Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Curren$y (Photo: Joey Foley/Getty Images), David Byrne (Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images), and Kim Deal (Photo: David Wolff/Getty Images)

Here are the 28 most-anticipated albums of March

New releases really ramp up for March, with a glut of offerings from veteran rockers (The Breeders, The Decemberists, Yo La Tengo), underground rap icons and stoner-rap legends (MF DOOM & Czarface, Jean Grae & Chris Quelle, Curren$y, YoungBoy NBA), and boundary-pushing electronic artists (Lost Girls, DJ Taye). Here are the albums we’re most looking forward to.

March 2

The Breeders, All Nerve

It’s been 10 years since The Breeders released their last LP, Mountain Battles, and a long 25 since we’ve heard the classic Last Splash lineup on record. Following that album’s 20th-anniversary tour in 2013, drummer Jim Macpherson and bassist Josephine Wiggs rejoined Kim and Kelley Deal in the studio to record the new All Nerve, The Breeders’ fifth. It’s a fun, varied collection of (inevitably ’90s-indebted) rock that honors the band’s brawny-yet-sweet sound but without any nostalgia—and in fact, stretches into some new territory. Courtney Barnett cameos on rouser “Howl At The Summit,” and there’s an excellent cover of Amon Düül II’s “Archangel’s Thunderbird” that finds Kim Deal juggling all guitar and bass duties. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Camp Cope, How To Socialise & Make Friends

Camp Cope began as the solo project for singer-guitarist Georgia Maq, but by the time she expanded it to a trio and released the excellent Camp Cope in 2016, the Melbourne group was quickly attaining “up-and-coming” status. That momentum has only accelerated since, which makes How To Socialise & Make Friends perfectly timed. Camp Cope’s riot grrrl DNA remains pronounced—its sound recalls the ’90s heyday of the genre—but the new one doesn’t feel like a throwback. The trio’s tuneful indie rock accompanies some of Maq’s most pointed lyrics to date, like on the cathartic first track, “The Opener,” which seethes with pent-up frustration over sexism in music. [Kyle Ryan]

DJ Taye, Still Trippin’

The young rapper turned producer Dante Sanders, better known as DJ Taye, joined the storied Teklife crew in his mid-teens and has been producing next-gen footwork ever since. Still Trippin’, his first full-length in five years, is being billed as his most ambitious effort, building on the legacy of his mentor, the late DJ Rashad. The Chicago-centric, often frenetic warped-future footwork sound suffered a brutal blow with the Teklife co-founder’s death in 2014. (His 2013 album Double Cup is still the definitive document of the genre.) But it soldiers on, whether in the ambitious percussive compositions of Gary, Indiana’s Jlin or in DJ Taye’s continuing refinement of footwork’s sparse, nocturnal, druggy basics. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

Lost Girls, Feeling

Taking its name from the 2006 graphic novel by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie, Lost Girls is a new project by experimental Norwegian pop artist Jenny Hval and multi-instrumentalist Håvard Volden. Although Hval and Volden are longtime collaborators and previously released a self-titled LP as Nude On Sand in 2012, Feeling will be the first from Lost Girls, spread over two extended tracks of shape-shifting atmospherics. If you’re a Jenny Hval fan, it’s a good bet you’ll enjoy her otherworldly, contemplative performances here. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Lucy Dacus, Historian

Singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus burst onto the scene in 2016 with “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” a single that almost instantly brought in 20 labels vying for her attention. Dacus’ debut album, recorded in a single day and first released on a small hometown label, was well reviewed, but it’s Historian that Dacus is positioning as her definitive arrival. [Matt Gerardi]

Andrew W.K., You’re Not Alone

It’s been more than a decade since his last proper rock album (and almost as long since his solo piano album, 55 Cadillac), but if that’s how long it took Andrew W.K. to find the self-empowerment to actualize his newest collection of paeans to partying, then so be it. Finally completing his musical transformation into the 21st century’s Meat Loaf (and that’s a hell of an achievement), W.K. alternates spoken-word exhortations to live your best life and straightforward head-banging anthems on You’re Not Alone. It’s more nonstop rock once again produced to the nth degree for maximum bombast and overall theatrical awesomeness. [Alex McLevy]

The Men, Drift

In 2016, The Men split from their longtime label, Sacred Bones, with the self-produced Devil Music, an abrasive, lo-fi implosion of an album that completely tore down the melodic rock the band had been turning out ever since the excellent one-two punch of Leave Home and Open Your Heart. Now back on Sacred Bones and celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band, The Men mark a rebirth of sorts with Drift. Its an album lacking electric guitars in all but one of its songs, while also branching out into some new musical genres like the dusky, industrial-leaning, dance-floor jam “Maybe I’m Crazy.” [Matt Gerardi]

Moaning, Moaning

L.A. post-punk trio Moaning, newly signed to Sub Pop, cites New Order and Slowdive as influences, a sound evident in the soaring synth lines and euphoric guitars of the group’s immersive, self-titled debut. Press releases describe the band as “defined by duality,” and it’s true that there’s a war raging here—between apathy and compassion, abrasion and tenderness. Still, as excellent singles “Don’t Go” and “Artificial” display, Moaning makes its split personality work, with energetic arrangements that betray singer Sean Solomon’s deadpan delivery. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Titus Andronicus, A Productive Cough

Though billed as subtler and more intimate than previous albums, Titus Andronicus’ fifth studio LP will still sound familiar to fans of the rambunctious New Jersey band. A decade after their much-celebrated debut of punk epics, The Airing Of Grievances, Patrick Stickles and company remain as rowdy as ever, even if they take a breather every now and again. Here they go full Pogues—without the Celtic trappings—on “Real Talk,” while their “(I’m) Like A Rolling Stone” cover weds a ragged Bob Dylan to an even more ragged Springsteen. A Productive Cough may lack immediately addictive lines of old like “The enemy is everywhere,” but the urge to sing along remains. [Laura Adamczyk]

March 9

David Byrne, American Utopia

Forty years after David Byrne first told listeners not to worry about the government, the former Talking Heads frontman embarked on a mission of sincere anxiety mediation by curating the ongoing, self-explanatory series Reasons To Be Cheerful. That process coincided with the recording of American Utopia, Byrne’s first solo album in 14 years—though, with contributions from the likes of Brian Eno, Daniel Lopatin, and Sampha, it’s every bit the patchwork of Reasons To Be Cheerful, Love This Giant, or Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. It’s a roster that lives up to the title of the jittery first single, “Everybody’s Coming To My House.” Elsewhere, “This Is That” is a little more introspective, a series of moments narrated over kitchen-sink glitch from Lopatin. Reasons to be cheerful, all. [Erik Adams]

Editors, Violence

Thirteen years have passed since Editors debuted with The Back Room, which would feel like ages ago if the English band hadn’t been making such consistently rewarding music this entire time. On their sixth album, Editors’ darkly tuneful rock sounds even more dramatic, with layers of synthesizers, percussion, and other flourishes polished to a sheen by producer Leo Abrahams (Belle & Sebastian, Regina Spektor, Frightened Rabbit). That’s not a dig; the studio suits Editors, and Violence marks a pleasing step forward. [Kyle Ryan]

Nap Eyes, I’m Bad Now

A natural progression from previous efforts, I’m Bad Now is Nova Scotia indie outfit Nap Eyes’ most fully realized venture yet. Several songs on this, the band’s third album—“You Like To Joke Around With Me” and “Sage,” in particular—wind their way to lovely, surprising moments that complicate and deepen the group’s sound. As in opener “Every Time The Feeling,” which conjures Kurt Vile’s rock ’n’ roll nostalgia, it’s all delivered with an assured, laid-back ease. [Laura Adamczyk]

Of Montreal, White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood

Of Montreal’s tumultuous sound started tiptoeing its way into full-on electronic dance music on the band’s wide-eyed 2016 album, Innocence Reaches. Two years later, White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood, Kevin Barnes’ 15th under the Of Montreal banner, is confidently strutting into that stylistic shift. Ditching a live band entirely and citing the extended cuts of ’80s singles as his inspiration, tracks like “Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia” shift from buzzing dancehall pop to stretches of unadorned, club-ready grooves. [Matt Gerardi]

Young Fathers, Cocoa Sugar 

Genre-melding Edinburgh trio Young Fathers make rangy, high-minded work that nevertheless feels compulsively listenable. Like TV On The Radio or Yeezus-era Kanye, their sometimes-abrasive experimentation feels like a natural evolution of pop music. The singles from the new Cocoa—the group’s third full-length—bring massive gospel choruses into the fold, proving that they’ve got new terrain to explore yet. [Clayton Purdom]

March 16

Bishop Nehru, Elevators (Act I & II)

Bishop Nehru is a prodigiously talented producer and emcee, capable of weaving together sparkling sample-based boom-bap and more shifty, electro-influenced beats, while sounding perfectly at home on either. His new record is co-produced by polyglot producer Kaytranada and underground icon MF DOOM, an elusive figure with whom Nehru also collaborated on a totally okay 2014 full-length. Here’s hoping this new 10-song concept album adds up to more; there’s a lot of talent here. [Clayton Purdom]

Curren$y, Back At Burnie’s

Stoner-rap legend Curren$y is currently sitting on one of the great, unquantifiable hot streaks in rap history, firing off record after record of staggeringly pleasant mood music for a decade now. (Wikipedia lists 12 studio albums and 50 mixtapes, which somehow still seems low.) Pillowy, immaculate production, full of soft-rock vibes and breezy saxophones, create a setting for verse after verse of immaculately easygoing shit talk, always peppered with smartly picked guests of varying repute. The new record is a semi-sequel to his 2011 semi-classic Weekend At Burnie’s; the most to expect here is delicious, unerring competence of the sort only Curren$y provides. [Clayton Purdom]

The Decemberists, I’ll Be Your Girl

The psychedelic album art recalls The Zombies’ Odessey And Oracle, the single tromps along to a sinister synth arpeggio, and the opening track is a big swing of new-romantic proportions. Yes, The Decemberists have succeeded in their aim to switch things up with I’ll Be Your Girl, the Portland quintet’s eighth studio album and first with producer extraordinaire (and their one-time Kill Rock Stars mate) John Congleton. The results are The Decemberists’ most sonically expansive work to date, from the fluttering call and response of “Everything Is Awful” to the glittery shuffle of “We All Die Young” to the folk-revival-meets-’80s-blockbuster ballad “Cutting Stone.” Fret not, Decemberists traditionalists: You’ll find an eight-minute epic on I’ll Be Your Girl (in the customary penultimate-track position), and Colin Meloy finds a way to work a “petard” into the lyric sheet, too. [Erik Adams]

Hot Snakes, Jericho Sirens

Returning after a 14-year hiatus with a typical lack of to-do, Hot Snakes founders John Reis and Rick Froberg have reconvened for the new Jericho Sirens, the fourth album from a band that existed for a relatively short blip, yet has seemingly always been around. That’s because Reis and Froberg have been banging out punk and punk-ish music since they were high school kids, first in ’80s noiseniks Pitchfork then as the mathier Drive Like Jehu, before Reis broke out with the rockabilly-tinged Rocket From The Crypt. Hot Snakes were formed as an ostensible “side project” between RFTC records, but for some of us, those three albums Hot Snakes produced in the early 2000s offer the best distillation of the Reis-Froberg sound—i.e., lean, muscular rock heavily influenced by The Wipers and Suicide, and delivered with caustic, occasionally misanthropic humor and a visceral punch. Jericho’s lead single “Six Wave Hold-Down” sounds like no time has passed at all since 2004—which makes sense, because this shit is timeless. [Sean O’Neal]

Mount Eerie, Now Only

Coming one year almost to the day after the release of Phil Elverum’s last album as Mount Eerie, A Crow Looked At Me, Now Only sees Elverum continuing to piece his life back together after the death of his wife and fellow musician, Geneviève Castrée, in 2016. Recorded on his own in a home studio, the album explores Elverum’s grief and anxiety over becoming a single parent, along with a broader exploration of the idea of remembrance in general. That expansiveness is reflected in the music on Now Only as well as its lyrics, with spare, sprawling, stream-of-consciousness compositions that represent a journey of healing as well as mourning a life cut off too soon. [Katie Rife]

Yo La Tengo, There’s A Riot Going On

You know things are bleak when even Yo La Tengo makes a “political” album. The indie-rock institution, beloved for songs that volley from dreamy serenity to oceanic noise—yet don’t exactly inspire marching in the streets—has characterized the new There’s A Riot Going On as a response to our Trumpian times, capturing the anger and anguish of a troubled nation. But just like the Sly Stone album from which it lifts its name, Riot is less a collection of fiery protest anthems than an expression of dark, nervous energy being rechanneled—here as YLT’s typically calmative, resilient tunes that bob and weave around life’s myriad jabs. Riot is also the first Yo La Tengo album to be pieced together entirely in the studio with no outside producer, which gives it a fluid, improvisatory flow that’s worth losing yourself in. Better that than reading the news, anyway. [Sean O’Neal]

March 23

Cavern Of Anti-Matter, Hormone Lemonade

Stereolab’s Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth, along with keyboardist Holger Zapf, formed Cavern Of Anti-Matter in 2012, three years after that beloved space-age kraut-pop group finally disbanded. Although it lacks Stereolab’s airy playfulness, it’s a welcome substitute for those who miss its motorik burble. Cavern continues Gane’s lifelong pursuit of the lessons 1970s Germany still has to teach us, here updated with a modern, techno-influenced heft. The new Hormone Lemonade was born out of another impressive array of modular synths and homemade drum machines, its pulsing psych explosions fashioned together out of three improvised, one-hour sessions of expertly twiddled knobs. [Sean O’Neal]

Sunflower Bean, Twentytwo In Blue

Indefatigable Brooklyn trio Sunflower Bean releases its sophomore album, Twentytwo In Blue (a nod to the members’ current ages), following up 2016’s successful Human Ceremony. Second single “Crisis Fest” flies in the face of modern American despair with one of the band’s most jubilant tracks yet. Bassist Julia Cumming layers her vocals for a sunny track that’s poppier than the band’s previous angular compositions, but still plenty fierce: “If you hold us back, you know that we can shout / We brought you into this place, you know we can take you out.” “I Was A Fool” wears its Fleetwood Mac heart on its sleeve with that “Dreams” drum kickoff, as Cumming and guitarist Nick Kivlen trade vocals on verses in the same song for once, for a pared-down, love-soaked combo that Buckingham and Nicks fans should find as hypnotic as twilight. [Gwen Ihnat]

Jack White, Boarding House Reach

For Jack White’s latest, he ventured back into the practice of quick-and-dirty recording, worlds away from the mannered production of 2014’s Lazaretto. White recruited a bunch of musicians largely drawn from the hip-hop world in New York and L.A., spent three days in each town recording with the group, then returned home to put it all together. The result is a sprawling sonic stew that stretches far beyond White’s usual, tightly crafted blues rock to incorporate psychedelia, jazz, and more—up to and including some oddball digital reworking after the fact. Still, it’s not all that far afield from his already voluminous catalog: Lead single “Connected By Love” fumes and kicks like a classic White stormer. [Alex McLevy]

March 30

Chris Carter, Chemistry Lessons Volume 1

Let’s just get this out of the way: Chris Carter is the co-founder of industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle, not the creator of The X-Files—though, coincidentally enough, the two share both a sci-fi fascination and a background in television. Carter’s new Chemistry Lessons Volume 1, his first solo effort in 17 years, explores both of those facets, harkening back to Carter’s formative days working for classic BBC shows by drawing on the influence of ’60s Radiophonic music to create 25 tracks (most of them clocking in under three minutes) themed around “the limitless possibilities of science.” As you might expect, most of the songs on Chemistry would function quite well as soundtracks to some kind of Doctor Who or, yes, X-Files-type show, each propelled by percolating, Age Of Tomorrow synthesizers and awash in ghostly, extraterrestrial voices to conjure late-night adventures in the lab. [Sean O’Neal]

Amen Dunes, Freedom

Damon McMahon’s restless Amen Dunes project has seen many sonic evolutions over its 10-plus years, but Freedom boasts the most striking step forward yet. Following 2015’s Love, made with members of Iceage and Godspeed You Black Emperor, Freedom is a “reflection on growing up” that likewise welcomes many contributors, like electronic underground musician Panoram and Delicate Steve, as well as producer Chris Coady (Beach House). Its singles so far promise a soulful, affecting, and strange work of genre-blurring folk rock. Single “Blue Rose” rides a hazy, blissful bump you’ll want to get lost in. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Guided By Voices, Space Gun

It’s been a little over six months since the release of the last Guided By Voices album, How Do You Spell Heaven, which means we were past due for another round of beer-swilling, first-pumping, off-kilter indie rock from Dayton, Ohio’s finest. The lineup assembled for last year’s August By Cake remains solid on Space Gun, capturing the butterflies flitting around bandleader Robert Pollard’s imagination—his inspiration this time around includes kangaroos, sitars, and a guy scrounging through a dumpster for leftover fried chicken—and transforming them into exhilarating rock ’n’ roll anthems. [Katie Rife]

MF DOOM & Czarface, Czarface Meets Metal Face

Will MF DOOM ever release another actual album? His last, in 2009, was a postmodern deconstruction of one of hip-hop’s most storied careers that left it hard to imagine where he’d wander after that. The answer, as it turned out, has been through an endless series of collaborations—with Jneiro Jarel; Bishop Nehru (see above), Westside Gunn; maybe Madlib; maybe Ghostface; and, in the case of this album, definitely Czarface, the trio comprising 7L & Esoteric, and Inspectah Deck. The new record could be anywhere between brilliant and sort of bad. but at the very least, it’ll be DOOM. [Clayton Purdom]

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris, Everything’s Fine

Underground hip-hop badass Jean Grae teams up with real-life partner Quelle Chris for Everything’s Fine, an ambitious, experimental, quasi-satirical record that speaks directly to our fucked-up, uncertain times. Here the dueling emcees cover modern horrors ranging from Trump to the Babadook, with a motley assemblage of guests (Hannibal Buress, Anna Wise, Nick Offerman, John Hodgman, and more) dropping through to pitch in extra lacerating wit. Knowing Grae, it’ll be unusual, unpredictable, and raw as fuck. [Alex McLevy]

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