16th
Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo was 19 when he recorded a concept album called Twin Fantasy on his laptop and self-released it on Bandcamp in the fall of 2011. In the years that followed, as his band broke through to indie rock’s upper echelons with 2015’s Teens of Style and 2016’s Teens of Denial, Toledo kept dreaming of revisiting that early project, which has remained a favorite among his day-one fans. “It was never a finished work,” he says in a press release about the re-recorded version of Twin Fantasy that’s out next month, “and it wasn’t until last year that I figured out how to finish it.” The original Twin Fantasy was lo-fi by necessity, but it’s an album about huge, high-definition feelings – mostly, the world-collapsing weirdness of being a teenager in love. Now songs like the 13-minute “Beach Life-in-Death” (“I pretended I was drunk when I came out to my friends/I never came out to my friends/We were all on Skype, and I laughed and I changed the subject”) have the gleaming, raging alt-rock grandeur they were always crying out for.

Andrew W.K., 'You're Not Alone'

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Andrew W.K.

Album: You’re Not Alone
Release Date: March 2nd
The thrasher-turned-motivational-speaker’s first rock album in almost 12 years has a dayglo-paint-worthy cover (painted by renowned fantasy artists Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell) and a tracklist that hints at an inspirational song cycle of sorts – “Music Is Worth Living For,” “Keep On Going,” “Total Freedom,” and so on. “I’m going for the sound of pure, unadulterated power,” he said in a September statement. “Every emotion, every thought, every experience, every sensation, every fear, every joy, every clarity, every confusion, every up, every down … all extruded and concentrated into one thick syrup of super life-force feeling, and then psychically amplified by the celebratory spirit of glorious partying.”

Rhye, 'Blood'

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Album: Blood
Release Date: February 2nd
It’s been nearly five years since Rhye’s debut Woman entranced listeners with its blend of airy dream pop, chilled electronics, sensuous R&B and singer-songwriter candor. Initially conceived as a one-off collaboration with silky singer Mike Milosh and producer Robin Hannibal, the project has since evolved into a full-fledged band. Last summer, Rhye began issuing new material, including their most recent single “Count to Five,” as well as collaborating with like-minded musicians like Bonobo and Sylvan Esso. “We’ve spent the last few years on the road translating the Woman album from a bedroom project into a full live experience,” Milosh says in a press release. “With Blood, it’s been the opposite process; the music and sounds were really born out of the live environment and are built for performance.”

Superorganism, 'Superorganism'

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Album: Superorganism
Release Date: March 2nd
The first full-length by this left-field pop collective (comprised of eight members, seven of which share the same East London crash pad/studio) will build on the meme-heavy glitchiness of their debut single “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” – think the woozy weirdness of 120 Minutes‘ final half-hour filtered through a post-Tumblr sensibility. “For us, pop music is a thing unto itself,” songwriter and producer Harry told Rolling Stone. “It’s something that makes genre irrelevant. Something concise, to the point, it’s catchy, it’s in your head and it’s creatively arranged and produced. That’s ultimately what our goal is with this. We’re not thinking we have to produce in this specific genre. We could take it in any direction we wanted to.”

Maluma, 'F.A.M.E.'

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Album: F. A. M. E.
Release Date: TBA
Colombian reggaeton singer Maluma has been steadily rising since 2011. Yet 2017 proved the most prosperous year for the 23-year-old international playboy, who graced the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time with the balmy “Felices Los 4.” He followed with a feature role in not one, but two Shakira hits, as well as a scandalous showing at the Latin Grammy Awards. The full-length follow up to his 2015 album, Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy, F. A. M. E. will accompany a U.S. tour in spring 2018. “I couldn’t be more excited to announce my return to the United States on tour exactly one year after announcing my first-ever U.S. Tour – and so much has happened since,” the singer said in a statement. “The best part for U.S. fans is that I will be coming with an entirely brand new show with all of the hits and also new music!”

Brandy Carlile, 'By the Way, I Forgive You

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Brandi Carlile

Album: By the Way, I Forgive You
Release Date: February 16th
On her sixth studio album, Americana heroine Brandi Carlile ramps everything up a notch, working with Waylon Jennings’ rebel-yell son Shooter, who co-produced with Dave Cobb. She takes deep dives into her family history (“Most of All”) and offers up an anthem for the downtrodden (“The Joke,” a chin-up call to arms for anyone feeling oppressed, was blasted out in a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!). While largely adhering to her unplugged, modern-Appalachian approach, Carlile also pushes a few musical envelopes: “Harder to Forgive” is swoony, luxurious pop, “Hold Out Your Hand” has a wall-of-drums wallop and “Party of One” wraps up with shivery orchestration.

Judas Priest, 'Firepower'

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Judas Priest

Album: Firepower
Release Date: March 9th
On Firepower, Judas Priest aimed to make an album of modern heavy metal that retained the classic sound of their Seventies and Eighties masterpieces. So they turned to producers Tom Allom, who’d helmed their hits “Breaking the Law,” “Screaming for Vengeance” and “Heading Out to the Highway,” and Andy Sneap, whose credits include recent albums by Megadeth, Fear Factory and Arch Enemy. “Tom Allom has got this classic metal thing, and Andy is a bit more of a ‘modern metal producer’ but his thinking is a little bit different to Tom’s,” frontman Rob Halford has said. “I think to get this balance between that classic old-school metal to what Andy’s world is was just a remarkable coalescence.” Listening to “Lightning Strike,” Firepower’s lead single, it’s clear that the gamble paid off: Halford howls a chorus that recalls Priest at their most triumphant while his bandmates wage the sort of full-on eardrum assault that younger bands like Power Trip and Mastodon aspire to.

Lanco, 'Hallelujah Nights'

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Album: Hallelujah Nights
Release Date: January 19th
The road to Lanco’s debut album has been long for both the band and their fans. The group signed to Arista Nashville way back in 2015, releasing a debut EP, Extended Play, the following year. Since then, they’ve built buzz with engaging live shows and big singles, like “Greatest Love Story,” which became Lanco’s first chart-topper. That song, written by frontman Brandon Lancaster, also appears on Hallelujah Nights, as do the EP’s three additional tracks. Lancaster wrote or co-wrote all 11 of the album’s songs, which marry evocative, narrative lyrics with infectious, Southern-rock–influenced arrangements – all bearing Lancaster’s signature raspy drawl. “Country music is about finding people where they’re at right now,” he told Rolling Stone last year, “working a 9-to-5, going through hard times, questioning life.”


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Album: Primal Heart
Release Date: April 20th
Since 2014’s kaleidoscopic The Golden Echo, the New Zealand pop savant has kept busy, collaborating with soul explorer Bilal and Danish dream-pop outfit Mew, and talking Bowie and Prince with Questlove at Yale. Her third album, which she co-produced with John Congleton (Goldfrapp, Alvvays, St. Vincent), takes inspiration from the Mars Volta and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life while featuring assists from Skrillex and Natasha Bedingfield. “These songs have a sense of groundedness and tell stories,” Kimbra told Magnet recently. “It feels like I’m really just hanging with someone and telling them what’s up with me. In a way, I feel more connected to my audience on this record than I have in the past.”

Superchunk, 'What a Time to Be Alive'

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Album: What a Time to Be Alive
Release Date: February 16th
The title of Superchunk’s upcoming LP might be even more wickedly sardonic than that of their prior LP, 2013’s I Hate Music. Frontman Mac McCaughan has said that the impetus for What a Time to Be Alive was the feeling he and his bandmates had once Donald Trump was elected president. But by his estimation, the music itself isn’t totally bleak; instead it’s a “about a pretty dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen to.” The title track is a buoyant, punkish nugget in the vein of the Chapel Hill indie mainstays’ best work, even if McCaughan is singing lyrics like, “To see the rot in no disguise … the scum, the shame, the fucking lies/Oh, what a time to be alive.” It should come as no surprise that the band wrote the entire album, which features guest appearances by Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan, among others, between November 2016 and the following February.

Titus Andronicus, 'A Productive Cough'

Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus performs at Saturn Birmingham on September 17, 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by David A. Smith/Getty Images)

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Titus Andronicus

Album: A Productive Cough
Release Date: March 2nd
Titus Andronicus are planning a hard left on their upcoming fifth LP. “The previous album we made, the rock opera, was an attempt at quite a grand statement, trying to encompass a lot of different things, both musically and thematically,” lead singer Patrick Stickles explained in an interview posted on the band’s website this month. “This album has a much narrower focus, both in terms of the nature of the material and the sheer volume of it.” In particular, A Productive Couch is a ballad-centric set, and lead single “Number One (In New York)” swells grandly over eight minutes, reaching back to the urgent-but-highly-orchestrated rock sagas of the 1970s. This might be a shock for the Titus Andronicus fans who prefer the band’s rowdy side. Stickles is aware of those listeners and uninterested in “pandering” to them. “Thing like extreme volume or fast tempos or a lot of screaming – these are just signifiers of intensity,” he said, “and If I take those away, perhaps I can illuminate what it is I think my true purpose as an artist is.”

Lucy Dacus, 'Historian'

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Lucy Dacus

Album: Historian
Release Date: March 2nd
Richmond singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus’ forthright lyrics and fuzzed-out riffs turned heads in 2015, when she released the disarming, catchy No Burden. Her upcoming second album was inspired by her realization that as a touring musician, she had a platform, and she felt duty-bound to use it for “the thing that’s most important to say.” The lyrics explore heartache, grief, racism and other topics that touched Dacus’ life in recent years. “[Historian] starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she said in a statement. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”

Phife Dawg, 'Forever'

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Phife Dawg

Album: Forever
Release Date: TBA
While serving as one-fourth of legendary Queens hip-hop ensemble A Tribe Called Quest, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor stockpiled plenty of solo material. However, he only released one album, 2000’s Ventilation: Da LP, before passing away in March of 2016. That November, at a ceremony dedicating a portion of Linden Blvd. in Queens to the MC, Phife’s widow, Desha Taylor, announced plans to issue a posthumous album, Forever. It’s release was initially scheduled for early this year. But despite the release of two singles, “Nutshell” and “Wanna Dance,” nothing has emerged yet. “I hope they find the right deal for that, and it get platformed the right way where we can all help push the shit” Redman told the late podcaster Combat Jack last October.

Django Django, 'Marble Skies'

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Django Django

Album: Marble Skies
Release Date: January 26th
Art-rockers Django Django envision their upcoming third LP as a course correction of sorts. “The last album felt a little bloated,” producer/drummer David Maclean told Mojo. So the group eschewed the fancy studios where they recorded 2015’s Born Under Saturn and set up shop in a rented warehouse space where they can “do what [they] want to do without worrying about clock-watching or studio fees.” Lead single “Tic Tac Toe” is sinewy and clap-happy, a breezy, double-time blast of chiming guitar pop. Elsewhere on the record, there’s an homage to Miami Vice maestro Jan Hammer, drumming from Metronomy’s Anna Prior and vocals from Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor. “It’s a bit of a curveball for people maybe,” said Maclean. But he’s confident that everything will cohere as long as “it’s got the Django melody.”

"Tune-Yards, 'I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

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Album: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life
Release Date: January 19th
Merrill Garbus’ fourth album under the Tune-Yards name is dazzling and danceable, inspired by the DJing she’s done at gigs and online, her explorations of hip-hop, her confrontation of her racial privilege and the increasingly fraught 21st-century political landscape. (Garbus and her longtime collaborator Nate Brenner wrote Private before the 2016 Presidential election, but, as she noted to the Financial Times, “All the divisions were already there. Under Obama. Before Brexit. They’ve just been revealed.”) Songs like the sinewy “Coast to Coast” are boisterous and dancey, allowing her to flaunt her increased vocal prowess and interpretative skill.   

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