Welcome to part two of two! Having gone over the 10 albums that I’ve been spinning so far this year, it’s time to feed the rumor mill and speculate about the music to come. Here are 25 artists who have suggested that they’ll be releasing something this year or have already put something on the calendar. (If the name and release date has been announced, I’ll list it.) Here’s 25 artists, in alphabetical order:
Arctic Monkeys: It’s been five years since Alex Turner and his crew donned leather jackets for the slick, nocturnal “AM.” We’ve nothing to go on for the band’s coming sixth album except for an interview (in a motorcycle magazine, of all places) where bassist Nick O’Malley said it would be out later this year: “If it isn’t, we’ve got problems.”
Courtney Barnett, “Tell Me How You Really Feel” (5/18): Courtney Barnett is often pegged as a slacker, which doesn’t make much sense given that she’s put out a new project every other year (most recently, “Lotta Sea Lice,” her team-up with Kurt Vile). Her proper sophomore record, “Tell Me How You Really Feel,” comes out in May, and judging from the misogyny-tackling lead single “Nameless, Faceless,” she’ll be leaning more into the wisdom without skimping on the wit.
Beach House, “7” (5/11): The dream pop duo follows up 2015’s “Depression Cherry” (and its not-a-companion album, “Thank Your Lucky Stars”) with another fruity single, “Lemon Glow.” Like the fruit it’s named after, it’s tart and exciting, and it suggests that their coming seventh album — creatively titled “7” — will explore new sounds.
James Blake: When we first met James Blake back in 2010, he was an envelope-pushing post-dubstep producer with a soulful croon. January’s surprise single “If the Car Beside You Moves Ahead” saw him turn that voice inside out, and while it’s a more experimental (re)turn from Blake, it could be the first strike from his next album.
Blood Orange: There’s been a reappraisal of the ‘80s in indie rock for a few years now, and Dev Hynes, the songwriter and producer who goes by Blood Orange on his solo material, has been at the forefront of it. He hinted last October that his next album was “78 percent done,” so hopefully we’ll have another helping of smooth, crisp R&B from him by the same time this year.
Brockhampton, “Team Effort”: The Internet’s first boy band had a breakout year in 2017 with their “Saturation” trilogy, a triple helping of colorful, offbeat hip-hop. If, somehow, you managed to go through the year without hearing a note of their music, be sure to get caught up before “Team Effort” drops later this year.
Danny Brown: Controversial opinion: Danny Brown’s “Atrocity Exhibition” was the best rap album of 2016—better “The Life of Pablo,” better than “Coloring Book” and laughably better than “Views.” A few months ago, Brown teased that he was back in the studio with a producer who’s “legendary in hip-hop,” (Madlib? No I.D.? El-P?) so hopes are high for a new album later this year.
David Byrne, “American Utopia” (3/9): After collaborations with Brian Eno and St. Vincent, David Byrne releases his first solo album in 14 years at the end of the week. It’s probably not the best time to put out an album named “American Utopia,” but if anyone can make light of this mess we’re in, it’s Byrne.
Cardi B: If the American dream still exists, Cardi B is living it. Cardi’s been a regular presence on the radio since “Bodak Yellow” blew up, and she’d do well to capitalize on that momentum with an album.
Neko Case, “Hell-On” (6/1): Though it’s been five years since Neko Case’s fantastic last album “The Worse Things Get…” she’s been busy with two New Pornographers albums and a lovely collaboration with k.d. lang and Laura Veirs. “Hell-On” is her triumphant return, and the title track is a hell of a tune, suggesting a darker and stranger new direction for the alt-country songstress.
Chromatics, “Dear Tommy”: The long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s “Kill for Love” was supposedly finished in 2015, but Chromatics mastermind Johnny Jewel is said to have destroyed all copies of it after a near-death experience. Jewel took time off to help soundtrack the “Twin Peaks” revival, and now that it’s finished, hopefully Chromatics can get around to finishing — and actually releasing — “Dear Tommy.”
Deerhunter: Possibly the only “ambient punk” band in existence, Deerhunter are one of the most consistently creative and rewarding groups in indie rock, putting out modern classics like “Microcastle / Weird Era Cont.” and “Halcyon Digest.” They recently announced a tour and a single to come this summer, so hopefully we’ll get a full album before the end of the year.
Father John Misty: It hasn’t even been a full year since “Pure Comedy,” Father John Misty’s opulent and acerbic (and occasionally self-righteous) takedown of the human condition, and he’s already closing in on releasing his next album. He’s been cagey about the details, but he’s described this as a “heartache album” that he wrote in a six-week period that saw him living in a hotel—both of which figure prominently in the lyrics for recent single “Mr. Tillman.”
Sky Ferreira, “Masochism”: It’s been three years since Sky Ferreira announced her sophomore record, and so far all we really know is that it’s still named “Masochism.” There’s not a lot of people who traffic in Ferreira’s corroded brand of synth-pop, so I’m sure the wait for “Masochism” will have been well worth it.
Grimes: In a disheartening case of will-she-or-won’t-she, just weeks after Grimes’ proclamation that an album was on the way, she about-faced, citing clashes with her record label. Given that Grimes’ last two albums, “Visions” and “Art Angels,” were among the best in their respective years, her label really just ought to allow her to do whatever the hell she wants.
Carly Rae Jepsen: Even if “Call Me Maybe” wasn’t your cup of tea, it was hard to deny that Jepsen’s most recent album, “E•MO•TION,” was packed with effervescently fun tunes like “I Really Like You” and “Run Away With Me.” “E•MO•TION” was a sleeper hit, but with a little luck, Jepsen’s follow-up will be the smash hit she deserves.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Shucks, folks, I’m speechless: King Gizzard put out a staggering five albums last year and they’ve already announced their intention to have another one out by the end of this year. I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am about King Gizzard’s work ethic, which puts most law school students to shame, but still…damn.
Nicki Minaj: It’s been three years since Nicki Minaj released “The Pinkprint,” but the Queen of Rap has been anything but silent, seasoning last year’s Remy Ma beef with some standalone singles and contributing a few guest verses. Still, there’s not much we know for certain about Minaj’s next album, which she’s been hyping as her most classic work yet.
Janelle Monáe, “Dirty Computer” (4/27): It’s a good thing that the trailer for Janelle Monáe’s “Dirty Computer” didn’t air before my screening of “Black Panther,” or it’s quite possible I wouldn’t have been able to pay attention to the movie. Like “Black Panther,” Monáe’s music is colorful and Afrofuturist, but its funky sexiness (or its sexy funkiness) evokes a certain Purple One, whose influence looms over teaser tracks “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane.”
Mount Eerie, “Now Only” (3/16): Mount Eerie’s last album, “A Crow Looked at Me,” was recorded immediately after the death of songwriter Phil Elverum’s wife, and he’s still combing through the emotional shrapnel on the follow-up, “Now Only.” It’s safe to say that “Now Only” is, in a way, the only album on this list that I’m not looking forward to listening to.
My Bloody Valentine: Given that there was a 22-year gap between My Bloody Valentine’s second and third album, fans would be forgiven for thinking that the shoegaze titans’ fourth album might not come out in their lifetime, if it came out at all. So when bandleader Kevin Shields put the odds of a new MBV album in 2018 at “100 percent,” it made a lot of shoegaze fans very happy.
Frank Ocean: Frank Ocean was unusually productive last year; he sprinkled spectacular one-off singles like “Chanel” and “Biking” every few months and finished the year with a cryptic image on his Tumblr that read “IF YOU LIKED 2017, YOU’LL LOVE…2018.” He just might make good on his “5 albums before 30” promise, but still, say it with me: “Where’s the album, Frank?”
Vampire Weekend, “Mitsubishi Macchiato”: Vampire Weekend’s forthcoming…well, fourth coming currently gives me two causes for concern: It’s their first album since the departure of producer and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij, and it’s tentatively titled “Mitsubishi Macchiato.” Given that the other three members of the band are more-than-talented musicians and songwriters in their own right, it’s safe to say that the kids stand more than a chance.
Jack White, “Boarding House Reach” (3/23): As half of the White Stripes, Jack White was one of the defining rock artists of the 2000s. While White’s sound is still rooted in the same mutant hybrid of blues and garage rock, “Boarding House Reach,” out later this month, sees him bring in everything from punk to hip-hop to electronica, making for what could be his most eclectic batch of tunes yet.
Yo La Tengo, “There’s a Riot Going On” (3/16): The fifteenth album from Yo La Tengo lifts its name from the Sly & the Family Stone classic, released as the idealism of the Sixties collapsed into the cynical Seventies. Yo La Tengo’s new album captures its own kind of sonic chaos; the album’s instrumental parts were composed in jam sessions, then combined to form the songs—four of which you can hear (at the same time) in the album’s YouTube teaser.
Contact Jacob Nierenberg at jhn2017 ‘at’ stanford.edu.