Our 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

words and header by liam menzies (@blnkclyr) unless specified

Remember how phenomenal that one song you heard from 2017 was? That album that you couldn’t stop yourself from spinning as soon as it had reached the end of its vinyl? At this point in the year, it can be all too easy to look back with rose-tinted glasses at the year that has passed and while it was great, it would be idiotic of us to ignore what the next 12 months have in store for us. We may very well miss out on some of your hotly anticipated ones, whether that be the album being hidden at the time of writing or sheer ignorance, but the team has put their heads together to come up with this list of the records we can’t wait to get into our ears…

Black Foxxes – Reoli


Why: Another band that you REALLY should be listening to, Devonshire trio Black Foxxes will be releasing Reoli on March 16th. Their debut album, I’m Not Well, came out in 2016 to high praise, and whilst the themes in the album, including depression, anxiety & frontman Mark Holley’s struggle with Crohn’s disease are a heavy drink of water, the album is incredibly listenable and a must have on anyone’s playlist. Whilst only one song has broken cover from this album, the smart gambler would put a few chips on this being a dark horse in the album of the year contest. – oliver butler (@notoliverbutler)

When: 16th March 2018.

Blood Orange – LP4


Why: Having released one of 2016’s most underrated records Freetown Sound, Dev Hynes is set to follow it up with his fourth full-length album this year. It seems set to be a challenging, introspective listen if his 2017 interview is anything to go by: “A lot of the new songs on the new album deal with growing up and childhood in England [..] looking at the country that made me”. Admitting that it’ll be a little dark in the same piece, Blood Orange LP4 is set to be an important listen.

Proof: Image above as well as this DIY article.

Brockhampton – Team Effort


WhyAfter the, let’s be honest, far better than it had any right to be SATURATION trilogy, you’d be forgiven for being a bit burned out on the best boy band since One Direction. But it just seems that that isn’t the case at all. Now free from any continuity restrictions that the Saturation trilogy enforced them to, this next album will hopefully see even more innovation and surprises from BROCKHAMPTON. ethan woodford (@human_dis4ster) & jake cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Proof: This tweet right here from the boys themselves.

Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy


Why: Before you rush into the comments to tell us that Twin Fantasy was released in 2011 – we know, you’re not special for knowing that. The reason this Car Seat Headrest album is included on our list is down to Will Toledo mistakenly announcing via a now taken down listing that a re-release will be happening. However, as opposed to the traditional meaning, Toledo has the benefit of a bigger budget, a full band in fine form, and endless time to tinker, meaning what we’ll get seven years later will be the album he really wanted to make.

When: Feb 16th.

Codist – LP2


Why: Sleep? Who needs it?! The Codist boys certainly don’t seem to need any as they’re set to drop the follow up to their 2016 debut Nuclear Family (which was pretty fucking good). Having dropped an EP last year on the newly founded LP Records label, we’re psyched to see what this Glasgow rock outfit have tucked away for us.

When: This lil video right here.

Courtney Barnett – LP3


Why: After a successful collaboration with Kurt Vile on Lotta Sea Lice, fans of Courtney Barnett are eager to see what the up and coming Australian artist is going to ramble about on a new LP. Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit was one of the best albums of 2015 due to its undeniable charm and with some well-earned experience from subsequent ventures, we’re excited to see what changes she’ll be making on this record.

Proof: Barnett chatted to Zane Lowe about the new album on his beats1 station.

Danny Brown – LP5


Why: If the fact that this Detroit rapper’s last album Atrocity Exhibition was our 2016 Album Of The Year isn’t enough to get you pumped up then what’s wrong with you? Danny Brown crafted one of the most exciting and wholly original hip-hop albums of the century alongside Paul White and with this new album set to be “produced by one producer, who’s legendary in hip-hop“, we can’t wait to see what path Danny leads us on.

Proof: Brown admitted on Twitter that he’s working on a currently untitled new album.

Dorothy – 28 Days in The Valley


Why: Dorothy are probably the best band you’ve never heard of. Or, if you’ve heard of them, one of the best new bands on your radar. Signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, the bluesy brawlers will be releasing 28 Days in the Valley this year, their follow up to 2016’s ROCKISDEAD. Mixing heavy, bluesy rock with frontwoman Dorothy Martin’s swelling vocals, Dorothy have a crunching modern sound that’s full of classic influences. – oliver butler (@notoliverbutler)

Proof: The band admitted the album is set to drop in early 2018.

Drenge – LP3


Why: Hopefully set to return after almost a 3-year absence, Sheffield trio Drenge will look to return with a vengeance. Looking to combine the best aspects from their different but both excellent albums so far, LP 3 will no doubt be well worth the wait. – ethan woodford (@human_dis4ster)

Proof: It exists (unless the guys were in an Edgar Wright mood).

Gorillaz – LP5


Why: While the critical reception to the band’s much-anticipated comeback album Humanz wasn’t what anyone was hoping for, that doesn’t mean we aren’t any less excited for what’s to come. Not much is known about it at the moment but if it’s a Gorillaz record, expect it to be grandiose, entertaining and ignite a lot of discussions.

When: The group’s Jamie Hewlett admitted the album’s existence.

Grimes – LP5


Why: Explaining in an Instagram video she’s been “in the studio every day trying to legit make something you’ve never heard before”, Canadian artist Claire Boucher has consistently impressed since her 2010 debut and her upcoming LP seems to be no different. With a focus on being fresh and exciting, Art Angels managed to win Grimes a lot of new fans and whatever she has next will, regardless of quality, keep them as well as old enthusiasts surprised.

Proof: This article right here.

Injury Reserve – LP2


Why: After impressing everyone with their debut studio album Floss and further keeping that smile on our faces with last year’s Drive It Like It’s Stolen EP, this zany and fresh hip-hop outfit seem set to keep the golden streak running with a follow up LP. “we’re about to go hole up in a cabin in northern Arizona and simultaneously put together the best tour of 2018 and the best album of our career so far” is what Parker Corey said recently on his Twitter so with their confidence so high, it’s appropriate to get suitably hyped for LP2.

Proof: New full-length album confirmed here😉

Interpol – LP6


Why: Marking 15 years since their landmark debut Turn On The Bright Lights, Interpol have performed the album in its entirety across a series of sold-out shows this year. Such a momentous occasion felt like the perfect time to wheel out some new material, which is precisely what happened at London’s Alexandra Palace. Included in the encore was Real Life, the first taste of what to expect from their follow up to El Pintor – a mouth-watering prospect as we wait to see what direction their post-Carlos D era takes them in. kieran cannon (@kiercannon)

Proof: The aforementioned performances of new material last year.

Justin Timberlake – Man Of The Woods


Why: It might be cool to hate on chart music but if there’s an artist who manages to make even the biggest of bucket hat wearing indie lads bop to a pop tune, it’s probably gonna be Justin Timberlake. With this pretense, you might expect another slick listen but from what has been teased so far, expect something more akin to Bon Iver than anything else – that might repulse some but for people like ourselves who wish to see big stars push themselves in interesting directions, we’re utterly intrigued to see what Man Of The Woods has to show.

When: Feb 2nd.

Kanye West – Turbo Grafx 16


Why: When you have the late, great Lou Reed praising you then you must be doing something right and the ever egotistical Kanye West looks set to continue his golden run with his new gaming inspired record Turbo Grafx 16. With the record set to feature sampling from the likes of No More Heroes and Super Mario Galaxy in addition to hosting appearances from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper and Young Thug, Kanye may be set to deliver the oddest record of 2018.

Proof: gBzFazu.png

Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons – Age of Absurdity 

Phil Campbell.jpg

Why: After hitting the road playing a mix of originals and covers, plus a six-track EP in 2016, Phil Campbell and his band of bastardy men are ready to release their first full-length album; Age of Absurdity. So far, this band has proven that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Phil’s sons Todd, Tyla & Dane are all incredibly talented musicians in their own right. – oliver butler (@notoliverbutler)

When: January 26th.

Screaming Females – All At Once 


Why: A band we weren’t aware of up until a recent Spotify recommendation, Screaming Females packs in one of the best rock/punk vocalists in the form of Marissa Paternoster who is just on the mic as she is on the guitar. First cut off All At Once, titled Glass House, is anthemic and builds up to a climax that blurs the line between shaky and untenable: if that’s anything to go by then this LP will prove to be one of 2018’s best rock albums.

When: Feb 23rd

Simon Neil – ZZC

GettyImages-597565480_biffy_clyro_simon_solo_album_630 (1).jpg

Why: Big Si dropped a track on Christmas Day, so that’s good enough for me to believe his long-teased solo effort is finally almost here. The aforementioned track, titled The Myth, is a 7 and a half minute long instrumental that goes from orchestral to mathy as fuck rock at the drop of a hat. It’s really, REALLY good, and if it’s an indication of the direction of rest of the album, it sounds like the untethered, mental Simon Neil that die-hard Biffy Clyro fans have been pining for is back, and back with a vengeance. – jake cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Proof: Si has been teasing this for years now and with The Myth being the opening track, this surely means it’s sooner rather than later for his solo effort.

Vampire Weekend – LP4


Why: While the band members themselves certainly haven’t been slacking, whether that be contributing to anime or making their own solo album, it’s been a long ass time since Vampire Weekend last blessed us with some new music – half a decade to be exact. With the likes of Kanye West being cited as an inspiration for the yet untitled fourth LP, it’s hard not to be intrigued by what the New York lads have in store for us.

Proof: This juicy lil interview with Ezra Koenig.

The Xcerts – Hold On To Your Heart


Why: The three singles already released from this album are some of the band’s best work to date and, from what we heard on their live tour in October, the other tunes are certainly going to be a treat as well. gregor farquharson (@grgratlntc)

When: 19th January.


15 Years On: Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights

By Kieran Cannon (@kiercannon)

At the turn of the 21st century, New York City boasted one of the most prolific indie rock scenes in the world. Venues such as the Mercury Lounge and Brownies played host to numerous up-and-coming artists and continued to do so until the mid-2000s when they started to become the last bastion of underground music amidst widespread onset of gentrification in neighbourhoods throughout the city. Leading the garage rock and post-punk revival, bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes erupted into mainstream consciousness with straightforward, danceable rock which was at odds with the grunge movement that dominated America in the 90s, prompting some to declare that rock ‘n’ roll is, in fact, alive and kicking. Jeans and t-shirts were order of the day; however, one band unexpectedly turned up suited and booted surrounded by an air of mystery – Interpol.

Around the campus of NYU, guitarist Daniel Kessler encouraged classmates Paul Banks and enigmatic Carlos Dengler to form a band alongside him and then-drummer Greg Drudy. In the lead up to their debut LP Turn On The Bright Lights the band, now featuring Sam Fogarino on percussion duties, set about making a name for themselves in the same circles as contemporaries The Strokes and The National, playing material from self-released demos and hoping to garner enough momentum to get signed by a label. Timing played a crucial role in the slow burn success of Bright Lights: the internet was on the brink of becoming a major player in the music industry but much of Interpol’s exposure came the old fashioned way. Although the band don’t necessarily consider themselves ‘of’ the New York music scene, excellent promotion work by Daniel as well as being in the right place at the right time contributed to their eventual popularity. An invitation by the legendary DJ John Peel to play a session further established their significance and a record deal with Matador ensued.

Songwriting and aesthetics marry seamlessly in Turn On The Bright Lights to make their debut album the one which definitively established their image, an unmistakably important aspect of the band. Everything from the ethereal red-lit screen on the album cover to the layered, reverb-soaked instrumentation works in tandem and the end result is a complete package. Critics at the time were quick to highlight the similarities between the baritone of frontman Paul Banks and the late Ian Curtis; however, suggesting Bright Lights is a knock-off Joy Division record is disingenuous. Part of the charm is his unique poetic touch: many of his lyrics are deeply cryptic in nature, hiding subject matter ranging from serial killers to fellatio behind layers of wit and double entendre. In Obstacle 1, so named because the band were suffering a writing drought at the time (interestingly the band overcame Obstacle 2 first), the lyric “her stories are boring and stuff” sounds like a throwaway filler line but the nuance lies in the deadpan delivery and the context of the song – generally accepted to be infatuation with a young model who committed suicide. He realises she isn’t perfect but this bears no influence on his feelings towards her.

One of the most prominent features of Bright Lights is its ability to conjure up imagery to match the music. The opening track, Untitled, is one of the most electrifying and atmospheric songs on the album – piece by piece the songs builds on the echoing guitar riff with interplay between Banks and Kessler, drums which build to a crescendo then give way to tense guitar and bass, eventually fading to silence. Reflecting its status as an opener, it certainly feels like a new beginning of sorts – it’s easy to imagine this as the soundtrack to a long distance journey. NYC has a similar vibe, evoking images of travelling on the subway or the bus late at night, feeling isolated but taking solace in the fact that “New York cares“. In light of the September 11 attacks this song, although written before the attacks took place, takes on a special poignancy and becomes a kind of mournful love song to the city.

On songs such as PDA, the tightness of the band shines through as Banks’ steely vocals shout over pounding drums and duel guitars. By virtue of the dynamic between the band members, expansive-sounding verses can easily transform into nervous, claustrophobic choruses and vice versa, eventually culminating in the ending which is, arguably, one of the high points of the album. Guitar and bass parts slowly build in intensity, threatening to boil over until Sam Fogarino’s drums explode back into action and carry the song through to its conclusion. It would be remiss not to mention Carlos D’s masterful basslines and The New sees his instrument take a front seat, where the stop-go nature of the song gives him the perfect opportunity to create tension with highly-strung hooks in the buildup to each new section. The work of the notorious bassist, who became famed for his eclectic dress sense and occasional controversial remarks, permeates the record and his Peter Hook inspired melodies play a huge role in the overall sound of Interpol.

In the years following Turn On The Bright Lights’ release, its impact has been remarkable. Many artists, old and new, have expressed their admiration for the album and its influence has reached across genres with acts such as Editors, The xx and The Killers taking cues from it, Brandon Flowers notably stating that the record “was on constant rotation while we were making ‘Hot Fuss’.” As for the band themselves, many consider Bright Lights to be their high watermark. Given the daunting task of following up an album of such calibre, the subsequent Antics thankfully avoided falling into the trap of the so-called ‘sophomore slump’. While a solid output by any measure, containing several of the band’s greatest hits, the overall package lacked the emotional depth of their debut effort. Subsequent releases, such as the decent Our Love to Admire and the questionable self-titled Interpol, sadly seemed to confirm that the dizzying heights of their debut might never be reached again; that it was a product of its time. Despite Carlos D’s departure in 2010, the band are still churning out music and their latest release, 2014’s El Pintor, does show signs of promise. Their best could yet lie ahead.