The end of the year naturally brings year-end lists but it also beckons us to look towards the future. And in the case of pop culture nerds like myself, that means looking forward to all of the music, movies, etc., that will be coming our way in the new year.
Music release schedules don’t seem to be as comprehensive and forward-looking as movie and TV release schedules, at least not for indie/underground releases, so this list is a bit on the paltry side. However, I fully expect 2023 to be chock full of amazing and noteworthy releases from January all the way through December.
It’s been awhile since I’ve checked out Ladytron’s stylish take on synth-pop. Time’s Arrow is the band’s first album since 2019’s self-titled album, and the first three singles are evidence that the band hasn’t lost a single step; their chilled out and oh-so-slightly-sinister arrangements are still in full effect.
I discovered Chasms’ dubby take on dreampop and post-punk with The Mirage, which became one of my favorite albums of 2019. Now just a solo project, Glimpse of Heaven finds Jess Labrador stripping away some of the reverb and atmospherics for a starker, more intimate sound. But worry not; the album’s early singles (e.g., album opener “Ache”) are still plenty dreamy.
The name of Depeche Mode’s fifteenth studio album is more than apt, given that work on it began early on in the pandemic and it was finished after founding member and keyboardist Andy Fletcher died this past May. Martin Gore and Dave Gahan also announced that the album will be supported by a world tour, the band’s first live shows in five years.
Originally released in 1992, Bark Psychosis’ “Scum” pushed the idea of a single to its limits, delivering 21 minutes of sparse, haunting ambience and noisy freak outs. Earlier this year, Graham Sutton tweeted that “Scum” would be remastered. While no release date has been announced, and it’s not new Bark Psychosis material, the chance to have a proper release of this post-rock landmark is exciting.
Natasha Khan’s last album, 2019’s Lost Girls, was envisioned as the soundtrack for an imaginary ’80s sci-fi movie about a gang of biker women roaming the streets of LA. And yes, it lived up to that description. Khan has spent the last two years working on The Dream of Delphi, and her list of influences on the album (e.g., Jon Brion, Susumu Yokota, Kitaro) are certainly intriguing.
I know, I know… Robert Smith has been talking about new Cure albums for years now, and I’ve continued to blog about them. But The Cure has been performing several songs from the new album on their recent tour to widespread acclaim, and the recent 30th anniversary reissue of Wish has brought even more attention to the band. The Cure’s music has always been gloomy, which is why we love it so much, but Songs of a Lost World promises to be the darkest Cure album to date, with songs inspired by the loss of Smith’s parents and brother.
While Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt have both released several solo albums in recent years, it’s been more than two decades since 1999’s Temperamental, their last album as a group. But this past November, Thorn announced on social media that the duo had finally recorded a proper EBTG album, due out some time in the spring. While you wait for that, check out the band’s Instragram account where they’ve been sharing classic EBTG photos.
I try not to read too much into bands’ social media posts, but I couldn’t help but get excited when Luxury tweeted back in November: “Band meeting yesterday. Good things are coming.” (There was a caveat, of course: “we don’t move quickly.”) Luxury’s last LP, the very excellent Trophies, was their first record in a decade, proving good things really do come to those who wait. I just hope we don’t have to wait too much longer. (In meantime, I highly recommend watching the 2018 documentary Parallel Love, which is currently streaming for free on Tubi.)
“Cosmic metal” band ISON has released some of my favorite music in recent years, especially 2019’s Inner — Space. The upcoming Stars & Embers will be the band’s most expansive album to date according to Daniel Änghede, and will feature several vocalists, including Lisa Cuthbert and That Halo Effect’s Mikael Stanne. In the meantime, the band’s music is now available on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, making it even easier to bliss out to their mixture of metal, shoegaze, and ambient music.
Back in the fall of 2020, Slowdive posted several photos on Instagram with the “#slowdivelp5” hashtag. There’s been little-to-no news concerning a new album since, but the shoegaze giants have recently played shows in Germany and Spain. Which, hopefully, is an indicator that new Slowdive songs will be here sooner rather than later.