Consequence of Sound’s The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

anticipated albums 2015

When the first minutes of the new year are soundtracked by Kanye West and Paul McCartney collaborating on an honest-to-god ballad, you know it’s going to be a weird one. Five days in, 2015 is positively strewn with our hopes and dreams. Some tremendous comebacks are already locked in: Sleater-Kinney’s set to release their new one in just a couple weeks, and the Decemberists are finally back from hiatus. Others, like Grimes and Frank Ocean, remain murky. But with new Kanye, new Kendrick, and new Radiohead on the horizon, who says we can’t be hopeful?

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PandaBearGrimLPPANDA BEAR – PANDA BEAR MEETS THE GRIM REAPER

Release date: January 13th via Domino Recording Company

Why We’re Excited: Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox, akaPanda Bear, always seems to find a new tunnel into the psychedelia of the subconscious. His brand new solo full-length already feels heady with a title like Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, but the beautiful packaging suggests it could match his 2011 LP, Tomboy. The crisscrossing of pink and green lettering unfolds like an intricate envelope, showcasing the innards of Lennox’s bright vision of death.

We’ve already heard “Mr. Noah” and the rest of his surprise new EP. The three non-album B-sides show a hazy side of Panda Bear where anxious thoughts and jovial singing swim around in a hurry while managing to feel relaxing, too. We can only imagine what songs like “Davy Jones’ Locker” and “Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker” might sound like, but it’s likely they’re just as trippy and dark as they sound. –Nina Corcoran

Listen: “Mr. Noah”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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Belle and Sebastian Girls In Peacetime Want To DanceBELLE AND SEBASTIAN – GIRLS IN PEACETIME WANT TO DANCE

Release date: January 20th via Matador Records

Why We’re Excited: After 18 years of pristinely crafted, airtight indie pop, Belle and Sebastian fans shouldn’t be blamed for thinking they’ve got the band’s sound pretty firmly under thumb. That only makes the impending release of the Scottish band’s ninth studio album all the more interesting. By all accounts, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance will not be your typical Belle record. Frontman Stuart Murdoch, in a recent interview with The Guardian, said the record is indebted much more to synthpop, electronic music, and disco than anything the band’s ever done. He’s not kidding. The record’s lead single, “The Party Line”, ventures closer to Simple Minds than anything you’ll hear on classics like If You’re Feeling Sinister or The Boy with the Arab Strap. The only common thread is Murdoch’s fragile speak-sing whisper, but damn if it doesn’t sound good. Whether or not the band will be able to pull off the shift remains to be seen, but it promises to be an interesting listen. –Ryan Bray

Listen: “The Party Line”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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The Decemberists - What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, albumTHE DECEMBERISTS – WHAT A TERRIBLE WORLD, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORLD

Release date: January 20th via Capitol Records

Why We’re Excited: It’s hard to believe that almost four years have passed since we last heard from Colin Meloy’s folk rock outfit The Decemberists. Following 2011’s The King Is Dead, Meloy and his bandmates took a well-earned break from touring and recording to focus on their families. According to the Portland singer-songwriter, this respite helped make their forthcoming LP, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, more personal and introspective than the band’s extravagant, outlandish back catalog.

Channeling the “bewildering, conflicting feeling” of raising one’s children in a world brimming with both terror and transcendence, lead single “Make You Better” sounds simultaneously disillusioned (“But we’re not so starry-eyed anymore/ Like the perfect paramour you were in your letters”) and staunchly optimistic. Peppered with buoyant keyboard lines and beaming female harmonies, the fulsome arrangement of longtime producer Tucker Martine (Thao, Laura Veirs) perfectly frames Meloy’s reedy, steadfast voice. As the track reaches its final chorus, he belts his lyrics atop the rising instrumental tide with a sense of resilience and fortitude: “It’d make you better, ohh hohh!”  –Henry Hauser

Listen: “Make You Better”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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sleater kinney no cities to loveSLEATER-KINNEY – NO CITIES TO LOVE

Release date: January 20th via Sub Pop Records

Why We’re Excited: With the release of the discography boxsetStart Together in late 2014, the ladies of Sleater-Kinneyseemed to close the chapter on their first 12 years as a band. It was an overdue retrospective, coming nearly a decade after their last album (2005’s The Woods), but it served as a reminder of just how vital Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss sound when they’re locked in. And the thing is, they’re always locked in; there’s not a dud to be found among Sleater-Kinney’s first seven LPs, which vacillate between riot grrrl, indie rock, and power pop with righteous fury.

That’s one reason why we have high hopes for No Cities to Love. Another is the fact that the trio aren’t particularly interested in revisiting the past. They’ve referred to the reunion as “Sleater-Kinney 2.0,” and the lean, highly danceable lead single “Bury Our Friends” certainly suggests a new, more chorus-heavy direction. It’s not like the trio haven’t kept busy since breaking up, but damn it’s good to hear them back where they belong: playing in one of the 21st century’s most important rock bands. –Collin Brennan

Listen: “Bury Our Friends”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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father john misty honeybear 02 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015FATHER JOHN MISTY – I LOVE YOU, HONEYBEAR

Release date: February 10th via Sub Pop Records

Why We’re Excited: Even through his lengthy, folk-flirting solo career and steady work with Fleet Foxes, J. Tillman admits he’s never really written a love song. He sought to rectify that very problem with I Love You, Honeybear, the second album under his Father John Misty moniker. Recorded over the last year or so alongside friend/producer Jonathan Wilson (who also helmed 2012’s Fear Fun), it’s a concept album in which FJM meets a woman named Emma who teaches him the virtues of “true liberation and sublime, unfettered creativity,” all while he tries to prevent his own “jealousy-fueled” self-destruction. Tillman himself has said the LP takes cues from solo-era John Lennon and Harry Nilsson, and based on singles like “Bored in the USA” and “Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)”, it’s clear his idea of a love song comes utterly drenched with his trademark wit and healthy cynicism. –Chris Coplan

Listen: “Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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The-Juliana-Hatfield-Three-01THE JULIANA HATFIELD THREE – WHATEVER, MY LOVE

Release date: February 17th via American Laundromat Records

Why We’re Excited: While we did love Juliana Hatfield’s collaboration with Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws in Minor Alps, we’re far more stoked about her decision to reunite the Three. After all, it’s been 22 years since we first fell in love with the band’s debut album, Become What You Are, and given all the ’90s nostalgia as of late, it only makes sense that we can buy a ticket to hear “Addicted”, “For the Birds”, or “Supermodel”. But hey, we aren’t only getting a reunion tour but also a new album that was legit crowd-sourced by her fans. Based on new single “If I Could”, a reworking of a catchy old demo from years past,Whatever, My Love should offer the same rays of sunshine that bathed us in delight during the Clinton era. As Hatfield explained, “You know me and I don’t have to tell you that the whole album doesn’t sound like this — there are some raunchier rockers in there along with some other pretty things. We hope you love it all…” Fingers crossed. –Michael Roffman

Listen: “If I Could”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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DanDeaconGlissRifferCVR2400DAN DEACON – GLISS RIFFER

Release date: February 24th via Domino Recording Company

Why We’re Excited: Perpetual electronic underdog Dan Deacon tends to go big live, conjuring up a sort of theatrical magic for his audience that few performers ever get to fully grasp. Last year, while opening for Arcade Fire at stadiums and arenas nationwide, you could tell the Baltimore legend has been hungry for something more. That explains his latest self-produced album, Gliss Riffer, a juggernaut follow-up to his electric discography that goes big in exciting new ways. Now, most press releases oversell albums, but Deacon’s couldn’t be closer to the truth: “What Gliss Riffer shares with Spiderman of the Rings as a musical experience is a direct and ecstatic energy. [The album] trades in exuberant, uncontained fun that is tempered by lyrics that yearn and are set in defiance of life’s nagging anxiety. The bliss on this record is well-earned.” And also quite contagious. Songs like “Sheated Wings”, “Meme Generator”, and “Learning to Relax” are sugary slices of electronic madness that demand repeat listens. Maybe it’s a tad presumptious, but Glass Riffer will likely be a year-end favorite for many critics and fans. –Michael Roffman

Listen: “Feel the Lightning”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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ladylamb_afterLPartLADY LAMB THE BEEKEEPER – AFTER

Release date: March 3rd via Mom + Pop Music

Why We’re Excited: With 2013’s Ripley Pine, singer-songwriter Aly Spaltro, aka Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, took breathtakingly earnest emotions and wrapped them in a sheet of gorgeous melodies and poignant lyrics. For her sophomore effort, After, Spaltro reconvened with producer/collaborator Nadim Issa to somehow let the world in even further. The resulting 12-track LP puts on display her “most palpable fears and memories,” striking at the very core of her being with “ruminations on mortality, family, friendships, and leaving home.” Spaltro herself seems to be interested in removing the veil between herself and her audience entirely, sharing her deepest, most unassuming romantic ponderings on lead single “Billions of Eyes”. Yet that track’s garage rock influences and danceable rhythms prove that even as she lays utterly exposed, Spaltro is still a mighty and righteous performer brimming with rock star charisma. –Chris Coplan

Listen: “Billions of Eyes”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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modest mouse strangers to ourselvesMODEST MOUSE – STRANGERS TO OURSELVES

Release date: March 3rd via Epic Records 

Why We’re Excited: The name of frontman Isaac Brock’s record label, Glacial Pace, sums up the gestation of Modest Mouse’s sixth album all too well: It’s been eight years since the band that put Issaquah, Washington, on the map released We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, their first (and, at least for now, last) with Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Inevitably, Strangers to Ourselves should be a refill of the idiosyncrasies the band brought to indie rock almost 20 years ago, even if the formula has been streamlined over the past 10: Brock’s vocal (fr)antics, incisive lyrics, and expressive guitars. It’s a 15-song double LP you can spend as much as $500 on if you’re into signed vintage posters. For now, listen to the rollicking lead single, “Lampshades on Fire”, which the band have been playing live since 2011. –Michael Madden

Listen: “Lampshades on Fire”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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Matthew E. White – Fresh BloodMATTHEW E. WHITE – FRESH BLOOD

Release date: March 10th via Domino Recording Company

Why We’re Excited: Back in 2012, Virginia native Matthew E. White captivated audiences with Big Inner, an album that lent a progressive spin to insightful singer-songwriter fare from Randy Newman and Curtis Mayfield. For his follow-up, entitled Fresh Blood, White is looking to take an even more “deliberate” approach to his brand of pop-jazz fusion. As an extension of that, he’s relying more on friend and former bandmate Andy Jenkins, with whom he co-wrote many of the album’s arrangements, and his “trusted” Spacebomb house band — bassist Cameron Ralston, drummer Pinson Chanselle, and guitarist Trey Pollard. White has yet to release the album’s lead single, but based on a teaser of the hazy “Tranquility”, he’s clearly moving in a direction that does away with some of Big Inner’s chutzpah for more subdued and contemplative material. No matter the direction his creative juices flow, we’ll continue to follow this CoSigned croonerfor his endless heart and profound emotional insights. –Chris Coplan

Listen: “Tranquility”

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Will Butler - Policy solo albumWILL BUTLER – POLICY

Release date: March 10th via Merge Records

Why We’re Excited: Who would’ve thought years ago that the guy running around on stage with the Arcade Fire, parading with a bass drum, throwing drumsticks at Richard Parry, and playing a glockenspiel would wind up releasing a solo LP? But here we are, with Win’s little brother Will ready to release Policy, an album of “American music” in the tradition of a range of artists including “Smokey Robinson, the Magnetic Fields, Ghostface Killah.”

Butler started by dropping in on a few low-key live dates, debuting his new, jangly tunes for test audiences. He’s clearly grown a lot since the early Arcade Fire days, even snagging an Academy Award nomination for his work with Owen Pallett on the HersoundtrackPolicy, recorded at Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios and featuring Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara on drums, is shaping up to make one of Arcade Fire’s secret weapons not so secret. –Adam Kivel

Listen: “Take My Side”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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Tobias Jesso Jr. – GoonTOBIAS JESSO JR. – GOON

Release date: March 17th via True Panther Sounds

Why We’re Excited: Goon may be Tobias Jesso Jr.’s first album, but the Vancouver-based singer-songwriter already has plenty of credit to his name. This 12-track debut sees production from Girls’ Chet “JR” White, The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, and Ariel Rechtshaid, all three of whom hone Jesso’s sweet, honest tone into the bare makings of a future Perfume Genius, Nat Baldwin, or Sparklehorse. Goon outlines his time tackling a rough breakup in Los Angeles, CA. While the fodder may sound cliché, Tobias Jesso Jr. wields the earnestness of Justin Vernon while keeping the brute charm of Daniel Johnston, all the while cradling a broken heart with the gentle notes of his piano. It’s what you’d expect from an up-and-coming artist who bashfully avoids eye contact, offering up a debut title that sees him jabbing his own side in good fun while getting a little misty-eyed.–Nina Corcoran

Listen: “Hollywood”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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Image (1) TwinShadow-300x300-260x260.jpg for post 151269TWIN SHADOW – ECLIPSE

Release date: March 17th via Warner Bros. Records 

Why We’re Excited: Not only is George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow, in a new city (Los Angeles via Brooklyn), he’s also changed record labels. Starting with his dance-oriented debut, 2010’s Forget, Lewis has increasingly relied on his pop sensibilities — and, evidently, Warner Bros. has been just the label to nurture his grandest ambitions. More so than his Grand Theft Auto V contribution “Old Love / New Love” and the sensuous new ballad “Turn Me Up” (the two other Twin Shadow songs Lewis Jr. has debuted since 2012’s Confess), “To the Top” sounds particularly huge, a Prince-ly, atmosphere-crushing song that actually came out on Lewis Jr.’s former label 4AD. –Michael Madden

Listen: “To the Top”

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laura marling short movie 01 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015LAURA MARLING – SHORT MOVIE

Release date: March 24th via Ribbon

Why We’re Excited: Folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling has paved a straight line over the last few years, creating a dependably honest, warm sound that’s immediately recognizable. The follow-up to 2013’s Once I Was an Eaglesees frequent collaborators Matt Ingram and Dan Cox working alongside a number of her good friends, including Noah and the Whale’s Tom Hobden, cellist Ruth De Turberville, and bassist Nick Pini. So when the title track opens with “I’m paying for my mistake/ That’s okay,” it’s normal to feel a wave of relief. Marling looks to be making a strong return, admitting her own faults while trusting in us to do the same. It’s a fair friendship rooted in healing, dusty and earnest as ever. That’s what Marling does best; she doles out songs in hopes of helping her listeners grow stronger. Clocking in as her fifth studio album, Short Movie could be the newest product in her row of anecdotal medicines to rebuild our immune system after a rough 2014. –Nina Corcoran

Listen: “Short Movie”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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Faith No MoreFAITH NO MORE – TBA

Release date: April

Why We’re Excited: Eighteen years is a long time to wait, but the patient, passionate fans of experimental rockers Faith No More will soon be rewarded with the band’s upcoming seventh LP. Sure, the guys took on a reunion tour in 2009 and they’d all been busy with other projects prior to that — Mike Patton kept his insanely ranged vocalsfresh — but the vicious sound and snarling wolf cover for new single “Motherfucker” announced the Bay Area five-piece’s return to the studio in properly intense fashion.

The biting track, and the rest of the album, was recorded in their Oakland rehearsal space and produced by bassist Bill Gould, who explained that “Motherfucker” is about “where the buck stops via the basic imagery of foie gras production, bondage.” Sounds about right. –Adam Kivel

Listen: “Motherfucker”

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my morning jacket1 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015MY MORNING JACKET – TBA

Release date: April

Why We’re Excited: Because this album was actually featured in our post for 2014’s most anticipated albums, and more than a year later it’s finally happening. We know the band entered the studio in October 2013, and we recently learned that work on the follow-up to 2011’s Circuital became so fruitful that My Morning Jacket have already claimed a spot on the 2016 version of this feature. They produced about 24 songs they considered “solid contenders” and decided to go ahead and compile two albums simultaneously (any leftovers could very well end up on frontman Jim James’ sophomore solo record, also eyed for a ’16 release). As principal songwriter, James recorded vague “demos” so his bandmates could “come in with a basic understanding of the melody or what I was hoping to go for,” he told Rolling Stone. “But we had a really fun way of working where there’s no rehearsal period and we could jump in and just start rolling tape.” He added that he wanted the record to feel “like you got the wrong one from the factory. We strive to make people put on the record or MP3 and be like, ‘Shit, did they actually fuck up my order?’” So while we don’t have much in way of a preview, we can likely expect something weird and wonderful in true MMJ fashion. –Ben Kaye

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waxahatchee The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015WAXAHATCHEE – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: With her 2013 sophomore solo LP, Cerulean Salt, Katie Crutchfield cemented her spot as a singer-songwriter to watch. Jenny Lewis took note too, bringing the former P.S. Eliot guitarist/vocalist along as an opener on a handful of late 2014 shows — and Crutchfield took that opportunity to debut songs from her freshly recorded third album as Waxahatchee.

On Cerulean Salt, Crutchfield expanded her tender acoustic heartbreakers into full-band productions, but those Lewis opening spots and the surrounding tour dates found her performing solo again. Whether she’s alone on her as-yet-untitled follow-up remains to be seen, but at least one report noted that Crutchfield was accompanied by a second guitarist from time to time, and mentioned an appearance from her twin sister and P.S. Eliot bandmate Allison (now of Swearin’) on harmonies. Whatever the orchestration, we’re eager to hear more of Crutchfield’s guttingly resonant lyrics. –Adam Kivel

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adele useADELE – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Adele has kept quiet lately, but when it comes to talented musicians, that’s generally a good sign. The Grammy-winning pop singer is hard at work on her third full-length. While we don’t know too much about it other than that Phil Collins won’t be on it (she never returned his calls), we do know that it will be a piano-driven album that’s more intimate and stripped-down than her first two. With a powerhouse voice and a universal hold on human emotions, Adele will toss us a platinum bone no matter what, and her hesitance implies that it will be a magnificent follow-up. It’s hard work when you want to write, record, produce, and master something all on your own — despite now being a mother of one. Her dedication to the craft alone has us eager.–Nina Corcoran

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band of horsesBAND OF HORSES – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: 2012’s Mirage Rock had the simultaneous effect of searing a hot branding iron on Band of Horses as another Southern rock ensemble from America and declaring their departure from the emotional ether that the band channeled on their first two album releases. Remember the way they stampeded through profound pain on Everything All the Time and Cease to Begin with momentum that made it feel like they were pasteurizing the new landscape of American indie rock? Songs stirred emotional responses and allowed personal reflections, and the metronome between the two was seamless. But after leaving Sub Pop for Columbia and releasingInfinite Arms and Mirage Rock, the once perfect deluge of tolerable indie agony faded out of sight.

But they’re back. After putting out 2014’s Acoustic at the Ryman and a Christmas song, Band of Horses are now finally gearing up for their first proper LP since 2010. According to frontman Ben Bridwell, the new album is already taking shape to be unlike the last two. “I’m trying to pay attention to the words and make sure I’m telling a story here to hopefully break some people’s hearts,” he tells Rolling Stone. Yes! We like BoH broken and tender, saddling up darkness and sadness. They’ve enlisted Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle as producer (who donned the same hat for all four Grandaddy albums plus two solo albums), and even if Bridwell recently told Paste that he still loves his country music, we cannot confirm whether or not any country-fied tunes will make the cut. –Lior Phillips

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Beach House - Saturn SongBEACH HOUSE – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Starting in 2008, dream pop duo Beach House released a new album every two years — making the lack of new material in 2014 a little disappointing. However, fan-shot footage of a recent stop on their “Northern Exposure” tour (in which they took the stage in front of under-served audiences in Canada and Alaska) revealed a sinewy, warm breeze of a new track, fanning the flames of hope that a fifth LP is near on the horizon. Last year also saw Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally contribute “Saturn Song” to Lefse Records’ Space Project, featuring sounds from “electromagnetic radiation fluctuations in the magnetosphere of the planets, moons, and large asteroids the Voyager probes traveled near.” All that looking skyward could very well infuse an even grander scope to a potential new album. –Adam Kivel

Listen: Untitled new song

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Image (1) BloodOrange_Urbani.jpg for post 395523BLOOD ORANGE – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Dev Hynes is something of a music industry stalwart who has appeared as a leader or side player on a bushel of projects, with sounds spanning an almost equal number of sub-genres. In 2013, he scored a minor hit with his second release under the moniker Blood Orange, the sultry, electronica-infused R&B mélange of Cupid Deluxe. He is reportedly in the studio with British girl band Mutya Keisha Siobha recording a follow-up. Considering Hynes’s prolific talents, spanning writing, producing, and performance, it is a safe bet that a new Blood Orange album will be equal parts beautiful and weird. –Kris Lenz

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brandon flowers thumbBRANDON FLOWERS – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Mr. Brightside cometh once more. The Killers have made a decent living as one of the last mainstream rock bands to make it out of the mid-aughts with some degree of relevance. Frontman Brandon Flowers wasn’t content, though. He pulled the classic move of doing a solo project and came out with the modest but forgettable Flamingo — an album that draws from Las Vegas, like much of The Killers’ material. His sophomore effort will push Flowers out of his hometown. Even better, he’s taking some noteworthy friends with him; Vampire Weekend and HAIM producer Ariel Rechtshaid will assist. It’s not just about going outside of Flowers’ comfort zone. His best work has a starry quality to it, and hopefully this upcoming effort finds him experimenting in that potentially luscious atmosphere instead of looking at it from Vegas’ dusk. –Brian Josephs

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chance rapper surf The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015CHANCE THE RAPPER AND THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT – SURF

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Throughout his meteoric rise from a high school kid who got suspended to a must-see festival headliner (see his performance at Lollapalooza last year), Chance the Rapper has thrived while remaining an independent emcee. Not beholden to a record label, Chance and the Social Experiment — his live band — have been pursuing new projects that focus on each member’s talents. The first in the pipeline is a record called Surf, which will heavily feature Donnie Trumpet (aka Nico Segal, Chance’s trumpet player). In keeping with the tradition of his excellent first two mixtapes,10 Day and Acid Rap, Surf will also be released for free, and another project entitled SOX is on the way, according to Billboard. The Chicago rapper said he’s been working with Migos, J. Cole, Rick Rubin, and Frank Ocean but declined to elaborate on which releases these artists will appear. If recent singles “Sunday Candy”, “No Better Blues”, and “Wonderful Everyday: Arthur” are any indication, expect more great verses from Chance on new songs that explore a wide range of sounds, from gospel to jazz. –Killian Young

Listen: “Sunday Candy”
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Chromatics – Dear TommyCHROMATICS – DEAR TOMMY

Release date: TBA via Italians Do It Better

Why We’re Excited: It’s Johnny Jewel! The man works in tight-lipped secrecy, rarely divulging any details from whatever he drops next via Italians Do It Better. That’s what made the lastChromatics release — 2012’s Kill for Love — so impactful: unadulterated mystery. Three years later, that same black magic’s working once more for its equally murky follow-up, Dear Tommy. Nevertheless, there are tiny pieces to knick from the album’s exhaustive 17-song tracklist. Both “Cherry” and “Camera” should ring a bell, having previously appeared on the label’s After Dark 2 compilation, though Jewel insists the latter sounds quite different here. And while this may be quite a stretch, the track “Colorblind” catches our eyes: Could it be a reworked cover of the Counting Crows’ moody hit? If memory serves us right, the Chromatics do tend to include one cover per LP. Granted, the Crows would be quite a departure from their past reimaginings of Neil Young and Kate Bush, but there have been weirder covers by weirder bands. We’ll see Valentine’s Day; that is, if Jewel doesn’t smudge the release date. –Michael Roffman

Listen: “Cherry”

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the dead weatherTHE DEAD WEATHER – TBA

Release date: TBA via Third Man Records

Why We’re Excited: Jack White confirmed a third The Dead Weather album over a year ago, and he’s spent the interim slowly teasing out the band’s new music through his Third Man Records vault collections. Thus far we’ve heard “Open Up (That’s Enough)”, “Rough Detective”, “It’s Just Too Bad”, and “Buzzkill(er)”. For an idea of where these tracks rank amongst White’s arsenal of work, consider this: Lazaretto was released last year but failed to show up anywhere on our year-end rankings; “Buzzkill(er)”, on the other hand, was amongst our favorite songs of 2014. The quartet of tracks are perhaps a bit more dipped in grime than past Dead Weather material, though they maintain the slinky eccentricity that reminds listeners of “the ferocity of this motley collection of lowlifes, grifters and ne’er-do-wells,” as a press release put it. White will turn 40 in July, but considering a 2014 that saw some of his most epic all-time performancesand a 2015 that already has an album with this much promise, he may be hitting a whole new stride. –Ben Kaye

Listen: “Buzzkill(er)”
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Image (13) Death_Cab_for_Cutie.jpg for post 414935DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: On September 13, 2014, at Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, British Columbia, Chris Walla played his last show with Death Cab for Cutie. It was a bittersweet spectacle for those in attendance, who helped see the guitarist off after nearly 20 years as a founding member and songwriter of the Seattle-based indie rock band. But Walla hasn’t quite left the band yet; before departing, he helped Death Cab write and record their eighth studio album and follow-up to 2011’s Codes and Keys. Though Walla has traditionally worked the console for the band, this time out they’ve turned to producer Rich Costey, whose outsider status may help them avoid some of the more indulgent tendencies that started with 2008’s Narrow Stairs. –Collin Brennan

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drake The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015DRAKE – VIEWS FROM THE 6

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: As their global ambassador, Drake could be forgiven for watching and re-watching highlights of the ascendant Toronto Raptors all day every day. But, no, he’s finishing his fourth album, the name of which refers to Toronto area codes 416 and 647. More artists could learn from Drizzy’s work ethic these days; in 2014, when not courtside or performing one of 31 shows with Lil Wayne, he kept his buzz strong by unveiling new solo tracks (including the blood-quickening Toronto anthem “6 God” and the James Blake-flipping “0-100 / The Catch Up”), as well as features (big-upping his mentor on Wayne’s “Believe Me” and jumping on ILoveMakonnen’s“Tuesday”). Still, Album Drake is another story entirely, as he proved with Thank Me Laterand, especially, Take Care and Nothing Was the Same, intensive bodies of work all. –Michael Madden

Listen: “0 to 100 / The Catch Up”
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Image (18) frank-ocean-lead.jpg for post 414935FRANK OCEAN – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: A snippet. That’s all we’ve heard fromFrank Ocean, or at least Frank Ocean the solo artist, lately: a lush, invitingly psychedelic snippet, but a mere snippet nonetheless. Despite much demand, his output in the two and half years since Channel Orange has been limited to just a handful of features (Jay Z’s epic-scale “Oceans”, Earl Sweatshirt’s confessional “Sunday”, the Converse-sponsored“Hero” with Diplo and half of The Clash, and Beyoncé’s “Superpower”), even though, all the way back in February 2013, Ocean said he already had “like 10, 11″ songs finished for the follow-up. Lately, the whole affair has been hush-hush, though we do know Ocean has recently been in the studio working with Brian Wilson (for the Beach Boy’s next solo album), Hit-Boy, and, yes, Lil B. –Michael Madden

Listen: “memrise”
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Freddie-GibbsFREDDIE GIBBS – LIFESTYLES OF THE INSANE

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Fresh off his and Madlib’s kaleidoscopicPiñata (not to mention The Tonite Show, his 10-track collaboration with DJ Fresh, aka The Worlds Freshest), Freddie Gibbs has been tentative in detailing his next album, giving us the title and estimating that it’s 60 percent finished in a hilarious Montreality interview. Vagueness aside, though, Gibbs is always good for at least one project a year, and for the past two years, he’s been focusing on albums rather than mixtapes, releasing two of the best records of his career in Piñata and 2013’s ESGN. He’s also about to become a father for the first time, so who knows — maybe the archetypal gangsta rapper will bare a softer heart and make his most introspective music yet. Just hopefully not too introspective: Gangsta Gibbs’ ski mask chronicles are irreplaceable. –Michael Madden

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Giorgio MoroderGIORGIO MORODER – 74 IS THE NEW 24

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Prior to his incredibly central role in Daft Punk’s purposed 2013 comeback LP, Random Access Memories, disco legend Giorgio Moroder hadn’t been a much-referenced name in popular music for at least 16 years (he did win a Best Dance Recording Grammy with Donna Summer in 1997 for her single “Carry On”) and at most, since the ‘70s. That all changed following Memories and his heartwarming first-ever live DJ performances last year. Now, his first album in 30 years as a primary artist is due this spring. It’s reported to feature huge-name collaborators including Britney Spears, Charlie XCX, and Kylie Minogue, and possibly his perfectly titled single from November, “74 is the New 24”. Let’s hear it: 74-year-old “Hot Stuff” producer for Best New Artist 2015! –Steven Arroyo

Listen: “74 Is the New 24″
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Grimes-1GRIMES – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: For all the times Claire Boucher made our headlines in 2014, we know frustratingly little about her upcoming album as Grimes, except that she’s obviously not taking it lightly. After recording “Go” for herself when it didn’t work out for Rihanna, Boucher had a song-of-the-summer contender and made a comparably over-stimulating video that seemed to indicate she was firing on all cylinders. And then in September, she told the New York Times that not only was “Go” not a fit for the album, but that everything she had been working on since Visions had been scrapped. The most recent update came in a December Twitter spiel in which she teased at least one “glam rock style song, feeling queen and bowie” and moving away from computers towards guitars. –Steven Arroyo

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Image (1) james-blake-overgrown-e1360253210693.jpg for post 291415JAMES BLAKE – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The London singer-producer announced his third formal LP would be coming in “about five months” back in November. Hopefully that’s still the timeline and we can expect an early spring arrival. He dropped some singles towards the end of the year to hold us over — “200 Press” in August and “Building It Still”in October — and they comprised a preview EP that he released last month. But most enticingly, Blake also offered vague details about working with Kanye West and hoping to include some of that output on the album. It wouldn’t be his first rodeo in collaborating with a Chicago hip-hop giant. –Steven Arroyo

Listen: “200 Press”
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joanna newsomJOANNA NEWSOM – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Joanna Newsom is just perfect enough to verge on being a goddess. The giggly harpist and folk bon vivant continually strives to outdo herself, following up her iconic 2004 debut, The Milk-Eyed Mender, with with 2006’s analog orchestral feat Ys and 2010’s epic Have One on Me, a two-hour-long avant-garde release that furthered her cryptic, pastoral sound. In the past four years, she’s been busy marrying Andy Samberg, playing a few festivals, and quietly collaborating with The Roots and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. With word that she’s finally going to release new material, it’s hard to be anything less than ecstatic. Newsom’s upcoming release should be imaginative as ever, given that she’s been “working hard for a lot of those five years on a new idea.” Until then, her role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, Inherent Vice, will have to suffice. As both the film’s narrator and the aptly-cast “earth-goddess-like” figure Sortilège, Newsom dabbles in what could easily be the plot of one of her long, mystical, verbose numbers. –Nina Corcoran

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lil wayne mirrorLIL WAYNE – THA CARTER V

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: After some 15 odd years as the Greatest Rapper on Earth, Lil Wayne is set to step down from the throne with his “retirement” album, Tha Carter V. With his stroll into the sunset clearly in sight, Wayne seemed more inspired than he had been in recent years, hitting the road with Drake for a massive joint tour and delivering a string of bangers like “D’usse”, “Krazy”, and “Grindin”. Yet what should have been a celebration of Weezy’s iconic run, leading to one final, glorious triumph, has become something resembling a circus sideshow. After months of delays, Weezy emerged recently to reveal a mighty beef with Cash Money, accusing the label and longtime “father” Birdman of keeping him a “creative prisoner” and preventing TCV from being released. While it’s hard to discern what’s actually true, or even if this isn’t all some extreme marketing ploy, it’s certainly done a lot to hurt the momentum behind the album, helping to push this entire process into the kind of satirical territory once reserved forChinese Democracy. If TCV drops early enough, Wayne could easily overcome this blemish on his legacy. If not, the only thing Great will be the joke pulled on the public at large. –Chris Coplan

Listen: “D’usse” and “Krazy”
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kanye westKANYE WEST – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: As 2014 came to a close, it looked as if we wouldn’t get a chance to hear a preview of Kanye West’s upcoming seventh studio album. Of course, in true Ye fashion, he shared the LP’s first single, “Only One”, just minutes before the clock struck midnight. Also in true Ye fashion, the track was nothing near what anyone was expecting. It guested Paul McCartney on keyboards and Ty Dolla $ign on backing vocals (let that sink in) and is a heartfelt ballad from the perspective of his late mother, Donda. It shows Kanye at his happiest and most introspective, a stark yet fitting contrast to his abrasive, bravado-filled persona on Yeezus.

While he’s stated this album could be his Born in the U.S.A., “Only One” hints that it could be even more pop-minded and sentimental than expected. Though a few fans haven’t taken to the change in musical direction, Kanye’s always thrived on subverting expectations. Remember how worried people were before the release of his Auto-Tuned masterpiece 808s & Heartbreak? If “Only One” isn’t the single we want now, it will be once we soak in what’s likely to be the biggest event album of 2015. Kanye knows what he’s doing, and his rumored collaborators on the album include Rick Rubin, Q-Tip. Pusha T, Theophilus London, Mike Dean, and Travi$ Scott, which might make for his best effort yet. –Josh Terry

Listen: “Only One”
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Image (5) kendrick.lamar_.king_.jpg for post 391532KENDRICK LAMAR – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Hip-hop heads have eagerly been waiting for the follow-up to Kendrick Lamar’s masterful good kid, m.A.A.d city. The Compton emcee “recorded 30 to 40 new songs for the album” and has spent time in the studio with Dr. Dre, according to Complex. Details on the LP are still scarce, but K. Dot has released the upbeat, Isley Brothers-sampling “i” and performed an unnamed song on one of the final episodes of The Colbert Report. Hot 97 DJ Stuart Rosenberg – who reportedly listened to four unheard tracks – said, “This next album is gonna be as good as good kid, m.A.A.d city. It may even be on a different and higher level.” So could we hear another classic hip-hop album in 2015? “This is truly a blessing from a higher power,” Lamar said in the Complex interview. “And as long as I understand that there’s really no limitations to what I can do, everything is forward with me.” –Killian Young

Listen: “i”
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meek.mill.000MEEK MILL – DREAMS WORTH MORE THAN MONEY

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Dreams Worth More Than Money, Meek Mill’s second album and follow-up to 2012’s Dreams and Nightmares, was once set to be released last September 9th, a date that seemed increasingly unlikely as the MMG motormouth remained behind bars for parole violation. Given that the pushback wasn’t announced until September 8th, it would seem Meek — freed on December 2nd — should be ready to hand in his final draft any day now. Indeed, after releasing the neck-snapping Boosie Badazz collab “Fuck You Mean” and other singles in 2014, he took to Instagram on December 31st to unveil five unnamed DWMTM snippets — three of them steely bangers defined by his dynamic signature bark, a more cinematic cut featuring recollections of his prison time, and yet another that shows a relatively soft side of the Philly native (the Chris Brown track, of course). –Michael Madden

Listen: “Fuck You Mean”
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 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015METALLICA – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: In the seven-year gap since Death Magnetic, Metallica has performed at a baseball game, joined forces with Lou Reed for one of the strangest collaborations ever, gotten a Guinness World Record, and had a cameo in an ESPN advertisement — basically, the forefathers of metal have gone full-on Dad Rock. There’s a kicker, though: They’ve officially begun to “blueprint” their new album. Since the only true Metallica album with bassist Robert Trujillo ventured into new territory with Rage Against the Machine-like riffs and dark, brooding instrumentals, there’s solid reason to believe their next work could be even more adventurous. Will it be a further return to their metal roots? Will it have new sports stadium anthems? Are they truly past the mistakes ofSt. Anger? 2015 should let us know. –Dan Bogosian

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miguelbetexperience_THUMBMIGUEL – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Miguel was one of 2012’s most exciting R&B acts, with enough pipes to soothe any tension and enough great singles like “Adorn” and “Do You…” to stay on constant rotation two years later. Now, it’s time for him to make a proper follow-up. Since his breakout album, Kaleidoscope Dream, was released, he’s spent his time on collaborations with Mariah Carey, Jessie Ware, and Janelle Monáe before releasing a surprise three-song EP in December. While it’s unclear whether or not the trio of tracks will land on the LP, we do know that he’s shared studio time with Jessie Ware and J. Cole. However, since he claimed earlier this year to have a “very clear goal” for the LP, we’ll take him at his word that he’ll deliver on the seismic hype he created for himself two years back. –Josh Terry

Listen: “hollywooddreams”
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MUMFORDANDSONSMUMFORD AND SONS – TBA

Release date: TBA 

Why We’re Excited: Not long ago, Mumford and Sons were on top of the world. In 2012, the British folk band released Babel — which went on to go platinum — and their electric live shows consistently sold out venues across the globe. After the tour (and a health scare when bassist Ted Dwane needed an emergency operation to remove a blood clot on his brain), Mumford and Sons announced they’d take an indefinite hiatus. Frontman Marcus Mumford recently played as part of the supergroup of musicians that performed rediscovered Bob Dylan songs for Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, but Mumford and Sons now appear to be working on new original songs for studio album number three. Producer James Ford – who worked on every Arctic Monkeys record and also HAIM’s Days Are Gone – is tied to the project, according to NME. Get ready for some more heart-on-the-sleeve, chest-thumping folk. –Killian Young
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purityringthumb The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015PURITY RING – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: A palpable wave of Tumblr-fueled excitement has enveloped Edmonton duo Purity Ring as they prepare to release their sophomore LP. And the record will have plenty to live up to. Shrines was 2012’s mesmerizing tribute to longings set adrift upon an ambient dreamscape, leaving fans thoroughly impressed. Frontwoman Megan James has a voice that rises like a disembodied woodland sprite, while Corin Roddick provides a soundtrack that fits perfectly well within a Nevernever Land mushroom patch. December 2014’s release of the beautiful single “Push Pull” may just be an aperitif for what’s in store, as little is yet known about the new work. But the band’s willingness to collaborate with other artists — such as meditative dance junkie Jon Hopkins and the kooky yet lovable Danny Brown — raises an additional level of interest in finding out which guest spots might be appearing on the new LP. –Dan Pfleegor

Listen: “Push Pull”
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pusha-t cocainePUSHA T – KING PUSH

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The future of Clipse remains uncertain, butPusha T is still moving forward. Pusha’s already made waves on his own without his brother No Malice at his side. His solo debut, My Name Is My Name, saw the MC rapping over off-the-wall beats produced by the likes of Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, and Hudson Mohawke. His sophomore effort looks to continue the eccentric pursuits he’s started from the sounds ofKing Push’s lead single, “Lunch Money”, also produced by West. These two together are a deadly combination on par with Clipse. The more experimental Pusha gets, the more exciting the music becomes. –Dusty Henry

Listen: “Lunch Money”
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radio head useRADIOHEAD – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Lick a finger and point the tip to the north. That wet chill riding high on the wind, the way the crows circle just so over the Circle-K parking lot, the interrupted reports of the band members huddled in a studio somewhere in the English countryside. All signs are equally reliable indicators that Radiohead, those restless innovators, those priggish music industry pranksters, are hard at work on a new record. No band’s “next release” is more anticipated than Radiohead’s. It’s equally tempting to the salivating fans and their digitally mirrored doubles in passion, the Internet trolls and haters.

Few bands can match Radiohead’s standing record of interruptions, both sonic and commercial, and there is no reason to think a new album will be anything other than disruptive. Don’t hold your breath, but know that the lads are hunched over their instruments as we speak, hatching plans devious and wry, which could coalesce suddenly and without warning as soon as … wait, let me check Twitter. –Kris Lenz

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rihannaRIHANNA – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Rihanna’s eighth studio album may drop sooner than expected. It recently appeared for pre-order on Play.com with the title still TBD, but that doesn’t mean much considering Dr. Dre’s Detox has been hanging on their pre-order list for almost a decade. What we do get to toy with, however, is a song snippet she shared on Instagram. “Ain’t none of this shit promised, ain’t none of this promised,” she sings over a hard-hitting trap beat to a black screen, a track we can only hope is the “#barz” she and Nicki Minaj have been alluding to as a collaboration. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that she may have two surprise albums up her sleeve. The first album has a rumored title of #R8, and the second could be a film soundtrack with David Guetta, according to The Daily Star. If she’s busy turning down new material from Grimes, then the sounds she’s working with must be shocking in a different set of ways. After all, Rihanna is Rihanna. She will settle for nothing less than shock dramatics, like vomiting confetti-sprinkled streamers. –Nina Corcoran

Listen: Instagram teaser
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killer mike el p meow the jewels kickstarter lead The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015RUN THE JEWELS – RTJ3 AND MEOW THE JEWELS

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: We’re still reeling from the release ofRTJ2 — see our (inhale) Top 50 Albums, Top 50 songs, andArtist of the Year accolades (exhale) — making the prospect of not just one but two new Run the Jewels albums in 2015 seem utterly mind-blowing. But it just may happen, and we couldn’t be more excited. This month, the duo of El-P and Killer Mike are set to begin work on RTJ3, and although details are still scarce, it’s likely the pair will continue to build on 2014’s tremendous momentum and dish out another exhilarating record that leaves us gasping for air.

If an LP chock-full of originals isn’t enough to whet your appetite, perhaps Run the Jewels’ remix album made up entirely of cat sounds will get your anticipation purr-colating. The result of an insanely successful — and straight-up bonkers — Kickstarter project worth over $65,000, the release is set to feature contributions from Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, The Alchemist, Boots, Dan the Automator, Just Blaze, Baauer, and Prince Paul, among others. What’s more, all proceeds raised will benefit the families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, whose tragic and controversial deaths have reignited the debate on police brutality and effectively put this country’s long, ugly, and too often downplayed history of racism on full blast. –Michelle Geslani

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43-Sky-FerreiraSKY FERREIRA – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Way back in 2013 … Okay, so it hasn’t been too long since Sky Ferreira dropped her fantastic debut, Night Time, My Time. Yet already she’s been performing new material — “Guardian” and “Painting with Different Paints” — in addition to posting images of her working hard in the studio via Instagram, which suggests we should get something from the alt-pop star before 2015 comes to an end. Reportedly, Ferreira is collaborating with a number of different producers and writers, including Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, Ariel Rechtshaid, Justin Raisen, and Andrew Innes. If that roster proves true, then whoa-ho, oh golly! –Michael Roffman

Listen: “Guardian”
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Billy-Corgan1THE SMASHING PUMPKINS – DAY FOR NIGHT

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: When Billy Corgan announced early last year that he was working on two new Smashing Pumpkinsrecords, it might have seemed suspect to some. Especially considering one would be with Tommy Lee on drums and the other would be a “doom metal” record. But the man’s been on a roll lately. Last year he released the first of the pair, Monuments to an Elegy, a surprisingly sharp and lush guitar record. Maybe he’ll be able to keep the momentum going with the second promised album, Day for Night. And while Corgan has caused a stir with some of his more controversial remarks in interviews lately, he dropped a bleak bomb last month talking with Wall Street Journal that the “the next album is like the end, end, end.” It’s hard to say what he means by this, either as an end to his Teargarden by Kaleidyscope series or an end to the band itself. Hopefully this album will give us the answers we’re looking for. Bring on the doom metal, Corgan. –Dusty Henry

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dave grohl corey taylor join teenage time killer supergroup The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015TEENAGE TIME KILLER – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Sometimes the best thing a bunch of seasoned rock vets can do is pile into the garage and let shit fly. That appears to be the M.O. that the newly minted supergroup Teenage Time Killer lives by. Pulled together by Corrosion of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin, TTK finds Dave Grohl, former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri, current OFF and former Black Flag/Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris, Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor, former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra, and Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe putting their collective underground pedigrees to good use. There’s not much to go off of at this point, but from the sounds of a short clip of the band’s recording sessions, it ought to be a purist affair of sorted punk, hardcore, and metal sounds. Hell, the band’s named after an old Rudimentary Peni tune, which by itself says a lot. –Ryan Bray

Listen: Studio teaser

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Tool-band-2006TOOL – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Tool have always kept their fans waiting and made major jumps with each album: Three years turned the alt-rock of Undertow into the prog-metal of AEnima; five years turned that into the dark perfection of Lateralus; and five years turned their loud rebellion into quieter introspection on 10,000 Days. In 2015, the band that epitomizes prog-metal should release their first album in nine years; after telling fans the album was “100% done,” then not coming soon, then “progressing rather nicely,” it’s hard to guess exactly when the long-awaited release will drop. Guitarist Adam Jones posted studio photos showing a time signature that they haven’t previously played in (11/4). One thing is for sure: Tool has never let fans or critics down before. In 2015, they should continue that streak. –Dan Bogosian

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the wrens useTHE WRENS – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: D’Angelo did it. Will The Wrens? A dwindling but faithful contingent of fans hold the The Wrens up as one of the most important and influential indie rock bands of the late ’90s/early 2000s. No strangers to label drama (as any true “indie rockers” should be), they’ve been deafeningly quiet in the years following the release of their third album,The Meadowlands (2003), rightfully considered a stone classic of indie rock. Now, all stars seem to have aligned, and last May the band announced their fourth record has been recorded and is being mastered, to be completed “by Mother’s Day.” Appropriately, the band did not indicate what year that holiday would correspond to. It’s been nine months since announcing the album’s completion, and we still have no concrete details of a release. But with many fans having waited over a decade, what’s a couple more weeks (months? years!?!)? –Kris Lenz

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