2 months ago
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For years now, people have been talking about the fading relevance of the full-length album as a delivery vehicle for recorded music. With the internet giving artists the ability to release music whenever the hell they want, why bother waiting until they have a dozen songs ready to go? We get it. And we really do enjoy waking up to find that our favorite band has released new music no one saw coming. 4
But we also find ourselves clinging to the idea of the album as an event — as something we can experience together, as a culture or a sub-culture, at roughly the same time and on the same day. Call us old-school. Or just call us old. But when these 20 albums come out later this year, you know what we’ll be doing. We hope you’ll be doing the same thing.
In an interview with the Times Magazine back in October, Solange stated that the follow-up to 2016’s A Seat at the Table, a virtuosic meditation on blackness and womanhood in contemporary America, was set for a fall release. Obviously the window for that has come and gone, but if she’s anything like her sister and brother-in-law — who have elevated the “surprise album” to trope status in recent years — new music could be arriving any day now. — Walker Loetscher
Release Date TBD
If we thought there was any real chance they were actually feeling it, we’d put forth that the pressure is very much on for Vampire Weekend and their forthcoming fourth album. It’s their first in nearly five years and, even more importantly, their first without producter/multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij. Frontman Ezra Koenig, who recently had a child with actress Rashida Jones, has stated that the album is finished, but precious few details have been made public. The band’s booked for a handful of festivals this summer, so you can count on new music before then. Oh, and you can probably expect it to be very, very good, too. (Three damn near perfect albums, each growing in lyrical and musical sophistication, earn you the benefit of the doubt.) — Mike Conklin
Release Date TBD
If you’re still holding your breath for new White Stripes’ music, don’t. But another Jack White project is, in fact, getting a revival: The Raconteurs, who released two new songs in December, shortly after declaring via press release that a new LP would be out not long after a special reissue of the band’s 2009 debut, Consolers of the Lonely. If the new tracks are any indication, don’t expect any sweeping overhauls — rather, they seem to be right at home in their preferred blues-rock schemata, with the sort of fuzzy guitars and uncomplicated hooks that will live comfortably on classic-rock radio 20 years from now. — WL
Buoys is the first proper full-length from Noah Lenox’s Panda Bear since 2015’s Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, and its first single, “Dolphin,” sounds a little bit like water torture. As in, like, there is a metromic dripping of water that occurs throughout the entire track. It would be irritating as all get-out if it weren’t for the way it plays against the taut little acoustic guitar pattern and Lenox’s hypnotic, half-auto-tuned vocals. It can be difficult to predict where he’s going to take his sound from album to album, but if this is indicative of what we’re in for with Buoys, you’re going to be seeing this album pop up on a lot more lists come later this year, if you know what we mean. — MC
Release Date TBD
How long can a band successfully tour behind a single album? That’s the question Aussie psych-rock outfit Tame Impala seem to be taking to its absolute extreme, having been announced as a headliner at Coachella 2019 despite the fact that their last album, Currents, came out in 2015. So, will they have new material in the desert? Signs point to yes, with frontman Kevin Parker having taken to Instagram to cryptically post “New year. New shows. New sounds.” last week. As for what to expect? Given that Parker’s collaborators in recent years have included Mark Ronson and electro producer Zhu, probably a continued reliance on the booming bass and synth melodies that propelled them to headliner status on Currents. — WL