2012 has come and gone, and we’re already on the cusp of another enormous 12 months of music. Only two weeks in, 2013 already has an overwhelming amount of music lined up at the doorstep, and, frankly, coming off the holidays and a feverish rush of album announcements in the last few months, we understand if everyone is having a little bit of trouble keeping track of it all. That’s why, as we did in 2011 and 2012, we’re dedicating this space to breaking down the releases in the coming year that we’re most looking forward to – and why you should probably be excited about them too.

[Announced] [Confirmed] [In Progress] [Speculative]

Announced Albums
Albums that have been announced and given a set release date

Atoms for Peace – Amok
Due out February 25th on XL

Thom Yorke

You know that any project involving Thom Yorke is going to be worthy of your excitement, just as you know that any project involving Thom Yorke is going to take that excitement and leave it hanging until he’s good and ready to deliver you the goods. It’s been a long few years since we were first promised that Yorke’s super group of Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco would be releasing some original material, to the point where we thought it would never happen. And then, in September, Atoms For Peace surprised us all with “Default.” The song, which leaned more towards the electrical stylings of Yorke’s solo record The Eraser, was not what we might have expected from a full band – especially one that includes a bass maestro like Flea – but it was hard to argue against the song’s detailed production and a hook that’s both brilliantly grand and casually understated. It’s almost time for the years of building excitement to come to fruition when we get to hear the band’s full length, Amok, and you can feel pretty confident that it will have been worth the wait.

Rob Hakimian

Beach Fossils – Clash The Truth
Due out February 19th on Captured Tracks

beach fossils

With live member Zachary Cole Smith’s outstanding debut effort as DIIV recently out, demand for a new album from Dustin Payseur might be at an all time low. Despite a massive touring schedule and a solid 7” released by Captured Tracks, Payseur spent much of 2012 in Smith’s shadow, but, given what we’ve heard so far, it seems he’s been using that time to retool Beach Fossils’ brand of lackadaisical indie rock. “Careless” seems to have streamlined the haze of their debut and the What A Pleasure EP in favor of the more straightforward energy of their live show. I guess that’s the biggest reason to look forward to this new record is that it means Beach Fossils is heading back out on the road again. As wistful and poignant as Payseur is on record, there’s just something about the unhinged nature of Beach Fossils live show that breezes past the subtleties of Payseur’s songwriting and drives home the emotional content. New album means new songs means new songs to jump around to, and no matter how good the new record is, that’s a positive.

Colin Joyce

Bleeding Rainbow – Yeah Right
Due out January 29th on Kanine


Yeah Right will be Bleeding Rainbow’s third full-length LP, but if singles like “Waking Dream” and “Drift Away” are good indicators, it might as well be a debut – armed with bigger, chunkier guitars, soaring production, and a more aggressively revivalist vision, the-band-formerly-known-as-Reading-Rainbow sounds quite different from the group that recorded the shuffling indie pop of 2010’s Prism Eyes. And, actually, they are, their name change coming with the addition of two new members and a major lineup change that’s given them the power to envision a world where the best bands of the 1990s have traveled to the future to kick chillwave’s ass. Something tells me it’s gonna be a pretty thorough beating.

Ryan Stanley

Christopher Owens – Lysandre
Due out January 15th on Fat Possum/Turnstile


Armed with that whole Children of God narrative and the familiar jangle of a Rickenbacker six-string, Christopher Owens took the world by storm several years ago with the debut of his Girls project. With the wide-eyed earnestness of his songwriting and the nostalgia swells of 40 years of beach-y pop bands at his back, Owens put together two albums and an EP‘s worth of emotionally affecting guitar pop. So now we find Owens at a new beginning with Lysandre after his departure from the project that brought him his relative fame, Owens is looking back on the past and zeroing in on a whirlwind relationship with a woman he met on Girls’ first European tour. Owens has often dealt in songwriting generalities, so a move toward the specificity that such a concept suggests should be interesting if nothing else. Lead single “Here We Go” seems to show its a positive move, marrying the first installment of the story to a rich flutter of acoustic guitar and flute. Thankfully we won’t have to wait too long to find out if Owens’ solo direction is all positive.

Colin Joyce

Darkstar – News From Nowhere
Due out February 5th on Warp


North, to this writer’s ears, is one of the unsung treasures of the young decade. It’s little wonder that in a year as strong as 2010, come late October the release of a nervous, plodding synth-pop record by a band striving to distance themselves from the frazzled 2-step that had brought them to a wider audience didn’t have a tremendous impact outside small pockets of established fans. The gestation period for the follow-up on Warp Records has been an almost identical stretch of time as the wait for their debut following their inaugural 12″ on Hyperdub back in summer ’08, but all signs point to a lighter, less tense sophomore LP. We’ll have a review in the coming weeks.

Gabriel Szatan

Ducktails – The Flower Lane
Due out January 29th on Domino


Matt Mondanile’s Real Estate offshoot, Ducktails, has long mined sounds far removed from the sun-kissed jangle of his main act, but over the past couple of years, he’s made moves toward turning the project into a legitimate songwriting outlet from its initial state as a depository for psychedelic instrumentals. Early singles from The Flower Lane suggest that his Domino debut might be a blunted middle ground between the neon glow of 2009’s Landscapes and the aforementioned chime of his Real Estate work. The acoustic guitar and drum machine explorations from Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics seem largely excised, but the move toward hooky songwriting is not. Though “Letter Of Intent” dips into AM radio pastiche more saccharine than even Toro Y Moi dares to take on, there’s still enough reason to be more than cautiously optimistic about this new record.

Colin Joyce

Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Due out January 22nd on Jagjaguwar


Foxygen’s 2012 EP, Take The Kids Off Broadway came with a boatload of promise, delivering up some glam-y golden age rock and pop tunes with a general air of songwriting weirdness, irreverence, and a scarily precise handle on their late 60s/early 70s rock’n’roll influences, which include the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and pretty much every other songwriting titan from the same era. Based on the early stuff we’ve heard off of We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic the album looks likes it’s going to be a tightening and refining of everything that made Broadway so compelling.

Will Ryan

Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat
Due out February 4th on Kranky


Though Grouper is probably best known for sets playing cassette loops opening Animal Collective tours, her most unique and wholly developed work to date came in 2008’s Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill. Liz Harris buried her vocals amidst a sea of narcotic guitar strums, resulting in a record equal parts sleepy and foreboding, all while never compromising her well-curated drone aesthetic. If only for the simple fact that this new record consists of material recorded in that time period, it’s probably the most heavily anticipated ambient release of the year. But pair that excitement with the bassy gulps of acoustic guitar on lead single “Vital”, which points to the fact that this record holds up to the quality of that already revered material, and you have a record that is worth looking forward to in its own right, rather than as a fans-only collection of b-sides.

Colin Joyce

Hilly Eye – Reasons To Live
Due out January 22nd on Don Giovanni


Much to the chagrin of longtime followers of the Jersey-cum-Brooklyn punk band Titus Andronicus, guitarist Amy Klein took off from the band at the beginning of last year (prior to the recording of their mostly disappointing third record Local Business). Hilly Eye’s debut full-length for Don Giovanni represents the fruits of her departure, and each of the obliterating tracks the band has released to date suggest that Titus fans might want to check this one out. It takes a lot of time for some artists to stop being remembered for their previous projects, but with how accomplished Klein’s Hilly Eye material seems, it definitely deserves excitement and consideration on its own terms.

Colin Joyce

The History of Apple Pie – Out of View
Due out January 29th on Marshall Teller


The History of Apple Pie have spent a couple years refining their brand of noisy, sugary twee, a fruitful middle ground between Asobi Seksu’s modern shoegazing and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s surveys of indie pop’s past. The group’s debut LP, Out of View, is due out at the end of this month, and, if brilliant lead-up singles like “Glitch” and “See You” are any indication, it could be one of the most potent pop albums that early 2013 will see.

Ryan Stanley

Iceage – You’re Nothing
Due out February 19th on Matador


The young Copenhagen punks in Iceage are getting ready to release a new record on Matador Records. And while we haven’t yet received much information concerning You’re Nothing, aside from its February 19th release date, we can be sure to expect another blistering set of adolescent rage and punk-influenced tirades similar to those found on their excellent debut record New Brigade.  Aside from a few scraps of new songs played at recent concerts (and now lead single “Coalition”) we’ve yet to see or hear how moving from What’s Your Rupture to Matador may have influenced their sound but I’m guessing that it really hasn’t changed all that much.  I can only hope that the new record has at least one song on it as scorching as “Broken Bone.”  I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Joshua Pickard

Local Natives – Hummingbird
Due out January 29th on Frenchkiss/Infectious


Local Natives’ debut album Gorilla Manor was a shimmering beacon of sunlight in musical form; a collection of glistening and vibrant songs that could have only been cultivated in the Californian sun. For their second album it appears that Local Natives are taking a more direct and slightly less-upbeat approach – something which producer Aaron Dessner (of The National) knows a lot about and will have been able to help them bring to life in the studio. It’s a risky path for a band whose popularity spawned out of catchy singalong hooks, but they’re certainly talented enough to pull it off. There’s no reason why they can’t manipulate their abilities with vocal harmonies and polyrhythms into their new goal, which is what we’ll be hoping to hear on Hummingbird.

Rob Hakimian

Low – The Invisible Way
Due out March 19th on Sub Pop


I have taken Low for granted–though I can say that about far too many bands at this point.  But unlike some other bands, Low has consistently and continually released remarkable music with little fanfare or notoriety.  They have their proponents to be sure, but Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, and now Steve Garrington never sought out the spotlight, preferring to let their music stand centerstage.  With the release of The Invisible Way on March 19th via Sub Pop Records, the band will once again allow fans inside their little musical biosphere.  Adding another measure of curiosity is the fact that Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy produced the album and that it was recorded at The Loft— Wilco’s own studio—in Chicago.  It will be interesting to see what kind of influence, if any, Tweedy has had on the finished songs.

Joshua Pickard

The Men – New Moon
Due out March 5th on Sacred Bones


In a world where three-year album cycles are the norm, The Men stand out. Not just because they’ve reliably put one album out every year since their debut, Immaculada, but because each album they’ve released has felt like a progression. They’ve evolved considerably during the periods between Immaculada, Leave Home, and Open Your Heart; going from super noisy hardcore dudes to developed songsters with country and psychedelia in their blood, and it’s been nothing short of thrilling to watch them quickly yet naturally explore the spectrum of their sound. While most major indie albums seek to accomplish an obvious and deliberate goal – Animal Collective’s big left turn on Centipede Hz, Cloud Nothings injecting some muscle into Attack On Memory – each new album from The Men has simply felt like another set of great songs from a group that’s constantly moving forward. There’s no telling what they could do on New Moon (there may or may not have been harmonicas on the stage when I saw them this summer…), but at this point I think it’s safe to say that whatever it is, it’ll be exciting. It’ll more than likely rock, it’ll roll, it’ll raise your spirits, it’ll make your heart sink, it’ll be gritty, and you probably won’t give a damn. It’ll be a new record from The Men.

David Wolfson

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away
Due out February 19th on Bad Seed Ltd.


Five years is a long time to wait between official albums. But that is exactly what Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have done.  It was in 2008 that we last heard them peddling their darkly romantic/gloomy bipolar ballads across Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, but we now have the title and release date of their 15th(!) record.  Push the Sky Away is set to hit stores on February 19th via the band’s own label, Bad Seed Ltd.  Recorded in a studio enshrined within a 19th century mansion in the south of France, the album is, according to Cave, “the ghost baby in the incubator and Warren’s lops are its tiny, trembling heartbeat.”  Taking Grinderman out of the picture, though hopefully not out of commission, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are a welcome sight among the glut of synth-whatever’s that we’ve seen and heard these past few years.

Joshua Pickard

NonPlus+ Records – Think & Change
Due out February 25th on NonPlus+


Albums within the house/techno sphere, on balance, tend to fare a lot worse critically than one would assume considering the longevity and global popularity of the music. Chalk it up to the influence of the club in both production and promotion, the dominance of 12″ within dance culture, proliferation of remixes, hyper-acceleration of scenes, perceptions of repetition inherent in its DNA – however you look at it, the long-player is simply not the favoured way to deliver this kind of material. Compilations are a different beast entirely, and few are better equipped to collate a representative package of forward-thinking house/techno influenced by the nebulous ‘bass’ continuum than NonPlus+ head honcho Al Green, formerly one half of Instra:mental and now operating under the name Boddika. While not especially well known in the States, Green has been one of the most influential players in Europe over the past two years, standing at the centre of a mass genre convergence alongside new partner Joy Orbison, who incidentally will be contributing two tracks here – another Boddika collaboration entitled “&Fate” and his gargantuan “BRTHDTT!” (Google it). But this is hardly a vanity project. The calibre of artists appearing on Think and Change should tell you all you need to know: Martyn, Pearson Sound, Four Tet, Basic Soul Unit, Scuba and Kassem Mosse all feature across the 5×12″ set (plus two samplers). If you’re looking for an entry point into one of the most creative and thrilling scenes in music today, this should be a fantastic place to start.

Gabriel Szatan

Phosphorescent – Muchacho
Due out March on Dead Oceans


You’d have to be made of stone not to feel any kind of solace when listening to Phosphorescent’s last couple of releases, but it’s the kind of solace that comes with sprinklings of hope and a heady dose of honesty that make the songs so life affirming. Matthew Houck returns in March with Muchacho, an album that promises to continue in the tradition of his past releases since his life apparently “fell apart” in the time since Here’s To Taking It Easy, and that has provided inspiration this time around. The album is also said to have “weird production,” something that’s evident on the brilliant lead single “Song For Zula,” which broadens Phosphorescent’s sonic palette with some electronics and other amorphous synths carefully implanted into the sound. It all makes for a very exciting prospect in Muchacho.

Rob Hakimian

Nosaj Thing – Home
Due out January 22nd on Innovative


Nosaj Thing’s debut for Warp was a potent slab of the woozy constructions of the LA beat scene that were all the rage back at its release in 2010. But where Drift departed from the legion of FlyLo imitators was in his wholehearted embrace of the inherent spaciness of the sound. Though many of the rest of the Low End Theory crowd ground their works in the conventions of booming hip hop clatter, Nosaj Thing refused the tether. He took the wooziness to another level and knocked the breath from it, accepting the disorienting world of outer space as his canvas. With Home we finally have a proper follow up, and with guest turns from Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead and Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi it’s bound to be a special affair.

Colin Joyce

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II
Due out February 5th on Jagjaguwar


In the time since Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s delightfully simple debut album was released in the summer of 2011 the band has been steadily and deservedly picking up fans. Starting with positive reviews for the debut across the board and culminating in a US tour with Grizzly Bear and signing to new label Jagjaguwar, the band seems to have grown out of the shadows and become more confident and found their image in the 18 month span. The love for II’s lead single “Swim and Sleep (Like A Shark)” has been widely pronounced and rightly so; band leader Ruban Nielson’s songwriting is stronger than ever – both musically and lyrically – while maintaining the throwback sound pallet that hooked so many people in the first time around. If the album maintains this across its 10 tracks then it could be one of early 2013’s finest releases.

Rob Hakimian

Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen
Due out February 12th on Slumberland

Veronica Falls

2011’s Veronica Falls was the kind of record that didn’t just reaffirm my faith in pop music – it made me momentarily wonder why people even bothered making anything else. Last year the group put out two singles teasing towards their new album, “My Heart Beats” and “Teenage”, that rank among the best of their career and point to a more nostalgic sophomore effort – hopefully all this means we can expect another LP of dark, indie pop perfection come February.

Ryan Stanley

Wavves – Afraid of Heights
Due out March 26 on Mom + Pop


Although sadly not titled Krazy Sexi Cool as rumoured (read: lifted from Nathan Williams’ Twitter, complete with KoRn-aping artwork), the fourth full-length from San Diego’s notorious lo-fi hero/villain – depending on which side of the fence you sit on – Nathan Williams will be finally ready come late Spring after a fairly long wait. Considering his prolificacy earlier in his career even when ploughing through industrial levels of substances, it’s fair to assume that a marked slowdown in productivity, coupled with recent chatter about maturing as an artist, might well denote a stylistic shift from the ramshackle meld of garage rock and mall-punk for which he is known. To be perfectly honest, I hope he retains that sense of giddy abandon that made King Of The Beach such a riot. “Sail To The Sun” thankfully appears to point towards another set of summery, snotty jams; air guitars at the ready, then.

Gabriel Szatan

Widowspeak – Almanac
Due out January 22nd on Captured Tracks


Widowspeak’s 2011 self-titled debut for Captured Tracks was the perfect soundtrack for its Autumn release. Molly Hamilton’s gusty Hope Sandoval-esque bellow shook the leaves off Robert Earl Thomas’ spindly guitar parts. It curled up and confounded, summoned and shrank away. It was equal parts a brisk walk through the park and a stormy shut in evening. The two singles released from the upcoming Almanac seem to suggest a move more out into the open, vocal parts stripped of their autumnal haze amd guitar parts chiming like a laconic cousin to Matt Mondanile’s Real Estate lead work. Hamilton’s voice will still win them those Mazzy Star comparisons, but make no mistake: despite obvious reference points, Widowspeak have something special and Almanac should find them unearthing that something from the coat of reverb around their first record.

Colin Joyce

William Tyler – Impossible Truth
Due out March 19th on Merge


William Tyler signing to Merge wouldn’t be that big a deal if not for the fact that he doesn’t sing. Acoustic guitar toting dude with floppy hair is familiar fodder for the upper echelons of indie labels, but Tyler stands poised to pull the same image-based fakeout on a legion of his listeners that he pulled on a legion of Yo La Tengo fans on a turn opening for them in 2011. Tyler gets on stage, introduces himself and then launches into 45 minutes of spirited acoustic guitar instrumentals, an unexpected change of pace, even in a world where John Fahey’s touch is probably wider felt than ever before. Tyler’s 2011 effort Behold The Spirits didn’t quite embrace Fahey’s sparse meditations with the same religious fervor of the late Jack Rose (or his protégée Daniel Bachman), but it was an accomplished effort in its acceptance of the world that Fahey opened and its decision to push that world in new directions. Tyler’s first effort for Merge should tread similar ground, don’t expect pop songs any time soon, but one can imagine that the former Lambchop guitarist has spent the interim time further honing his craft. If Behold The Spirits represented a pushing of the boundaries that John Fahey created, maybe Impossible Truth will be the record where Tyler creates worlds of his own.

Colin Joyce

Yo La Tengo – Fade
Due out January 15th on Matador


Being indie rock royalty has its advantages. For Yo La Tengo, it means that each new record is anxiously anticipated by even their most casual fans.  And on the strength of the three songs we’ve heard so far, “Ohm,” “Stupid Things” and “Before We Run,” there isn’t much doubt that their upcoming record Fade will stand alongside their already considerable discography quite comfortably.  And it’s not so much that fans expect a drastic change in sound or tone, but Yo La Tengo seem to have a very informal way of approaching their established sound.  And it’s in this almost casual creativity that the band shows why they’ve retained their substantial fan-base for all these years.  You can count me among those eagerly looking forward to January 15th and the release of Fade on Matador Records.

Joshua Pickard

Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
Due out March 5th on Fat Possum


Now that we have the album art, tracklist and impish title to go on, Youth Lagoon/Trevor Powers’ follow-up to the ear-catching and much-loved The Year of Hibernation appears as though it will again use youthful charm and candor to win you over. Which just leaves one problem: Do you punch up and expand your sound for your sophomore release like, say, Wild Nothing, or do you preserve that homemade element, in the mould of How to Dress Well? It’s not a bad dilemma to have, honestly, but how Powers approaches it on Wondrous Bughouse will likely speak a good deal to Youth Lagoon’s longevity.

Brendan Frank

[Announced] [Confirmed] [In Progress] [Speculative]

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