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The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

on January 07, 2014, 8:00pm
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st vincent 2014 album The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Release date: February 25th via Loma Vista/Republic

The opening line of “Birth in Reverse”, the first track from Annie Clark’s forthcoming self-titled, goes, “Oh what an ordinary day/ Take out the garbage, masturbate.” Considering the musician once told Denver Westward that she likes “when things come out of nowhere and blindside you a little bit,” we shouldn’t be surprised, and if the rest of her 11-track record sounds anything like that frantic, fuzzy track, we’re in for a treat. According to the album’s press release, Clark recorded it in Dallas with Dap-Kings drummer Homer Steinweiss and Midlake percussionist McKenzie Smith and with former producer John Congleton (Modest Mouse, The Mountain Goats) at the helm of the process yet again. Clark has called the album “a party record you could play at a funeral,” so stay tuned for a catchy, morbid, wholly unique St. Vincent experience come February. -Amanda Koellner

Listen: “Birth in Reverse”

Buy: Amazon


beck 20141 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

Beck – Morning Phase

Release date: February via Capitol Records

The 43-year-old Beck Hansen attributes the six-year gap between albums (his last, Modern Guilt, came out in 2008) to two main ailments. One, he’s been dealing with a debilitating back problem that has kept him from touring. The other is, well, the modern music industry, which he’s dissed for its streaming service sins and lack of emphasis on sound quality. So, he’s turning back the clock to the digital era’s earlier days and reviving an old approach. Billed as a companion piece (but not a sequel) to 2002’s Sea Change, the 12-song Morning Phase is inspired by the “California sound,” as Hansen told Rolling Stone recently. “I’m hearing the Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Gram Parsons, Neil Young — the bigger idea of what that sound is to me.” -Mike Madden

Listen: “Wave” (live)


 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

The Men – Tomorrow’s Hits

Release date: March 4th via Sacred Bones Records

The Men have reliably delivered an album a year since 2010’s self-released Immaculada, each with an equally reliable progression of the band’s sound. The hardcore ’70s punk of Leave Home got softened by Americana/guitar rock on Open Your Heart, a sound The Men fully embraced on New Moon. From the live samplings we’ve heard of Tomorrow’s Hits, it appears they’re continuing to roll with New Moon’s style, and that’s not a bad thing. Still, there’s a good chance the tunes will surprise on record; the rockers have promised their “highest fidelity album to date,” having tracked it live over two days at Brooklyn’s Strange Weather studios. Oh yeah, and then there’s that horn section they brought along. The Men are three-for-three with major releases, and there’s no reason to expect that trend to stop. -Ben Kaye

Listen: “Dark Waltz” (live)

Buy: Amazon


liars thumb The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

Liars – TBA

Release date: March via Mute Records

A big theme of Liars’ career arc is their willingness to evolve, and with their yet-untitled seventh album, recorded at their private studio in Los Angeles, the New York rock trio of Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill, and Julian Gross revised their agenda again. Humbly bragging in a statement that the recording process of 2011’s Top Star-earning WIXIW was “doubtful,” the making of the new LP was, in accordance with new songs “I Saw You from the Lifeboat” and “Perfume Tear”, “immediate, fun, instinctual and confident.” For a veteran band that presumably knows what they’re talking about by now, that’s a description we’ll take any day. -Mike Madden

Listen: New song (live)


war on drugs lost in the dream The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

Release date: March 18th via Secretly Canadian

Former War on Drugs member Kurt Vile enjoyed a critically adorned 2013, while his former bandmates continued to work on their new album up and down the northeast. Adam Granduciel and Co.’s goal of following up their own well-received record (2011’s Slave Ambient) as well as dealing with inevitable comparisons to Vile (see: this write-up) would be no easy task. However, if Lost in the Dream’s “Red Eyes” is indicative of anything, it’s that the Philadelphia outlet is taking their influences (the Boss, Dylan) and forming a unit that goes deeper than simply being a band. “I wanted there to be a singular voice, but I wanted it to be a project of great friends. Everyone in the band cares about it so much,” Granduciel explained. “That is the crux of it — growing up, dealing with life, having close friends, helping each other get by. That is what the record’s all about.” March can’t come soon enough. –Justin Gerber

Listen: “Red Eyes”

Buy: Amazon


painsofbeingpureatheart The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – TBA

Release date: April

The admirably named NY combo The Pains of Being Pure at Heart sprung into life in October with a single featuring covers of “Jeremy” (The Magnetic Fields) and “My Life Is Wrong” (East River Pipe), signifying its first new cuts since the release of Belong. Then, in December, a strangely belated video for that 2011 album’s title track appeared, coinciding with an Instagram of frontman Kip Berman, guitar in hand, flanked by musical equipment, captioned, “In London finishing LP3 with @andy_savours.” Berman was also pictured at Danny Taylor’s NY House Under Magic studio back in the summer. Enigmatic stuff so far, but maybe there’s a clue in another Instagram showing percussion instruments with the caption “2009: fuzz pedals & reverb. 2013: rain stick & shells.” So, expect less fuzz, less shoegaze, more ethnic percussion? We’re intrigued. -Tony Hardy

samsmith13 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour

Release date: May 26th via Capitol Records

21-year-old British crooner Sam Smith elevated his profile after he smashed the vocals on Disclosure’s massive single “Latch”, with his booming and personality-heavy tenor making the track. If his Nirvana EP and the accompanying album trailer are any indication, his debut, In the Lonely Hour, is going to be chock-full of anthemic bangers, hook-heavy love songs, and soulful affectation. Now, with a BRITs Critics Choice award and a BBC Sound of 2014 poll nomination under his belt, Smith is poised to make a loud statement with his debut album. The lead single from In the Lonely Hour, “Money on My Mind”, will be released on February 16th 2014. –Josh Terry

Listen: “Money on My Mind”


cloudnothings2013 thumb1 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

Cloud Nothings – TBA

Release date: Spring via Carpark Records

Cloud Nothings frontman Dylan Baldi has promised that the band’s untitled fourth album will be more noisy and less melodic than its predecessors. But, judging from the live performances of new song “Psychic Trauma”, we think he means more noisy and more melodic. Chalk up the modesty to Baldi’s polite Ohio roots. Regardless of the noise-to-melody ratio, we’re excited simply because Cloud Nothings is a band that’s evolved with every album, while still staying in its wheelhouse of ’90s scuzz. “Psychic Trauma” and the song intros heard in their album trailer all hint at the fanged cageyness of Attack on Memory, with rougher production and more time signatures. Anyone who was lucky enough to score tickets to their show at Rough Trade NYC can hear all of it live on January 16th. The rest of us will have to wait until the album drops. Although an official release date hasn’t been announced, the thing’s in the can, so we’re expecting it to be soon. –Dan Caffrey

Listen: “Psychic Trauma” (live)


emasatellites The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

EMA – The Future’s Void

Release date: Spring via Matador Records

Erika M. Anderson is preparing a schizophrenic soundscape with her sophomore album, The Future’s Void, challenging our dependence on technology, and as her new label says (via new track “Satellites”), may introduce “us to some […] metaphysical themes, of struggling to understand where we fit in the digital age and where we are all headed.” “Satellites”, while still displaying powerful songwriting akin to her (quieter) debut, Past Life Martyred Saints, features an unofficial video of shaking television and paranoid glitch. The intensity works excellently for this single, so here’s to hoping there’s more of that on her upcoming record. -Zander Porter

Listen: “Satellites”


lily allen The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

Lily AllenTBA

Release date: Spring

After a lengthy hiatus and two pregnancies, UK pop singer Lily Allen made a valiant comeback in November with the single “Hard Out Here”, a biting commentary on celebrity culture and the subjectification of women. It was the last great song of 2013 (to go along with her cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know”, which hit No. 1 in the UK earlier), and Allen carries that momentum into the new year. Her untitled third studio album comes after 2009’s It’s Not Me, It’s You and is expected to drop sometime in the Spring. -Jon Hadusek

Listen: “Hard Out Here”


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