It wasn’t so long ago that 2018 sounded like the distant future with all the hopes that come with the unknown. But after a rough 2016 and a 2017 that managed to be just as tumultuous, 2018 feels like a make or break time for, like, our entire country. Music, for the most part, manages to march on regardless what is happening in the world, though some artists are promising work that will process that world that we’re living in. Other music will be an escape, a temporary reprieve from the news cycle, a chance to see the best in humanity through the art we create. That’s enough to be excited about the changing of the calendar and this list of 60 prospective albums that we’re excited about — to see how our favorite musicians surprise us and make even the hardest times worth experiencing.
60. U.S. Girls, In A Poem Unlimited (2/16)
Meg Remy announced her U.S. Girls project’s return by declaring she was “Mad As Hell,” this past October. The song’s lush throwback to the glammy days of disco seems both completely fitting for Remy’s soulful singing register, and yet completely different from anything she’s done before. That full band sound comes care of The Cosmic Range, a ten-piece Toronto-based outfit who served as Remy’s backing band for the entirety of In A Poem Unlimited, which is due out in February. For an artist primarily known for making sample-based music, this seamless integration offers to step her sound in a new direction while staying true to the music she’s always made.–Michael Rancic
59. Superchunk, What A Time To Be Alive (2/16)
For their eleventh studio album and first since 2013, Superchunk got ironic with the title. What A Time To Be Alive is out on February 16th, filled with eleven protest songs detailing the “pretty dire and depressing situation” of current affairs in the United States. From the title track to “Dead Photographers,” it doesn’t look like Superchunk will be pulling any punches in their musical fight against the Trump administration.–Zac Gelfand
58. La Dispute
In the world of post-hardcore, few bands transcend genre like Michigan’s La Dispute. On their third full-length, 2014’s Rooms Of The House, the band pushed themselves to craft the most cohesive, poetic, and daring album of their career. In time for the 10th anniversary of their debut LP, if album four comes close to matching those heights, we’ll be in for a treat.–Philip Cosores
57. Prodigy, Hegelian Dialectic Pt. 2
It goes without saying that Prodigy was taken from us way too soon. 20+ years in, he was still growing as an artist. Always known as a truth seeker who explored so-called conspiracy theories, his Hegelian Dialectic Pt.1 album went full bore into his thoughts on the nature of “the system” and matters of higher consciousness. He had only released one of the Dialectic trilogy when he passed, but the other two albums are still on the way according to his team. It’ll feel good to hear some new P.–Andre Gee
56. Hookworms, Microshift (2/2)
After losing their studio to a flood, Hookworms have picked up the pieces and recorded their third album, Microshift, which is due out in February. If lead single “Negative Space” is any indication, Hookworms are positioned to make one hell of a rebound, as the song teems with a kind of positivity and brightness you’d least expect from an outfit who’ve lost everything and had to start from scratch.–M.R.
55. Jimi Hendrix, Both Sides Of The Sky
If you thought Jimi Hendrix’s coffers must surely be empty almost 50 years following his untimely death, well think again! According to the guitar wizard’s engineer and musical curator, his estate is looking to drop yet another album of unreleased gems titled Both Sides Of The Sky in March. Kramer has likened some of the music to “Crosby, Stills & Nash except it’s on acid.”–Corbin Reiff
54. Porches, The House (1/19)
Porches will celebrate the new year with the release of a brand new album called The House. It’s the third full-length effort from Aaron Maine, and the first since 2016’s excellent Pool and Water EP. Maine describes The House as a “diary,” with the songwriting process focused as “an exercise in documenting my immediate experiences.”–Z.G.
53. Ought, Room Inside The World (2/16)
The future of Ought seemed uncertain after vocalist Tim Darcy went solo this year for Saturday Night, but it turned out all the band needed was some much-deserved time off after being on the road for so long in support of 2015’s Sun Coming Down. For this outing, the group have paired with producer Nicolas Vernhes, known for putting the sheen on other indie acts like The War On Drugs, Wye Oak, and Deerhunter, so expect the band’s knotty, wordy post-punk to find new depths in the expansive detail he provides.–M.R.
52. Dej Loaf, Liberated
Dej Loaf has been bopping around the rap game since her breakout single “Try Me,” but she has yet to release her true debut album on her Columbia Records deal, despite her excellent (and unfortunately overlooked) All Jokes Aside from last year. She has been quietly grinding away ever since, releasing a number of fun, funky singles and a collaborative project with R&B singer Jacquees. She’s proved she’s ready for the next step. Now, she just has to take it.–Aaron Williams