Don’t call it a comeback. It’s just worth acknowledging that years have passed since the forecast for upcoming releases has been this bright. Here’s hoping it doesn’t amount to an audio equivalent of the anticipation and subsequent let down one might experience on New Year’s Eve. Giorgio Moroder (who really made Daft Punk’s latest album a worthwhile listen), The Juliana Hatfield Three, and Sleater-Kinney are just a few of the sorely-missed acts making triumphant, long-awaited returns in 2015.
This list may have grown by twenty additional albums compared to last year, but that doesn’t mean every last major release was included. Sorry to inform you, in advance, that you won’t find the likes of Papa Roach, Marilyn Manson, Fall Out Boy, Fergie Ferg, or Canada’s *pride*/current Calvin Klein cover boy, Justin Bieber listed. Even Mumford & Sons will not be mentioned beyond this sentence. That’s just Spinning Platters allowing me and my subjective musical tastes to run amok. However, there is something here for every musical taste imaginable and as I mentioned at the conclusion, if there was something we must all know about that was overlooked, let it be known in the comments.
Read on, discover some new gems, and get an overview of what to expect this coming year. I’ve even included links to lead-off tracks where they’re available and, of course, my own witless banter when absolutely necessary. Happy New Year of listening.
Fences – Lesser Oceans
Guster – Evermotion
This is their first album in 4 years. Produced by Shins keyboardist/Black Keys bassist Richard Swift, it finds them experimenting with every facet of their sound. The cover art is something else entirely; the process a must-read.
You can stream Evermotion on SoundCloud right now.
Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Watch the video for first single, “Mr. Noah.”
Mark Ronson – Uptown Special
Ronson returns after five years with a follow up to Record Collection. Stevie Wonder, Mystikal, and Bruno Mars are guests but the coolest, most surprising collaboration here has to be with Berkeley’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Michael Chabon. Amazing.
Listen to “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars here.
Meghan Trainor – Title
Admittedly, I was never all about that bass (I’ll show myself out for that one). That doesn’t matter. This one has talent and a refreshing look and feel to everything not normally celebrated in modern pop. L.A. Reid discovered her, too, and he’s rarely off the mark on discovering new talent.
Listen to Title here. Disclaimer: I hope this is actually her official SoundCloud account.
Belle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
Listen to “The Cat with the Cream” here.
The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
This album title perfectly sums up the state of the planet we live on. The Decemberists never disappoint, either.
Listen to the first single, “Make You Better.”
Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth
In a just world this guy would be more renowned and successful than fellow Chicago rapper and collaborator, Kanye West. Could this be the year that happens?
Listen to “Adoration of the Magi” here.
Joey Bada$$ – B4.DA.$$
Expect this Brooklynite to be on of 2015’s breakthrough artists.
Listen to “Christ Conscious” here.
Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
Fortunately, Carrie Brownstein isn’t a tease. She hinted at a Sleater-Kinney reunion before the next season of Portlandia aired and here we are. I do know a few full-grown men-turned-groupies who have already made travel plans, far in advance, to catch as much of their North American tour as possible. Also, the New York Times went ahead and declared it the first great album of 2015.
Listen to “Bury our Friends” here.
The Waterboys – Modern Blues
Listen to “November Tale” here.
The Charlatans – Modern Nature
Listen to “So Oh” here.
Jamie Cullum – Interlude
Watch the album trailer here.
Dengue Fever – The Deepest Lake
Listen to “No Sudden Moves” here.
The Dodos – Individ
Listen to “Retriever” here.
Happy Fangs – Capricorn
This group has to be one of the most exciting punk acts to emerge from the Bay Area since Green Day, maybe? That’s actually a bad analogy. The point I’m trying to make is that one year ago, they added a seriously kick-ass female drummer and in the wake of their first official album release, they’re starting to get the recognition from nationwide outlets that they deserve. Expect to see/hear about them a lot more in the coming year.
Listen to “Lone Wolves” here.
The Lone Bellow – Then Came the Morning
Listen to title track “Then Came the Morning” here.
Ne-Yo – Non-Fiction
Listen to “She Knows” here.
Punch Brothers – The Phosphorescent Blues
Listen to “Julep” here.
Ty Segall – Live in San Francisco
This is the only live album mentioned on here and for good reason. The latest release in a string of live performances from Castle Face Records, it’s produced by Thee Oh Sees John Dwyer along with Eric Bauer, Chris Woodhouse, and Bob Marshall. Black and white photos shot by Brian Pritchard are also added in as a bonus.
Listen to “What’s Inside Your Heart” here.
John Carpenter – Lost Themes
Want to take a trip back to your scariest, most exhilarating childhood moments? The award-winning director and composer behind Halloween, Escape From New York, They Live, Assault on Precinct 13 is releasing his debut solo album. The promotional site is something to behold too.
The Church – Further/Deeper
Listen to “Pride Before a Fall” here.
Bob Dylan – Shadows in the Night
This one is a covers album, something unusual for Rob Zimmerman. He picked a bevy of pop standards made famous by Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.
Listen to “Full Moon and Empty Arms” here.
Kid Ink – Full Speed
Diana Krall – Wallflower
Produced by David Foster, this is another covers collection of hits that have inspired Krall including “Desperado.”
Listen to the album medley here.
Two Gallants – We Are Undone
Listen to title track “We Are Undone.”
Butch Walker – Afraid of Ghosts
Listen to title track “Afraid of Ghosts” here.
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
Forget the amazing artwork for a moment: the lead off single “Bored in the USA” is enough to tell that this is a proper follow-up to the former Fleet Foxes member’s phenomenal 2012 debut, Fear Fun.
Watch the album trailer here.
A Place to Bury Strangers – Transfixiation
Steve Earle & the Dukes – Terraplane
Estelle – True Romance
Listen to “Something Good” here.
José González – Vestiges & Claws
José’s been up to a lot of good stuff. He collaborated with Ben Stiller on a film score and toured with Junip. Now he’s back with his his first solo release in seven years.
The Juliana Hatfield Three – Whatever, My Love
This is their first album in 21 years.
Listen to “If I Could” here.
Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors
Watch the album trailer here.
Kate Pierson – Guitars and Microphones
Yes, I may have a soft spot in my heart for “Love Shack” but I am curious/excited for the The B-52s’ lead singer’s debut solo album – especially since Sia has a hand in its production.
Listen to “Mister Sister” here.
The Subways – Blackbirds
Listen to “I am in Love and it’s Burning My Soul” here. Pre-order the album now and get the first six tracks.
Dan Deacon – Glass Riffer
Listen to “Feel the Lightning” plus get the stems here.
Gang of Four – What Happens Next
Listen to “Broken Talk” here.
Screaming Females – Rose Mountain
Listen to “Criminal Image” here.
Torche – Restarter
Watch the album trailer here.
Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter
Listen to “The Eye” here.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Chasing Yesterday
This recent article is why I love Noel Gallagher. The former Oasis guitarist makes more headlines for being outspoken, and starting the occasional brawl, than for his music…which doesn’t disappoint either. Johnny Marr guests on “Battle of the Mighty I.” Also, one can’t help but think of High Flying Birds as a euphemism for how Gallagher really feels about more than just the music charts.
Listen to “High Flying Birds” here.
Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves
If you’re wondering where they’ve been, this is their first album since 2007.
Listen to “Lampshades on Fire” here.
of Montreal – Aureate Gloom
Listen to “Bassem Sabry” here.
Purity Ring – Another Eternity
Listen to “Begin Again” here.
Will Butler – Policy
Arcade Fire’s frontman releases his debut solo album. The trailer is a bit wacky in the way of trying-to-look-like-I-don’t-take-myself-too-seriously.
Diagrams – Chromatics
Listen to “Phantom Power” here.
Madonna – Rebel Heart
So this album leaked and Madonna responded by releasing six finished tracks on iTunes. She also came under fire for using the likeness of Martin Luther King Jr., amongst other persecuted historical figures, in her promotional content imitating the image below. Really, just another day in the life of Madonna. She’s still my favorite pop star and I’m hoping this is a full departure from the disappointing MDNA.
Listen to “Living for Love” here.
Allison Moorer – Down to Believing
Listen to “Like it Used to Be” here.
Twin Shadow – Eclipse
Listen to “Turn Me Up” here.
The Go! Team – The Scene Between
No group does multi-layered, contextual sound like The Go! Team. Even NPR is all over this and featured the title track as the kick off jam in their All Songs Considered, A New Mix for a New Year, feature. Can’t wait to hear this one.
Listen to “The Scene Between” here.
Laura Marling – Short Movie
Listen to “Short Movie” here.
The Soft Moon – Decay
Marina and the Diamonds – FROOT
The gorgeous chanteuse returns.
Listen to title track “Froot” here.
RiFF RAFF – The Peach Panther
RiFF RAFF – The Purple Panther
What, no Pink Panther? Here’s hoping that training for the WWE (as in wrestling) doesn’t deflect from Jody Highroller’s calling in life: to amaze us with his mad lyrical skillz.
Faith No More – TBA (sometime in April, their seventh album and first release in eighteen years)
My Morning Jacket – TBA (sometime in April)
A$AP Rocky – TBA
Adele – TBA
Band of Horses – TBA
Beach House – TBA
Björk – TBA
James Blake – TBA
Chromatics – Dear Tommy (release date, TBA)
The Dead Weather – TBA
Death Cab for Cutie – TBA
Disclosure – TBA
Drake – Views from the 6
Sky Ferreira – TBA
Brandon Flowers – TBA (The Killers’ frontman releases his second solo album).
Grimes – TBA
PJ Harvey – TBA (she’s doing it live.)
Kendrick Lamar – TBA
Lil Wayne – Tha Carter V
Loretta Lynn – TBA (For her last album, she worked with Jack White of the Dead Weather – listed above. This time around, she’s collaborating with her daughter and Johnny Cash’s son.)
Metallica – TBA
Giorgio Moroder – 74 Is the new 24 (Sometime in March, the father of synth disco will return with his first release in 30 odd years. Be stoked.) Listen to “74 Is the New 24”
Joanna Newsom – TBA
No Doubt (or Gwen Stefani) – TBA
Frank Ocean – TBA
Pusha T – King Push
Radiohead – TBA
Rihanna – TBA
Run the Jewels – RTJ3 and Meow the Jewels (RTJ2 made our top albums of the year list, which is no easy feat. The Kickstarter for Meow the Jewels was also a resounding success for cat lovers + rap aficionados everywhere.)
The Smashing Pumpkins – Day For Night
Tool – TBA
Kanye West – TBA
The Wrens – TBA
If there is anything you think is missing, let your voice be heard in the comments below.