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Our Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

 By CLTure Writers

February 21, 2018

Even if you’re a hardcore music fan, it’s always a tedious task to keep track of notable music releases early in the year. Your twitter feed is probably loaded with album and tour announcements, so our music writers have put together another list of our most anticipated albums of 2018.

 Cameron Lee 

David Byrne – American Utopia – March 9

Multi-instrumentalist and iconic frontman of ‘80s new wave rock band Talking Heads, David Byrne returns with his first solo album since 2004’s Grown Backwards, and his first project since his 2012 collaborative album with St. Vincent, Love This Giant. With his January release of the artistically crafted pop number, “Everybody’s Coming to My House” co-written by Brian Eno, the anticipation for David Byrne’s first solo album in 14 years is building and is sure to be a colorful musical addition to 2018.

Jack White – Boarding House Reach – March 23 

Jack White follows up his masterfully crafted Lazaretto with a huge return this year with a new album, Boarding House Reach, and several scheduled festival performances (Shaky Knees, Governors Ball, and Boston Calling). Having already released two somewhat sonically messy experimental-ish rock tracks from the new album, Connected by Love” and “Respect Commander,” White’s release on March 23 should be widely acclaimed and highly critiqued.

Frankie Cosmos – Vessel – March 30

The placidly subdued sounds of DIY musician Greta Kline, now performing under the alias and band Frankie Cosmos, follows up her 2016 release Next Thing with a new album Vessel on March 30. Newly signed to Sub Pop Records, Kline, a former member of the band Porches (Aaron Maine), and daughter of actor Kevin Kline, has been highly recognized by indie music critics and blogs, for her effortless and poetry-like lo-fi songwriting and recordings.

Lord Huron – Vide Noir – April 20

L.A. based indie folk band, Lord Huron has done a masterful job of staying relevant while avoiding the wrath of pop radio success that has stifled uber-successful folk rock bands like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. Lord Huron plays simple rock songs with folk stylings and just enough experimental instrumentation to make it a little psychedelic. They recently released a ‘60s soul and R&B inspired track “Wait by the River.”

Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour – March 30

The alluring Texas-raised outlaw country singer-songwriter, Kacey Musgraves is set to release a new album Golden Hour in 2018. The follow-up to her Grammy-nominated 2015 album Pageant Material (Best Country Album), Musgraves has garnered a loyal following with her candid down-home lyrics and wholesome and honest brand of country music.

Beach House – (Title TBA) – Spring 2018 

Baltimore indie dream pop duo returns with a new original album after releasing a compilation album B-Sides & Rarities in 2017. The album included unreleased renditions along with two new songs, “Chariot” and “Baseball Diamond.” A new song “Lemon Glow” was recently released from the forthcoming album set to be released in late Spring.

Vampire Weekend – (Title TBA) – 2018 

Oddly inspired by a moment at a Kacey Musgraves concert (also on this list) in 2016, Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig started writing material for their upcoming fourth studio album shortly after. Deeply analyzing the songwriting process of country greats like George Jones and Hank Williams, there’s no telling where their sound may shift for this highly anticipated 2018 release.

 Shirley Griffith

Rhye – Blood – February 2

Since coming out of nowhere in 2013 to release Woman, sensual Rhye has released follow-up album, Blood. The album features a fantastic collection of talents including musicians that have worked with Jhene Aiko, David Byrne and Kelis, elevating the project from studio pipedreams to a full, actualized band after reports of Rhye co-founder Robin Hannibal leaving the duo.

Moby – Everything Was Beautiful & Nothing Hurt – March 2

Moby’s 15th studio album promises to be a return to his gospel-inspired and trip hop roots of earlier days. The album, named after Vonnegut’s book Slaughterhouse-Five (a cunning take on free will vs predestination and a never-changing present) marries those entrancing past styles with his current political and social outrage. In an interview, Moby told Billboard “The punk rocker in me wants to yell at us as a species and say, ‘Stop making these terrible choices,’ but the other part of me who’s maybe aspiring to some enlightenment just wants to try and be understanding and compassionate.” So it goes.

Belly – Dove – May 4 

Recently, a reunited Belly released a glistening teaser for the forthcoming single off their first album to be released since 1995’s King. (Yes, that “Feed the Tree” Belly). Last year’s Lotta Sea Lice (Kurt Vile/Courtney Barnett) cover of hidden-gem Belly track “Untogether” piqued a renewed interest in the dreamy ‘90s alt band, so to receive a full LP of fresh work is certainly something that’ll be on the radar.

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel – May 18

The clever Australian songwriter teased new songs through her social media in early February and has confirmed a sophomore album out May 18th. Her wildly successful EP A Sea of Split Peas and 2015 debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit have propelled the Milk! Records label owner into worldwide festival circuits and constant sold out tours, including last year’s Lotta Sea Lice tour with newfound BFF Kurt Vile.

Blood Orange – (Title TBA) – 2018 

Teasing fans via Instagram, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes shared that he’s putting the finishing touches on a new album to be released this year, a follow-up to 2016’s astounding Freetown Sound. Hynes has a harmoniously heartbreaking way of creating atmospheres in his songs with his unifying R&B vocals, tracked brilliantly over smooth beats and velveteen synths.

My Bloody Valentine – (Title TBA) – Summer 2018

Although the legendary shoegazers released m b v in 2013, it’s this year’s album that fans should be even more excited about. m b v featured songs recorded from before the band’s 1997 breakup up to 2007’s reunification. Their 2018 release will have songs freshly recorded within the past two years – and the new album comes with promises of a 2018 tour! Frontman Kevin Shields says of the album, “This one is like if somebody took [m b v] and dropped some acid on it or created a dimensional clash or something.”

 Sean Titone

Lucius – Nudes – March 2

After the more heavily produced, pop-oriented sound of their last full-length, Good Grief, the lovely ladies of Lucius return with a more stripped-down, acoustic album entitled Nudes. A collection of new songs, reworked older ones and covers (Tame Impala’s “Eventually” should be a highlight), it features some heavy-hitting guests like Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Wilco’s Nels Cline. Expect the usual powerhouse vocals and otherworldly harmonies delivered in an intimate setting.

Sunflower Bean – Twentytwo in Blue – March 23

New York-based indie rock trio dazzled with their 2016 debut, Human Ceremony, and now they are returning with their sophomore album Twentytwo in Blue. Lead single “I Was a Fool” effortlessly grooves like a lost Fleetwood Mac B-Side and has already garnered one million plays on YouTube, while the recently released “Crisis Fest” has a swagger that shows they haven’t lost an ounce of the youthful energy that made them so likeable in the first place.

The Breeders – All Nerve – March 2 

Rejoice Breeders fans! The original lineup that recorded the landmark album Last Splash has reunited for All Nerve, and if the two released singles are any indication of its contents, it’s going to be another catchy, spiky rush of fuzzed-out goodness. The Deal sisters sound like they are in fine form on what will be their first collection of new studio songs since 2008’s Mountain Battles.

Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats – Tearing at the Seams – March 9 

I was already a fan of these guys after hearing their 2015 self-titled debut, but after seeing them live for the first time at last year’s High Water Festival in North Charleston, my appreciation was taken to another level. This was a rock and roll/soul revue that showed Rateliff and his Night Sweats have the chops, emotion and showmanship to elevate them to the pantheon of classic rock and R&B greats that came before them. Tearing at the Seams will be the first album to come after the chart-topping, massive success of “S.O.B.” and I’m curious to see how they follow it up. Some interesting notes: it was produced by Richard Swift (The Shins, The Arcs) and contains guest vocals from Lucius.

Yo La Tengo – There’s a Riot Going On – March 16 

I can’t think of a more dependable band that has emerged over the last 30 plus(!) years than Hoboken, New Jersey’s finest, Yo La Tengo. Ira, Georgia and James manage to keep things fresh and exciting with each new release, and the title of their upcoming 15th studio album, There’s a Riot Going On, contains some loaded language that is certainly evocative and open to interpretation. This batch of songs comes from a looser, spontaneous set of recording sessions over the last couple years and is anticipated to be one of their more experimental (but no less beautiful) releases.

Guided by Voices – Space Gun – March 23 

It’s hard for a new album release to feel like an “event” when you’re as prolific as Robert Pollard and Guided by Voices. This is the band that has released 2-3 albums a year since reuniting the “classic” lineup from the ‘90s back in 2010. Pollard loves his current lineup of the band (which includes major guitar firepower in Doug Gillard and Bobby Bare Jr.) and Space Gun so much that he’s decided this will be the only new studio album released in 2018. He wants us to give this one our undivided attention, so that’s what we should plan to do. Recent singles “Space Gun” and “See My Field” are as strong as anything he’s ever recorded, so here’s hoping this one is all killer and no filler.

The Wrens – (Title TBA) – 2018

The Meadowlands came out in 2003 and fans of New Jersey’s The Wrens have been waiting ever since for a follow-up. Supposedly, a new album is in the can, so fingers crossed for its release this year. If you don’t know The Meadowlands, rectify that immediately as it is one of the best indie rock albums of all time.

 Delaney Clifford

Pianos Become The Teeth – Wait For Love – February 16 

The fourth studio album from Baltimore emo-giants Pianos Become The Teeth is finally upon us. After the band revealed their immense change in sound with 2014’s Keep You, listeners have been dying to learn what new dynamic the band has in store with Wait For Love. The first three singles from the new record “Charisma,” “Bitter Red,” and “Love On Repeat” are emotionally stunning, but convey a different energy than gut-wrenching records like Old Pride and The Lack Long After. Perhaps that energy is new hope, redemption, and reflection. Whatever it may bring, Wait For Love is set for release on Epitaph Records, hitting streaming services and shelves on February 16.

Black Milk – FEVER – February 23 

Rapper Black Milk has been lying just beneath the surface of the modern canon, with a career spanning 13 years of impactful lyricism, eccentric instrumental choices, and skillful flow that stands above the ability of his peers. His latest single “Laugh Now Cry Later” was released in mid-January this year and so far, it’s shown us that Black Milk hasn’t missed a beat. His lyrics remain potent and socially conscious. We can expect an album full of social commentary, spanning from the racial climate of the United States to how the nation at large views a successful black man in its midst. The Detroit-artist’s sixth studio album, FEVER, is being released by Mass Appeal Records and Computer Ugly on February 23.

Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog – April 6

Philadelphia has come to offer the world a great deal of noteworthy music, and within that plethora of sound stands one band yet to find the recognition they’ve deserved. Hop Along, fronted by Francis Quinlan, have established themselves within the emo subculture as a band to keep your eyes on and 2018 will bring us their latest work, Bark Your Head Off, Dog. This will be the first material since 2015’s Painted Shut, which was met with critical acclaim. Saddle Creek Records recently released the track listing for the record as well as the first single, “How Simple,” slating the full record’s release for April 6.

Wye Oak – The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs – April 6

After remaining quiet for most of 2017, Wye Oak has been brewing up a storm in the studio. April 6 will be the anticipated day to listen to the duo’s latest record, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, released on Merge Records. The title track is currently streaming on all platforms and reflects exactly what we can expect from such a dynamic band: pure bliss accompanied by an electric beat, popping and fizzing with drummer Andy Stack’s eclectic playing style. If there’s one record to make sure doesn’t slip your radar, it’s this one.

 Lane Claffee

KMD – Crack In Time – TBD

Some MF DOOM fans may not be aware of his previous work as Zev Love X of KMD, a group which was around long before his 1999 debut, Operation Doomsday.  Last year, MF DOOM featured a new KMD track for the first time in a decade. The track featured Jay Electronica, and is an exciting sample of what’s to come. As KMD only put out two records during their first stint of activity, both Mr. Hood and Black Bastards are considered to be classics, and it will be interesting to see how they follow such definitive albums with a release that seemingly came out of nowhere.

Mount Eerie – Now Only – March 16

Mount Eerie released one of the most beautiful and emotionally devastating albums of 2017. The album was on tons of year-end lists, including rapper Danny Brown’s, who said it was his favorite record of the entire year. The follow up, Now Only, looks to be an extension of A Crow Looked At Me, judging from the track “Distortion.” Now Only seems that it will carry the same emotional weight, meditative delivery, and beautifully poignant songwriting. Don’t play it off as merely a sequel; there’s a emotive depth here that you won’t find anywhere else this year.

Blackstar x Madlib – (Title TBA) – TBD 

Who wouldn’t get excited about Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Madlib all getting together on one project? Two of the greatest living emcees reuniting for a follow-up album to their incredible 1998 eponymous release, with one of the greatest contemporary DJs backing them up. Take Madlib’s latest collaborative effort with Freddie Gibbs, Pinata, for example. Madlib’s talent for finding grooves in the unorthodox hasn’t waned in the slightest. This will undoubtedly be one of the most important hip hop records of the entire year.

Kanye West – Turbo Grafx 16 – TBD

Whether you like his persona or not, Kanye West is indisputably one of the most talented mainstream artists of this generation. The follow up to his last record, The Life Of Pablo, tentatively named Turbo Grafx 16, has been rumoured to be coming out this year, and, like every other Kanye release, it will surely be inescapably hyped, controversial, and most importantly, an exciting moment in pop music in 2018.  

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