Considering that 2018, in zodiac terms, is officially the year of the dog - aka. one of the sweetest and most majestic animals to dwell upon this planet, ever - this year has all the makings of a cracker before its really begun. It’s a year that’s practically calling out for brand new music from many of our favourite musicians, too, and even though we might only be *checks calendar* just over a month into the swing of things, our favourite musicians - from Charli XCX and Arctic Monkeys right through to Christine and The Queens and Grimes - have wasted no time whatsoever in planting plenty of clues and tidbits about brand new albums they’ll be dropping later on in 2018.
From vague Ezra Koenig selfie updates, to concrete confirmation of CHVRCHES’ upcoming new album and Greg Kurstin collaborations, we’re harvested up every last scrap of gossip out there. Don’t say we don’t spoil you rotten.
So, gather round, readers, and follow us; on a deep delve through all of the forthcoming records to get very, very excited about in 2018.
With her fourth album ‘Art Angels’, Grimes transformed herself into a menacing, unstoppable force, deftly casting aside critical expectation and making bold, bonkers music entirely on her own terms. One of the finest albums to arise from the last decade - and her best work to date - it’s no wonder that we’re all hankering after its successor. And by the looks of things, it’s not far off.
I’m “in the studio every day trying to legit make something you’ve never heard before,” Claire Boucher told fans in August last year. “I need another month or 2 of pure unadulterated creativity at which point I will begin finishing tracks. Won’t let you down.”
So, what can we expect from those new sonic landscapes Grimes has been pointing towards? For starters, she’s been experimenting with different moods. “I’m really vibing on making something really slow and gorgeous that just breathes, and has room to breathe,” she told V Magazine. “I feel like my work has always been fast paced, kinetic, and almost just manic and I feel like for me the hardest thing I can do is make something that’s slow and heavy.”
And as for when it might land? Well, nobody’s sure - not even Grimes. Originally she hinted that we could expect a follow-up to ‘Art Angels’ in 2018, tweeting that if things were entirely up to her, it would be out in spring this year. But then, a couple of weeks later, Grimes edited a caption on Instagram to read ““welp no music any time soon after all music industry is trash”.
We’ll just have to be patient, in that case, and knowing Grimes it’ll be more than worth the wait. (El Hunt)
Back in 2013, The 1975 released an EP called ‘Music For Cars’, which was then followed by a self-titled debut album, and tongue-twisting follow-up ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’. Back in April of last year, frontman Matty Healy tweeted “I like it when you sleep is coming to an end” before following it up with another: “Music For Cars”, and confirming to Zane Lowe on Beats 1 that the band’s upcoming third album would, indeed, be named after their early EP.
‘I like it when you sleep’ did come to an end at last year’s Latitude Festival- The 1975’s first major festival headline performance - and Healy kept repeating a phrase. “The 1st of June, The 1975”. Since then, there have been repeated suggestions from Healy, the band, and Dirty Hit owner Jamie Oborne that the album will, indeed, be released on the 1st June.
Information has continued to trickle in about the album, mainly from Twitter, including details of a song written about the band’s fans, tracks called ‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’ and ‘I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)’ and a hint that ‘Music For Cars’ will run for a stonking 68 minutes.
Oh, and if that weren’t enough, the band have also confirmed that ‘Music For Cars’ will be taken on tour this year, and there might even be room for a new EP, called ‘What A Shame’. It might not be a Frank Ocean woodworking level of album build-up, but there’s no more exciting story to follow this year than that of The 1975. (Will Richards)
It’s been nearly five years since Vampire Weekend released their last album ‘Modern Vampires of the City’. Just let that sink in. That’s nearly half a decade. In that time, Rostam has left the band and released both his own album and a collaborative record with Hamilton Leithauser, while both Baioand drummer Chris Tomson have released solo efforts. Ezra Koenig’s even been able to create his own anime series ‘Neo Yokio’ alongside Jaden Smith.
Yet back in early 2016, Ezra revealed that work on the fourth Vampire Weekend record had already begun and that its working title was ‘Mitsubishi Macchiato’. “For now in the Vampire Weekend universe, it’s all about recording the next album”, he said in an Instagram post, followed by a period of radio silence. But then, last September, The Ultimate Indie Dreamboat stepped forth once again to announce that the new album was “80% done” adding that it was “a lil more springtime than the last one”.
A drip-feed of information has since kept coming, further hinting at a different vibe for the record and offering much more to get very excited about. Working with Kanye West has apparently had an impact, while country singer Kacey Musgraves has also been an inspiration. Ezra said that after seeing her show it made him realise that “there’s not a ton of Vampire Weekend songs where you could listen to the first verse and immediately answer the question of who’s singing and who are they singing to”, potentially suggesting a more direct incarnation of the band. Rostam is even set to appear on the record, contributing to tracks that were started “a pretty long time ago”.
Now, after showing off a revamped website and announcing their first show in four years at End of the Road, that new, brighter album seems more tantalisingly close than it’s ever been. And yeah, it may actually be called ‘Mitsubishi Macchiato’ after all because, as Ezra told Zane Lowe, “it reminded me to wake up a little bit too and maybe get back to some other vibes”. Whatever sound their new record will bring, waking up to a new Vampire Weekend record will no doubt deliver a buzz that’s even greater than your morning coffee. (Eugenie Johnson)
Despite the fact that it’s been aggges since Charli XCX’s last ‘proper’ album, ‘Sucker’, various other projects have ensured that she remains one of the most boundary-pushing presences in pop. And on the evidence of everything stuffed up her sleeves yet to come, she’s been a busy, busy person in the last few years.
Our Chaz’s third album, it turns out, has been finished for a long time; she’s just waiting for the right time to unleash it. “I finished my album in the middle of last year and I’m probably not even going to release it until next year now,” she said in 2017, “because I want to release a lot of other music before, that isn’t totally linked to the album.” Cue ‘Vroom Vroom’, ‘Number 1 Angel’ and ‘Pop 2’ - the three equally far-reaching EPs and mixtapes that followed it. Apparently they all give a little peek into the future - ‘After the Afterparty,’ Charli says, is “half representative” of her full-length record.
Dishing a bit more of that new album dirt, Chaz told Rolling Stone to expect “a champagne shower of badass pop” sometime in the future. “One of my favourite hobbies is partying,” she added (tbh, same - Ed) and I realised that I never actually made a party album. I never made an album that I would want to hear at a club. It was very indulgent in that sense because I just wanted to make an album that I could get fucked up to. It’s the soundtrack to my nights.” (EH)
Take a cursory glance at Chvrches’ fairly sparing social media account, and it’s easy to spot the hashtags pointing towards ‘CHV3’. You hardly have to be Nancy Drew to put together the bigger picture, either. The Scottish trio have let a fair few details slip about their follow-up to ‘Every Open Eye’ over the last couple of months, and ‘Get Out’ - a shuddering pop banger that we assume marks the first single - stands as another clear sign that this lot are, as the Take That once said, back for good.
So, what do we know so far? Well, Lauren Mayberry appeared to accidentally reveal the album title - ‘Love is Dead’ - in a interview last month, and although the video was hastily deleted, fans were quick to screenshot the potential scoop. The band have also revealed that, for the first time, they’ll be working with an outside producer for CHV3. The man in question? Oh, y’know, only that Greg Kurstin bloke; just that obscure under the radar enigma who has worked wonders with everyone from Tegan and Sara to Adele.
The band seem pleased with the results, too. “When I listen to the record, Lauren told Entertainment Weekly, “I feel like it’s the most pop stuff we’ve done and also the most aggressive and vulnerable at the same time. It was about really leaning into those moments — and also wanting there to be a real humanity and character to what we’re saying.”
In another interview, she added that CHV3 will feature more live recording than ever, in tune with the band’s ascension to some of the country’s biggest stages. “There’s live drums on this this time,” she told Circa. “We knew we wanted it to be very honest and feel more like the bands that we grew up enjoying. And because we play so many live shows, live is such a huge element of the band, [and] we wanted to really harness that and make it more kinetic. in that kind of space.” (EH)
The full length follow-up to Sky Ferriera’s ‘Night Time, My Time’ has been on our radar for ages now, with its title, ‘Masochism’, confirmed way back in 2015 by Sky herself. Keeping fans informed along the way, the Los Angeles artist cited illness as a factor in why she’s been - quite rightly - taking her time. “I’m ill and have been for a while,” Sky wrote on Twitter at the end of last year. “I have to get completely better so I can tour and actually promote [‘Masochism’] I was misdiagnosed for a long time and I’m now just starting to actually recover”.
While ‘Masochism’ might be a way off yet, it looks like there are plans for what Sky’s calling a “visual” EP in the meantime. “It’s an EP that is heavily visual, and the videos will all connect to each other in an abstract way,” she told The Fader. “The visual component isn’t necessarily a concept, it was more of an excuse for me to make videos for all the songs.” She also shared the “official first photo from my upcoming music release.” on social media, effectively setting the ball rolling.
Pressed for a release date, Sky added that she expects the EP to come out in “February or March” 2018, and teased a number of collaborations on the release. “It’s exciting because I’ve never written with so many girls before,” she said. “There’s a girl that’s writing the EP with me. There are very specific things I wanted to write, and I could write on my own, but I knew she could bring another element of what I wanted to the music.” Watch this space, then. (EH)
Rewind a few weeks, to January 29th to be specific, and all signs pointed towards an almighty Monkey comeback. Co-ordinating about 25 festivals to all simultaneously announce the band as headliner, it was the kind of total music news domination that seemed to suggest a new track would surely be around the corner. We were prepped. We were ready. And then… nothing.
Yep, while this glut of new tour dates (although still none in the UK bar a TRNSMT Glasgow headline, mind) is proof that Alex Turner and co’s ridiculously-anticipated return must be imminent, there’s still little in the way of concrete information out there. Last year, bassist Nick O’Malley was quoted as saying that if the Sheffield legends’ sixth record wasn’t released in 2018, that would mean they’ve “got problems”. Luckily, it seems like that hasn’t been the case. With more than three years since their last show (the band completed touring for ‘AM’ in November 2014), you know they wouldn’t return to the stage without a fistful of new wares.
But as for hints as to what the album sounds like, where it’s been recorded or when it’ll appear? Lord knows. We’d put money on at least something being out in the world before their first comeback show at Primavera on June 2nd though. Only 100-ish sleeps to go… (Lisa Wright)
Christine and The Queens
An artist concerned with constantly looking forward, Christine and The Queens was already focused on her second record while her first, ‘Chaleur Humaine’ - which she originally released in 2014 - was still making waves across the world two years later. “[The debut album] was so beautiful to work on,” she told us after a game-changing 2016, “but it is something I’m afraid to dwell on, because it is a debut album. It’s like, an introduction. ‘Hello, it’s me.’ But then you need a second verse. I’m actually plotting the next album,” she said, “rubbing my hands together alone in my room, laughing creepily.”
Providing a few vague early updates on all that creepy hand-rubbing the following year, Christine hinted towards a “sweaty” follow-up, and accordingly, shared a suitably strenuous gym selfie on Instagram . “I know where I want to make Christine go,” she told NME. “I know where she’s going to be, who she’s going to be, who she’s going to be in love with and what she will be angry for. It will definitely be more sweaty and tougher,” she added of her second record. “Maybe more high-tempo, but still really sad because I’m just me and I’m just sad deep down.”
Since then, Heloise hasn’t given much else away save for a few snaps from the studio, and a suspiciously frequent presence in London (perhaps she’s recording the album in her new favourite city?). She also hinted in passing that her currently bilingual music (melding French and English) might be diversifying further - depending on how those Duolingo lessons on the train go. I’d love to use more [languages],” she told the BBC. “With every language comes a music, a way to sing, a way to describe the world.”
There’s still no concrete word on when that second Christine and The Queens record might drop, then, but knowing Heloise, it’ll be as soon as humanly possible; mainly so she can hop straight back aboard the tour bus. She’s particularly missing “the stage and the sweat, and the muscles and the emotion,” apparently. “Even when I’m doing a studio album, I’m fantasising about the next tour.” (EH)
Father John Misty
On 2015 breakout second album ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, Father John Misty penned a sweeping, 11-song opus to the intricacies of the human heart. On its 2017 follow up ‘Pure Comedy’, he turned his gaze outwards, providing a dark, humorous and often painfully accurate depiction of the confused modern world at large. Love. Life. It’s fair to say Josh Tillman –the sardonic, emotive, piss-taking, genius ball of contradictions behind it all – isn’t afraid to tackle the big stuff.
On his as-yet- untitled fourth LP, finished and due for a release this year, however, it seems like Papa John might be threatening to tone down the grandiose musicality that’s characterised his most successful two records to date (be that in the sweeping romance of the former or the more experimental tangents of the latter). Describing those albums as “pretentious” and “squarely concept records” to NME last year, the thrust now seems to be towards an album that digs beneath the facade into something more honest.
Written over six weeks during a self-professed period of heartache while living in a hotel, he’s labelled the record “the real ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ but without the cynicism”. “It’s kind of about… yeah… misadventure. The words were just pouring out of me,” he says. “I think the music essentially serves the purpose of making the painful and the isolating less painful and less isolating.” Within that music you can expect something “kinda spritely,” we’re told. Recorded with Foxygen man Jonathan Rado (who’s also produced the upcoming debut from Matt Maltese – aka the British FJM – FYI), it seems to hint that the producer’s playful eccentricities may have seeped in.
Confirmed track titles include ‘Ouch, I’m Drowning’, ‘Dum Dum Blues’, ‘Mr Tillman, Please Exit The Lobby’ and ‘Well, We’re Only People And There’s Nothing Much We Can Do About It’; displaying some classic Misty self-referential playfulness, they suggest that Josh hasn’t entirely thrown out his own rulebook for LP4. But, much like ‘Pure Comedy’ flipped ‘…Honeybear”s appeal on its head, creating an entirely different but equally alluring new world for Tillman to narrate, Album Four is sure to peel back yet another layer of one of the most intriguingly complex personalities in modern music. (LW)