Quarantine days notwithstanding, 2022 is expected to be a rager. With the pandemic slowing down, and artists hitting the road as early as this month, this year will have a lot riding on it. During the last two years there have been some exciting developments, surprise releases, and a tremendous vinyl shortage that’s frustrated many.
The following selections are just a tip of the iceberg on what’s to expect from 2022. Some are speculative, based on an artist’s release schedule, while others have a confirmed release date that may even change. Lastly, there’s a few longshots that, while we put them on every year, aren’t very likely. Or are they? We’ll see.
Just as we did last year, we do so again by breaking these down into four categories.
Confirmed – These are releases that have official release dates, that while subject to change, are at the moment concrete.
Almost Certain – We’re pretty sure these are going to happen, based on release cycles, or maybe the artist or band themselves have stated something’s coming.
Hopefuls – This section is for those we desperately hope to hear from in the next calendar year, despite evidence proving otherwise. There’s always a chance!
Longshots – Lastly, this group of releases are unlikely to happen, but we can still dream.
Let’s do this!
Albums that have an officially confirmed title and release date.
Earl Sweatshirt – SICK! [January 14]
Earl Sweatshirt is a dad now. Feel old yet? Long gone are the Odd Future days, and even the dark quarter-life crisis vibes of I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside seem far behind Thebe Kgositsile. Sick! instead finds Earl taking on the madness of the pandemic era: “I leaned into the chaos cause it was apparent that it wasn’t going anywhere,” he wrote. “These songs are what happened when I would come up for air.” At a succinct 10 tracks, three of which have been released already, Sick! should be an intriguing new chapter from a rapper who feels wise beyond his years. – Ethan Reis
Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There [February 4]
London outfit Black Country, New Road broke into the British indie scene with their bombastic yet tender debut For the First Time in 2021 and are not making their newly gained fans wait for new material. In October of 2021, Black Country, New Road introduced the listeners to a new side of them with the single “Chaos Space Marine”, which resembles a mixture of musical theater and the sound of the indie giants Arcade Fire, topped with Isaac Woods’ unmistakable lyricism. In the following months the band have released two more tracks in support of the upcoming record, which were dubbed by some were to be their best material to date. The Londoners’ debut was an introduction to the musicians’ capabilities and the width of their interests, whereas the upcoming Ants From Up There appears to be a narrowed and nuanced view of one of the characters we saw most potently on “Track X” — a lovesick young adult with a wild (in a good way) imagination. – Aleksandr Smirnov
Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You [February 11]
Few indie rock groups have gained more momentum in recent years than Big Thief, who are one of the few bands who I’ll contend have no bad songs. After a relentless touring schedule in the late 2010s, the pandemic put a halt to their travel and allowed them to record a double album’s worth of music: even the title is their longest yet! So far, seven tracks have been released from the 20-track DNWMIBIY, and several more were performed live on tour last year. Like most double-albums, there seems to be a fair range of styles in the music. What remains constant is the high level of quality that Big Thief fans have come to expect. – Ethan Reis
Empath – Visitor [February 11]
Empath’s 2019 debut full-length Active Listening: A Night on Earth is one of those gloriously ramshackle albums that takes myriad genres and aesthetic touchstones, from punk to Elephant 6-style psychedelic fuzz to bedroom pop, throws them in a cement mixer and slathers the resultant lumpy noise pop wallpaper paste all over the walls of your mind. In short it’s a fucking mess. A glorious, life-affirming, beautiful, ugly, fucking mess. So, the Philly band’s imminent return is cause for exuberant celebration. Preceded by strong, albeit more direct, advance singles, “Born 100 Times” and “Diamond Eyelids”, Visitor promises to offer more of the same boundless creativity, hyperactive energy and laissez-faire attitude to stuffy considerations like production quality (eugh), that enamored them to so many. – Andy Johnston
Spoon – Lucifer on the Sofa [February 11]
Let’s get two things straight, for anyone who’s confused, ignorant, or both:
- 2017’s Hot Thoughts was easily the worst Spoon album since their 1996 debut, Telephono.
- Spoon are the most consistently brilliant American rock band still working today.
With the cognitive dissonance created by those two statements bouncing around in your brain, let’s consider the prospect of their brilliantly titled upcoming album, Lucifer on the Sofa. You’d be a fool to doubt that it could spell a triumphant return to form. Lead single, “The Hardest Cut,” combines the lean, stripped back production of Kill the Moonlight with the hooky songwriting of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga in service of one of their most immediate, catchy and downright fun songs ever. And knowing Spoon, it won’t be representative of the album as a whole at all. This has the potential to be devilishly good. – Andy Johnston
Beach House – Once Twice Melody [February 18]
Is there such a thing as too much Beach House? When it was announced that the band’s new album Once Twice Melody is an 18-track behemoth clocking in at 84 minutes, I was nervous that they wouldn’t be able to sustain their masterfully gauzy blend of dream pop, shoegaze, and indie rock across such a runtime. After hearing the first two “chapters”, comprised of four tracks each, from the new record, my fears were easily laid to rest.
Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have always known how to give their fans exactly what they want without pandering to the tropes of the genres within which they work. It seems that they’ve once again hit upon the perfect balance of density and melodic uplift on these new songs and created a creature of incomparable ingenuity that invites us all to witness its glorious movements. – Joshua Pickard
Keeley Forsyth – Limbs
Debris, the debut album from British actor-turned-songwriter Keeley Forsyth, was the definition of a slow burn. Not only did the songs move slowly, staggering under the weight of the singer’s inky black thoughts, it took a while for it to really sink in. But once it did, it was deep and permanent as a tattoo.
As she approaches the release of her follow-up, Limbs, the world seems to be coming more into her sway. Life has slowed down and doesn’t seem to be getting back up to speed any time soon, existential threats seem closer than ever, and walls between factions seem higher than ever. What better way to observe the carnage than through the steely eyes, ears and fingers of Forsyth? – Rob Hakimian
Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful [February 25]
Jason Pierce has primed us all for the return of Spiritualized. 2021 saw the release of four reissues (1992’s Lazer Guided Melodies, 1995’s Pure Phase, 1997’s Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space, and 2001’s Let It Come Down), which has only whet the appetites of fans wanting more of his cosmic gospel. Well, here comes 2022, and Everything Was Beautiful is set to come out at the end of February on Fat Possum. And based on the heavenly noise of lead single, “Always Together with You”, Pierce has lost none of his orchestral pomp and theatricality. Pierce is a master at larger-than-life emotional revelations, and it seems we’re all in for a treat, or seven, as this record promises all the dramatic ups and downs that we’ve come to expect from his past work. – Joshua Pickard
Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul – Topical Dancer [March 4]
Absolute certainty is profoundly impossible to find these days, but the Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul surmount it. Despite only an EP and a couple of new singles teasing toward a more extensive project to their names, one thing is always assured, anything these two touch turns to gold. With their debut record Topical Dancer out in March, it’s undoubtedly exciting and an honest relief that we’ll finally hear a more robust offering from this musically zany and lyrically compelling electropop project. It’s only the beginning of the year; still, we already need something to help us escape — that magic formula of futuristic sounds and bombastic beats to drown out the noise of the world, but not without a dash of terse socio-political commentary to help motivate us toward change. – Kyle Kohner
Nilüfer Yanya – PAINLESS [March 4]
Considering the amount of hype around Nilüfer Yanya‘s early singles and EPs, it’s pretty impressive that she managed to make the ascent of her trajectory even steeper with her powerful and utterly replayable debut album Miss Universe. No wonder she’s having to “stabilise” on the lead single to her follow-up PAINLESS.
What’s clear is that the London songwriter is having trouble stabilising and the new album was anything but painless to create – but those truths are only going to make the final product even more divine. A quintessential chronicler of the pains and pangs of young adulthood, now with added production verve, Nilüfer Yanya’s surely got something powerful in store for us in 2022. – Rob Hakimian
Loop – Sonancy [March 18]
One of the lesser-praised space rock acts of the late 80s/early 90s was the UK act Loop. Extrapolating shoegaze’s hypnotic tones and pairing them successfully with psych-freak outs, Loop were a hard pill to swallow for some, but there’s a minor cult following that have long awaited their return after the 2015 teaser EP Array 1 (which was set to be part of a series that never materialized). Well that wish is finally coming true, some 32 years after their last album A Gilded Eternity. Many acts from that era of exploration have been resurrected, with varying degrees of quality, but Loop aren’t like any of those acts, and the first taste of Sonancy is proof of that. – Tim Sentz
Charli XCX – Crash [March 18]
Charli XCX, who has found an outstanding musical match with PC Music producer A.G. Cook, may have surprised some fans with the fairly straightforward pop of Crash’s first two singles, “Good Ones” and “New Shapes”. Whether you like them or not, it’s helpful to remember that Charli is a star first and foremost. Despite some crossover attempts on 2019’s Charli, that album had far more good songs than bad. As for her outstanding quarantine project How I’m Feeling Now, it’s unlikely that Crash will fully meet its experimental sound. Still, a win for Charli is a win for pop music, and as a fan I’ll be surprised if Crash isn’t a high-quality release. – Ethan Reis
Father John Misty – Chloë and the Next 20th Century [April 8]
By the time Father John Misty had released God’s Favorite Customer, barely a year after the bloated Pure Comedy, there was a sense of diminishing returns with our favorite cynical crooner – a feeling that his schtick was getting a little old. Now it’s been almost four years since that album, and along the way we’ve had a few morsels, most notably the humble and contained single “To S.” and “To R.”, which seemed to suggest that, now past his 40th birthday, Josh Tillman had done some significant maturing.
With “Funny Girl”, the lead single from his fifth FJM album Chloë and the Next 20th Century, he’s found a perfect balance between his smart alec younger self and the more aged, fuller-sounding man he’s become. A lot of that is down to the gorgeous arrangements provided by Drew Erickson, but Tillman is on top form, every bit the showman we’re used to, but in a glitzy retro Hollywood style. If it’s something that can be maintained across the record, then it’s bound to be quite a dazzling display. – Rob Hakimian
Let’s Eat Grandma – Two Ribbons [April 8]
If there were any justice, Let’s Eat Grandma’s 2018 album I’m All Ears would get its due as one of the absolute best pop albums of the century so far. Recorded when Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton were still technically teenagers, it’s a stunning listen that, nearly four years later, still sounds like future-pop. “Falling Into Me” moves this stone-hearted critic like very few songs do, and the rousing climax of the epic closer “Donnie Darko” doesn’t leave a single hair unraised or bump un-goosed. Suffice to say, the prospect of a new LEG album fills me with gleeful anticipation. However, I am a paragon of discipline: I’ve avoided listening to the singles so that I can experience Two Ribbons in one ecstatic blast of blown-out newness. I’m gonna be all ears. – Andy Johnston
Wet Leg – Wet Leg [April 8]
When was the last time the debut single from an unknown artist hit seven million Spotify streams? I’m not sure it’s ever happened as rapidly as it did with “Chaise Longue”, the virtually viral smash hit from unassuming Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg. That they’ve already swerved the one hit wonder pot hole with excellent follow up singles, leaving themselves with a clear view of a smashing success with their debut album, arriving in April. Having already shown a knack for addictive garage rock, psych, sardonicism and more, the duo undoubtedly have quite a stew of fun warming up for us on Wet Leg. – Rob Hakimian
Albums that don’t have a release date, but have more or less been confirmed.
Aldous Harding – [TBD]
The modest rise to indie stardom for Aldous Harding was a classic left field move. After quietly mesmerizing her audiences with subtle but passionate meditations, Harding broke through with 2019’s loveable Designer, a hallmark for the year, and her best album to date. 2020 was supposed to see her tour behind the album, but that obviously got cancelled.
Last year, Harding contributed to the 4AD anniversary compilation Bills & Aches & Blues alongside the rest of the lineup of the label’s elite. She covered the 2010 jangle-pop classic “Revival” by labelmates Deerhunter, and then peculiarly announced an extensive 2022 tour behind her latest stunner “Old Peel”. Something’s definitely brewing, and we’re here for it. – Tim Sentz
Arctic Monkeys – [TBD]
All of us fans of the Sheffield quartet have been ecstatic ever since in November of 2021 the drummer Matt Helders announced that the band’s new album is “pretty much” finished and is presumably going to be released in 2022. Here’s why not only fans ought to be on the lookout for this new LP: Arctic Monkeys are an extremely versatile band and each of their incarnations was more surprising than the last. Going from a mix of indie dance music and urban romance with a touch of horror on the first few albums to hard rock hit-making on AM and lastly to retro futurism garbed in 70s psychedelia on their last record to date Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Arctic Monkeys’ last album, while the strongest deviation from their usual sound, is one of their most acclaimed and loved records, which makes it all the more exciting to see what the lads have been cooking up on their upcoming release. – Aleksandr Smirnov
Aseul – [TBD]
The best Korean indie artist remains enigmatic. Tortuously, for those of us who follow Aseul, it’s been since 2020 that we received a proper release, but all that’s set to change: she’s promised to deliver a full LP in 2022. Not much else is known, but what more reason do we need to celebrate? Rejoice. Take to the streets, damn it. – Chase McMullen
Conway the Machine – God Don’t Make Mistakes
If it feels like it’s been years since we first began waiting for Conway’s Shady Records debut, God Don’t Make Mistakes, that’s because it has been. The man said the album was ready back in 2020. We’re sure changes have been made since, but damn, just give us the damn album already, Marshall. One of the best current faces in it shouldn’t be made to lay in wait this long. – Chase McMullen
Danny Brown – Qaranta
Ever the comedian, Danny Brown had me in stitches at last summer’s Pitchfork Festival, when he forgot much of his own lyrics. He also noted his next album would be called Quaranta (or “Forty”), as a decade(-plus) follow-up to 2011’s XXX. Brown, who will in all likelihood be 41 by the release of this next album (“I’m old as hell!” he commented at Pitchfork), has yet to release any songs from it. But given his proven consistency at making high-quality, often boundary-pushing music, it’s one to look out for. – Ethan Reis
Freddie Gibbs – Soul Sold Separately
Approaching 40, Freddie Gibbs has become something of a reliable OG in an era of hip-hop that can seem over-saturated with the youngest new flavor-of-the-month rapper. It’s no surprise, then, that he called on Jadakiss to feature on “Black Illuminati”, Gibbs’ excellent recent single and possible track on his next album. (with a working title of SSS, or Soul Sold Separately). For over 10 years, Gibbs has reliably dropped a full-length project every year other than 2016 (when he did a stint in a European jail on charges that were acquitted), so it’s safe to expect SSS to come sooner than later. – Ethan Reis
Interpol – [TBD]
Interpol, the legends of the New York post punk revival scene of the late 90s and early 00’s are coming back with a new album set for release sometime this year. Whereas their last record Marauder was not as exciting as some of their earlier material, Interpol are not a band to be easily dismissed. Their career has shown that they are capable of producing memorable records at seemingly the most difficult of times, as for instance, when bassist and of the founding members Carlos D left the act, the remaining trio came out with their self-titled LP, which is arguably on the same plane of greatness as their epochal debut Turn On the Bright Lights. At a time when post punk revival seemed to have died out, Interpol didn’t quit and came out with one of the best albums of the 2010s El Pintor. – Aleksandr Smirnov
Jockstrap – [TBD]
The multi-talented Georgia Ellery is returning to make some more noise in 2022, first, as part of Black Country New Road via their second record in as many years. But she, alongside beat-maker Taylor Skye in the electropop duo Jockstrap, is also teasing some more amorphous, club-ready bangers to further shield us from the impending doom of every passing day. After releasing two mini projects in 2020, both of which enthralled and reverberated with extraterrestrial gusto, Jockstrap are readying more of their excitable futuristic breakbeat sound, this time on Rough Trade Records. We’ve already received one single, the unruly, sweat-inducing “50/50” at the end of last year, so hopefully theirs more on the horizon — maybe in the form of the duo’s debut full-length? We can only hope. – Kyle Kohner
Mount Westmore – [TBD] [March]
It’s Mount Westmore, damn it. While hip hop supergroups can often be a risky proposition, we can’t help but have faith in the link up between West Coast legends Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40, and Too $hort. With confirmed features from Eminem and Dr. Dre, it’s sure to be a bombastic, stomping event. We can’t wait.- Chase McMullen
Time was, you could rely on Red Velvet releases just about like clockwork. Then, alas, Wendy suffered her tragic injury and their activities were postponed, finding the other members striking out either in sub-units or solo. It’s true, we received Queendom in 2021, but it felt a bit slight, especially as a return from such an important K-pop act. We already know we’re going to get Bloom in February – the group’s first full-length Japanese language release – but here’s to hoping we get an LP release for their home turf as well. – Chase McMullen
Slowdive – [TBD]
We’re putting Slowdive‘s follow-up to their remarkable self-titled return because it just seemed like the right time (and they seemed to be recording something back in 2020). Being the most prolific of the band, Rachel Goswell had wrapped up a brief project with her husband Steve Clarke on his band The Soft Cavalry’s debut back in 2019 – thus freeing her up. Pandemics have a tendency to ruin things obviously, but Instagram has kept us on our toes as the band revealed progress in 2021 and implied something is coming in 2022. – Tim Sentz
The Smile – [TBD]
A straight ahead rock album from from Radiohead’s creative masterminds Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood is probably the last thing people expected in the 2020s (especially his bandmates), but that’s more or less what we’re going to get on the yet-to-be-announced debut album from new band The Smile. Lead single “You’ll Never Work in Television Again” on first listen seems to be a scruffy punk rocker, but repeats reveal greater sonic details, with the song spreading its wings halfway through and taking flight on the back of some brass.
The bootleg recording of their performance from last year’s livestreamed Glastonbury suggests there are many more treats to come, and with Sons of Kemet’s Tom Skinner on drums, we’re bound to get some great grooves in there too. All in all, this will be something of a surprise package – the only thing that won’t be surprising is that it will undoubtedly be high quality, given the pedigree of its creators. – Rob Hakimian
We don’t have any real concrete evidence for these ones, but it feels like time.
2017’s Everything Now was a bit of a letdown for Arcade Fire fans. There were some decent songs sprinkled throughout, but it felt somewhat listless and didn’t evoke the grandeur of past albums. A new record, however, can mean new ways for the Canadian band to eviscerate our expectations and deliver another collection of mind-altering songs that play to their strengths as peddlers of emotionally evocative and highly contagious songs. Win Butler revealed in a podcast in October 2020 that he had continued to work during lockdown and had written enough songs for two or three albums. And then the band performed a new track as part of Stephen Colbert’s election special. It’s really only a matter of time before we get our hands on a new record (or two or three), and I’d wager money that we see at least one in the first quarter of this year. – Joshua Pickard
As of this writing, there’s nothing official regarding a new black midi album, but the UK experimentalists have insinuated they’ve got something cooking for us in 2022. For their tour in 2021 in support of the very excellent Cavalcade, the band performed a handful of brand new cuts that instantly became crowd favorites. With their stock rising by the minute, black midi won’t miss this opportunity to strike while the iron’s hot, like their chums Black Country, New Road. – Tim Sentz
It just feels like it’s about time. Forget how long it’s been since his last album, we just need Blood Orange right now. A Freetown Sound for the COVID era? Just what the doctor ordered. We need it. Please deliver. – Chase McMullen
It’s always a mystery as to what Justin Vernon’s going to do next. No one probably had “working with Taylor Swift” on their Bon Iver bingo cards back in 2020 – but three projects later and it’s almost as if the two are inseparable. This bodes well for the next Bon Iver album, the follow-up to 2019’s i,i. Over the years, Vernon’s managed to take leaps and bounds between each album, progressing from wintery folk on his debut, to full band arena sounds on Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and then introducing a scattered indictment of himself on 22, A Million. With i,i combining those three albums into one, it leaves a question mark over what he’ll do next. – Tim Sentz
Honestly, it seems Cardi is frightened of the sophomore slump. She’s taken her sweet time preparing the follow up to her generally adored debut. We get it, we get the fear, but we also know you can do it. Your singles and features since continue to display just that. Go ahead, push the button. Make it happen. – Chase McMullen
Robert Smith has promised an intense, “doomy, gloomy” new record by The Cure and about bloody time. Smith’s song writing has always soared in the depths of despair, hollowed out emotions, and lyrics centred on religious and existential angst are what we need as they enrich the soul. I’m the guy at the bar at a Cure show when they kick into “Why Can’t I Be You?” or (gulp) “Mint Car” – I’m all in for the despair and emptiness of it all. Imagine freaking out to “Friday I’m in Love” but not even knowing every single word of “The Figurehead” – tsk, some people!
So, in short, The Cure are the band we need right now. In fact, we needed an intense album from this lot last year when we were right in the middle of things but you can’t always get what you want. With an extensive European tour booked from the end of 2022 it’s a pretty good bet to think that new material isn’t too far away.
PS – I dreamt a while ago that this record had a title that had something to do with cats. – Todd Dedman
Guys….where are Deerhunter? Throughout the pandemic the cult-rock favorites have been noticeably quiet. As we near the three-year anniversary of Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, there’s been little indication that anything is coming from any extension of Deerhunter. An Instagram snapshot of a conversation with Moses Archuleta late-last year implied nothing was in the works and the once-prolific Bradford Cox has popped in only sporadically, most notably crafting the score to the horror short film Fountain.
For a band that helped define music for the last 15 years it’s shocking how little we’ve heard from them. If it’s true that nothing is cooking for the Atlanta band in 2022, it’ll be the longest gap in material we’ve seen from them, and that just seems… I dunno… wrong? – Tim Sentz
Considering his recent every other year pattern, it doesn’t seem unfair to believe Shady will return in 2022. Yes, like many of a certain age, I’ll never stop looking forward to a Marshall Mathers LP, regardless of how he’s aging (or refusing to). Honestly, some tentative steps in the right direction were made on both instalments of Music to Be Murdered By, so here’s to hoping (however much against likelihood) that he fully makes that leap we’re waiting on.
Whatever you think of Eminem, there’s never any denying that he can rap with the best of them. Lock him up in the studio, without the yes men, with a sole producer? An Alchemist, a Kenny Beats? Hell, get his Relapse back on with Dre? I’ll always believe it: Slim Shady has a classic left in him yet. Will we ever get it? Far less confident in that regard. Here’s to hoping. – Chase McMullen
Previously, Philly-based folk punks Hop Along have taken three year increments between each of their records, but we’re now approaching four years since Bark Your Head Off, Dog, so we’re putting some money on a big return – we’re begging for it, in fact. We had Frances Quinlan’s solo album Likewise in the interim, which could partially explain the extended gap between Hop Along albums (as well as, well, the pandemic), but we’d like to think it’s also because they’re concocting their most musically, lyrically and emotionally extravagant record to date. If that comes true, then we’ll need to be ready to both pogo along and lie down to study each perfectly poetic lyric. – Rob Hakimian
The trail of breadcrumbs being left for us from Horsegirl have been more like actual slices. With every taste the Chicago rockers reel us in with their crunchy riffs and pop-rock sensibilities. It’s a testament to their resolve too, building their image slowly instead of burning out fast, as is the case with many buzzy bands before they even drop a debut. The handful of tracks out there point towards a stellar debut, and hopefully that’s in 2022. – Tim Sentz
2010 feels like a longass time ago. And yet, The Archandroid feels as fresh today as it did then. It feels like one of those once-in-a-career type records, where every element came together perfectly: the vision, the aesthetic, the songwriting, the collaborators, the production and performances.
Janelle Monáe‘s albums since then, Electric Lady and Dirty Computer, have been good-to-great, but haven’t quite reached those lofty heights. Nevertheless, she has established herself as the label-defying face of queer afro-futurism (if you excuse the apparent oxymoron of that statement), and any project she puts out will undoubtedly turn heads and get butts shaking in equal measure. Unfortunately for us, unless you like (eww) reading, Monáe’s only confirmed project for this year is a book, The Memory Librarian and Other Stories of Dirty Computer, which comprises a collection of short stories set in the fictional world of her 2018 album. But you never know what the future might hold. – Andy Johnston
It’s about time that we were allowed to once again romp and mosh in the throes of Japandroids’ celebratory rock roar. Their last release was 2017’s Near to the Wild Heart of Life (not counting last year’s live record Massey Fucking Hall), and I’ve begun to wish I could throw myself around in their rapturous musical landscapes again, especially after 2020 and 2021 turned out to be such clusterfucks. They’ve always been adept at using music as therapeutic treatment, submerging their audience in a wall of guitars, riotous percussion, and arena-ready choruses designed to drown out all the superfluous noise of the world. And though nothing has been officially confirmed, I would be surprised if we didn’t have new material from the band sometime this year. We honestly need it at this point. – Joshua Pickard
It’s never the wrong time for a statement from Jessi. While a release of some kind seems highly likely in 2022 – she’s only gotten more popular since signing with Psy’s P-Nation, and her last proper effort arrived in 2020 – let’s hope for something grander: an LP. Thus far the brash, endlessly confident Korean rapper has stuck to singles and mini-albums, and it’s high time she fed us with a full-length extravaganza. – Chase McMullen
How has it been since 2017 since Julie Byrne graced us with an LP? To be sure, perfection takes time, but at this point, the wait is all but cruel. I don’t really have much more to say here – we all know what she’s capable of – beyond a plea: come back to us, please. Things are awful enough without your grace. – Chase McMullen
It’s time. Kendrick Lamar is severely needed in this climate, and 2022 seems like the perfect time. Of course, that’s what we thought last year, and the man stayed relatively quiet. It’ll have been five long years since DAMN this April, and not a day has gone by where the music world hasn’t asked the question “when will Kendrick be back?”
He did his thing with the excellent Black Panther Soundtrack, and he did some features with Anderson .Paak, and most notably Baby Keem last year. But it’s time, Kenny. With his career retrospective setlist at Day N Vegas last November acting as a refresher for those not paying attention, Lamar is a force to be reckoned with on the mic. He’s already stated that his next album for Top Dawg Entertainment will ultimately be his last, fulfilling his contract obligations, and thus freeing him to do whatever he wants after. But that’s getting ahead too much, right now the focus is on his commentary on the world that has always been refreshingly apt. Given the length of this gap, there’s no denying that Kung Fu Kenny has plenty to get off his chest too. It needs to be 2022, it’s time. – Tim Sentz
No disrespect to the Digital Shades series, but when are we going to get a proper follow-up to 2016’s Junk? I’m looking at you Anthony Gonzalez. We’ve been waiting patiently for any hint or sign that a new M83 record is forthcoming, and while we’ve received no confirmation, I’m not necessarily taking that as a negative. I would just rather remain optimistic about our chances, especially as the band is hard at work prepping a 10th anniversary vinyl edition of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming for release on April 15. Something tells me that all this work around that album might foster an atmosphere of creative reawakening and that we just might hear some news from the band later this year. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just go listen to “Midnight City” for the 1,245th time. – Joshua Pickard
The band formerly known as Viet Cong had a pretty great decade. After blowing up back in 2015 with their first self-titled record, they followed it up immediately the next year after changing their name to Preoccupations. It’s been a bit quiet since 2018’s Joy Division indebted New Material, but the band’s been prepping their fourth for some time. Expectations are a bit higher given their relentless touring with known associates like Protomartyr, and the four year gap wasn’t planned. Some of these new songs have appeared in recent setlists like “Rico” and “Dom” meaning it’s only a matter of time. – Tim Sentz
Pusha, Pusha, Push. Why hast thou forsaken us? Yes, you’re damn right, DAYTONA was a classic matched by very, very few hip hop albums in recent years, but the wait since? Harsh, fam. He’s promised he’s grown as a rapper since, and declared the album will cause wreckage to essentially anyone foolish enough to drop near him: we believe it. We just need it to happen, already. – Chase McMullen
The Radio Dept.
After a legal dispute that held up the band from releasing music for what felt like an eternity, The Radio Dept. are back on track and have already established their own label named Just So Records. But besides releasing a few stand-alone singles and a compilation record called I Don’t Need Love, I’ve Got My Band, which brought together two of the band’s earliest EPs, they haven’t done much in the way of new material. Their last full-length LP, Running Out of Love, was released all the way back in 2016 and fans are clamoring for new material from the eponymous dream pop band in 2022. – Grady Penna
Can we call CTRL a classic now? Nearly five years have passed since SZA released her breakout album, and I’m not sure if anyone outside of Frank Ocean released a stronger R&B record in the past decade. It’s unclear when exactly we might get a sophomore album from SZA, who has been slowly releasing new music since late 2020, when she dropped the chill Ty Dolla $ign collab “Hit Different” and the psychedelic “Good Days”. Off the strength of those songs (and 2021 loosies like the addictive “I Hate U”), it’s quite possible we’re looking at an album of the year contender if and when we get the next SZA full-length. – Ethan Reis
In a recent episode of Mark Hoppus’ Apple Music Hits show, Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig revealed that the band have been recently recording music in England and Los Angeles for their follow-up to 2019’s Father of the Bride and are “close” to having enough songs for a full album. And while no release date has officially been given, it sounds as if Koenig is chomping at the bit to share some of their new tracks – though he did go on to say that “you could tinker with a song forever”. Hopefully, it won’t be that long before a new set of Vampire Weekend tracks are ready for our perusal, but I’m guessing we’re looking at fourth quarter 2022 before it lands on shelves and streaming services, although I will be more than happy to stand corrected if we get it any sooner. – Joshua Pickard
Hard to believe that it’s already been three years since Weyes Blood‘s wondrous Titanic Rising, an album that made everything feel like it was going to be OK – while it was playing at least. Fortunately, it had such beautiful and modern twists on classic songwriter storytelling and melodicism that we replayed in many times. Many. Having said that, we’re now ready for some more. Yes, we’re greedy. Please, feed us Natalie. – Rob Hakimian
Albums we’ll probably be waiting several more years – if not forever – to hear.
Since 2016’s landmark album Blonde and the underappreciated, yet still highly rewarding, Endless, Frank Ocean has stayed relatively quiet. The star seemed to drop off the public map just as his popularity was skyrocketing. He’s kept busy with his fashion project called Homer and a slew of one-off singles on his Blonded radio, but hasn’t given any concrete insight into what his next big musical project would be. With his recent appearance at the Met Gala, it seems Ocean has decided to once again return to the limelight, and we can only hope he is gearing up to release a new album in 2022. – Grady Penna
Sometimes you just have to will something into existence. Well, at least you can’t blame us for trying. Jun Hyoseong hasn’t released a proper effort since (deep sigh) 2016. For those blissfully not in the know, this is almost entirely due to the fall out surrounding her exit from TS Entertainment, the label that essentially swindled her out of her earnings, mishandled her contract, among numerous other grim examples of the Korean (hell, global) music industry. Since then, she’s only put out a solitary single, “Starlight”, in celebration of her hard won freedom after winning a court case against her (there’s no other way to put it) sinister label.
It doesn’t seem far fetched to believe the still powerful company has seen her largely blacklisted, unable to sign with another major label despite her prior considerable stardom – not to mention status as a sex symbol, a position she’s now said TS largely forced her into. Ultimately, she’s ended up with a rather small company. It’s a depressing state of affairs for a once gleaming K-pop icon. Let 2022 be the year she returns. It’s certainly past time for it. – Chase McMullen
I put a posthumous MF DOOM release as one of our long-shot anticipated albums of 2021, and we got the pretty enjoyable Super What!? collab with Czarface. What other hidden recordings might come out of the woodwork if I do it again this year? Let’s find out. – Rob Hakimian
My Bloody Valentine
Yeah…like this will happen in 2022. There are, apparently, two albums ready to melt our ears this year, but this comes from an interview Kevin Shields gave back in May of last year when he also stated new material would be released by the end of 2021. Maybe I missed something…who knows?
I was there at the My Bloody Valentine warm-up show in January 2013 in London where a punter shouted out “When’s the new record coming out, Kevin?” Shields mumbled something about it (MBV) coming out “Some time in the next week or so…” and how we all laughed. And then the album DID come out a week or so later. The little tinker! So if anyone sees Kevin Shields in the street any time soon just shout (politely) in his direction and ask the same question, maybe it will kick him into gear again. – Todd Dedman
“We’re just doing the live shows,” Pavement lynchpin Stephen Malkmus said when asked about the prospect of new music from the band in light of their scheduled (and perpetually rescheduled) reunion shows, “I just think we should try and be like the 1990s—that’s the goal, and to the best of my ability, tap into the vibe of what the band was. It’s pretty much just pure nostalgia in my mind, but I want to try and get that right.”
So, that’s that, right? No sixth Pavement album for us. But, and now hear me out, what if, just maybe, the band has spent the past 18 months rehearsing for their reunion shows, and they’ve gotten a bit bored playing “Range Life” and “Summer Babe” and “Grounded” over and over and over again, and after a bit of trademark Malkmus noodling during studio downtime, they happened to, well, write a full album’s worth of new material that manages to outdo their classic output? As Gal Gadot put it, so appropriately and tastefully, way back at the beginning of the pandemic, “Imagine.” – Andy Johnston
While there hasn’t been any news regarding Radiohead’s return, they are one of the rare bands that live in our minds rent free and without fail make us regularly muse on such thoughts as ‘Wouldn’t it be great if Radiohead made a new album?’ With their 2016 record A Moon Shaped Pool Radiohead gave the fans something of a ‘goodbye for now’ with some of the most memorable tracks of their career, such as “Daydreaming”, “Desert Island Disk”, and “Present Tense”. It doesn’t seem likely that Radiohead will have a new record out this year with Thom and Johnny preoccupied with their new outfit The Smile, but we can dream. Maybe of a single at least… – Aleksandr Smirnov