Whether artists in 2013 were dropping albums with no warning, trying their hand at reaffirming their relevance, or teaming with major companies to streamline their brand, the way music was delivered to us last year nearly surpassed the content itself. Hopefully, 2014 will bring us back to the basics — where the only thing that truly matters is the quality of the music. Here are a few upcoming albums that we think will help start the New Year off right.
Against Me!, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”
Against Me! Frontman Tom Gabel shocked the world when he came out as transgender
, leaving fans questioning the future of the band. But if anyone underestimated the controversial veracity that the punk staples are best known for
, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” is our audible panacea. Gabel, now known as Laura Jane Grace, is still as hardbitten and resilient as he’s always been. The record is due out later this month.
St. Vincent, “St. Vincent”
The angelic styling of Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent, has become her calling card and quite a sumptuous point of reference for other high-profile acts
. Slated for a February release, Clark seemingly traded in her ominous vocal creep
for sunnier skies on “St. Vincent.” The lead single, “Birth in Reverse
,” combines refreshingly bright singing with rawboned lyrics.
Broken Bells, “After The Disco”
It’ll be a whole four years between the release of Broken Bells’ self-titled debut album and “After The Disco,” but it seems that the duo only become more psychedelic with the passing of time. “Holding On For Life
” basks in its contusive bass line and funky undercurrent, making it the perfect party starter. “Disco” will be out in February.
Azealia Banks, “Broke With Expensive Taste”
The New York native’s flashy boasts over stutter-step beats
made her rich in promise and bound for glory, but her tendency to throw verbal jabs at fellow artists time
and time again
has landed her a reputation as a mean girl. However, that doesn’t detract from her abrasive rhymes and battle-hardened grooves. The release of “Broke with Expensive Taste” has been pushed back several times, but Banks remains adamant about a March 2014 date come hell or high water
Schoolboy Q, “Oxymoron”
It takes a mighty MC to hold their own when rhyming on the same track as Kendrick Lamar, but Q doesn’t even seem to bat an eyelash at the notion on one of 2013’s best odes to weed—or one of the best ever. Like previous albums, expect Oxymoron to keep one of our favorite Top Dawgs as a caustic chronicler of chemical-consumed late nights, but in the most fun way possible. “Oxymoron” drops in late February.