2017 was packed with so much great music, e.g., the return of Slowdive, Mount Eerie’s heart-wrenching exploration of grief, Cloakroom’s brutal-yet-beautiful riffage. As a result, it’s hard to imagine how 2018’s going to top it. As you can see, however, there’s plenty of interesting and highly anticipated music coming down the pipeline, including new material from some legendary acts.
All releases are listed in alphabetical order by artist.
It’s hard to believe the Belly only released two albums during their brief existence in the mid ‘90s. But after being inspired a successful reunion tour in 2016, Tanya Donelly et al. wrote enough songs for a third album. Titled Dove, the album will be released on April 6. More details are available on Belly’s PledgeMusic campaign.
Back in October, The Breeders released “Wait in the Car,” their first new song since 2009. Clocking in at two minutes, it was a solid slice of guitar-centric indie pop. And it ably sets the stage for The Breeders’ new album, which is due out some time in 2018 and features production work from Steve Albini on a couple of songs.
I suppose I should count Chromeo’s music as a “guilty pleasure,” but since I don’t believe in those things, I’m just going to say it: I have a soft spot for the funky music of Dave 1 and P-Thugg, so I’m definitely checking out Head Over Heels when it drops. Lead single “Juice” is basically as delightfully ridiculous as I’ve come to expect from the duo.
Karolina Komstedt and Johan Angergård have been releasing sterling pop music for over two decades now, thanks to Komstedt’s gorgeous voice and Angergård’s production and arranging skills. Their 10th album, The Golden Island, will be released on Labrador Records on January 26. The first single, “Swimming With The Tide,” is a bit of a departure from what’s usually expected from the group, but it is tantalizing.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of The Cure — their first single, “Killing an Arab,” was released in 1978 — and they’ve already announced a massive London concert to celebrate the occasion. But what else might Robert Smith have up his sleeve? The band debuted a pair of solid new songs in their 2016 tour, so maybe we’ll finally get a new album. Or maybe we’ll get a Tim Pope-directed documentary about the band’s past, present, and future. With Robert Smith, though, who knows?
Echo and the Bunnymen
Echo and the Bunnymen are close to celebrating four decades, too. So it’s not too surprising that their next studio album, The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon, will be a retrospective of sorts. It will feature “Bunnymen classics transformed and new songs with strings and things attached.” The band will also embark on a short UK tour in May and June.
I never understood why Fine China didn’t get more acclaim then they did, considering how their Smiths/New Order-influenced pop was just as good as everyone else who was doing it at the time. Sadly, the band just sort of faded away after 2005’s Jaws of Life. Jump ahead to 2018, two decades after their very first releases, and Fine China are set to release Not Thrilled on the Velvet Blue Music on February 23.
Nils Frahm spent two years building his own personal studio in Berlin to record All Melody, which will be released by Erased Tapes on January 26. Following the album’s release, on his first world tour in several years. You can watch a preview of the album, which is full of lovely atmospherics (and shots of Frahm’s impressive-looking studio) here.
The Go! Team
For their upcoming album, Semicircle (due out January 19), The Go! Team reunited with the live band that toured with them to support of their debut, 2004’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike. The goal is to create “the idea of a school marching band gone rogue,” a description that seems rather fitting for lead single “Semicircle Song.”
Has it already been three years since Claire Boucher dropped the ultra-poppy (relatively speaking) Art Angels? According to her Instagram account, Boucher has been hard at work in the studio, “trying to legit make something you’ve never heard before. unexplored sonic landscapes.” Considering her inimitable output to date, I have faith she’ll blow our minds yet again.
Haloed first came to my attention thanks to his brilliant reinterpretation of Blade Runner’s soundtrack, which broke apart Vangelis’ classic soundtrack and wove in some new elements, to brilliant effect. As part of that album, he announced a full, original album coming some time in 2018. Which, if it’s anywhere close to his Blade Runner work, will be a fascinating listen, indeed.
Earlier this year, Interpol embarked on a tour celebrating the 15th anniversary of their celebrated debut, Turn on the Bright Lights. And now, they’re wrapping up work on their sixth full-length album, title and release date TBA. It’ll be their first album, since 2014’s strongly reviewed El Pintor and according to drummer Sam Fogarino, it’ll feature “fist in the air arena rock ballads” (but I’m taking that with a grain of salt).
Ison’s celestial-minded blend of metal and shoegaze has already resulted in one release, 2015’s self-released Cosmic Drone EP. Their second release, Andromeda Skyline, will be released on January 29, and first single “Helios” is a solemn piece that highlight’s Heike Langhans’ gorgeous voice and the band’s epic, slow-burning music.
Efrim Manuel Menuck
Pissing Stars, due out on February 2 on Constellation, is Efrim Manuel Menuck’s second solo album, and “is inspired by the brief romance of American television presenter Mary Hart and Mohamed Khashoggi, the son of a Saudi arms dealer.” (I must confess, that sounds more like the basis of a Sufjan Stevens album then something from one of the minds behind Godspeed You! Black Emperor.) Listen to first single “LxOxVx / Shelter In Place” below.
My Bloody Valentine
The shoegaze giants have promised a new album of blistering, mind-bending sonics some time in 2018. MBV began recording the album last year, but was delayed due to work on the all-analog vinyl reissues of Loveless and Isn’t Anything, which will also be released in 2018. In the meantime, enjoy these clips of Kevin Shields’ solo performance at Sigur Rós’ Norður og Niður festival.
My Favorite broke up in 2005, but in 2014, Michael Grace, Jr. resurrected the band — and fans of literate, smart-alecky, angst-ridden, ‘80s-influenced pop rejoiced. Since then, Grace and his bandmates have released a handful of songs, like 2016’s Christine Zero/Killed For Kicks 7″ but alas, no album. But several days ago, Grace tweeted that My Favorite would return in 2018, one way or another.
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto
The upcoming Glass is a recording of a live improvisation that took place at The Glass House, the famous glass-encosed residence of architect Philip Johnson. Recorded after one day of rehearsal, Glass finds Noto and Sakamoto using everything from synthesizers to glass bowls to the house itself as instrumentation. Watch some footage of their performance below.
For their third album, Room Inside the World, Canadian post-punk outfit Ought explores themes including “identity, connection, survival in a precarious world” utilizing vibraphone, drum machines, a 70-piece choir, and “justly intonated synthesizers.” You can see how those themes play out in the video for “These 3 Things.”
Russia’s finest dreampoppers will release Miserable Miracles on May 4, and have already released a couple of singles from the album. If the songs are any indication, then we’ll have another album filled to the brim with shimmering guitars, exquisite synth-work, and angelic female vocals — and you can never really get enough of those things.
Pure Bathing Culture
To be clear, the duo of Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman haven’t officially announced any new music. However, they have been working in the studio with producer Tucker Martine (who’s worked with Modest Mouse, Sufjan Stevens, and Camera Obscura). And they’ve released some tantalizing snippets via Twitter, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they released something in 2018. (Note: They’ve also been working with Jessie Baylin and producer Richard Swift on Baylin’s new LP.)
The Soft Moon
Criminal (due out on February 2) is being described as Luis Vasquez’s “most self-reflective work to date,” as he chronicles his difficult childhood, his struggles with drug addiction, and his own feelings of guilt and self-loathing. Early singles “Burn” and “It Kills” are dark, abrasive, and utterly captivating, hearkening back to classic Nine Inch Nails and The Faint’s early albums.
Back in 2016, Jason Pierce said the next Spiritualized album would be his last. Then, in August 2017, Pierce admitted that the album wasn’t even finished. In fact, he’d gone back re-recorded significant portions of it after the anniversary concerts for his landmark Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space album. Pierce is a notorious perfectionist, so when he says “I want it to say something and be a big deal,” best give him time to make that happen.
After Everything But the Girl went on extended hiatus, Tracey Thorn embarked on an acclaimed solo career. Her last album was 2012’s Christmas album, Tinsel and Lights. Details are pretty scarce about her next album; as far as I can tell, all that’s come out so far is this tweet promising more news soon.
For her latest LP, In A Poem Unlimited (due out on February 16), U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy draws on disco and funk influences to “tell stories of women struggling to gain and exert power, and also fight against the lies publicly projected by political and religious leaders.” Watch the video for “Velvet 4 Sale” below.
England’s Wild Beasts called it quits earlier this year, but they’re having one last hurrah before disappearing for good. Last Night All My Dreams Came True, due out February 16 on Domino Records, will be a live studio album that features cuts from throughout the band’s discography. According to the band, “it’s us as tight and slick as we ever have been… There’s a sense of celebration and destructiveness combined, a sense that the fetters are off.”
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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.