No Cities To Love
(Sub POP, January 20)
There’s something admirable in a sainted rock band deciding to embark on a reunion tour to support new material instead of merely working through the old hits for an expanded pool of ticket buyers. But this is likely to be even more exciting in practice than it is in theory. Simply put, there’s going to be a new Sleater-Kinney record!
(DEF Jam, TBA)
Once primarily known for being a loose
associate of Odd Future, this young California rapper’s own sonically infectious, politically urgent tracks set him apart. “Hands Up,” from his widely acclaimed Hell Can Wait EP, became a minor anthem scoring 2014’s surplus of street-level tragedy. He’ll look to build a deeper legacy in what’ll hopefully be a better year.
At the higher levels of pop celebrity, there’s nothing so passé as announcing your record a year in advance. The best way to max out cultural coverage now is to drop a surprise album, then let the world act as your personal press release, scrambling to catch up with subsequent weeks of reviews and thinkpieces. Radiohead, readying one now, are no-notice pioneers. There’s probably no way the new Kanye isn’t a sneak attack. Rising stars like Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, or Grimes might weigh a surprise drop to cement their marquee status. Records from huge pop stars like Adele, or even infamous recluses like Jeff Mangum, could descend from the cloud at any time. It’s a frivolous thing that makes the dumb modern world just a little more fun.
(Capitol Records, TBA)
Night Time, My Time, the long-delayed 2013 solo debut from Ms. Ferreira, was a bubblegum pop record if that bubblegum carried a layer of dirt from a drop on the rock club floor. It managed its pop-punk combo with more grace than multiple artists who broke bigger over the past year doing a fluffier, less depressive version. Bobby Gillespie, of Primal Scream and Jesus and Mary Chain fame, joins the gang of producers working on her next one.
Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
(Domino, January 13)
“Mr Noah,” a chugging burble of dense electronics and signature faraway sighs, made Noah Lennox a late entry into many 2014 “best of” lists. The track also appears on the Animal Collective member’s fifth full-length solo record, his first since 2011’s Tomboy. As on that one, Spacemen 3 member Sonic Boom will help tint its tiedye to just the right psychedelic hue.
(WARP, February 24)
A multi-national, multi-genre dance collective whose debut could include just about anything. Across a full set, we’re not sure how Fatima Al Qadiri’s high-concept electronic music will intersect with the beat-heavy cutups Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda make as Nguzunguzu, or how either fits into the footwork stuff fourth member J-Cush puts out on his Lit City Trax label. Advance singles sound like club bangers that might finally get Americans into grime.
Father John Misty
I Love You, Honeybear
(Sub POP, February 10)
A weird, yet lush Letterman appearance this fall hinted at the epic scope of the new record by ex-Fleet Foxes member Josh Tillman, who now records as Father John Misty. Containing sardonic humor, a gorgeous string orchestra, and bits of performance art, “Bored in the USA” had everything he’s promised for his new record, a studio-slaved concept piece dissecting the plight of the modern man.
(PC Music, TBA)
The sweetheart of England’s tonally baffling PC Music crew is the only member to actually present herself to the public as something nearing a real, live human being (with a truly
majestic side-ponytail, no less). She continues to distinguish herself by readying a full-length record, in contrast to a gang of ADD hyperpop people who’ve so far shown sole interest in the immediacy of singles.
(Jagjaguwar, January 20)
Not to get all prematurely nostalgic for the early-00s on you, but listening to “Continental Shelf,” the first single from Viet Cong’s full-length debut, reminds us of a simpler time when the mere existence of moody indie-rock from Canada seemed sort of novel. In 2015, we’ll take dark romance from wherever we can get it.
Belle and Sebatian
Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
(Matador, January 20)
The most consistent pop band of the 90s
and 00s led by the best pure songwriter of his generation, Belle and Sebastian have never made a bad album. (Seriously, they haven’t. We’re not accepting counterviews at this time.) Both the title and the advance single “The Party Line” suggest a return to the sweet disco sounds of stone-classic “Your Cover’s Blown.” There’s no way this will stink.
No matter which way they head, the next step from these San Francisco metal dudes should be quite interesting. Their previous effort, Sunbather, was the rare record rooted in black metal extremity that still felt like an open-hearted attempt to crossover. Do they use their elevated platform to further console or confront?
(Sacred Bones, February 3)
Known primarily as a legendary genre film director, the “Master of Horror” has long been a slyly influential musician as well. In addition to changing the very idea of how movies could sound, his minimal, do-it yourself scores for haute trash flicks like Assault on Precinct 13, Escape From New York, and Halloween have filtered into electronic music, hip-hop, and dark synth-pop. This album, on Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones label, will be his first-ever stand-alone work.