Musically speaking, 2018 was the year of the industry taking a long, hard look at itself and asking, “what now?” Excellent releases notwithstanding, the year felt filled with miscellaneous albums that did not share a common trend nor a common goal, but instead had every artist trying to put on different dresses and seeing what would be the best direction to move forward and start the next generation of innovation, from Mitski’s wildly varied “Be the Cowboy” to Kacey Musgraves’ country standard-breaking “Golden Hour”.
It is only appropriate then that 2019 follows suit and gives us a new sound, a new era of music to be excited for, away from the ever-tired poptimist adage of “rock is dead”. Due to this, we are providing the following list of exciting new releases that could certainly compete to actually change the musical landscape for the upcoming decade.
Vampire Weekend – “Father of the Bride”
Six years into what seemed a lot like a hiatus, and following the departure of mastermind producer Rostam Batmanglij, the Ivy League-born american outfit comes back with what is said to be a double LP including 18 songs and a wide range of producers, from the aforementioned Batmanglij (who is also releasing his awaited second solo album this year) to BloodPop (Justin Bieber, Madonna, Lady Gaga) and possibly usual suspects such as Diplo, Steve Lacy (from The Internet) and hotshot producer Ariel Rechtshaid (Usher, HAIM, Solange). First single “Harmony Hall” is a sign of the band trying to wear a different hat and heading into a much more pop-influenced direction.
Panda Bear – “Buoys”
Taking a break from Animal Collective projects and coming back into his own after the vinyl-only EP “A Day with the Homies”, singer-songwriter and producer Noah Lennox returns with a skeletal, minimalist new project called “Buoys” under his Panda Bear moniker. The album is filled with intense meditations on personal trouble and environment and includes what is probably the first use of acoustic guitar on a Panda Bear album since “Young Prayer”. A new direction like this is sure to influence whatever his main band does in the near future and new Panda Bear s a welcome treat.
Deerhunter – “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?”
After 2015’s victory-lapping “Fading Frontier”, Deerhunter return with a new album produced by luminary Cate LeBon, with help from continuous collaborator Ben. H Allen III (who also produced Animal Collective’s acclaimed “Merriweather Post Pavilion” and Deerhunter’s very own opera prima “Halcyon Digest”). The album is said to be influenced by subjects as varied as political distress in the US and the UK, environmental destruction, James Dean and Whitney Houston’s 1986 classic “How Will I Know”.
Chromatics – “Dear Tommy”
Wishful thinking notwithstanding, Johnny Jewel seems to be getting back into a groove. Originally promised for Valentine’s Day, 2015, a finished version of “Dear Tommy” was completely scrapped after he suffered a near-death experience in Hawaii, sending him right back to the studio to further tinker with the album, destroying all vinyl copies that had been pressed at the time. Singles were pulled from streaming services, press releases were sent out and even photos of a destroyed copy of the album were obtained all while Mr. Jewel was working on the soundtrack for the return of cult classic series Twin Peaks.
2019 is set to be an unforgettable year and these are only the releases that are expected soon enough. The year will undoubtedly bring just as amazing music from the likes of The National, Chance the Rapper, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kanye West, Grimes, Beirut, My Bloody Valentine, and these are only the ones we know of. Prepare yourself for a spellbinding year for music.