Deftones, Rico Nasty, and 10 more albums we can't wait to hear in December

Deftones, Rico Nasty, and 10 more albums we can't wait to hear in December

Image for article titled Deftones, Rico Nasty, and 10 more albums we can't wait to hear in December
Graphic: Natalie Peeples

You will not be missed, 2020. The past year will certainly go down as one of the most generally shitty in memory, thanks to a certain horrifying virus that just refuses to go gently into that good night, instead hanging around and ruining everyone’s lives way past the point it should have conceded. (Pick your poison as to who or what we’re actually talking about there—either way, you’ll be right.) But as we grit our teeth in the present and look ahead to a brighter 2021, we’ve got some great new music to fill our ears during the final weeks of the year. From dance-floor heroes like The Avalanches to the final bow of indie stalwarts like Joan of Arc, there’s something for everyone in December’s new albums.

[A note to desktop users: If you’d like to view this story in a scrolling layout, you can narrow your browser window.]

Advertisement

2 / 14

Poppy, A Very Poppy Christmas EP [December 1]

Poppy, A Very Poppy Christmas EP [December 1]

Even before internet enigma Poppy’s music leaned into its industrial, nu-metal influences, there was always an unsettling quality to her work—her bubblegum world existing deep in the uncanny valley—so our interest piqued when she announced a holiday EP, A Very Poppy Christmas: Would it be on the naughty or nice list? To our surprise, lead single “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” is a sparse yet charming bit of yuletide yearning, teasing a sincere and somber affair appropriate for the malaise of the 2020 holiday season. [Cameron Scheetz]

Advertisement

3 / 14

Com Truise, In Decay, Too [December 4]

Com Truise, In Decay, Too [December 4]

While anything approaching a comprehensive collection of Seth Haley’s output as Com Truise over the years seems impossible (the original In Decay, back in 2012, only compiled his very early work), this new overview of rarities and non-album work assembled from a decade’s worth of music by the restlessly inventive synthwave artist should satisfy anyone looking to get a sense of the scope of his talent. And given he left behind the longtime sci-fi obsessions with 2019’s Persuasion System, this compilation serves as a victory lap of sorts to 10 years of futuristic fascination. [Alex McLevy]

Advertisement

4 / 14

Deafheaven, 10 Years Gone [December 4]

Deafheaven, 10 Years Gone [December 4]

However terrific they sound on record, the Bay Area black-metal titans of Deafheaven really come alive on stage, their soaring epics taking on some extra majestic oomph when fed through massive venue speakers. Whether that steroidal energy can be captured on a live album recorded in studio remains to be, well, heard. Either way, 10 Years Gone could function as a fine primer on the band’s decade of music, given a tracklist that covers the whole scope of its career—including a new rendition of “Daedalus,” the first song Deafheaven ever wrote. [A.A. Dowd]

Advertisement

5 / 14

Joan of Arc, Tim Melina Theo Bobby [December 4]

Joan of Arc, Tim Melina Theo Bobby [December 4]

After 25 years and an impressive catalog full of ambitious, experimental indie rock, Tim Kinsella and his fellow bandmates in Joan of Arc have announced they’re calling it quits with the release of Tim Melina Theo Bobby, a grand sendoff that brings back numerous former members to craft a fitting farewell for the Chicago mainstay. Expect burbling loops and samples, gentle acoustic melodies, and glitched-out eruptions of pummeling noise litter the record—an apropos musical document for a group so dedicated to pushing the limits of what a “rock band” sounds like. [Alex McLevy]

Advertisement

6 / 14

Rico Nasty, Nightmare Vacation [December 4]

Rico Nasty, Nightmare Vacation [December 4]

Anger Management, Rico Nasty’s 2019 joint project with Kenny Beats, proved that she should be considered one of hip-hop’s most original heavy hitters, laying hard-edged lyricism over experimental, percolating garage beats. Her long-awaited debut album Nightmare Vacation promises to bring the signature firepower that fans have gravitated towards, along with elements of sugar trap, a genre that Rico coined to describe her blend of trap beats and softer, “bubbly” melodic rap. With appearances from Aminé and Gucci Mane, Nightmare Vacation might actually be quite a dreamy, imaginative escape. [Shannon Miller]

Advertisement

7 / 14

Sigur Rós, Odin’s Raven Magic [December 4]

Sigur Rós, Odin’s Raven Magic [December 4]

It was nearly two decades ago that the most Sigur Rós thing of all time happened. In 2002, the band performed an orchestral composition paying tribute to an age-old Icelandic poem about a banquet that distracted the feasting gods of Valhalla from the end of the world. Fans have long sought a definitive recording of the piece and now, 18 years later, it’s finally arrived. Odin’s Raven Magic, a collaboration between Sigur Rós’ Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Steindór Andersen, and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, highlights a performance at Paris’ La Grande Halle de la Villette. A ghostly choir underscores the string-heavy instrumentation, but the real star is the stone marimba that was built specifically for the performance. [Randall Colburn]

Advertisement

8 / 14

Your Old Droog, Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition [December 4]

Your Old Droog, Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition [December 4]

After 2019 found him in extra-prolific mode, delivering three separate albums, Coney Island-based rapper Your Old Droog has kept a low profile in 2020—until now. This new record combines his traditionally raw minimalism with an array of different sonic explorations stemming from the Ukrainian-born artist looking back to his Eastern European roots—via instrumentals, spoken-word samples, and more. But the magnetism of his flow is fully intact, as heard on single “Pravda,” which features the impressive guest roster of El-P, Black Thought, Tha God Fahim, and Mach-Hommy. [Alex McLevy]

Advertisement

9 / 14

Guided By Voices, Styles We Paid For [December 11]

Guided By Voices, Styles We Paid For [December 11]

Just a few months after delivering the throwback pop-rock jams of Mirrored Aztec, GBV have already returned (you can’t possibly be surprised; the boys had put out four albums over the course of the previous 12 months) with Styles We Paid For, an album created under lockdown with all five members recording their parts in five different states. You know the drill—guitar hooks and harmonies aplenty, with Bob Pollard holding court over it all with his signature sideways lyrical poetry. [Alex McLevy]

Advertisement

10 / 14

The Avalanches, We Will Always Love You [December 11]

The Avalanches, We Will Always Love You [December 11]

Four years between records may seem like a lot, but it’s a far sight shorter than the 16-year gap between The Avalanches’ first and second albums. The Australian group follows 2016’s joyous Wildflower with We Will Always Love You, a record that reportedly takes the sample-happy band’s usual youthful spirit and invests it with a more thoughtful, mature sensibility. It also includes a bevy of guest vocalists, including Blood Orange, Rivers Cuomo, Pink Siifu, Jamie xx, CLYPSO, Denzel Curry, Tricky, Neneh Cherry, Sampa The Great, Sananda Maitreya, Vashti Bunyan, and more. [Alex McLevy]

Advertisement

11 / 14

Deftones, Black Stallion [December 11]

Deftones, Black Stallion [December 11]

Rap-rock was never a huge part of the Deftones sound. Nonetheless, the California nü-metal survivors are commemorating the 20th anniversary of White Pony, their best and most enduring album, with a whole collection of remixes—the kind of move that their more hip-hop-leaning peers regularly pulled during the era when every nascent aggro act had turntables in their gear. Black Stallion includes makeovers by the likes of Purity Ring, Squarepusher, and Mike “the rapper in Linkin Park” Shinoda, who once scored a big hit futzing with the songs on his nü-metal outfit’s Y2k smash. [A.A. Dowd]

Advertisement

12 / 14

Nilüfer Yanya, Feeling Lucky? EP [December 11]

Nilüfer Yanya, Feeling Lucky? EP [December 11]

After the stunning debut album Miss Universe launched Nilüfer Yanya to new heights, the British singer-songwriter found herself wondering when it would all come crashing down. That anxiety about life’s unpredictability fuels her new three-song EP Feeling Lucky?, but its first single “Crash” proves she’s only just getting started. The track features Yanya’s falsetto cascading again and again over a thudding bass, creating a uniquely intoxicating earworm that charts a course for pop-rock stardom in the same vein as genre-bending innovators Mitski and St. Vincent. [Cameron Scheetz]

Advertisement

13 / 14

Paul McCartney, McCartney III [December 18]

Paul McCartney, McCartney III [December 18]

“A few of the new album’s tracks embody that was-probably-more-fun-to-play-than-it-is-to-listen-to quality, but midway through the record, McCartney III starts to soar. If it is indeed a swan song, McCartney III will stand as a proper coda for the singer-songwriter we’ve been listening to for fifty-odd years: sentimental yet strong, a bit wistful, but as always, looking ahead.” [Read The A.V. Club review of McCartney III here.] [Gwen Ihnat]

Advertisement

14 / 14