Most Anticipated of 2018

Most Anticipated of 2018

Following on the heels of our look at the best music released in 2017, we have compiled a list of the albums we are most looking forward to in 2018. We may not know what the year has in store for us, but at least we can be assured of some great music coming our way. A bunch of contributors have written up blurbs about the albums and artists we’re most excited about, and we’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to as well.

Animal Flag – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Zac Djamoos

Animal Flag is one of the most exciting bands in rock music right now. 2016’s aptly titled LP compiled a couple of older EPs into a cohesive game of genre roulette: the band wove together alternative rock, post-rock, folk, alt-country, and even post-hardcore throughout the effort’s ten tracks. The result? A fantastic, unpredictable album with something for almost anyone, culminating in the eight-minute “Cathedrals,” which manages to touch on every style and feeling explored prior. Now, there isn’t much telling what this record might sound like – the only things we know for sure are that the album is done and it’s coming out this year. But I would bet on it being a stunner.

Arctic Monkeys – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Kyle Huntington

Don’t believe the hype?” The hype train is real.  Arctic Monkeys last released an album in 2013 and the slick, leather-clad, boot-stomping AM was their biggest yet, seeing the Sheffield lads showcase their classic-rock chops in gargantuan terms. Since then the band has toured the world and taken time off for frontman Alex Turner to focus on his other band The Last Shadow Puppets. In that time it seemed Turner explored deeper into the classics and appeared to burst out of a shell with the help of the more avant-garde; Scott Walker, David Bowie, The Fall all clearly had an influence and showed up via cover versions in their sets. With this being said, it’s hard to know where Arctic Monkeys will go with their sound next. Like it or not, they are trailblazers and modern icons with both their appearance and musical approach evolving on every release. They may have started as UK darlings, and they’re very much held in the highest of regard over here (fans are currently waiting with baited breath as their online profiles have been updated with a new logo, font and a series of international festival dates having been announced) but they’re international rock stars now, ones that create a level of near “Beatlemania” excitement that very few can. Consequently, whatever direction the band do go in, it’s going to be very exciting.

Camp Cope – How To Socialise & Make Friends

Release Date: March 2
Anticipated by: Zac Djamoos

If I had to make a list of 2016’s breakout artists, I’d put Camp Cope pretty high up there. Their self-titled debut turned a lot of heads – mine included – and rightly so. While they might not be a punk band sonically (there’s more than a splash of indie rock in their sound), they embody the ethos more than almost anyone else around. The band has gained a reputation for being outspoken social justice advocates, and it shines through in their music. Georgia Maq deftly blends the personal and the political in her lyrics, resulting in clever, conversational, and frequently humorous lamentations on relationships, self-image, and feminism. Look no further than How to Socialise & Make Friends’ opener, uh, called “The Opener” for proof; it’s a four-minute romp of a song bolstered by Kelly Dawn Hellmrich’s bass playing (“Show ’em, Kelly!”) and Maq’s polemics against sexism in the music industry. At the end of the song, she dares promoters to “see how far we’ve come not listening” to them, and I can’t wait to see how far Camp Cope can go.

Carly Rae Jepsen – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Jason Tate

In 2012 Carly Rae Jepsen dominated the airwaves with the massive single “Call Me Maybe,” and in 2015 she released one of my favorite albums of the year, Emotion. (No, I will not stylize it with the dots, you can’t make me.) All signs currently point to us being graced with a new album from this pop wunderkind in 2018. Emotion was a smart, expansive, and sonic powerhouse. It was followed up with the fantastic b-side collection Emotion: Side B, and a song of the summer contender in “Cut to the Feeling” — these songs hinting at various ways a new album could go. And if the rumors of a Jack Antonoff collaboration are true? God damn.

Someone else jumped on getting a blurb in for The 1975, which is probably at the top of my personal list, but a new album from Carly Rae Jepsen is only slightly behind, and I’m expecting her to help define the pop-landscape for the year.

Crows – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Kyle Huntington

If you’re in the UK/Europe and happened to catch the likes of Wolf Alice or METZ over here you may be familiar with London-based post-punk quartet Crows. They have been touring their anarchic and frenzied live shows relentlessly for the past few years and released two EPs in 2016 all of which has earned them the title as one of, if not the most, exciting bands to come out of the UK in recent years. Raw, visceral and chaotic – the noisy, reverberated soundscape is matched by front man James Cox’s intense and un-tethered presence. Balancing the sound of scuzzy blues, noisy shoegaze and raw punk, the debut is set to arrive by kicking the doors in and with tours to follow I cannot recommend, nigh on implore, that you catch them near you for one of the best live shows you’ll ever see. World, welcome Crows.

Deafheaven – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Drew Beringer

Three years ago, some were skeptical that Deafheaven would be able to eclipse their stunning sophomore album, the genre-defining Sunbather. Yet, the band’s Anti- Records debut New Bermuda did just that – pushing their boundaries even further into luscious shoegaze soundscapes and devastating, harrowing abysses. So yeah, the Bay Area black metal virtuosos aren’t unfamiliar with toppling the creative mountains they’ve constructed. And they’ll look to do just that, as the band has recently entered the studio. With Deafheaven you should always expect the unexpected and prepare to enter new sonic peaks.

Ellie Goulding – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Garrett Lemons

When Ellie Goulding became a global presence thanks to the massive singles “Burn” and “Love Me Like You Do” following 2012’s dark and brooding Halcyon, many predicted a shift in tone to pure pop bombast. They were right: 2015’s Delirium ditched many of her preferred writing topics (and accompanying moods) such as aching heartbreak—whether of past lovers (“Figure 8”) or the painful relationship with her estranged father (“Explosions”)—for dance floor anthems mostly about love (“Something In The Way You Move,” “Codes”). However, her fantastic, clear and high vocals, reserved optimism, and self-confidence all blossomed.

Many claimed Goulding sold out instead of recognizing the album for the journey out of a bleak, personal wilderness and into joy that it is—a journey made clear to me witnessing her exuberant performance on the Delirium world tour. Goulding was happy and on top of the world. As someone who dealt with depression and bleak father dynamics, it was a revelation: there is another chapter. A great one with lots of dancing.

After the year-long global tour, she took an extended break following in the steps of friend Taylor Swift. But in late 2017, she hinted that she was writing again. In the following weeks on Twitter, she re-listened to Halcyon and referred to it as the darkest, most truthful record she’s written. Instagram is littered with videos of her in a studio, painfully soundless, providing no hint at where she’s going. But we have a promise to return to being the truth-teller she was on Halcyon—a prospect that both excites me and leaves me hoping that she finds a way to hold on to the happiness she exuded during the Delirium era. I think that combination could lead to something extraordinarily special—much like Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion.

Father John Misty – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Aaron Mook

Father John Misty is, in a word, polarizing, and Pure Comedy — a thesis statement on morality, technology and American politics set to music — only pushed that point further home. What some considered to be his most conceptualized and fully realized songwriting to date was labelled an ardous, even painful listening experience by others. Now, just a year after finding mainstream success via a series of late night performances, crooner/full-time personality Joshua Tillman is in the process of mastering his as-of-yet untitled fourth album under the moniker, using 2015’s much more beloved I Love You, Honeybear as a reference point – except this time, he’s trying to do it “without the cynicism.” For those who aren’t familiar with Father John Misty’s catalog, irony is, well, kind of his thing, and it’s difficult to imagine a collection of songs from him that doesn’t take a few swings at the entertainment industry (including himself). But the idea of stepping back from Pure Comedy’s admittedly exhausting subject matter and toward what could potentially become another classic collection of modern love songs is promising, to say the least.

Field Report – Summertime Songs

Release Date: March 23
Anticipated by: Craig Manning

I’d put Field Report’s last record, 2014’s Marigolden, up there with the 10 best albums of the decade so far. A chilly and often heartbreaking set of songs, Marigolden has slowly become one of my quintessential winter albums over the three-plus years since its release. It came as quite a shock, then, when the band’s mastermind Chris Porterfield announced that the title of the new record would be Summertime Songs. How could a band so good at conjuring up the contemplative loneliness of winter afternoons make a record about the season that is literally the opposite? Based on the album’s lead single, though—a propulsive cut called “Never Look Back,” about cutting ties and walking away from a bad relationship—the album title might just be appropriate. “Never Look Back” has a lot more indie pop grandiosity than Marigolden, which was predominantly a modern folk record. But as a former collaborator of Justin Vernon’s, Porterfield probably makes sense as a candidate to throw out the rulebook and start anew. Whatever’s he’s crafted here, it will be good to have him back after a few years away.

Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Release Date: April 6
Anticipated by: Drew Beringer

After breaking through in 2015 with their Saddle Creek debut Painted Shut and becoming a staple every publication’s top ten lists, Hop Along looks to become one of very best band’s rock has to offer. Early April will see the release of Bark Your Head Off, Dog, and the album’s opening track (and lead single) “Simple” is a strong reminder that Frances Quinlan’s voice is a force unlike any other, a constant see-saw between something beautiful and ugly. Hop Along’s music also encapsulates that catharsis in the most imperfect yet perfect ways and Bark Your Head Off, Dog looks to catapult Hop Along into the upper tier.

IDLES – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Kyle Huntington

Bristol, England based post-punk band IDLES released their critically acclaimed debut album Brutalism in March 2017 and have already wrapped up their follow up before the first month of 2018 is even done with and signed to Partisan Records to boot. Good timing too, because the debut was one of the most important modern releases, addressing the state of the world today with a surface of angst and anger that’s enough to make you snarl as you listen along, but its deep-rooted vulnerability allows for such an intense connection to exist and leave a permanent mark. Brutalism was a call-to-arms against social injustices that are so prevalent today and a record that felt like it was foaming at the mouth for us – leading the charge in discussing the changes so many of us are needing to see – so the next record being so hot on the heels of the first is met with great anticipation. Humourous, political, catchy and thrilling, if you aren’t already familiar with IDLES, but enjoyed this year’s debut from Shame or the likes of Pissed Jeans, then do not sleep on them for one more second.

Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Craig Manning

Kacey Musgraves’ debut LP—2013’s Same Trailer, Different Park—was one of the most crucial and influential country albums of the decade. By telling the truth and pulling zero punches, Musgraves brought topics that weren’t really being discussed in mainstream-leaning country music (like homosexuality or the soul-draining feeling of living in an ignorant small town) and brought them to the forefront. Her sophomore release, 2015’s Pageant Material, wasn’t as groundbreaking, but arguably took Musgraves’ songwriting chops to the next level. For her third record, titled Golden Hour, the give-no-shits country starlet says she’s blowing up the formula a bit, drawing inspiration from acts like Neil Young and Sade. Details are otherwise scare about the new LP, but Musgraves has revealed that she wrote one of the songs—a sappy heartstring-tugger about missing her mom—while tripping on acid. Sign me up.

Maggie Rogers – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Craig Ismaili

I just watched the Grammys hand Best Pop Solo Performance to Ed Sheeran in a category that also included Kesha’s “Praying”, Kelly Clarkson’s “Love So Soft”, Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons”, and Pink’s “What About Us.” I can’t pretend to not be furious about that right now. As someone walked to the stage to collect the award for Sheeran, who couldn’t be bothered to attend the event to collect the award for himself, I thought about the future of pop music. What I know is that now more than ever we need to help propel passionate, earth-shattering women into the limelight. We need to make it so the people in privileged places can no longer ignore the ever-present brilliance that is art made by women. And one artist I want to give a platform for is Maggie Rogers. The singer-songwriter is set to release her debut album this year, the follow-up to her Now that the Light Is Fading EP. Her songs feel like a shelter in the wilderness, a warm fireplace on a cold night. There is hope that we might reach a day where women get the accolades owed to them, and I hope Rogers is standing on the stage when that time comes.

Matt Maltese – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Kyle Huntington

Matt Maltese has been working on his self-proclaimed “Brexit pop” for a couple of years now but recently he’s really finding his voice, honing in on a style that shows off his stunning crooner vocals with the observational, dark humour akin to Father John Misty and the doomy balladry reminiscent of Nick Cave. Last year, he released his live EP Blood, Sweat & Beers which was recorded at The Drugstore (home of The Maccabees and produced by Hugo White of the band). The vinyl EP also included a booklet of poetry he wrote as “a satirical, self-pitying, ‘the road is really shit’ kind of thing” and its flawless gloom soundtracked what seemed like the inevitable apocalypse. Maltese’s storytelling has a wide range, from intricate stories of heartbreak on songs like “Studio 6” (”I see two lovers kiss on the street by Studio 6. And I remember the petrol-thick mist, we settled our lips”) to the “idea of Donald Trump and Theresa May having a final night on Earth, clicking the red button then enjoying ravenous lovemaking” on “As The World Caves In” or the agonising “No One Won The War” (”A man tried to trust money and be skeptical of love. Money’s his true mistress, while his wife is just a front and I guess no one won the war. The new day is now done. Did you hear another gun? Some folks had their fun. There’s an awful lot of blood”).

There’s no official release date as of yet, but when the album drops, it’s fair to say it will be a beautiful representation of what a time we’re living in.

Pedro The Lion – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Aaron Mook

The world needs David Bazan now more than ever. As a kid who received all of my music from a brother 10 years older than me, I was enthralled by stories of Bazan’s lyrical defiance. He was, at one time, a Christian whose music was boycotted for asking if you could “hear the voice of the spirit begging you to shut the fuck up.” And even as the years changed, the music industry changed and his faith changed, Bazan continued to deliver inventive and unflinchingly honest pieces of music that only an experienced songwriter and human being could craft so well. Time will tell what truly separates Pedro the Lion’s upcoming album — their first since 2004’s criminally underrated Achilles Heel — from Bazan’s recent (and largely synthesizer-based) solo output, but with the number of right-wingers in office pretending to pass as Christians while denying basic human rights to those oppressed on a day-to-day basis, it’s likely that these veteran indie-rockers will have a hard time not eviscerating the hypocrisy we see daily.

Say Anything – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Aaron Mook

Max Bemis can’t seem to catch a break. An eclectic punk-rocker that dominated the scene in the mid-late 2000s, his most beloved records hinged on his mental illness, addiction and ability to translate those sentiments into explosive pieces of theatrical emo-pop. It seems now, only in the wake of I Don’t Think It Is — a wildly experimental (but undeniably ambitious) statement that divided fans and critics alike — are listeners returning to Bemis’ more overlooked releases (2012’s Anarchy My Dear, 2014’s Hebrews) for something a bit more familiar. These fans may be pleased to hear that Bemis is making some changes on Say Anything’s seventh LP. Returning to the studio with Will Yip this past October, Bemis swore off the lo-fi production of his last few albums and described the upcoming summer release as “another record that’s going to be divisive, but I think if people like the dark element of …Is a Real Boy, the tragic element to it, [this is] a tragic record and it’s very heartfelt.” Comparisons to early material are irrelevant as Bemis, now a family man, seems happier and heathier than ever before, and it will be interesting to hear how that translates into his next beautiful/dark/twisted vision.

Soccer Mommy – Clean

Release Date: March 2
Anticipated by: Kyle Huntington

Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, has been releasing her DIY bedroom recordings to Bandcamp since 2015 and building up a die hard following of her confessional, almost diary-like-intimate, EPs (see titles: Songs For The Recently Sad and Songs From My Bedroom) along the way. Last year saw the arrival of her Fat Possum release, Collection, a mix of re-worked songs from these EPs and brand new tracks which hinted at a sonic progression that further highlighted Allison’s skill with her vulnerability and emphasised her voice as truly bewitching. Early this year we then got a hint of the Soccer Mommy debut album, Clean (also released via Fat Possum), via the outstanding single “Your Dog” and it exhibited a further progression in the Nashville native’s songwriting and abilities. Her hushed tones are still in existence except now, they’re also surrounded by a full indie-pop band sound and vocals full of acerbic confidence: “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog.”

For those who fell in love with Phoebe Bridgers’ (who Soccer Mommy is consequently joining on tour this year) debut, Stranger In The Alps, last year – this is both an artist and a release that will surely be another to sweep you off your feet in 2018.

State Champs – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Becky Kovach

When Albany act State Champs released their debut full-length in 2013, they quickly emerged as a powerhouse within the scene. Since then they’ve done Warped Tours and world tours, in addition to releasing an acoustic EP and a sophomore record; these guys have spent the last five years perfecting their craft and honing their live show. This growth was evident in 2015’s Around The World And Back Again, with its polished hooks and subtle nods to bands like All Time Low and A Day To Remember. Now it’s been 2 ½ years since that last album and fans are eagerly awaiting news of what comes next. Though we don’t have a release date or title just yet, it’s hard not to wonder what new tricks State Champs have got up their sleeves for this one.

Tash Sultana – TBA

Release Date: TBA
Anticipated by: Craig Ismaili

What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall of [**Tash Sultana88}(https://chorus.fm/tag/tash-sultana)’s recording studio as she creates her soundscapes from nothing until the rich, immersive canvas of the song has been fully fleshed out. Sultana’s brilliant, atmospheric music displays an ear for nuance that is so exceedingly rare in modern pop music. A subtle change in chord progression, or a flitter of her smoky voice can transform an entire song. She’s set to release her debut full-length this April, and it will probably be the most inventive album of the year.

The 1975 – Music For Cars

Release Date: June 1st (?)
Anticipated by: Craig Manning

It’s been so long since The 1975 announced that their new album would be called Music for Cars that we almost forgot to include it in this feature. Indeed, it was April 2017 when frontman Matty Healy revealed the title of his band’s third album to Zane Lowe of Beats 1. At the time, Healy said that Music for Cars—named after the band’s third EP—would be the end of an era for The 1975. Since then, the band has teased a new EP and given us almost no further details about their forthcoming record. Luckily, we’ve all probably learned two things from The 1975 over the years: 1) this band loves to tease their fans, and 2) this band always comes through with quality music. No matter what Music for Cars sounds like (or looks like, since visual themes have been a big part of the band’s mystique so far) there is little doubt that it will be sublime. 2013’s self-titled effort was one of the best pop-rock albums of the decade so far, and 2016’s I like it when you sleep… was something even greater, an immersive, genre-hopping opus as ambitious as any album released since. In other words, we’re in good hands.

Turnstile – Time & Space

Release Date: February 23
Anticipated by: Drew Beringer

If you’re looking for 2018’s most wild ride look no further than Turnstile’s upcoming Roadrunner Records debut, Time & Space. Blending the perfect mix of shout-along choruses, super groovy musicianship, and just the right amount of heavy to get the pit moving (thanks to Will Yip’s crisp production), the Baltimore quintet is the most exciting and unique band to emerge from the hardcore scene in years. “Generator” flows like an out-of-body experience, elevating above any and all distractions, while the fuzzy crunch of “Moon” features a guest turn from Sheer Mag’s Tina Halladay and the blistering “Right To Be” features added production from none other than Diplo. Clocking in with 13 tracks at just under a half hour, Time & Space proves that the tired ideas of what hardcore should be will not stop Turnstile from getting freaky and releasing one of the best albums of the year.

Kyle Huntington can also be found at @kyhunt on Twitter.
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