The year is underway and with it, the first wave of new music is upon us. While we’re soaking up the symphonic harmonies of Cairo and savouring the bluesy grit of Marilyn Manson’s latest, we’re also looking ahead to the many new albums to come. Here’s a shortlist of artists on our radar for 2015.
Our Top Picks
Florence + The Machine
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Why We’re Excited: This really requires no explanation. Mind-blowing vocal talents? Check. Evocative songs that cut to core human experiences? Also check. There are few artists who deliver the larger-than-life art rock Florence Welch excels at, which is why a new album is just what 2015 needs. And while Ceremonials was perhaps a bit more hit-and-miss than Lungs, I feel like the concept and raw pain behind that album was to blame for any rough edges.
But if you need concrete evidence, look no further than the stunning first video for How Big How Blue How Beautiful, “What Kind Of Man”. Showing off Welch’s acting chops, it’s a searing rocker that swells and rages like a violent sea, digging into the emotional wreckage often wrought by love. For those who perhaps missed the edgier feel of Lungs, this track’s sure to please. Also clear from the album’s title track is the artist’s exploration of how to live in a world that can be fraught with pain and sadness. Good omens for a welcome return to the forefront of the scene after four long years of anticipation.
Release Date: Unknown; the sisters Haim are currently in studio.
Why We’re Excited: Blasting onto the music scene with their catchy pop-rock powerhouse debut, Days Are Gone, Haim kicked ass and took names, particularly in their notably more rocking live show. Rocking their instruments with gusto and polish, they managed to release single after single in a steady domination of airplay worldwide.
Promising to channel “their inner Kanye” according to comments made to Rolling Stone, Haim has set one hell of a high bar for their next release. The question is, will they swerve closer to the edgy rock of “Let Me Go” and “My Song 5” or is the single rework of the aforementioned tune indicative of veering deeper into hip hop territory? I’m hoping for the former, but either way, you can count on this trio to deliver tracks you’ll be singing for weeks. I think they’ve got the industry moxie and passion to pull it off.
Release Date: Unknown; band has confirmed since summer of 2014 that a second album is in the works.
Why We’re Excited: Oh, you mean beyond the fact that they’re the most bad-ass live performers to emerge from this country in years? July Talk‘s raw rock and deliberately contrasting harmonies have swelled to a crescendo of airplay, accolades and fan love. But what really intrigues us is where they intend to go next. Working off of the new songs slipped into alternate packagings of their self-titled debut (and perhaps more telling, the original tracks discarded entirely from their UK release), one senses a concentration on up-tempo rockers over the brooding tunes like “The Come Down Champion” or “Brother” (“Gentleman” is a sinister exception).
Can they defeat the sophomore slump? Can they channel their live show dynamics and energy into a studio setting? My instincts say yes. I eagerly await the band proving me right.
Release Date: TBA; confirmed for 2015
Why We’re Excited: Between the resurfacing of Brody Dalle and Shirley Manson and company’s triumphant return to form on Not Your Kind Of People, the 2010’s have been kind to those of us who like our female vocalists empowered and enthusiastically melting our faces. The music scene has been begging for a new wave of alt-rock and post-grunge domination, and Garbage is guaranteed to deliver. I sense that the experience of touring together and that synergy between band and fans will feed the artistic fires and, if we’re very, very good, give rise to the equivalent of Version 2.0.
Release Date: April 2015
Why We’re Excited: While Manners held the promise of Michael Angelakos’ songwriting prowess, it was on the highly confessional and surprisingly vibrant Gossamer that music fans really sat up and took note of Passion Pit. Delving into the throes and lows of his battle with bipolar disorder, Gossamer revealed a maturing artistry to the indietronica sound, with a willingness to emotionally engage on the lyrical level as well. This one-two punch served the band well, firmly implanting them in the mainstream.
Kindred, their forthcoming album, seems to suggest the trademark shimmering soundscape that Passion Pit is known for, coupled with perhaps a deeper delving into how we relate to others and ourselves. Sounds delicious to me.
Release Date: September 2015?
Why We’re Excited: Matthew Good has been a staple of the Canadian music scene since the release of Last Of The Ghetto Astronauts, but has truly found his artistic home sans ‘Band’. As is his custom, he’s been previewing demos of his current work in progress via time-limited shares on his website. From what we’ve been given, you could say the next album will be the reverse of the Arrows Of Desire coin: longer tracks, sparse lyrics stretching through extended solos. How the final product will shape up remains to be seen: “Last Parade” in its final form was a far cry from demo snippets. Regardless, the man consistently delivers quality music that isn’t afraid to be political or personal, as the mood strikes him. It’s why he’s maintained a loyal fanbase for decades.
Release Date: April, she hopes. (Personal reaction: !!$@!$$#%$#$#% FINALLY!)
Why We’re Excited: Lolo (Lauren Pritchard) already won me over with her debut Wasted In Jackson, but her first release as Lolo, “Weapon For Saturday”, revealed an edgy side that floored and a willingness to pen raw tracks that cut to the core. That razor-sharp insight has carried through to her other standalones, particularly the catchy-creepy “Hit And Run”. Let’s also not forget her guest role in Panic! At The Disco’s “Ms Jackson”.
Finally, our musical prayers have been answered: a full-length set of tunes is ours to savour soon. Good things come to those who wait, right? In that case, expect this album to catch fire.
More Key Releases For 2015
February 17th: Imagine Dragons – Smoke +Mirrors; A Place To Bury Strangers – Transfixiation
February 24th: Badbadnotgood & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul
March 3rd: Kelly Clarkson – Piece By Piece; Of Montreal – Aureate Gloom
March 10th: Madonna – Rebel Heart
March 31st: Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
April 3rd: Marina & The Diamonds – Froot
Expect releases this year from the following artists:
- Britney Spears
- Christina Aguilera
- David Gilmour
- Ellie Goulding
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Tame Impala