So 2018 is here, and we here at God Is In The TV have been surveying the release calendar and looking at some of the albums that we’re anticipating over the next twelve months. Of course there will be many, many more to come and there are sure to be further surprises ahead but as a shorthand here are 21 long-playing records that we expect to see the light of day this year.
It will be nearly three years since Ezra Furman‘s Perpetual Motion People captured the hearts and imagination of the vast majority of us here at God Is In The TV, by the time he releases its follow up, Transangelic Exodus, in February. Sure, he’s kept us sweet with the odd EP along the way (Big Fugitive Life) and record Store Day curiosities (Songs By Others), but with the dramatic but ominous sounding ‘Driving Down To L.A.‘ as the latest record’s taster, Furman has given us a glimpse of a man who has upped his game still further, which is fiendishly impressive, considering he was already at the top of it. (Loz Etheridge)
A lot has changed in the US in the three years since Merrill Garbus and her band of collaborators last delivered an album, so you can expect I Can Feel… to be their most overtly political one. But, if its teaser single ‘Look At Your Hands’ is anything to go by, their sound has not lost any of its joyfully hypnotic and infectious nature, reinvented here through a prism of fizzing dancefloor electro. (Ben Willmott)
Gwenno is back this year with the follow up to her excellent debut album Y Dydd Olaf. It will be fascinating to see if it lives up to and succeeds that release’s scope, and if it sounds as ambitious as ever from this most singular Welsh artist. Written in Cornish, Le Kov, Gwenno explains “is a combination of accepting the culture which your parents have valued enough to want to pass on to you, regardless how small, and utilising it in a positive way to try and make sense of the world around you, it’s also about having to accept and respect the nuances that make us all different and discovering that all of our stories share the same truth.” The record features 10 songs created with Gwenno’s long-term collaborator and producer Rhys Edwards. Gwenno promises that these synth-dappled songs with evocative meditations will wash up memories of the Cornish coast and evoke the music of her childhood – Brenda Wootton, Alan Stivell, BUCCA – along with the West Midlands band Broadcast. (Bill Cummings)
Dream Wife’s long-awaited self-titled debut will see the light of day on the 26th of January. They’ve released a string of fierce, tuneful and ace singles throughout the last eighteen months. Lacing their spiky, energetic sound with healthy doses of wry vocals and feminist politics, with ‘Somebody’ and ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ being my particular favourites. And looking at the tracklist their debut album looks to be crammed with potential hits. (Bill Cummings)
Of Monsters and Men
Six years ago Of Monsters and Men couldn’t put a foot wrong. Due mainly to the wild success of the single ‘Little Talks’ from their debut album My Head Is An Animal which has chalked up 1.2 million You Tube likes, never mind views, and an obscure Pennsylvanian student radio station that first played it, they took the world by storm. But their huge tours took their toll. Their keyboardist, a crucial piece in the jigsaw, left in 2012 to go back to college. Just as John Major was the only person known to have run away from the circus as a teenager to join a firm of accountants, Arni Guðjónsson is surely the first to quit a successful rock band for the classroom and the Uni bar.
That ‘difficult second album’ turned out to be just that. Beneath the Skin was partly a sort of My Head is an Animal Mark 2 and mainly a collection of more mature, very worthy songs that didn’t quite resonate in the same way as the sometimes silly-sounding though lyrically serious and always powerful fairy stories of the first effort.
And so, with another lengthy break behind them, they posted an Instagram picture of themselves in May this year with the caption “Album 3. Let’s do this!!!” OMAM don’t write albums quickly, so don’t expect it to be out before mid-2018 at the earliest. Will it follow the pattern of album #1 or album #2? Facetious or serious? Or completely different? Secondly, can they write another ‘Little Talks’? They are at least still a team. Five of the original six members remain and, who knows, Guðjónsson might come back; the door was left open for him five years ago. He must have graduated by now. (David Bentley)
The silence is deafening Anna, and yes, that probably is a line from one of your songs. Since the 2013 release of One Breath, now over four years ago, the twice Mercury Prize-nominated Anglo-Italian has been conspicuous by her absence, only occasionally popping up to record or contribute to EPs and playing the very occasional ‘intimate’ show. Then, out of the blue she wrote the music for an opera, The Sandman, which played widely this year, but only across Germany. Truth to tell, she was drifting into opera on One Breath anyway so it was a natural progression.
But it did prompt the question, is she finished with rock music? Apparently not. Though Calvi openly admitted on social media channels a couple of years ago that she had been suffering from writers block and had gone walkabout to try to cure it, her “orchestra” as Calvi calls her, the multi-instrumentalist Mally Harpaz, let it be known in an interview recently that a new Calvi album was all but done and dusted and that she was working on how to accommodate her own schedule with the tour that would accompany it.
Will it be even more experimental and ‘operatic’ than One Breath? Or will she revert to the more popular appeal of her debut album? Crucially, will she at last be able to find the memorable hooks that are the only omission to have prevented one of Britain’s most talented writers and performers from being accepted into the mainstream consciousness? (David Bentley)
The Norwegians, despite being the most popular band in their homeland (their debut international album, Silent Treatment, spent over two years in the top section of the country’s album charts and is probably still there somewhere) were virtually unknown in the UK until they supported Of Monsters and Men in a late 2015 tour, prompting comment that they should have been the headline act. Six months later they released their sophomore international effort Camp Echo, one that shifted away from the domestic matters that had concerned chief writer and singer Ingrid Helene Håvik to international ones, and which was far more electronic in its presentation.
The band members are known to have been disappointed that Camp Echo failed to register internationally and there was speculation earlier this year they might even break up, especially when just three of the five members performed a poppy new single, ‘5 Million Miles’ on the national U.S. Conan O’Brien TV show, one which was produced by Stargate, the Norwegian record producers specialising in Euro dance-pop. It was difficult to reconcile ‘5 Million Miles’ with, say ‘Marianna’, the jaw-dropping track recorded by Håvik on her solo album Babylove only four years earlier.
However, since concluding the Camp Echo tour in October of this year Håvik and percussionist Trond Bersu are reported to be writing feverishly (the others join as arrangers later) and a reasonable guess would be an album release towards the middle of 2018. As with Anna Calvi, it remains to be seen whether they will revert to the style of Silent Treatment (the consensus is that they will) or perhaps go off in another direction entirely. It seems that direction won’t be ‘5 Million Miles’, which is being labelled as a one-off experiment. (David Bentley)
KOYO build on a fantastic 2017, following up their brilliant debut album with a live one in May called Live at RAK Studios. They’ll also be releasing ‘Jettisoned’ as a single/video in March and playing a number of festivals starting with Rockaway Beach Festival this month. (Helen Angell)
Deadcuts will release their long-awaited second album Hit On All Sixess on vinyl and CD on 2nd Feb, currently available for download. This will be followed by release of an astonishingly good single ‘Opium Style’ in March. This will be a split single with Sewage Farm. There are also plans to release another with Skinny Girl Diet in April/May.
Carly Rae Jepsen
It was rumoured that Carly Rae Jepsen wrote and recorded over a hundred songs for her last full-length album, 2015’s Emotion. The hard work paid off as she created something perfect. Since then she’s released an excellent mini-album of outtakes (Emotion B-Side), some inspired collaborations with The Knocks, Charli XCX and Danny L Harle. She also put out the thrilling, ‘Cut To The Feeling’ single last year. Jepsen has been hard at work on her new album for the last year and will hopefully release new material very soon. Everything she’s released in the last three years suggests she’s going through her imperial phase. Long may it continue. (Jonathan Wright)
Since his 2005 debut, Has A Good Home, Owen Pallett has become one of our most compelling performers. His talent was obvious from the beginning with his mix of startling arrangements and unique storytelling. 2014’s In Conflict was the peak of his creativity. A truly unique record that’s one of the decade’s most stunning releases. Pallet’s follow up is rumoured to be coming in spring and apparently sees him change direction. If the same pattern of quality continues, we’re in for something very special. (Jonathan Wright)
It’s more of a ‘hope’ this one, but Grimes has teased a new release this year, saying she’s played her label songs and they like them so fingers crossed for a follow up to the fabulous 2015 alt-pop release Art Angels. In the summer of last year she said she was “in the studio every day trying to legit make something you’ve never heard before.” Adding “Unexplored sonic landscapes. i need another month or 2 of pure unadulterated creativity at which point i will begin finishing tracks. won’t let u down”. Before that, she had revealed she was working on “chill vibes, downtempo, synth-y shit” and said she wanted her next release to be “slower and more reflective”. Fingers crossed these recordings see the light of day this year. (Bill Cummings)
Loved and hated in equal measure, The 1975 are a group who get people talking. Their last album, I Love It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It was one of 2015’s biggest surprises. It was a huge leap in quality from their self-titled debut. The range and ambition was brave, but totally paid off. It’s a record that won people round (myself included) and continues to reveal itself as time goes on. The band have been working on their next release Music For Cars over the last 18 months. Lead singer, Matt Healy recently said he aims to make their it as good as OK Computer and The Queen Is Dead. So no pressure then. (Jonathan Wright)
Detroit’s Stef Chura reissues her debut album Messes in the UK in February via her new home of Saddle Creek (Big Thief, Bright Eyes, Hop Along). Messes has the potential to be a sleeper hit this year, her brand of personal scorched narratives deal with internal anxieties: power struggles and friendships. ‘ Chura calls her music “emotional collage,” eschewing start-to-finish storylines in favour of writing intuitively about feelings, drawing from experiences and references related to a certain sentiment.’ Its raw, streams of consciousness is scrawled across a palette ranging from rattling lo-fi to spindling introspective and it is affecting and possesses a sideways slant on the world, that’s drawn comparisons with the songwriting of early Angel Olsen as well as the lived in tone of Chrissie Hynde. Stef Chura is a big talent. (Bill Cummings)
Having released a number of acclaimed tracks and been ripped by The 1975 during the course of 2017, Pale Waves will release their debut EP New Year’s Eve on January 18 2018. Their debut album is set to follow later in 2018.(Ed Jupp)
Spook School will release their new album – their third – Could It Be Different? on January 26 2018. It will be the band’s first release on new label Alcopop! in the UK. Meanwhile in the States, the album is coming out on Slumberland.
Edinburgh Hip-Hoppers Young Fathers have finished their third album. Though a title and release date have yet to be confirmed, a new track from the album ‘Lord’ came out towards the very end of 2017.
Broken Records will release their fourth album What We Might Know on March 30. In their own words What We Might Know is a self-conscious analysis of the band’s hopes and fears as we move into a different stage of life. The songs speak of obligation, joy, failed and successful relationships, parenthood, and after the relative uncertainties of the last decade the howl of frustration at how and what you’re supposed to be in your 30’s. (Ed Jupp)
FKA twigs revealed ‘Good to Love’ at the start of last year. Her first new material since the surprise EP M3LL155X, then there was radio silence. However, she recently teased her collaboration with Oneohtrix Point Never, the sensuous ‘Trust in Me’ as part of ‘Instagram zine’. So, the follow up to her 2014 debut long player LP1 is rumoured to be very close to seeing the light of day. (Bill Cummings)
Halifax youngsters The Orielles have been steadily building a reputation over the past few years with a series of cool DIY single releases. Now their 12 track debut album, Silver Dollar Moment will come out on Friday 16th February 2017 on Heavenly Recordings. Featuring recent single ‘Let Your Dog Tooth Grow’ and the awesome ‘I Only Bought It For The Bottle’, with more great songs left on the cutting room floor that could have quite easily sat on this debut long player, their mix of harmonies and surf-inspired noise pop is a bracing thrill. (Bill Cummings)
Meg Remy aka U.S. Girls returns after her brilliant genre-splicing 2015 album Half Free, it was one of my favourites of that year. Lead single ‘Mad As Hell” is a typically artful slice of grand synth-pop the soundtrack to a twisted US administration and the inequalities it’s creating. If the rest of the album In a Poem Unlimited which is out this February on 4AD is half as good we can expect a veritable feast of genre-hopping clever songwriting and memorable compositions fused with her personal manifestos from Remy this year.