Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards (Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage/Getty Images), Kanye West (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Live Nation), and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend (Photo: Chiaki Nozu/WireImage). Graphic: Natalie Peeples.

Our most-anticipated albums of 2018 (that we know of)

Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards (Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage/Getty Images), Kanye West (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Live Nation), and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend (Photo: Chiaki Nozu/WireImage). Graphic: Natalie Peeples.

With confirmed releases from the likes of Tune-Yards, Lucy Dacus, and Superchunk—plus expected new albums from My Bloody Valentine, Kanye West, Vampire Weekend, and more—2018 is already shaping up to be another strong year for music. Here are the albums we most look forward to hearing this year (or, at least, that we know of so far).

The Breeders, TBD

Although The Breeders reunited in 2013 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Last Splash, the longtime alt-rock outfit from former Pixies bassist Kim Deal hasn’t released a full studio album since 2008’s Mountain Battles. But Deal confirmed a new one is on the way last fall with the release of single “Wait In The Car,” saying on Marc Maron’s WTF that frequent collaborator Steve Albini helped record a couple tracks. “Wait In The Car” is classic Breeders—a spare but bottom-heavy pop rocker—and it suggests that the new work, while not exactly reinventing the wheel, will expand on what the four-piece does best. There’s also a really good chance it’ll feature Courtney Barnett. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Car Seat Headrest, Twin Fantasy (Feb. 16)

Will Toledo’s newest album as Car Seat Headrest is actually one of his oldest: He first wrote and recorded Twin Fantasy when he was just 17—a preternaturally gifted and wise high schooler who was first coming to terms with his sexuality, then putting it into songs like the 12-minute epic “Beach Life-In-Death” with its sly recounting of coming out to his friends over Skype. That intensely personal subject matter, combined with Toledo’s deadpan yet not cynical drawl, has made Twin Fantasy a favorite of Car Seat Headrest fans since he first released it on Bandcamp. In the wake of 2016’s Teens Of Denial vaulting him to indie-rock fame, Toledo has now revisited that album, revising, rewriting, and re-recording for its first official release on Matador. For acolytes, it’s a long-awaited reintroduction to one of Toledo’s best works, now fully realized. For newcomers, it’s a chance to hear where all the fuss for this “overnight” star actually began. [Sean O’Neal]

Chromatics, Dear Tommy (TBD)

Chromatics can be counted on for lengthy hiatuses between albums, but the wait for Dear Tommy has taken on a life of its own. It was first announced in December 2014 but—despite a prolonged marketing push and several promising singles making it online throughout 2015—it’s still never surfaced. Last year, the manager for producer Johnny Jewel explained that the Chromatics member and Italians Do It Better owner destroyed all copies of Tommy at the end of 2015 in the wake of a near-death experience. The entire album has since been re-recorded and should see release… sometime. But thanks to the band’s appearance on Twin Peaks: The Return, at least we got another peek at one of those redone tracks: the ethereal, extremely Lynchian “Shadow.” [Matt Gerardi]

Kanye West, Turbo Grafx 16 (TBD)

Kanye makes records by brewing them over a long time, picking away at ideas, finding collaborators and inspirations that seem to make sense together, and then all of a sudden, in a manic rush, announcing a release date and rallying to put a cohesive album in order. The fact that he never quite finished tinkering with 2016’s The Life Of Pablo left it as a messy, lively record, and he immediately announced a follow-up in the weeks afterward that we still haven’t seen. In the time since then, he’s been seen mending fences with old collaborators like Kid Cudi and Takashi Murakami, as well as looking surprisingly happy in his post-Trump, post-breakdown domestic life. Whether his next album will really be called Turbo Grafx 16 (as he’s claimed) or something else remains to be seen, but if there’s one certainty about Kanye, it’s that he’s hard at work. If you’re even remotely interested in hip-hop, you’re constantly waiting for him to announce a new release date. [Clayton Purdom]

Low, TBD

This one’s a little more speculative, since nothing has been announced yet, but it’s been two years since the melancholy trio released Ones And Sixes, and they tend to be pretty punctual. (Duluth, Minnesota, will do that to you.) Whenever it arrives, it will be an event: 12 albums deep, Low has yet to misstep, and each album feels like both a link to its minimal past and a step toward the future (a melancholy future, generally speaking). [Josh Modell]

Lucy Dacus, Historian (March 2)

Lucy Dacus’ fantastic debut album, No Burden, was released in early 2016 by a small label, but was quickly picked up by the indie powerhouse Matador Records, which will also release Historian. Judging by the first track, “Night Shift,” this one might get even deeper and darker than No Burden, which was equally adept with janglers and big statements—check out “Map On A Wall” for proof of the latter. No Burden was one of 2016’s best, which bodes well for this one. [Josh Modell]

Interpol, TBD

Interpol spent most of 2017 basking in the growing ’00s nostalgia by touring behind the 15th anniversary of Turn On The Bright Lights. It’s safe to say that none of the records it’s released since then will get that kind of treatment; nothing has quite captured the band’s gloomy post-punk grandeur—or the public’s appetite for it—like that perfectly formed opening salvo. So expectations are naturally tempered for the group’s first album since 2014’s El Pintor, even if that record was arguably Interpol’s best since those early days. All we really have to go on for now is that it’s definitely happening, though drummer Sam Fogarino has added that it’s heavy on “fist-in-the-air arena rock ballads, all the way”—possibly including the new song “Real Life,” which the band has been working into its shows. Those arenas might still be filled with people waiting to hear “NYC,” but expect to hear the group, newly reenergized by revisiting its glory days, doing its damnedest to give them something new to sing along to. [Sean O’Neal]

Sky Ferreira, Masochism (TBD)

Oddly enough, Dear Tommy isn’t the only long-awaited album from a Twin Peaks-adjacent artist that we’re hoping to hear this year. David Lynch’s show was just one of many gigs in the burgeoning acting career of Sky Ferreira, who first got to work on her sophomore LP back in 2014. The album never materialized, but Ferreira published a heartfelt, encouraging statement on Instagram last summer that makes it sound like she’s reclaimed her creative freedom after struggling with some of the others who were involved in the process. Considering how great her 2013 debut turned out to be, that’s a very good sign. [Matt Gerardi]

My Bloody Valentine, TBD

Before we were surfeited on ’90s shoegaze veterans returning from dormancy, My Bloody Valentine led that droning charge with 2013’s MBV, a jaw-dropper of an album that more than delivered after 22 years of rumors, frustration, and “lazy Kevin Shields” jokes. Five years is a much tighter turnaround, relatively speaking, and Shields’ “100 percent” guarantee that it’s coming doesn’t have to be taken with as huge a grain of salt anymore. So it seems that 2018 should definitely (maybe) see the release of the new seven- or eight-track album he says the band has been finishing since 2017—provided that “finishing” doesn’t require another two decades of tinkering, of course. [Sean O’Neal]

Ought, Room Inside The World (Feb. 16)

Between the simmering, nervous energy of its killer debut, More Than Any Other Day, and the combative force of its sophomore effort, Montreal’s Ought delivered two solid albums full of prickly, wordy post-punk within a single year back in 2014 and 2015. Nearly three years removed from that one-two punch comes Room Inside The World, the band’s Merge debut. With that new label seems to be a new willingness to push its sound in some surprising directions, with tracks that include vibraphone, a 70-piece choir, and even some smooth danceability, as heard on lead single “These 3 Things.” [Matt Gerardi]

The Soft Moon, Criminal (Feb. 2)

With each new Soft Moon release, Luis Vasquez steps a little further out of the shadows, sharpening the sonic murk that used to blanket his gothic post-punk and bringing his own seething vocals increasingly to the forefront. His fourth album, Criminal, promises to be his most revealing yet: Vasquez has characterized it as a record of confession and self-flagellation, tearing into his hatred for his negligent father, his substance abuse issues, and his all-consuming guilt. Hissing lead single “Burn” evokes that timelessly adolescent angst, from its Nine Inch Nails-esque title on down, portending another enjoyably cathartic wallow. [Sean O’Neal]

Superchunk, What A Time To Be Alive (Feb. 16)

Superchunk sort of rolled to a stop in 2001, with the relatively mellow Here’s To Shutting Up, after years spent maturing its sound. But the North Carolina band roared back in 2010 with Majesty Shredding, tapping into its more rollicking youthful roots. It hasn’t let up since: What A Time To Be Alive is its punkiest set since 1993’s On The Mouth, and this one has a specific target: the garbage fire of society circa now. (The title isn’t necessarily a positive thing…) [Josh Modell]

Tune-Yards, i can feel you creep into my private life (Jan. 19)

Tune-Yards’ fourth full-length finds Merrill Garbus and longtime bassist and collaborator Nate Brenner embracing their clubbier impulses, though i can feel you is as omnivorous as we’ve come to expect from the Oakland-based project, blending indie, funk, R&B, electronic, and global influences. Like 2014’s excellent Nikki Nack, i can feel you is the product of relentless experimentation, of two musicians seeking to continually challenge—and thoroughly enjoy—themselves. Lyrically, Garbus is as politically and socially conscious as ever, folding pointed critiques and deep introspection into the earworm melodies of songs like “ABC123” and “Look At Your Hands.” [Kelsey J. Waite]


As TR/ST, Robert Alfons conjures the kind of seedy, sinister goth-pop that seems to come pre-filtered through strobe lights and smoke machines, his voice—a cryptkeeper moan one moment, an androgynous keen the next—stair-stepping down huge arpeggiated synth notes. All this makes new single “Destroyer” surprising: Recorded with actual, old-fashioned guitar and drums beneath Alfons’ suddenly exposed lyrics, it’s vulnerable and quietly beautiful in a way he’s never attempted before. The other hint of that still-untitled new album, “Bicep” hews closer to the black sounds of 2012’s self-titled debut and 2014’s Joyland, but it’s “Destroyer”—part of what Alfons describes as an album about “the journey of a figure—essentially a narcissist—fighting with ideas of impurity and worthlessness”—that hints at his most daring work yet. [Sean O’Neal]

U.S. Girls, In A Poem Unlimited (Feb. 16)

Meg Remy’s experimental U.S. Girls project has been teetering closer and closer to popdom with every new album, finally breaking through with 2015’s Half Free, her excellent debut for 4AD. But where even that leap forward was drenched in hazy electronic loops, Remy’s follow-up, In A Poem Unlimited, gives her the power of a live band. Between the badass protest disco of “Mad As Hell” and the domestic-violence revenge funk of “Velvet 4 Sale,” it’s already shaping up to be a subversive use of pristine pop tropes to deliver poignant, righteous messages. [Matt Gerardi]

Vampire Weekend, TBD

Vampire Weekend has a big act to follow: 2013’s sophisticated, fantastic Modern Vampires Of The City was perfect in nearly every way (except that awful title). But album number four will be the refined New York pop band’s first without the full services of founding member and ace producer Rostam Batmanglij, who struck out for a solo career. According to a recent interview with frontman Ezra Koenig, Batmanglij will still be heavily involved in several tracks, but in that same interview Koenig reveals that he’s trying to be much more straightforward in his songwriting this time—and that he was specifically influenced by seeing pop-country star Kacey Musgraves play. What might not change: terrible album titles. The working title is Mitsubishi Macchiato. [Josh Modell]

Westside Gunn & Conway, TBD

The Buffalo, New York rappers Conway and Westside Gunn signed with Eminem’s Shady Records earlier this year, a left-field aligning of the stars that seems to benefit all parties. Since the signing, Conway and Westside have continued to release an endless string of grimy-as-hell ’90s murk-rap, a sort of dreamy, dusty take on the revisionist history of Ka and Roc Marciano, with tracks that sometimes stretch for 10 gloriously gloomy minutes or so at a time. (Westside’s also released a handful of collaborations with the great, mercurial MF Doom.) Their Shady debut could be a fussed-over major-label mess, but it might also be the focused blast of creativity these two clearly have in them. [Clayton Purdom]

Andrew W.K., You’re Not Alone (March 2)

Andrew W.K. is known worldwide as a party-starting rocker, but in the last decade he’s done very little in the way of rocking, spending his time doing other party-inspired stuff like, um, lecturing. But the man who brought the world the classic I Get Wet back in 2001 appears to be returning to his roots in 2018, at least based on the song titles on You’re Not Alone. How could things go wrong with “The Power Of Partying,” “Keep On Going,” and “The Party Never Dies”? [Josh Modell]

Jack White, Boarding House Reach (TBD)

It can be tough to keep track of Jack White’s various projects, but he’ll make it easy in 2018 with his third proper solo album. (When it says “Jack White” on the cover, you can be fairly certain of high quality and his voice and guitar at the forefront.) He described the album to The New Yorker as “bizarre,” which could mean a lot of different things. To Interview, he called it “good gardening music or roofing music or, you know, back-alley stabbing music.” The confusion continues with the first peek at new music, a collage of sounds and images called “Servings And Portions From My Boarding House Reach.” It’s a jumble of sounds both organic and electronic, and bits of songs that range from catchy to cacophonic. [Josh Modell]

Wye Oak, TBD

There’s been no official announcement yet, but Wye Oak has a tour planned for early next year, and the duo—Andy Stack on drums and assorted sounds, Jenn Wasner on guitar, singing, and more—has already been playing several new songs live. It’s also been more than three years since its last official album, Shriek, which added some more electronic layers to the band’s sound. Whatever they’ve got up their sleeves this time, it’s sure to be worth hearing. [Josh Modell]

Yo La Tengo, TBD (March 16)

It’s been five years since 2013’s Fade, a downtime that Yo La Tengo has spent working its side hustle as the world’s most reliable, yet idiosyncratic cover band, both on Parks And Recreation (where it popped up as Indiana’s own Bobby Knight Ranger) and on the 2015 acoustic compilation Stuff Like That There. Like its renditions of other people’s songs, you both never, yet always know what to expect whenever this indie institution returns to its own material: Fade was the sound of a band that had perfected the shaping of its burbling, velvety drones into a deceptively breezy second nature, offering another set of diverse twilight mood music that’s grown just a touch more refined over the years, but no less inventive. Whatever mode this as-yet-untitled new album finds them in, it’s always reassuring to have Yo La Tengo back. [Sean O’Neal]