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)

 

ness nite – “expectations”

– featured image courtesy of derrick koch –

after a string of impressive standalone singles, ness nite became fully realized on her debut extended play, last summer’s nite time.  the title served as both a declaration of arrival and a nod to a decidedly nocturnal aura; there are sly bits of swagger inserted throughout, but nite time is largely tender and mood-oriented, the soundtrack to a comedown.

shortly thereafter, ness nite signed to the nascent passion of the weiss recordings and decamped to new york, her sights set on a full length.  relocation proved fruitful; ness nite retained the services of co-producer mike frey throughout the writing process, and enlisted alex tumay to handle the mixing and mastering of dream girl, her first album-length collection of songs.

ahead of the album’s arrival lies “expectations,” a chilly, potent cut that distills ness nite’s aesthetic into an easily-digestible concoction.  two subsequent hooks develop over sparse, atmospheric production; a quick pause to steady herself, and ness nite dives into the verse, leaning back on her triplets before leaning in and subdividing her delivery as the content becomes more confident.  if “expectations” is any hint, dream girl should find an incredibly gifted artist meticulously honing her craft even further this time around.

dream girl arrives in early 2018; get acclimated with “expectations,” streaming below.

ness nite – “sigh”

– featured image courtesy of derrick koch – 

ness nite should already be on your radar.  vanessa reliford’s output this year has been nothing short of outstanding, and the minneapolis producer and singer has now bottled that momentum in the form of nite time, her debut ep that was self-released digitally on monday.  the project’s half-dozen tracks are a mixture of both familiar and unexplored territory – joining “yes,” “reverse,” and “lilith” are a trio of previously-unreleased songs – but its sequencing is paramount, resulting in a cohesive, dusky soundscape that retains an enormous amount of elasticity.

positioned at the forefront of nite time is “sigh,” a track of such caliber that a truncated live rendition performed this spring already read as one of the strongest singles of the year.  the finished version arguably doubles down on this claim; the titular sighs are evident in both reliford’s cadences and in the flat-out exhausted state her lyrics convey, but it’s her haunting wordless, melismas that glue the track together: eerie interludes punctuated by rubbery bass interjections and a hypnotic sample, reversed and perpetually looped.

the final minute of “sigh” is purely instrumental, a chopped and screwed coda that’s as much a nod to reliford’s production prowess as it is to her capacity for patience.  after such a saturated introduction to every facet of her aesthetic, the end of “sigh” allows nite time a crucial moment to breathe, to collect itself before fully submerging.  listen below.

 

ness nite – “yes”

– featured image courtesy of derrick koch –

ness nite’s output in 2016 has been sparse but powerful; three singles form a composite sketch of the sensual, nocturnal atmosphere vanessa reliford has fastidiously cultivated from scratch, each pairing downtempo production with a chameleonic vocal delivery system capable of transitioning from melismatic hooks to rapid-fire bars at a moment’s notice.  throw in this impeccable live rendition of an unreleased track, “sigh,” and it becomes even more apparent that ness nite is poised to ascend the steps of a higher platform.

while we’re still a couple of months out from a full-length ness nite project, today does mark the arrival of the music video for her standout cut, “yes,” which features a guest vocal from nick jordan and extra production from collaborator mike frey.  reliford flows through grassy fields with a supporting coreographed cast in tow in the conner evert-directed clip, though the scene’s unassuming consonance is slowly consumed by a nighttime ceremonial bonfire of sorts.  after only aurally experiencing ness nite for months, this video for “yes” is the perfect visual accompaniment.  watch below.

ness nite – “lilith”

ness nite derrick koch
photo courtesy of derrick koch

throw ness nite on your list of new artists to watch in 2016.  minneapolis-based producer and singer vanessa reliford turned in the syrupy slow-jam “yes” back in january, and today she returns with “lilith,” an intricately-woven single that again demonstrates her ability to deliver both a memorable hook and a series of whip-smart bars.  subterranean bass lines quake from behind two inch-thick walls to form the song’s foundation, but “lilith” truly thrives on the ensuing contrast of light piano interjections that punctuate reliford’s rather flippant, at times caustic, manner of trying to process the implications of a disappointing relationship.  take a listen below.

 

ness nite – “yes”

ness nite
photo courtesy of the artist

scroll through vanessa reliford’s soundcloud page and it’s easy to glean a sampling of the avenues she’s keen to explore.  as ness nite, reliford molds a realm principally informed by a downtempo, nocturnal production style that would be highly impressionable on its own, yet it’s frequently augmented by fluid transitions from languid, syrupy hooks to deftly-rapped verses.  all of these facets are refined with newly-sharpened focus on her latest single, “yes,” a 3 a.m. slow-burner that continuously grapples with an idyllic romance crashing to reality on a seemingly endless feedback loop.  take a listen below.