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2013 Music Guide: 40 Albums To Watch For This Year

Setting high expectations for the year ahead, we've compiled a list of the most-anticipated releases.

 

With an insane 2012 behind us, we're looking to the new calendar year with high musical expectations – and the promise of an incredible batch of releases ahead!

Check out our ever-expanding list of albums we're looking forward to in 2013, which we'll add to periodically as more releases come into view. 


Atoms For Peace

Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich (Radiohead), Joey Waronker (R.E.M.), Mauro Refosco and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) have set a February 25th release date for Amok, their highly anticipated skitterbeat explosion, which by the sound of it is a more fleshed out sequel to Yorke's solo debut The Eraser. No complaints here – "Default" is a hell of a promising first taste.


 

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath has reconvened to record an album for the first time since the '70s, with superproducer Rick Rubin. It's hard to imagine a group of geriatrics producing anything truly in line with the legendary offerings of their younger days, but our fingers are crossed that the guy the world now knows as the mumbling shuffler on reality TV can still bring the full Prince of Darkness persona to life. We'll find out this Summer, when the band's new album '13' arrives – with Rage Against The Machine's Brad Wilk on drums.


 

The Black Keys

The Ohio blues duo will undoubtedly keep their pace of an album a year with another offering in 2013, following their five Grammy nominations including Album of the Year for 2012's El Camino. 


 

G.O.O.D. Music

Cruel Summer was pure disappointment through and through, but there’s enough talent on their roster to make a damn fine project emerge. Love him or hate him, Kanye's had few misses in his illustrious career – so next Summer when G.O.O.D. Music decides to put out the Cruel Winter record, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt once more.


 

Lady Gaga

After a relatively disappointing last album, Lady Gaga has been relentlessly on the road to push Born This Way. But she's been hitting the studio between tour stops and writing on the road, with the promise of her third album, ARTPOP, rising to meet the promise of her first release. Little monsters, start your engines…


 

Biffy Clyro

Biffy Clyro are gearing up for the release of their sixth studio album Opposites, a sprawling 22-track epic. The band recorded the album in LA and it could give them the recognition they deserve.


 

Major Lazer – Major Lazer Frees The Universe

After a delay on Diplo's dancehall project, the full flight is set for 2013, with appearances from Flux Pavillion, Wyclef Jean, Vampire Wekend's Ezra Koenig, Shaggy, Bruno Mars, Amber Coffman, Dev, Wynter Gordon and Tyga. If you're looking for the dance party, you've just found it. 


 

The Knife

After six long years, brother and sister Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, a.k.a. the Knife, are returning with Shaking the Habitual, a hotly anticipated return for the electro-beauty duo. So far all we've been privy to is a mysteriously nightmarish teaser video.


 

Daft Punk

With the depressing news that the band likely won't tour in 2013, we'll have to settle for what's bound to be a fantastic consolation prize: a new album. No official announcement has been made yet, but artists such as Panda Bear, Paul Williams, Chilly Gonzales, and most recently Nile Rodgers had confirmed their collaborations on the record.


 

Arcade Fire

The Quebec rockers will follow up The Suburbs with a still unnamed album. Not much is presently known about the album, though we do know that that former LCD Soundsystem nucleus James Murphy is producing a few tracks. Fear not, a new soundtrack to reflect on your childhood and have a melancholy moment as you walk through rainstorms will be here before you know it.


 

Beck

Beck fans can expect two new albums in 2013, including the completion of his unfinished 2008 record and an album he began in Nashville in 2011 that never saw completion.

He told NME: "I have this one record I started in 2008. It got put to the side for a long time but recently I've been mixing some of the songs. I'm not sure if they'll be singles or EPs or an album but it'll come out in some way."

Truth be told, nothing Beck has offered us in quite a while has been even remotely exciting – save for his verse on Childish Gambino's Silk Pillows track. Hopefully that changes in 2013.


 

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

In 2009, Yeah Yeah Yeahs replaced guitars with keys on their third full length album It’s Blitz! Earlier this month the New York City based indie rockers dropped a little Instagram goodness to announce their triumphant return. The new album is called Mosquito, and details can be found here.


 

The Bronx

Los Angeles hardcore heroes The Bronx have set aside the mariachi outfits and are set to return in February with their fourth self-titled album, the follow-up to 2008's masterpiece Bronx III. "Ribcage" is a badass taste of what's to come and after hearing the rest we can confidently say this record is going to enthusiastically beat you about the face and neck. You're going to want to pick this one up – trust us.


 

Jane's Addiction

Frontman Perry Farrell said he won't follow the concept of the previous album anymore, and there's a good chance we'll see a Porno For Pyros reunion in the relatively near future. Though they've made plans to go in and record, a new album from Jane's would be a huge leap of productivity for the guys, who have managed just five releases in 25 years. Let's put this one on the "highly unlikely" pile, right next to the new Tool album and Detox.


 

Fidlar

The Los Angeles punk unit is looking highly forward to their debut full-length, having introduced us with a pair of truly raucous jams,  “Cheep Beer” and “White On White”. Having run the tour gamut with JEFF The Brotherhood and Delta Spirit lately to get the gears in full motion, Fidlar is set to hit many radars in 2013. Keep an ear out. 


 

My Bloody Valentine 

Are we really getting a new record from My Bloody Valentine this year? How is this possible? We've been teased for more than two decades by frontman Kevin Shields about the follow-up to 1991′s Loveless, and now the time has somehow arrived. Shields has confirmed that the album was finished. Now it's just a matter of time…


 

Depeche Mode 

We can forget about 2009's Sounds of the Universe, can't we? It was decent, but a necessary middle-step towards revitalizing the muscle memory of the band that was – something that's probably necessary when taking into account that these guys have been a band for thirty years. 

“It definitely has a soulful vibe,” noted Martin Gore. ”During the recording process we really tried to get the elements of performing and the live show into the album.” Here's hoping!


 

Against Me! 

Aptly named Transgender Dysphoria Blues, on Against Me!'s new offering frontwoman Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) is sharing her metamorphosis with the world by way of a concept album about a transgender prostitute. Expect much more personal songwriting than ever before, with a hearty dose of self-discovery in an age with no boundaries whatsoever. We can't wait. 


 

Phoenix 

Phoenix has announced that their fifth record would see release in April 2013, a follow-up to the smash impact of 2009′s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that promises to move in a different direction. Words like “nostalgic”, “futuristic”, “experimental” and “minimal” have been thrown around, but we've not heard a note yet. If it's any good (ok let's be realistic – even if it's not), you can expect Phoenix to reclaim their festival-anchor lineup positioning by mid-summer.


 

Bosnian Rainbows

Following the last Mars Volta tour, band nucleus Omar Rodríguez-López moved back to his home town of El Paso, Texas, and subsequently formed Bosnian Rainbows with frequent collaborator Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks and Nicci Kasper.

They've recorded their debut album in Germany, and Rodríguez-López promises a departure from the Latin-spaz mathrock psychedelia of TMV: "These are very much shorter, more to-the-point songs [than The Mars Volta's]. They still have spaces that stretch out, but what I mean to say is that it’s all the same influences that have been in most of my writing and all the people in my bands’ writing. Can is there, Siouxsie and the Banshees is there, Gang of Four is there, all the Led Zeppelin, whatever… all those things are there, it’s just different elements of those things. You make it shorter. It’s stripped down, it’s starker. The very melodic side of Can; the very textural side of Siouxsie. You take all those elements, and you take elements that maybe you weren’t exploring as much before."

 


Alice In Chains

The band's second album with new singer William DuVall is now finished, with Jerry Cantrell cautioning that it would hold "no surprises," since it's a natural evolution of their sound. The first single, Hollow, is out already, and it's as underwhelming a track as we've ever heard from the guys. If it's any signal of what's ahead, don't expect anything groundbreaking or particularly remarkable for this one.


 

Brody Dalle

With Spinnerette seeming to be firmly in the rearview, Brody Dalle’s been a point of musical curiosity the past few years. After some family time with Mr. Josh Homme, Dalle's Twitter account has been peppering studio pictures lately, with appearances from Garbage’s Shirley Manson, QOTSA’s Alain Johannes and Michael Shuman recording music. This picture, containing the caption “In case you were wondering,” seems to settle the case: somewhere in the world a new Brody Dalle album has been recorded, or at least in the works.


 

Childish Gambino

Gambino and Ludwig are back in the studio, aiming to catch up with Donald Glover's pace of dropping an album a year. The Royalty mixtape was a step in the right direction after 2011's Camp, and with Glover's perfectionism in full flight it's bound to be a promising year for Troy from Community.


 

Clutch

Clutch plans to deliver Earth Rocker in March of 2013, their tenth album and first since 2009's Strange Cousins From The West. The band has set up a website for the album where they promise to keep fans up to dates with photos, song titles and more. In the meantime, check out the band performing the title track for the new record below.


 

Tool

With a 3-5 year gap between albums, we're well past due for another release from the Lachrymology-touting anal-metaphoring nightmare Fibonacci kaleidoscope sound architects. Bassist Justin Chancellor has been contributing with a heavy hand on the new material, something that has served the band quite well in the past. Danny Carey, Tool‘s polyrhythmically demonic drummer, did an interview not too long ago in which he shared the promising news that the time signature-molesting legends were hitting the studio last Summer to begin tracking their new album. Fingers crossed that the momentum brings us a new evolution in 2013.


 

How To Destroy Angels

HTDA's full-length LP was reportedly finished early last year, but Trent Reznor must've had second thoughts along the way because all we've heard since the news haas been the unimpressive An Omen EP, relased in November. The album is tentatively titled Welcome Oblivion, according to a leaked setlist. We don't dare hope for new Nine Inch Nails just yet, though it is in the works…


 

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds 

Now that Grinderman is dead and buried, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have reconvened for a new life and, apparently, a new album. Titled Push The Sky Away marks their fifteenth studio release, and is set to be  released on February 18th – five years after their previous effort Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

A press release for the record shared a bit of light on its creative process: “The songs on this album took form in a modest notebook with shellac covers over the course of almost a year. The notebook is a treasured analogue artifact but the internet is equally important to Nick: Googling curiosities, being entranced by exotic Wikipedia entries ‘whether they’re true or not’. These songs convey how on the internet profoundly significant events, momentary fads and mystically-tinged absurdities sit side-by-side and question how we might recognize and assign weight to what’s genuinely important.”


 

Pearl Jam

The band's tenth album and first since 2009's Backspacer is well underway, with the promise of "experimentation" and extensive touring to follow. There was a solid chunk of material that didn't fit the Backspacer tone, which will likely see the light of day at least in part with the next offering. The band has played several shows since work on the new album began, with at least one gem hitting the top of our wishlist to make the cut on the new LP (see below).

Bassist Jeff Ament has said the band is about “halfway done” and Matt Cameron – currently moonlighting with his first love, Soundgarden - has confirmed that they're looking to wrap things up in the Spring.

If it's anything like the following, consider us maniacally excited:


 

Queens Of The Stone Age

With guests including Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor, Nick Oliveri, Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters, the band's sixth album (and first in six years) is bound to be a musical centerpiece of 2013. Spawned during a turbulent time in which frontman Josh Homme found himself at litigation odds with his former Kyuss bandmates, the music reportedly sounds like "running inside a dream" with a “more vulnerable" sound. It's said to be “deeper, richer and stranger” than the band’s previous efforts – a perplexing promise, given that Queens' natural element is as deep, rich and strange as the howl of a golden manticore in a frenzied lust rage among the alien desert foliage of Joshua Tree.

Here's where the band left off.


 

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are gearing up to release their first record produced without the help of the late sound engineer Michael Been (father of the band’s Robert Levon Been). Brooding, smoky danger rock has never sounded so good.


 

Sound City

This year's SXSW keynote speaker and current Queens of The Stone Age drummer is piling more on his plate by the day. His star-stacked documentary Sound City will premiere at Sundance later this month, and be available for purchase/screening/download in early February. The film's soundtrack features jaw-dropping all-star collaborations between Grohl and luminaries like Trent Reznor, Josh Homme, Paul McCartney, Rick Springfield, Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Alain Johannes, Corey Taylor, Rick Nielsen, Brad Wilk & Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine, and Stevie Nicks. Hot damn. Look for it on March 12.


 

Coheed And Cambria

Last year, Coheed and Cambria stormed back from two disappointing albums with the promising The Afterman: Ascension. Proving that they could still write hard rocking sci-fi epics for grown-up comic nerds filled with killer riffs and catchy hooks, the band is set to release the second half of the story with The Afterman: Descension on February 5th. 


 

Fitz And The Tantrums

Neo-soul sensations Fitz and the Tantrums are hard at work on the follow up to 2011's Picking Up The Pieces, and after hearing new jam She's Out Of My League at Coachella we're fully on board. After offering up a batch of free EPs and hitting up every major festival on the map, 2013 is shaping up to be a very promising one for these relentless performers.


Tegan And Sara

Heartthrob, the seventh album from the beloved Canadian Quin twins, leans on programmed beats and synths and arrives on Jan. 29. Check out the first release from the record, called Closer:


 

Tomahawk

With their fourth LP Oddfellows arriving on Jan. 29, Tomahawk have been showing off some highly promising new material recently – and the wait can't end soon enough for us. After debuting a whole bunch of new songs during their live gigs, the band has now released a video for the first single off the new album, "Stone Letter".