most anticipated albums of 2018

featured image courtesy of minimally minimal –

as 2017 draws to a close, we naturally shift our focus to 2018 and the bevy of albums slated to be released throughout the year.  admittedly, the following list largely focuses on albums due out in the first quarter, with a couple of pipe dreams sprinkled in.  for those still trying to soak up as much of 2017 as possible, check out our favorite releases of the year here.  for those looking to forge ahead, read on.  links to pre-order are embedded if available.

rhyerhye – blood (february 2nd || loma vista)

three strong singles have thus far precluded rhye’s long-awaited sophomore full-length.  after returning this summer with “please,” rhye closed out 2017 with the supple one-two punch of “taste” and “count to five.”  if the samplings and album art are any indication, mike milosh’s work remains as intimate and sensual as ever.

 

Hovvdy Cranberryhovvdy – cranberry (february 9th || double double whammy)

austin duo hovvdy released one of 2016’s most enduring – and endearing – albums in taster.  cranberry, their first since signing to the venerable double double whammy, seems poised to flesh out the warm, lived-in aura that permeates their disarmingly honest work.  case in point: lead single “petal” drips with nostalgia, its assured pace gently giving way to tender falsetto.

 

quiet friendquiet friend – quiet friend (march 9th || elestial sound)

after years of releasing music by himself under the moniker mister lies, nick zanca has shifted into collaborative mode to build quiet friend with steven rogers.  the duo, along with a rotating cast of other contributors, sculpt an audiophile’s dreamscape; lead single “safe” is a whirlwind, but is also just a hint of what quiet friend have in store throughout their self-titled debut.

– other notable releases – 

a grave with no name – passover (january 19th || forged artifacts)

nadine – oh my (january 26th || father/daughter)

triathalon – online (february 16th || broken circles)

s. carey – hundred acres (february 23rd || jagjaguwar)

lucy dacus – historian (march 2nd || matador)

half waif – lavender (tbd || cascine)

helena deland – tba (tbd || luminelle)

ness nite – dream girl (tbd || pow recordings)

pat moon – tba (tbd || track & field)

yours are the only ears – tba (tbd || team love)

 

st. vincent – st. vincent

even when hiding behind the understated folk sounds of her 2007 debut marry me, it was evident that annie clark was not, and will never be, amongst musicians easily recyclable in the contemporary indie rock climate.  as st. vincent, she demands listeners to pay attention to her lyricism and phenomenal guitar work simultaneously – a feat not easy to achieve – regardless of the genre she’s happened to settle into.  clark has largely gone electric since her debut, drawing on elements of funk, her love of horn arrangements, and angular guitar lines to develop a truly signature style.  maybe that’s why her newest album is self-titled; at this stage in the game, annie clark needs no introduction.

there’s this really thought-provoking article on the trajectory and meaning of the artwork on all of st. vincent’s albums, and it backs up my perception of her latest effort: this record just exudes self-confidence.  both “i prefer your love” and “regret” are comfortable, familiar st. vincent songs, and that’s why clark makes the audience wait until the middle of the album before they are heard.  the front half of st. vincent is full of eclectic aggression; the subject matter of clark’s songs is simple in delivery while slightly abstract in concept, but she staunches any apprehension with vehement orchestration.  album opener “rattlesnake” winds and strikes just like its namesake, with a slithering synthesizer line interrupted by interjections from clark’s voice and some pretty frenzied drumming, and lead single “birth in reverse” keeps the dust off of your dancing shoes.

some of clark’s most inspiring songwriting to date comes in the form of “huey newton.”  the track first finds her navigating through an ostinato synthesizer pattern and singing in her patented ethereal voice, but it soon transcends into a crushing guitar riff bolstered by a commanding, almost harsh vocal delivery that mirrors clark’s austere demeanor on the album cover.  her blend of tried and true with uncharted musical territory in terms of her own career is fearless; it’s something that started to take shape on strange mercy and has now been fully realized, three years later.

while elements of her collaboration with david byrne are evident on tracks like “digital witness,” st. vincent still feels like an album organically grown by annie clark.  i’ve always expected her music to challenge my perception of what is possible in the pop realm, and this batch of tunes certainly did not disappoint.  she may be easing herself into a palate rich with dirty synthesizers and fuzzy guitars, but this is akin to easing oneself into a swimming pool of cold water; there’s ample time to get out and try something new.  annie clark is only knee-high, still capable of writing songs as diverse as “severed crossed fingers” and “psychopath,” and her demonstrated musical intellect and curiosity suggests she’ll never go beyond waist-deep.

8.8/10

listen to a new song from st. vincent

st. vincent is gearing up for her self-titled fourth album, out february 25th via loma vista.  after a somewhat dramatic announcement of the album and its lead single “birth in reverse,” annie clark let another track go this morning.  check out the funky “digital witness” below.