As album announcements and release dates keep streaming out from labels and publicists, one thing is becoming quite clear: 2015 is shaping up to be an incredibly strong year, musically speaking. Here are 10 new and upcoming releases that have us excited here at Opus HQ.
Björk — Originally intended for a March release, Björk’s Vulnicura was released this week after it was leaked. Featuring contributions from Arca, The Haxan Cloak, and Antony Hegarty, Vulnicura starts off with shimmering, dreamlike electronics that recall Vespertine (a good thing, mind you) — and then it just gets dark and weird. Big surprise there. I have a feeling that this one’s going to take some time to unravel.
The Declining Winter — Richard Adams’ post-Hood project picks up right where his former group left off, creating melancholy pastoral soundscapes from acoustic guitar, fractured drum rhythms, and world-weary vocals. His latest, Home For Lost Souls, will be released on Home Assembly Music in March. Watch the video for “This Sadness Lacks,” a song that meanders through the frozen English countryside like a drunken Clientele song, below.
Luxury — The band has already sent copies of Trophies to their Kickstarter supporters, but the rest of us will get to hear it for ourselves this year. A few of my friends who’ve received the album say its Luxury’s best to date, and based on the strength of early singles like “Museums In Decline,” I see no reason to not believe them.
Makeup and Vanity Set — Wilderness has been one of my most anticipated 2015 albums since it was announced last year. The two-disc album, which deals with death and memory, is bound to be a synthwave tour-de-force. (Coming soon: An interview with Makeup & Vanity Set’s Matthew Pusti concerning Wilderness.)
Native Lights — I’ve been following Native Lights, a “new” band featuring members of Ester Drang and Unwed Sailor, for years now. After a few initial songs, the band seemed to disappear and it looked like the album would never see the light of day. But now we have preorders, an album trailer, and a big spring tour.
The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus — After two decades of silence, the Army re-emerged last year with some concerts and — wonder of wonders — plans for a new album. Beauty Will Save the World will be released by Occultation Recordings this summer. Also, the Army’s 1987 debut, The Gift of Tears, will be reissued on vinyl this summer by Third Eye Records.
Seryn — It’s been three years since Seryn released their masterful folk-rock debut, This Is Where We Are. Since then, the band has toured, toured, and toured some more, undergone some line-up changes, and moved to Nashville. Their new album, Shadow Shows, will be released in February, and features more of the band’s impassioned, singing-for-the-rafters music, as evidenced by “Ivory Black.”
Slowdive — The shoegaze masters closed out 2014 on a high note after a series of very well received concerts, with promises of new material in 2015. I certainly don’t want to jump the gun since nothing has been officially announced, but they have tweeted some interesting tidbits.
Busy busy writing writing...— Slowdive (@slowdiveband) #
Sufjan Stevens — As I mentioned before, I’ve come to miss “Folky Sufjan Stevens” over the years, but his upcoming Carrie & Lowell — “a 44-minute meditation on mortality, memory, and faith” (natch, because this is Sufjan we’re talking about) — looks to fill that little hole in my heart quite nicely. It’ll be released by Asthmatic Kitty on March 31 (preorder).
Swervedriver — Though sometimes overshadowed by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride, Swervedriver were some potent shoegazers in their time. (Raise can still get my blood a-churning and is a go-to driving album.) Like their blissed-out brethren, Adam Franklin and Co. are returning with new music: I Wasn’t Born to Lose You will be released in March by Cobraside.
Have I missed anything? If so, let me know.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.