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The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

on January 05, 2015, 12:00am
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Will Butler - Policy solo albumWill Butler – Policy

Release date: March 10th via Merge Records

Why We’re Excited: Who would’ve thought years ago that the guy running around on stage with the Arcade Fire, parading with a bass drum, throwing drumsticks at Richard Parry, and playing a glockenspiel would wind up releasing a solo LP? But here we are, with Win’s little brother Will ready to release Policy, an album of “American music” in the tradition of a range of artists including “Smokey Robinson, the Magnetic Fields, Ghostface Killah.”

Butler started by dropping in on a few low-key live dates, debuting his new, jangly tunes for test audiences. He’s clearly grown a lot since the early Arcade Fire days, even snagging an Academy Award nomination for his work with Owen Pallett on the Her soundtrackPolicy, recorded at Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios and featuring Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara on drums, is shaping up to make one of Arcade Fire’s secret weapons not so secret. –Adam Kivel

Listen: “Take My Side”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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Tobias Jesso Jr. – GoonTobias Jesso Jr. – Goon

Release date: March 17th via True Panther Sounds

Why We’re Excited: Goon may be Tobias Jesso Jr.’s first album, but the Vancouver-based singer-songwriter already has plenty of credit to his name. This 12-track debut sees production from Girls’ Chet “JR” White, The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, and Ariel Rechtshaid, all three of whom hone Jesso’s sweet, honest tone into the bare makings of a future Perfume Genius, Nat Baldwin, or Sparklehorse. Goon outlines his time tackling a rough breakup in Los Angeles, CA. While the fodder may sound cliché, Tobias Jesso Jr. wields the earnestness of Justin Vernon while keeping the brute charm of Daniel Johnston, all the while cradling a broken heart with the gentle notes of his piano. It’s what you’d expect from an up-and-coming artist who bashfully avoids eye contact, offering up a debut title that sees him jabbing his own side in good fun while getting a little misty-eyed. –Nina Corcoran

Listen: “Hollywood”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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Image (1) TwinShadow-300x300-260x260.jpg for post 151269Twin Shadow – Eclipse

Release date: March 17th via Warner Bros. Records 

Why We’re Excited: Not only is George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow, in a new city (Los Angeles via Brooklyn), he’s also changed record labels. Starting with his dance-oriented debut, 2010’s Forget, Lewis has increasingly relied on his pop sensibilities — and, evidently, Warner Bros. has been just the label to nurture his grandest ambitions. More so than his Grand Theft Auto V contribution “Old Love / New Love” and the sensuous new ballad “Turn Me Up” (the two other Twin Shadow songs Lewis Jr. has debuted since 2012’s Confess), “To the Top” sounds particularly huge, a Prince-ly, atmosphere-crushing song that actually came out on Lewis Jr.’s former label 4AD. –Michael Madden

Listen: “To the Top”

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laura marling short movie 01 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015Laura Marling – Short Movie

Release date: March 24th via Ribbon

Why We’re Excited: Folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling has paved a straight line over the last few years, creating a dependably honest, warm sound that’s immediately recognizable. The follow-up to 2013’s Once I Was an Eagle sees frequent collaborators Matt Ingram and Dan Cox working alongside a number of her good friends, including Noah and the Whale’s Tom Hobden, cellist Ruth De Turberville, and bassist Nick Pini. So when the title track opens with “I’m paying for my mistake/ That’s okay,” it’s normal to feel a wave of relief. Marling looks to be making a strong return, admitting her own faults while trusting in us to do the same. It’s a fair friendship rooted in healing, dusty and earnest as ever. That’s what Marling does best; she doles out songs in hopes of helping her listeners grow stronger. Clocking in as her fifth studio album, Short Movie could be the newest product in her row of anecdotal medicines to rebuild our immune system after a rough 2014. –Nina Corcoran

Listen: “Short Movie”

Buy: Amazon The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

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Faith No MoreFaith No More – TBA

Release date: April

Why We’re Excited: Eighteen years is a long time to wait, but the patient, passionate fans of experimental rockers Faith No More will soon be rewarded with the band’s upcoming seventh LP. Sure, the guys took on a reunion tour in 2009 and they’d all been busy with other projects prior to that — Mike Patton kept his insanely ranged vocals fresh — but the vicious sound and snarling wolf cover for new single “Motherfucker” announced the Bay Area five-piece’s return to the studio in properly intense fashion.

The biting track, and the rest of the album, was recorded in their Oakland rehearsal space and produced by bassist Bill Gould, who explained that “Motherfucker” is about “where the buck stops via the basic imagery of foie gras production, bondage.” Sounds about right. –Adam Kivel

Listen: “Motherfucker”

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my morning jacket1 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015My Morning Jacket – TBA

Release date: April

Why We’re Excited: Because this album was actually featured in our post for 2014’s most anticipated albums, and more than a year later it’s finally happening. We know the band entered the studio in October 2013, and we recently learned that work on the follow-up to 2011’s Circuital became so fruitful that My Morning Jacket have already claimed a spot on the 2016 version of this feature. They produced about 24 songs they considered “solid contenders” and decided to go ahead and compile two albums simultaneously (any leftovers could very well end up on frontman Jim James’ sophomore solo record, also eyed for a ’16 release). As principal songwriter, James recorded vague “demos” so his bandmates could “come in with a basic understanding of the melody or what I was hoping to go for,” he told Rolling Stone. “But we had a really fun way of working where there’s no rehearsal period and we could jump in and just start rolling tape.” He added that he wanted the record to feel “like you got the wrong one from the factory. We strive to make people put on the record or MP3 and be like, ‘Shit, did they actually fuck up my order?'” So while we don’t have much in way of a preview, we can likely expect something weird and wonderful in true MMJ fashion. –Ben Kaye

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waxahatchee The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015Waxahatchee – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: With her 2013 sophomore solo LP, Cerulean Salt, Katie Crutchfield cemented her spot as a singer-songwriter to watch. Jenny Lewis took note too, bringing the former P.S. Eliot guitarist/vocalist along as an opener on a handful of late 2014 shows — and Crutchfield took that opportunity to debut songs from her freshly recorded third album as Waxahatchee.

On Cerulean Salt, Crutchfield expanded her tender acoustic heartbreakers into full-band productions, but those Lewis opening spots and the surrounding tour dates found her performing solo again. Whether she’s alone on her as-yet-untitled follow-up remains to be seen, but at least one report noted that Crutchfield was accompanied by a second guitarist from time to time, and mentioned an appearance from her twin sister and P.S. Eliot bandmate Allison (now of Swearin’) on harmonies. Whatever the orchestration, we’re eager to hear more of Crutchfield’s guttingly resonant lyrics. –Adam Kivel

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adele useAdele – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Adele has kept quiet lately, but when it comes to talented musicians, that’s generally a good sign. The Grammy-winning pop singer is hard at work on her third full-length. While we don’t know too much about it other than that Phil Collins won’t be on it (she never returned his calls), we do know that it will be a piano-driven album that’s more intimate and stripped-down than her first two. With a powerhouse voice and a universal hold on human emotions, Adele will toss us a platinum bone no matter what, and her hesitance implies that it will be a magnificent follow-up. It’s hard work when you want to write, record, produce, and master something all on your own — despite now being a mother of one. Her dedication to the craft alone has us eager. –Nina Corcoran

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band of horsesBand of Horses – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: 2012’s Mirage Rock had the simultaneous effect of searing a hot branding iron on Band of Horses as another Southern rock ensemble from America and declaring their departure from the emotional ether that the band channeled on their first two album releases. Remember the way they stampeded through profound pain on Everything All the Time and Cease to Begin with momentum that made it feel like they were pasteurizing the new landscape of American indie rock? Songs stirred emotional responses and allowed personal reflections, and the metronome between the two was seamless. But after leaving Sub Pop for Columbia and releasing Infinite Arms and Mirage Rock, the once perfect deluge of tolerable indie agony faded out of sight.

But they’re back. After putting out 2014’s Acoustic at the Ryman and a Christmas song, Band of Horses are now finally gearing up for their first proper LP since 2010. According to frontman Ben Bridwell, the new album is already taking shape to be unlike the last two. “I’m trying to pay attention to the words and make sure I’m telling a story here to hopefully break some people’s hearts,” he tells Rolling Stone. Yes! We like BoH broken and tender, saddling up darkness and sadness. They’ve enlisted Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle as producer (who donned the same hat for all four Grandaddy albums plus two solo albums), and even if Bridwell recently told Paste that he still loves his country music, we cannot confirm whether or not any country-fied tunes will make the cut. –Lior Phillips

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Beach House - Saturn SongBeach House – TBA

Release date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Starting in 2008, dream pop duo Beach House released a new album every two years — making the lack of new material in 2014 a little disappointing. However, fan-shot footage of a recent stop on their “Northern Exposure” tour (in which they took the stage in front of under-served audiences in Canada and Alaska) revealed a sinewy, warm breeze of a new track, fanning the flames of hope that a fifth LP is near on the horizon. Last year also saw Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally contribute “Saturn Song” to Lefse Records’ Space Project, featuring sounds from “electromagnetic radiation fluctuations in the magnetosphere of the planets, moons, and large asteroids the Voyager probes traveled near.” All that looking skyward could very well infuse an even grander scope to a potential new album. –Adam Kivel

Listen: Untitled new song

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