james debate
james debate

Wednesday 31 January 2018

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2018 Hot List. I hope you enjoyed last week's entry covering the essential videogames of 2018. This week we will be having a look at the most exciting new music due for release in the coming year.

best anticipated new music 2018 albums hot list

In truth, 2017 was a bit of a mixed bag when it came to music. Some of the year's bigger albums struggled to live up to expectations, while new acts bringing fresh ideas were few and far between. But the performers that shone, shone bright, with impressive pieces of work from the likes of Father John Misty and The xx. Otherwise it's fair to say this was more a year of great singles than great albums. Indeed there were some cracking individual tracks: particular standouts included the excellent new single Long Time from evergreen Blondie, as well as the surprising collaboration between The Killers and Brian Eno, Some Kind of Love, among others.

The lineup for this year looks more focused on newer, less established artists, with many of the big hitters having released albums in 2017. Great opportunity for some of the industry's younger acts to steal the limelight. So without further ado, here is our list of the top albums to keep an eye on in 2018, starting with number 15:

15. Clean Bandit 

clean bandit new album 2018 disconnect symphony best most anticipated musicWe'll start with a easy crowd pleaser, the second album from Cambridge-based electronic band Clean Bandit, which is due to hit sometime this year.

This is the highly anticipated follow up to the band's successful debut, New Eyes, and the presumed vehicle for their more recent singles Rockabye and Symphony. What else do we know about the album? Not much aside from the fact that the band intends to collaborate with a few prominent names, including Harry Styles and, apparently, Elton John.

This is a band with a real knack for chart-topping hits, but such is the long gap between albums that many of what will be the key singles of this LP have been out already for more than a year at this point. One has to wonder if they've undermined themselves somewhat here, whether the album will still appeal when its biggest hits have already come and gone. We will know soon enough, it's expected to release early 2018.

Release Date: Q2 2018

14. "All the Things I Never Said" by Pale Waves (New band)

pale waves debut album all the things i never said 2018 best most anticipated musicNow for the first of our highlighted newcomers of 2018. Pale Waves are one of the hottest names on the indie circuit at the moment. They've been feted by some of the industry's most influential critics and have collaborated with big names like The 1975. Now it's time to stand on their own. And yes, that black square to the left is not a glitch, and is in fact their album cover.

A debut EP followed by a full album is expected in the next year, featuring some promising tracks, including My Obsession, New Year's Eve and Television Romance. Think a dash of Chvrches mixed with The Naked and Famous and you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

The upcoming EP is due to release in March, but for the full studio album, you'll have to wait until late 2018. One to watch out for.

Release Date: Q4 2018

13. "Nudes" by Lucius

lucius nudes new best most anticipated album 2018Brooklyn based outfit Lucius are fast establishing themselves as one of the most exciting bands in indie music.

Creative in an off-beat kind of way, with a diverse range of musicality much in the mould of someone like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Metric, their sound varies from the earnest folk stylings of Wildewoman and Tempest to the balls-to-the-walls powerpop of Born Again Teen.

Next up is another new direction for the band with an entirely acoustic offering in Nudes. So far the tracks sound about as luscious as you'd expect. Lead single Until We Get There is delicate and sweet, while Neighbours gives us a little more of that trademark fire.

If all turns out well this could be one of the highlights of 2018. Nudes is due to release at the beginning of March.

Release Date: 1 March, 2018

12. "Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt" by Moby 

moby everything was beautiful nothing hurt album best most anticipated new music 2018 A true love/hate artist, Moby is back with a fifteenth studio album, Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt, and it sounds like he has his edge back.

While his more recent albums have leant towards the ambient and forgettable, the old fogeys out there that remember the 1990s will recall that he started with a far more intense and industrial sound. From the looks of lead single Like a Motherless Child, it seems that Moby may be aiming to recapture some of that identity, and I'm pretty excited about that.

Another March release, could it possibly be a return to form for one of the mainstays of the music industry?

Release Date: 17 February, 2017

11. Nilufer Yanya (New band)

nilufer yanya debut best new most anticipated album 2018The next newcomer for 2018 is Nilufer Yanya. The London-based singer-songwriter has been making a name for herself with a series of tender, jazz-infused pop tracks.

A successful 2017 EP and well received single releases for The FloristBaby Luv, and Small Crimes have set expectations high, and she finds herself among many pundits' top picks for 2018. A full debut album is now expected at some point later in the year.

I'm certainly a fan. Her musical style is wonderfully understated, and her voice lends an R&B soulfulness to an interesting blend of influences. It will be exciting to see what comes next.

Release Date: TBA 2018

10. "The Place You Can't Remember, the Place You Can't Forget" by Chicane

chicane place you can't remember place can't forget new albums 2018 best no ordinary morning most anticipatedAnother nom célèbre of the British electronic music scene; Chicane has been putting out albums since as far back as I can remember, and holds a body of work that includes some of the most memorable tracks of the past few decades.

Their's is a sound that typifies the early electronic movement of the 90s, but it would not be giving them due credit to attribute their status to mere nostalgia. Highlights from their discography include an array of disparate moods and soundscapes, most memorably including tracks such as Daylight, No Ordinary Morning, and Sunstroke.

Now with the release of new single Gorecki, it sounds like a brand new LP may be with us shortly. The title, The Place You Can't Remember, the Place You Can't Forget, has been revealed by frontman Nicholas Bracegirdle via podcast, and is said to include a "sequel" to his classic No Ordinary Morning.

We expect this to release late on in 2018.

Release Date: Q4 2018

9. Bastille

bastille third new album best new anticipated music 2018British rock group Bastille are hard at work at a third, as yet untitled album.

Little is known of this record at this point, aside from the fact that it draws its inspiration from the "bizarre and tempestuous place" that the world has become in the years since their last album. Frontman Dan Smith describes it as an "apocalyptic party record".

The band is two for two when it comes to successful albums, and a number of hit singles under their belt, including The Weight of LivingThings We Lost in the Fire, and Good Grief. They've established themselves as one of the bands to watch at the moment, and we wait with anticipation for their next release.

Release Date: Q2 2018

8. The Japanese House (New band)

the japanese house face like thunder debut album best new anticipated music 2018Another 2018 debutant, first raised in last year's Hot List: The Japanese House have been drumming up a huge amount of hype over the past couple of years, and find themselves prime contenders among many pundits' picks for 2018.

Theirs is a well defined sound, dreamy, layered synth pop with melancholy vocals. They've produced some really excellent work so far, songs that strike a balance between the powerful and delicate. Check out Clean and Face Like Thunder for a little taste of what they're about.

The word is that a debut album will be coming before year end, and if that's the case then that makes them a very exciting one to watch for 2018.

Release Date: TBA 2018

7. Paul McCartney

paul mccartney new album best most anticipated new music 2018Paul McCartney is not a man that requires my introduction, or plugging by my blog. He has spent six decades producing work of a level of genius that few in history have achieved, and he was part of a little group known as The Beatles.

Well despite being the venerable old age of 75, Sir Paul is still touring, and apparently he's still recording. In recent years he has collaborated with the likes of Beck, Rihanna, Adele and Kanye, but now he's returning to his solo work, with a new LP afoot. This new record will be his first studio album since 2013. Quite when it will release in 2018 is anyone's guess.

Youth may be fleeting, but genius lasts forever; time and time again McCartney has shown us that despite his advancing years he still has the goods. Let's see if he does it again.

Release Date: TBA 2018

6. Jade Bird (New band)

jade bird something american lottery new debut albums 2018 best most anticipatedThe last of this year's exciting newcomers. Jade Bird has come a long way in a short amount of time, and despite her tender years has found herself feted as one of the most exciting names in music.

A singer-songwriter in the style of an Amy Macdonald, Rolling Stone calls her the next big thing in country music. It's easy to see why when she releases great numbers like Lottery and Cathedral.

A highly successful EP now under her belt, attention is being turned to the debut album, which is expected to be ready for release sometime in the next year.

Release Date: TBA 2018

5. "Music for Cars" by The 1975

the 1975 music for cars new album best most anticipated music 2018The 1975 announced themselves as a band of some promise with their eponymous debut, but it was that wonderful sophomore LP, I Like it When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It, that really established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. That 2016 release doesn't seem too long ago, but word is they are already working on putting out new material.

The new album, titled Music for Cars is expected to release during 2018. Little is known of the new release other than a few track titles, but frontman Matthew Healy has cited other celebrated third albums, including OK Computer and The Queen is Dead as inspiration as to the direction the band will be taking. The implication being that The 1975 don't want to just rehash their previous work, but evolve their sound and in doing so perhaps make a bit of a statement.

It's an ambitious sentiment, but they've proven themselves to be very adept songwriters with quality tracks as diverse as The SoundA Change of Heart, and Chocolate. If they can keep producing work of that calibre, then this will be one of the highlights of 2018. Release is expected to be at the start of June.

Release Date: 1 June, 2018

4. Kavinsky

kavinsky new album outrun nightcall best most anticipated new music 2018French house artist Kavinsky spent much of the 2000s developing his signature synthwave sound, inspired by the cinema and pop culture of the 1980s. That process culminated in his debut, and so far only studio album, OutRun.

An ambitious concept album, complete with its own mythology and distinct artwork. But it's the great singles we care about, including his most famous tracks Nightcall, and Odd Look. Indeed OutRun was so successful that it is considered among some internet subcultures to have created its own aesthetic genre, and is now an umbrella term used to describe any form of neo-futuristic 1980s revival.

Yet despite the success, there has been almost complete radio silence since that album's release in 2013. But there are rumblings through the grapevine that a new LP is in the works for 2018, seemingly confirmed by the man himself who recently tweeted "I'll be back #2018" (rock solid proof, I know).

Release Date: TBA 2018

3. Arctic Monkeys

arctic monkeys 2018 new album best new anticipated musicWe most recently saw Alex Turner in 2016 enjoying the release of his long awaited second album under The Last Shadow Puppets name, but it has been a solid five years since we last heard from the outfit that made him a star, Arctic Monkeys. Well the band is back together in 2018, a new album is on the way.

Quite what form that album will take is anyone's guess, but suffice it to say it will be one to keep an eye on. Arctic Monkeys are undoubtedly one of the great British bands of recent years. Theirs is the iconic British rock and roll sound, from the retro-flecked indie melodies to Turner's distinctive accented vocals. Their hits are numerous from Fluorescent Adolescent, to Mardy Bum, and Fireside.

Originally due to drop at the end of 2017, the as yet untitled album is considered to be essentially complete at this point. Arctic Monkeys have announced a new tour, their first since 2014, to begin in June, so the smart money is on a release around that time.

Release Date: June 2018

2. "Love is Dead" by Chvrches

chvrches love is dead new album 2018 best new anticipated musicAnd now from British pop royalty to the young pretender. Chvrches appear to be on the cusp of great things following two widely acclaimed albums in 2013 and 2015.

Since their debut and early EP work, the Scottish synth-pop band have shown a talent for crafting memorable hooks. The first single off their debut album The Mother We Share was an instant classic, and they followed it up with an even better sophomore record which included great tracks like Clearest Blue, Empty Threat, and Never Ending Circles. Far from a one hit wonder, they are now one of the top bands in the game.

Little is known of their new album other than it will be called Love is Dead, and will apparently be their poppiest record to date. We have only seen a brief snippet of a track so far, but the first single, Get Out is set for release at the start of February. The album itself? Expected sometime in the spring.

Release Date: Spring 2018

1. "Little Dark Age" by MGMT

mgmt little dark age new album 2018 when you die most anticipated best new musicBut The Ephemeric's most hotly anticipated album for 2018 is Little Dark Age, the latest from one of the world's most mercurial bands MGMT.

The story here is legendary. MGMT stormed onto the scene in 2007 with their wildly successful debut Oracular Spectacular, buoyed by the mega hits Time to Pretend and Kids. Overwhelmed by their overnight success and resentful of the sudden deluge of casual fans, MGMT have spent the remainder of their career trying to get as far away as possible from the radio-friendly style of those tracks (they allegedly refuse to even play those particular songs at their live shows). Follow up album Congratulations was an impenetrable, if intermittently brilliant record, while their eponymous third record was more miss than hit.

Now MGMT are back with a fourth album, and what we've heard so far has us very excited indeed. Three tracks have been shown so far, title track Little Dark Age, When You Die, and Hand it Over, and they all sound pretty brilliant, and each one radically different from the last. If this is indicative of the album as a whole, then it's an early frontrunner for album of the year.

Release Date: 9 February, 2018

So there you have it folks: 2018 in music. Tune in next week for the most exciting new theatre in 2018!

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