January 14, 2014

hmv's Albums of 2014: All 31 previews in one place
by Tom
Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

hmv's Albums of 2014: All 31 previews in one place

#1 Metallica 

(Words by Shane Layden)

 

A Little Background...

The first half of Metallica's career saw the band grow from strength to strength with thrash metal masterpieces like Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, the solid ...And Justice for All and culminated in the extremely popular heavy metal classic Metallica (a.k.a. The Black Album) with which they pretty much conquered the world.

Since then, the second half has been a more haphazard affair with a string of more mediocre releases by the band's lofty standards. There was the bluesier sound of Load and Reload which unsettled many devotees, St. Anger gave us an unforgettably nasty snare drum clang with nary a solo in sight and then there was a return to a thrash sound with Death Magnetic.

In addition to the nine studio albums there was also Lulu, an art rock collaboration with Lou Reed, which managed to divide opinions even more than ever before.

Most fans, critics and the band themselves, judging by their live set lists in recent years, seem to favour songs from Metallica's first five albums much of which leaned towards a thrash sound, so, a thrash tenth album could potentially be one of the finest from one of metal's most enduring acts.

 

What's It Called?

So far there has been no mention of the title, but we're expecting an awesome one – after all – all of Metallica's albums have had rock solid names so far.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Metallica have never been afraid to take risks, even at times alienating masses of fans, as their sound changes from one release to the next, however, word is that it will sound similar to 2008's Death Magnetic.

Loyal fans are no doubt looking forward to whatever Metallica have up their sleeve, but the world could definitely do with a killer new Metallica album with some thunderously huge tracks full of monstrous riffs, soaring solos and some serious attitude.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Following on from his work on Death Magnetic, Rick Rubin will likely be handling the production again, but nothing's been confirmed yet. No guests have been mentioned so far, but history suggests that the band aren't overly fond of collaborations.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Metallica have started sifting through hundreds of riffs and intend to spend much of 2014 recording. They plan to perform a track from the forthcoming album this summer on their tour, which includes a slot at the UK's Sonisphere Festival.

There's no confirmed album release date yet apart from some talk of a possible 2015 release, however, a year is a long time and hopefully, once the recording process begins, the band will hit their stride. Let's hope so, a mighty new Metallica album before the end of the year could be just what every heavy metal fan really wants for Christmas.

 

 

#2 Taylor Swift 

(Words by Tom Goodwyn)

 

A little background…

Things couldn't really have gone much better for Taylor Swift over the last two years. Her fourth album Red has been a stupendous success, selling over six million copies worldwide and yielding seven singles, including 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' and 'I Knew You Were Trouble', two tracks that were pretty much glued to the radio throughout 2013.

Her tour in support of that record, which visits the UK next month, has already netted over $115 million in profits and seen her graduate to filling football stadiums. No pressure when it comes to the follow-up then…

 

What It's Called?

There's no word on that yet, but given Swift's first and third album had two word titles and her second and forth had single word titles, we can perhaps expect this to be a single word. Or maybe three? Or four? Who knows?

 

What Will It Sound Like?

The singer has recently spoken about her new record and has promised "a total reinvention". She also told Entertainment Weekly recently that the album will "revolve around a confessional storyline and filling my fans in on what my life has actually been." Whatever it ends up like sounding like, it's likely to retain the big pop sensibilities that have served her so well in the past.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Swift is back writing with Max Martin, the man who helped her pen both 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' and 'I Knew You Were Trouble'. She's also promised a series of big-name collaborations; with Justin Timberlake, Sia and her old friend Ed Sheeran rumoured to already be onboard.

The singer has already said that she has "a really long list of the people I admire and I would really love to go and contact" for collaborations. As well as this, she has also duetted live on tour with the likes of Carly Simon, Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump, Ellie Goulding, Hunter Hayes and countless others. It's pretty likely some of them will show up on the next album…

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

With the huge success of Red, Swift's label will be pushing hard for her to keep up her pattern of releasing a record every two years, meaning it's pretty likely this will emerge in 2014.

The singer has also said that she already has "seven or eight songs that are completely ready", which suggests she'll certainly be ready to put a record out.

Her tour wraps up in the early part of 2014, which gives her a clear block of time to finish up the record. Baring a disaster, you can expect this to come out in autumn of 2014.

 

 

#3 Bruce Springsteen 

(Words by Shane Layden)

 

A Little Background...

As Bruce Springsteen's enormously successful Wrecking Ball tour hit Australia back in March last year a fill-in was needed for regular E Street Band guitarist Steven van Zandt who had some acting to do.

The visionary Springsteen enlisted the ever-inventive Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame and in so doing gained a new spark. Creativity burst forth from a seemingly unlikely union and there was evidently not much idle time between shows as tracks were laid down fuelling the fire of an awesome new album with Springsteen feeding off the energetic riffing and wizardry of Morello.

 

What's It Called?

Springsteen's new album is titled High Hopes and is his 18th studio outing. Three songs are cover versions: Opening track 'High Hopes' was originally released in 1987 by Tim Scott McConnell; 'Just Like Fire Would' was recorded by Australian alternative rock band The Saints back in 1986; and 'Dream Baby Dream' is a cover of Suicide's 1979 single.

The rest of the album features newly recorded outtakes of previous recording sessions and some fresh recordings of old releases including a new version of 'The Ghost of Tom Joad' (a Springsteen original that was covered by Rage Against the Machine on their Renegades album) which Springsteen and Morello sing together.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Take a listen to the first single (it's below), 'High Hopes', which was released in November last year and you'll know exactly why The Boss has the music community excited yet again.

Not only does it successfully blend Morello's trademark guitar sound with the impeccable E Street Band, but it also manages to push boundaries even further by incorporating Mardi Gras style brass and rhythm resulting in a somewhat refreshing carnival rock sound.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Ron Aniello (who worked with Springsteen producing 2012's incredible Wrecking Ball), Brendan O'Brien (who has produced several Springsteen albums as well as Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave and The Nightwatchman albums featuring Morello) and Springsteen himself make up the superb production team.

The E Street Band are big enough a name in and of themselves, however, this time around inquisitive ears will naturally be listening out for Tom Morello's contributions. The album also features the work of Clarence Clemons and Danny Frederici, two former members of the E Street Band, who have passed away.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

High Hopes is out now!

 

 

#4 You Me At Six 

(Words by Tom Goodwyn)

 

A little background…

You Me At Six come into 2014 in a strange position. They finished their last campaign on a real high, selling out Wembley Arena and filming a triumphant DVD, but, after that euphoria had died down, things went very, very quiet.

Rather than head straight back into the studio, the band headed out on the road across America, opening up for Pierce The Veil and All Time Low on what proved to be one of their most successful US jaunts to date. Rejuvenated, the band stayed in the US to record what would become their fourth studio album.

 

What It's Called?

It's titled Cavalier Youth, the band's shortest album title to date. 

 

What Will It Sound Like?

From the tracks that have emerged so far, which are 'Lived A Lie', 'Hope For The Best' and 'Fresh Start Fever' (which you can hear at the bottom of the page), it seems the band have kept faith with the rockier sound they hinted at on Sinners Never Sleep. This doesn't look set to be a pop-punk throwback, but a more consistent rock record.

The tracks are more direct, more urgent and feel far more focused than last time around. They've been talking up bands like The Temper Trap in interviews and wanting to be seen in the same way as bands like The Killers and Kings Of Leon, so it's safe to say you won't be hearing too many breakdowns…

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

This time the band have worked with Neal Arvon, the man responsible for producing Fall Out Boy and New Found Glory in recent years. He's given them zingy radio sheen, it suits them very well.

Unlike last time out where the likes of Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes and Parkway Drive's Winston McCall were included on the record, there don't seem to be any big-name guests this time around.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

It's out on January 27 and you can pre-order it now from our download store. Click here to do so. 

 

 

#5 Metronomy 

(Words by Imogen Goulding)

 

A Little Background…

Following the success of their 2011 record The English Riviera, Metronomy return in 2014 with their fourth studio album. The band have piqued excitement by revealing to fans that the album's first single 'I'm Aquarius' should be listened to whilst glancing up at stars in the heavens, after downloading The Night Sky app. All those intrigued by this should poise their phones toward the sky in search of the Aquarius constellation. You can hear the track at the bottom of the page. 

Underneath the cheerful sheen of their star-crossed gimmicks, Metronomy are preparing to release their new offering on 10th March. Their previous record, The English Riviera, was critically lauded, earning the band a nomination for the Mercury Prize in 2011 and spot number two on NME’s Top 50 Albums of that year.

With a single already sailing the airwaves, Metronomy will be expected to deliver indie-dance melodies in spades, in order for this next studio album to be as fun and frolicking as The English Riviera or as synth-heavy as 2008’s infamous Nights Out.

 


What’s It Called?

The brand new album will be titled Love Letters, which sounds a tad more gushing than their previous few. This bold name could be partially due to the confidence exuding frontman Joe Mount, who has mentioned fears of embracing the differences between having an ego, and confidence in knowing your product is good enough.

 


What Will It Sound Like?

'I’m Aquarius' is firmly set in the traditional Metronomy electronic typecast, with a dominant rhythm, which loops continuously toward the coda, almost warping and experimenting with the sound. The band seem to have aimed to replicate old-fashioned production methods, rather than err on the side of retro, which is something rather dazzling and different.

The single displays tie-dye artwork hippies would certainly be proud of, which could be something to expect for the album imaging in general; whilst Joe Mount divulged to NME that he was “inspired by The Zombies, Sly and The Family Stone and the birth of his first child”. Therefore, this upcoming new helping could be a combination of many encouraging, yet unconventional factors.

 

Who’s Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Metronomy are a band of alternative, indie substance, and therefore do not tend to ask any guests to join them. However, the album was recorded rather interestingly at London’s analogue Toe Rag studios (where The White Stripes recorded their defining record Elephant), allowing Joe Mount and his band members to use tapes by method of recording, as opposed to computers. This technique called for nitpicking inspection of each composition, creating great detail in the finest of areas, and something totally exceptional in an arena of modern practice. Two small shows follow the album release, one at The Old Market in Brighton, the other in Paris Maroquinerie.


Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Metronomy have knuckled down lately and are now ready for their new album to soar as of 10th March, giving us something sweet for spring.

 

 

#6 Warpaint 

(Words by Alex Nicholl)

 

A Little Background…

Three years on from their highly acclaimed debut album The Fool, downbeat LA indie-rockers Warpaint are back with their second full-length, due out on January 20.

Warpaint excel at creating beautiful songs of sparing arrangement with almost impossibly understated performance characterised by Emily Kokal’s mind-on-another-planet vocals. Those new to the band will find The Fool’s 'Undertow' a great example of this, as well as 'Billie Holiday' from the 2008 mini-album Exquisite Corpse which features portions of Mary Wells’ My Guy sounding like Whoopi Goldberg and her congregation after a hefty dose of valium.

 

What’s It Called?

They’ve gone for the straightforward approach here… Warpaint. Self-titling an album is often seen as a statement of intent for an artist, perhaps indicating a realisation of the integral nature of the band’s sound so this can be taken as a confident step.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

The group’s new release promises to be every bit as strong as their debut based on lead single 'Love Is To Die', which emerged in September. Driven by the life-giving drums of Stella Mozgawa, the track demonstrates a subtle stylistic shift for the band with guitars dropping into the background and synth melodies and textures perfectly complimenting their characteristic understated moodiness.

The band have said that the experience of writing and recording this album was a very “freeing experience” and they seem to have taken a very open-minded approach to it. Guitarist Theresa Wayman told NME, “We set up every instrument that we have… we were open to the possibility of any one of us playing anything”.

 

Who’s Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

'Love Is To Die' (which you can hear below) and second single, the ethereal 'Biggy', are both warm and full-sounding tracks which is to the credit of Warpaint’s new producer Flood (U2, Nine Inch Nails, PJ Harvey, the list goes on…) with whom the group had a great time working by all accounts. Also credited with co-mixing is Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich so no shortage of talent at the helm of this record!

The album artwork also has a familiar name responsible in the shape of Chris Cunningham who is married to Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg. Expect other-worldiness of the highest order!


Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Yes! See you at the counter on January 20th! 

 

To pre-order Warpaint's new album from our download store for only £4.99, click here. 

 

 

#7 Kanye West

(Words by Imogen Goulding)

 

A Little Background…

Rumours are beginning to circle around the man who recently dropped the experimental, more electronic Yeezus that a seventh solo album is in the pipeline. Kanye West, the man behind the G.O.O.D Music collective, survivor of a near-fatal car incident and now father of one, amusingly named daughter, has stepped into the limelight once again, boasting that his Yeezus follow-up could be released as early as summer 2014. Despite aims to produce a Cruel Winter record, probably comprising collaborations with many G.O.O.D Music hotshots, West’s sole intention seems to be the unleashing of a second handsome package, taking the same slant as Yeezus.

West’s most recent, provocatively titled album is critically acclaimed, with Pitchfork having at least three of the full ten songs in its Top 100 Tracks of 2013 alone. Crammed full of big, outlandish, production from Hudson Mohawke, Daft Punk and obligatory assistance from the melancholy, ethereal vocals of Justin Vernon, Yeezus was a tough listen, but seemed to really stick with people as 2013 wore on.

This upcoming release is something still shrouded in mystery as West has only admitted that work has started on the album, through jotting down his "philosophies". Exactly what sort of treat West is preparing remains under speculation, but something similar to his 2013 release should be expected.

 

What’s It Called?

Despite clearly being no stranger to the spotlight, West is yet to discuss potential titles for his next album, though he has confessed that a total of eight songs would be ideal. A reduction in "the amount of information" fans need is apparently required, as West talks of producing a piece consisting of relevant content, rather than anything full of frivolity. Heaven forbid…

 

What Will It Sound Like?

West has undergone several interviews now (we say interviews, he mainly just talked at Zane Lowe in an increasingly loud voice), dropping the upcoming album bombshell, hinting in each that the purpose of this next helping will simply be a sequel to the largely successful Yeezus. Though his older fans might seek some unpretentious rap, the sort he was creating in his early days, West has reached a new level and seems keen to exploit his sampling talents, mixing them with electronic synths.

 

Who’s Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, who collaborated with Mark Ronson a few years previous and assisted production of Watch The Throne, has revealed that he will be teaming up with Def Jam Recordings’ legendary founder, Rick Rubin, to produce West’s next conquest. Rubin aided West with Yeezus, so will sufficiently understand the vision for the next album.

Rubin aided West with Yeezus, and in an interview boldly stated that it could be "two albums"; that perhaps what 2013 saw was merely "the first half". This would corroborate with West’s plans to make this new record a sequel.


Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Kanye West is a busy man; his desire to release an alleged Cruel Winter could still go ahead, though would have to be made rather fast, and a possible Watch the Throne II might also linger on the cards. Whispers of five Yeezus outtakes might be a tad late now, but all of these hearsays make for a hectic schedule for Mr. West, leaving us hopeful that whatever this new album will be, will make it to shelves by the time the sun gets his hat on.

 

 

#8 Skrillex

(Words by James Forryan)

 

A Little Background…

It’s hard to believe, but more than 4 years since his debut EP under the Skrillex name, Sonny Moore still hasn’t released a full-length album. That’s not to say he’s been slacking off: in that time he’s released six EPs, produced remixes for Korn and Kill The Noise, worked on collaborations with A$AP Rocky, Damien Marley and The Doors, produced music for a number of games including Call of Duty: Black Ops and Far Cry 3, and last year he even completed his first full cinematic score for the comedy film Spring Breakers. Pretty impressive, but still no Skrillex album.

To be fair to him, there have been some extenuating circumstances: in 2011 he had 2 laptops and a pair of hard drives – containing what was supposed to be his debut album – stolen from a hotel room in Milan, effectively sending him back to square one.

Rumours have started to murmur however and in November last year he revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that there was new music coming this year. He also previewed as many as six new tracks at the HARD Day Of The Dead festival. Even so, at the time of writing there is still no confirmation from the man himself.

 

What’s It Called?

Nobody knows. In fact, by the sound of things, neither does he, at least not yet. In the same Rolling Stone interview, when asked if he could name any of the songs, he said: “I haven't really figured out any of the titles, to be honest.”

 

What Will It Sound Like?


Judging from the new tracks premiered at Day of the Dead, it’s sounding very…well…’Skrillex-ish’. That’s not us being silly, it’s just that since the arrival of his Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites EP in 2010, there have been a host of dubstep / EDM acts looking to replicate what was initially a pretty unique sound – particularly his gnarly, squelching basslines – to the point that when describing many dubstep acts it’s quite tricky not to say ‘it sounds like Skrillex’. What is fairly clear, however, is that the album, when it finally drops, will be full of dancefloor bangers.

 

Who’s Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Without any confirmed details we can only speculate, although Skrillex will probably be handling most of the production himself. That said, given all the collaborations with other artists – including the recent ‘takeover’ live shows with the likes of Boys Noize – it’s not inconceivable that there could be some guest productions and other appearances.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

We hope so, but then again early last year he was quoted as saying that there would be a new album “at the end of the summer”. Summer duly came and went, still no album. But we’re hopeful – how much longer can he put it off?!

 

 

#9 Radiohead

(Words by James Forryan)

 

A Little Background…

After the release of studio album no.8, The King Of Limbs, in 2011, Radiohead embarked on a 58-date tour to support the record, finishing up at the end of 2012. Shortly afterwards in February 2013, bassist Colin Greenwood mentioned in an interview with BBC 6music that a new album could be on the way sooner than expected: “We’re taking some time out whilst people are doing some other stuff, doing their own things, and the plan is to get back together again [at the] end of the summer.”

Since then however it’s gone quiet on the new album front, and Thom Yorke cast doubt on Greenwood’s assertions in July last year, saying in an interview with James Bond actor Daniel Craig for Interview Magazine that he wanted to “take a year off.” Then again, Yorke also said in 2009 that there wouldn’t be another Radiohead album…

In the meantime, Yorke has been busy with his first album with side project Atoms for Peace, with long-time producer Nigel Godrich and Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, as well as stirring up a debate about Spotify, having pulled all his music from the online streaming service in protest at the way the platform pays new artists.

 

What’s It Called?

We’ve no idea. With very little information to suggest whether the band have even started recording yet, there’s not much to go on, but we’re guessing it probably won’t be called The Bends 2.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Radiohead aren’t the most predictable band in the world, so it’s difficult to say, but judging from their last few outings there will probably be plenty of synthesizers involved. Thom Yorke has mentioned that he is using synths and samplers a lot more these days when writing, so we can look forward to some interesting sounds, that’s for sure.

 

Who’s Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

We’ve no reason to believe that it will be anyone other than Nigel Godrich behind the desk, given that he’s worked on every album so far, as well as being an Atoms For Peace member. Radiohead aren’t known for having guests all over their albums so based on previous form it’s unlikely there will be big-name guests. One person who is likely to feature however is Clive Deamer, who appeared as a percussionist on their last tour. Clive has previously performed live with Portishead, playing the drums for their Live in New York album.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

We can only speculate really; after Greenwood’s interview it certainly looked that way, but there’s been nothing too encouraging since in terms of news. They do however have previous form for keeping their cards close their chests, so who knows? We can but hope…

 

 

#10 Foo Fighters

(Words by Tom Goodwyn)

 

A little background…

While they've been always been a stellar live band, it felt like the Foo Fighters were in a bit of creative rut before the release of 2011's Wasting Light. 2007's Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace had its moments, like 'The Pretender' and 'Long Road To Ruin', but nothing felt vital anymore. Then, as soon as everyone first heard the opening notes of Wasting Light's opener 'Bridge Burning', that all changed.

Wasting Light was a complete triumph and absolute return to form; it felt like the band believed in the record as they began their world tour by playing the album from start to finish. Their resulting tour lasted for 18 further months, including huge gigs at the UK's Milton Keynes Bowl and headlining festivals like T In The Park and Reading/Leeds, eventually the tour wound up at the tail end of 2012 and the band headed off for a nice long break, a break many thought would last for a couple of years.

But no, late last year it emerged that the band were back and working away on a new record, which will hopefully emerge later this year.

 

What It's Called?

No idea. Dave Grohl and co have been tight lipped on any specific details thus far.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Wasting Light was the heaviest record that the band had recorded for quite some time, so it makes sense for them to continue in that vein. However, the band have promised something far more radical for their next record, with Grohl recently telling Rolling Stone that the band were "doing it in a way that no one’s done before and we’re writing the album in a way that I don’t think has been done before."

Guitarist Chris Shiflett echoed this, telling Faster Louder: "I’m excited about it. Dave’s got a bunch of new songs and the way that we’re gonna make the new record – like, the approach for it – is going to be pretty fucking fun. And different."

He continued: "I feel like Dave’s always looking for ways – when we go to make records and we tour – to keep things exciting and keep things inspired and fun. I think he’s got some good ideas for this next one." Exciting times!

 


Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

As on Wasting Light, Butch Vig, the man who made Nirvana with Grohl is behind the controls. Tweeting to confirm he's back at work with the band.

Rami Jaffee, keyboardist with The Wallflowers, who has been a live member of the Foo Fighters for the last few years, has also confirmed he's working with the band on their new record.

Last time out Hüsker Dü's Bob Mould, Grohl's former bandmate in Nirvana Krist Novoselic and Tubes singer Fee Waybill all made guest appearances, but, after his almighty guest project Sound City, you'd suspect Grohl might be a bit guested out…

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

All the signs look good for a release in 2014. The band are already confirmed to play live again next month and are hard at work on the record. Hopefully this will emerge by the end of the year.

 

 

 

#11 Lily Allen

(Words by James Forryan)

 

A little background…

After her ‘retirement’ from music in 2010, Lily Allen returned last year with her first new single for 3 years, ‘Hard Out Here’, complete with a Robin Thicke-mocking video that, ironically, met with criticism for being ‘sexist’. Not that the singer is a stranger to controversy…

She also dueted with Robbie Williams on his recent album Swings Both Ways and recorded a version of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ for last year’s John Lewis Christmas ad campaign – a track which the singer has since distanced herself from, telling Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw: “I can’t listen to the song. I’ve got to be honest, it’s quite shrill.”

 

What’s it called?

The title is still not confirmed at the time of writing. However, in an interview with Q Magazine late last year Allen suggested she had been throwing a few ideas around – one of which was ‘Illuminaughty’ – although she did concede that she didn’t think this would “make the cut.”

 

What will it sound like?

Allen has described the new album as ”dreamy sounding, derived from trip-hop, while some of it is more electronic pop” also discussing some the lyrical subject matter in the new tracks, which are understood to include a song tackling her miscarriage in 2010, as well as another called ‘Chipping Norton’ written about David Cameron, Rebekah Brooks and the phone-hacking scandal. Musically speaking, it’s expected to be an evolution of her sound rather than a radical departure.

 

Who’s producing it? Are there any big name guests?

Allen has confirmed she has been working with producer and songwriter Greg Kurstin, who has worked with the artist before and spent 2013 working with the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry. Other collaborators are rumoured to include Kid Harpoon and DJ Dahi.

 

Will it really come out this year? And when?

It’s looking pretty nailed-on for a release in 2014, with rumours circulating it could be ready for release as early as March this year, but as yet there has still been no confirmation from the artist or her label.

Red
Red Taylor Swift

#12 Blink-182

(Words by Tom Goodwyn)

 

A little background…

Despite reuniting back in 2009, it took over two and a half years for Blink-182's comeback album to eventually come out in September 2011. Titled Neighborhoods, its recording sounded like a pretty torturous process with bassist/singer Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker recording in one studio in Los Angeles and then sending their contributions to guitarist Tom DeLonge over in San Diego.

While the record turned out to be a pretty good one, it did sound like an album with lots of ideas that weren't fully realised on there, an album made properly by committee rather than a real body of work.

The band themselves reflected in a similar manner, with DeLonge remarking "There's some songs on there that I love, but for the most part it was disconnected" and Barker adding "It was like, 'You do this part in your studio, and then you're gonna play on it and send it back to me.' When we're not in the studio together, you don't have the opportunity to gel off each other." The drummer also admitted he'd been too keen to return to the studio while recovering from a plane crash and should have spent longer recuperating.

After they completed touring in support of Neighborhoods, the band took time apart before reconvening to record a five-track EP titled Dogs Eating Dogs.

Featuring a collaboration with Yelawolf and the band's first real use of electronic drums, the EP showed another new side to the trio and, with two full-on pop-punk drivers, a slow lament named 'Boxing Day' and two experimental tracks, hinted at the direction the band might well be taking on their next record.

 

What It's Called?

No word on that yet. Standard.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Tom DeLonge confirmed his desire to experiment is as alive as ever, saying: "I always want to do different things. I'm always obsessed with trying to do different things. I'm always obsessed because I like so many different kinds of music. And I was the one who was against it for so many years because I was so dumb. I was like, 'Punk rock, punk rock, punk rock!' And anything that wasn't, I thought was just lame and I was so elitist. And now I find myself wanting to do everything but punk-rock stuff."

The last two Blink records have been very dark ones, full of electronics and sad laments. Judging by both the band's recent EP and the way they've talked it up, we can expect a record in the same vein this time around.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Blink-182's longtime producer Jerry Finn sadly passed away in 2008 and the band have said that they don't see themselves working with anyone else, meaning this, much like Neighborhoods, will probably be self-produced.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Given the lengthy delays in recording Neighborhoods (the band had to delay their UK tour and cancel many festival shows when recording overran), you'd say no. But then again the band are already confirmed to headline this summer's Reading and Leeds Festivals and have said they'll have a new album ready by then.

If that doesn't light the fire under them, nothing will…

 

 

#13 Red Hot Chili Peppers

(Words by James Forryan)

 

A little background…

2011 saw the release of the Chili Peppers’ tenth studio album, I’m With You, the first to feature new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer following the announcement of John Frusciante’s second departure from the band in 2009. Klinghoffer has been part of the Chilis’ live setup since 2006’s Stadium Arcadium tour, becoming Frusciante’s full-time replacement after his decision to quit the band and focus on his solo career.

At the end of the I’m With You tour in April last year, Chad Smith announced on Twitter that the band were planning to get back into the studio for their eleventh album around September. By July however, Klinghoffer had stated this was no longer the case, partly due to Flea’s involvement with Thom Yorke side project Atoms For Peace. The band did seem itching to get back to it though, with the guitarist suggesting that the Chilis’ would probably be back in the studio in “early 2014”.

 

What's it called?

With the band yet to hit the studio it’s still early days, so as things stand, no title has been announced.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Frusciante’s guitar has always been a huge part of the Chili Peppers’ sound but despite the change in personnel, I’m With You wasn’t a huge stylistic departure from the band’s usual sound, so we’re not expecting something radical this time around either. That said, Klinghoffer will be contributing to the songwriting, so this may be an opportunity for the guitarist to put his stamp on sound that is, by now, pretty well established.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Nothing officially announced on the producer front, but having been behind the desk for every album since 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik, it will probably be Def Jam legend Rick Rubin. The Chili’s don’t usually have guests on their records, so big-name collaborations seem unlikely at this stage, but you never know…

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Although nothing has been announced as yet, this one does seem fairly likely to happen judging from the band members’ reported enthusiasm to get back to work. With no side projects currently scheduled they should be back in the studio early this year, but whether or not there will be a 2014 release date remains to be seen.

 

 

#14 Emeli Sandé

(Words by Tom Goodwyn)

 

A little background…

Throughout 2012 and 2013, nobody in the UK enjoyed success like Emeli Sandé did. She has sold over three million copies of her debut albums Our Version Of Events, sang in front of millions at the Olympic closing ceremony, for President Obama and at countless huge award shows.

In fact, despite the fact that Sandé has spent the last few months of the year quietly working away on nice music and having a well-earned break, she still had the second biggest selling album of the year and was only narrowly edged out by some band called One Direction…

So, no pressure for her second album then…

 

What It's Called?

No idea. 'Your Version Of Events'?, no, that's silly…

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Sande worked with 10 different producers on her debut record and she'll have her pick of them this time, so it's far to assume she'll have some high-profile names. Naughty Boy, who was behind the controls on eight tracks on her debut, has already confirmed that the two have been working together again.

There's no word on guests either, but given Sandé's penchant for collaborations (she's worked with the likes of Labrinth, Professor Green and Rudimental in the past), it seems pretty likely there will be one or two.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Speaking about the record, Naughty Boy has said that Sandé wants to create something different and more challenging, telling Entertainment Wise: "I'm really excited about it because it's her second album. Once you get past the pressure, we have to carry on making music for ourselves and that is what translates. She's evolving as an artist and evolving as a person so I think it's important that she changes it up a bit."

In spite of that talk, it's likely to be a very gradual evolution; Sandé's voice will be given even greater prominence, and you can bet there will be plenty of big ol' ballads.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Glyn Aitkins, who is head of A&R at Sande's label Virgin also said she expected the record to emerge in 2014, telling Music Week: "She's got to take some time to organise her thoughts and start writing songs for her next record. It may happen quickly. It may take some time, but I think she would want another album to come out perhaps next year. She's very diligent and has a very solid work ethic. She's very serious about what she does, which is a joy."

Given how well Sandé's debut album did, her label will surely be doing everything they can to make sure that her second album emerges this year. We’d bet on a summer release slot for this.

 

#15 The Horrors

(Words By Tom Goodwyn)

A little background…

The Horrors exploded into life in 2005, and, after a typhoon of hype, were quickly written off not long after their underwhelming debut Strange House emerged. Then, in 2009, the band unveiled Primary Colours, their second album. It dispensed with the band's attempts at frenzied pop punk and instead focus on lush, psychedelic tones and krautrock. It took everyone by surprise, won a slew of awards and completely re-established the band's profile.

They followed this up with 2011's Skying, which sat in a similar vein to Primary Colours with its broad soundscapes and lilting electronics, it too did very well, pushing the band up festival bills and into much bigger venues. They wrapped touring for the album at the end of 2012 and promised that a new record would emerge at the tail end of 2013, but, so far, nothing…

The band subsequently confirmed that the record has been pushed back by six months and will now emerge in spring 2014. So what kind of record can we expect from them?

 

What It's Called?

There's no official word on that yet, but it'll be something suitably psychedelic…

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Guitarist Josh Hayward has promised that the record has "bigger arms" than their previous efforts, presumably meaning it's a little more muscular sounding. The band have been playing two new songs on tour, one is titled 'Elixir Spring' and follows in the psychedelic stomp of much of their material. The other, titled 'First Day Of Spring' is a little dancier in its make-up. So, in short, it's likely to be a continuation of the patterns they laid down on their last two full-length albums. No dubstep in sight…

 

Who's Producing It?

The band self-produced Skying and are doing the same again this time. They've also confirmed that Craig Silvey will be mixing the album once again.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

We'd say it's 90% certain, they had a finished version of the album ready to go and then changed their mind, so they're clearly quite far along. Expect the album before spring is out.

 

#16 Adele

(Words by James Forryan)

 

A little background…


An artist who surely needs no introduction, Adele is almost as good at breaking records as she is at making them: first artist to sell over 3 million copies of an album in the UK, first artist to have three consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number ones, first artist to have 3 singles in the top 10 simultaneously…we could go on.

Her unstoppable juggernaut of a sophomore album, 21, spent 28 weeks at the number one spot in the UK Album Chart after its release in 2011, and was still in the top 40 in December 2012. As far back as August 2011, the singer was reportedly working on the follow-up, telling Q Magazine that she had written seven songs for the new album, and initially it seemed there may be another album along quite quickly. Unfortunately the singer was then stricken with an illness that affected her voice, delaying any new recording. Further delays occurred after the singer took a break to have a child, but finally in April last year reports began to surface that Adele was back in the studio.

Despite her labels attempts to keep the project under wraps, rumours continued to circulate and eventually her publicist Paul Moss confirmed via Twitter on January 3rd that Adele’s album would indeed be released this year.

 

What’s it called?


More rumours abound on the upcoming record’s title, the most credible of which seems to suggest that the album will either be called 23 or 24, depending on her age when the album is released. That seems likely as it would continue the naming convention from her previous two records, with further credence being added to the theory coming from the fact that the suggestion initially came from Roger Friedman, who first broke the news of the singer’s involvement with the theme song for Bond film Skyfall.

 

#17 Coldplay

(Words by James Forryan)

 

A little background…

Following their fifth studio album, 2011’s Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay engaged in some heavy-duty touring, and by the end of 2012 the band were clearly ready to take a break, reportedly hinting at a Brisbane show in November that year that it could be up to three years before they started recording again.

Last year however, Chris Martin gave an interview to the Daily Star, in which he clarified his comments: “This three-year break idea only came about because I said at a gig in Australia that we might not be back there for three years. That's probably true, but that's just how a world tour works. No chance are we taking a three-year break.''

He also revealed that the band had already begun work on the next album: ''I've been writing songs and I'm so fired up about the band's future." So it looks as though album no.6 could be arriving sooner than expected.

 

What’s it called?

They’re not saying, but they do seem to have a title in mind – in the same Daily Star interview Martin said the new album would be “much easier to pronounce”. He wouldn’t reveal the title however, and was reportedly dissuaded from dropping any further hints by the band’s guitarist Jonny Buckland.

 

What will it sound like?

You might think this would be fairly easy to predict, but over the last year in interviews with, amongst others, Jo Whiley, the band had suggested they were considering a new direction, saying that they may have taken stadium rock as far as it could go. As far back as February last year, Buckland said he and drummer Will Champion had been ‘noodling around’ in the studio, but didn’t seem to impressed with the results of their experimentation: “[It's] garbage, abstract, avant-garde nonsense. So you shall never hear of it…”

Make of that what you will…

 

Who’s producing it?

Nothing confirmed as yet. Previously the band have worked with Ken Nelson, who worked on the first three albums, but more recently they had been in the studio with Rik Simpson and Brian Eno, who are likely contenders to be involved.

 

Will it really come out this year? And when?

If the rumours are anything to go by, it seems likely that the new album could be released by the end of Spring this year, but at the time of writing no release date has yet been confirmed.

 

 

#18 Ed Sheeran

(Words by Tom Goodwyn)

 

A little background…

Of all the unlikely success stories of the last 10 years, none feels more like an underdog overcoming just about everything than Ed Sheeran. His debut record + emerged on September 9, it was widely assumed that he'd be a small obstacle for Laura Marling to overcome in her quest to obtain her first Number One album in the UK. As it turned out, Sheeran crushed her, selling over 102,000 copies of the record in its first week, sales that everybody back. + has gone on to be a huge success, selling almost four million and taking Sheeran from coffee shops to arenas around the world.

Ideally, he'd have had the follow-up out by now, but big tour has followed big tour and he's only had the chance to knuckle down and work on the record this year. Recently, we've heard some new music in the shape of 'I See Fire', a track Sheeran contributed to the soundtrack of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug soundtrack. You can hear it at the bottom of the page.

 

What It's Called?

No idea, Sheeran's not confirmed anything. -? No, that's too easy…

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Sheeran confirmed that he's been working legendary Rick Rubin on the record, telling Rolling Stone that he'd been trying new techniques with the bearded guru, saying: "Rick had an idea of me recording it completely acoustic and then adding instrumentation later."

In the same interview Sheeran also revealed that at least six of the album's songs have been co-written by Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance and has also worked with Gavin DeGraw, tourmate Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding. It's not known which tracks end up on the record though…

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Sheeran has promised a much more mature record, but also confirmed that he wants to be keep things minimal, writing and recording acoustically as he did when he wrote +. His life's changed a bit since then, so don't expect the same lyrical themes, but also it's unlikely he's roped in too many string quartets…

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Almost certainly. Sheeran's plan is to release three albums over the next three years. Let's see how he gets on. We'd be betting on late spring/early summer for this one. 

 

 

#19 The Prodigy

(Words by James Forryan)

 

A little background…

After the success of 1997’s The Fat Of The Land, its 2004 follow-up Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned met with a decidedly mixed reaction from critics, despite topping the UK album chart. However, their last outing Invaders Must Die was widely considered to be a return to form, and Liam Howlett & Co. have reportedly been working on tracks for album no.6 for over a year now, previewing some of the new tracks as far back as their set at Download Festival in 2012. More new tracks were also previewed at live shows last year, including at the Rock am Ring festival held at Germany’s Nürburgring.

Liam is known to be a perfectionist though, so it’s not too surprising that the gestation period for the new record is dragging on a bit.

 

What’s it called?

Liam Howlett revealed in an interview with NME last may that the title for the new album would be How To Steal A Jetfighter, so that seems pretty clear cut.

 

What will it sound like?

In the same interview Liam also stated that the new album would be ‘darker’ than 2011’s Invaders Must Die: “The last record was kind of a party album, I guess. We were all happy to be back together again. But the best tunes of that album are the ones that have less of that. It's definitely going to be heavier, darker." He did also state in an interview with Zane Lowe in 2012 that the album “will not be dubstep.” So that’s a relief…

 

Who’s producing? Are there any big name guests?

Liam will of course be the producer for the record, but as far as big-name guests go there hasn’t been too much in the way of information. The Prodigy’s albums aren’t usually packed with guests, although there have been some interesting appearances on the last two records, including Dave Grohl, Princess Superstar and the Gallagher brothers, but we can only speculate at this stage.

 

Will it really come out this year? And when?

With at least five new tracks premiered live so far over the last 18 months we would imagine that development of the new album is reasonably far along, so there’s a fairly good chance of this one happening, but still no confirmed release date at the time of writing.

 

 

#20 Slipknot

(Words by Dave Connell)

 

A Little Background...

For such a malevolent beast, it’s no surprise that the history of Slipknot isn’t exactly smooth, from the moment they came spitting out of Des Moines like a rabid dog back in 1999, they've been a magnet for both controversy and utter devotion from their fans. Recently, there's more than a little uncertainty about their future with their members devoting their a myriad of side projects, which have included singer Corey Taylor becoming a best-selling author and percussionist Shawn Crahan getting himself into acting.

Following the release of All Hope Is Gone in 2008, the band have had an even more turbulent time, losing 2 hugely important members- tragically, bassist Paul Gray died in 2010 and more recently drummer Joey Jordison has departed, announcing his withdrawal from Slipknot in late 2013.

Jordison’s departure will inevitably cast a shadow over any new album, and may put the band’s future in doubt. The only statements to come out of the Slipknot camp so far, however, firmly assert that there will be a future for Slipknot, despite there being no full time bassist or drummer at present.

 

What's It Called?

Not a clue. It's unlikely to be something particular cheery though, they don't go in for that sort of thing. 

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Prior to Jordison’s departure, a lot of material had apparently been written for a potential new record. Much of Jordison’s material apparently ended up on the Scar the Martyr album- it’s been said that his material is now unlikely to appear on a new record, unsurprisingly. This leaves most of the songwriting to Shaun Crahan, Jim Root (who stepped off the Stone Sour tour to write new Slipknot material) and Corey Taylor.

A new album, potentially a double CD, though that seems unlikely, is still expected around summer 2014 or later with material so far written by Taylor and Root claimed to be "A cross between Iowa and Vol. 3". It is likely to be very dark, lyrically, no doubt dealing with the death of Paul Gray amongst the usual smorgasbord of Taylor’s themes. Slipknot had been moving in a decidedly more melodic direction since Iowa, and musically it may be a little less intense following the departure of Jordison.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

There's been no confirmation on producers. Last time out the band worked with Godsmack producer Dave Fortman, while their first two were produced by metal supremo Ross Robinson. They've also worked with Rick Rubin, a man Taylor described last year as "a thin, thin, thin shadow of the Rick Rubin that he was. He is overrated, he is overpaid, and I will never work with him again as long as I fucking live." Safe to say he won't be behind the controls...

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

It seems that a new album of some kind will appear in 2014, whether the band recruit new full time members or not (with Donnie Steele filling in on live shows since 2011). Whether a 2014 album is the last ‘Knot record or not remains to be seen, but there will be no doubt- a new Slipknot album will be one of THE biggest metal releases of the year. Since Slipknot became Roadrunners’ first platinum-selling album, every record they release is an event. It will be huge. It will be emotional. It will be crushing. And it will be unmissable.

 

#21 Beck 

(Words by Shane Layden)

 

A Little Background...

Beck is no stranger to experimenting with his compositions and recordings, tweaking the arrangements until he is satisfied. His breakthrough 1993 single 'Loser' was one such piece that was almost never released as he felt it was mediocre and yet upon release its huge popularity spurred on the completion of Beck's third album, Mellow Gold, and suddenly the world was listening.

Since then, two of his albums, Odelay and Sea Change, have garnered immense critical acclaim and are both often included in 'best of' lists in various publications. It's been five years since the release of Beck's 11th studio album, Modern Guilt, and excitement is building as the the 12th is almost here.

 

What's It Called?

The new album is called Morning Phase. Solid title. Two words. Classic Beck.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Morning Phase has been brewing since 2005 when Beck began recording several of the tracks in Nashville. In 2012 he returned to Nashville where he continued working on the album at Jack White's Third Man Records studio. He also recorded some material in his hometown, Los Angeles, early last year and spent the next six months putting all the bits together.

The new album is billed as a companion piece to his phenomenal Sea Change which was released in 2002, so we can expect emotionally deep acoustic style songs as Beck wears his singer-songwriter cap and steers clear of samples and hip-hop beats.

Furthermore, as the title suggests, this album is slightly more optimistic, with the singer taking inspiration from the music of California in the days when The Byrds, Crosby Stills & Nash and Neil Young ruled the roost.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Beck has produced the album. Amongst others, Beck recorded with tried and trusted members of his touring band, namely Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Joey Waronker, all of whom have worked with him on other projects including Sea Change.

String arrangements are in the very capable hands of Beck's father, David Campbell, who has worked on hundreds of albums, including several of Beck's. Jason Falkner has also contributed of his session skills again.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

With Beck's tendency to shelve his music for long periods of time we can be quite sure we're in for a treat now that this album has met with his approval. Morning Phase is set to be released in February.

 

#22 Imogen Heap

(Words by Imogen Goulding)

 

A Little Background…

Angelic, yet eccentric English singer-songwriter and one half of Frou Frou, Imogen Heap, is on the brink of sharing her fourth studio album with our eager ears. Her previous offering, Ellipse, dates back to 2009 and was extremely well received by both fans and critics, both of whom have been chomping at the bit to hear new music ever since.

Heap has announced gleefully that her 2014 release will be available from 3rd March, with an extremely special, intimate deluxe edition landing the week before. Never before has an expanded version sounded so thrilling; all sorts of extras are included within the package, from the standard few music videos, to a one hundred and twenty-page coffee table book and a mysterious deck of playing cards, allowing exclusive web content to be unlocked. It therefore should come as no shock that those with access to any sneaky previews have dubbed this album “diverse and daring”.


What’s It Called?

Heap’s website confirmed recently that her March release will be titled Sparks, which seems quite intriguing and as though it paves the way for something rather spectacular. When Heap has discussed what she has been producing, she seems to have been totally inspired by people right across the globe, so it’s no wonder she has selected a title with an explosive feel.


What Will It Sound Like?

In a recent interview, Heap explained the path she travelled which took her to making Sparks. Though it will probably sound similar in style to her previous ventures, Heap stated that “the album began with someone sending in the sound of a striking match for what became Lifeline in March 2011”. Spending two and a half years dotting from place-to-place, spanning the world, allowed Heap the opportunity to collaborate with several projects undertaken by many different people, which gave her the stimulation to create the artwork out of fans’ footprints and those she had met. Anyone who pre-ordered the deluxe edition was asked to send an image of their footprint, to add to this rare montage.

#heapsongs is the tag given to the collection of thirteen utterly unique pieces produced by Heap from 2011 to 2012, ranging from songs as a tribute for Tohoku earthquake and tsunami victims, to a collaboration with Deadmau5, and even a track produced with Intel for a Jogging App. These #heapsongs are an arsenal of interesting and imaginative ideas put to excellent musical accompaniment, indicating that Sparks will be quite a different sort of album, yet still echoes of original Imogen Heap.

 

Who’s Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Despite all her wonderful eccentricity and desire for originality, Heap is a shy artist, who doesn’t tend to brag about enlisting well-known producers to help make the record, nor does she collaborate with major names on almost any track. Despite this, Heap does collaborate with two artists: Vishal–Shekhar, a directing duo specialising in Hindi films, and massive house producer, Deadmau5, he of the mouse head and massive pots of money fame…


Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Imogen Heap is committed to bequeathing us a fourth album, and is set to release Sparks on 3rd March, offering both a standard edition and an extraordinary, tantalising deluxe too.

 

#23 Guns N' Roses

(Words by Dave Connell)

 

A little background…

Considering the last Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy, took a full 14 years to complete (writing began in 1994 when they still had more than one member of the band that recorded their seminal album Appetite for Destruction), it’s surprising that another album could be out a mere 6 years later. However, strong rumours have been swirling since the end of 2012 about an album in 2014 and certainly recording will have been taking place in between GnR’s sporadic, yet fairly constant, touring since 2008 so the notion isn’t as fanciful as it may seem…

 

What It's Called?

The notoriously secretive Axl Rose has given nothing away about a new record, so no name or track listing yet exists. 

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Guitarist Richard Fortus stated in May 2013 that the album was nearing completion. Mike Clink, Sean Beavan and Bob Ezrin all worked on Chinese Democracy so a big name from the rock scene will be a shoe-in to produce. Chinese Democracy had an enormous amount of musicians credited to each track, with most of the songs featuring at least 7 members or more, but it is a much more stable line-up now- Dizzy Reed, Chris Pitman and Tommy Stinson have all been around for longer than their more well-known counterparts and only DJ Ashba of the current line up didn’t feature on the last record so the cycle of re-recording that plagued Chinese Democracy should be out.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

The stable line-up, coupled with a relatively short gestation for the album, means that the slight mish-mash of styles prevalent on Chinese Democracy should give way to a more coherent whole. Let’s not forget, Axl co-wrote some of the greatest hard rock songs in history ('Welcome to the Jungle', 'Paradise City', 'You Could Be Mine' and so many more) and some hugely epic masterpieces ('November Rain') so talent and songwriting are not a problem. Any new album will still be angry and hard, but a maturity should show through. 

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Until the album is sitting on shelves, and Dr Pepper has given everyone in the US a free drink, there will always be cynicism regarding how quickly GnR can get an album out. But there are too many forces at work for a new album NOT to happen. Guns N' Roses are headlining a Rock festival in Mexico this March, which could signal the start of the promotion machine for a late 2014 launch. Will it happen? It’s more of a "hopefully" than a "definitely"- but it’s not all that far-fetched.

 

#24 Solange

(Words by Sam Massie)

 

A little background…

Before bursting into a division of the pop music scene sprinkled with a dosing of new-wave influences with her 2012 EP True, Solange Knowles released two studio albums, 2003's Solo Star and 2008's Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Although the latter received far more critical attention than her debut, it's widely accepted that this new EP is where she matured and really honed her very own style, a heartfelt and distinguished mix of soul, psychedelic, electronica and R&B.


As of yet, details surrounding the new release remain unclear in some aspects, but one thing's certain: this record is set to host some immensely exciting collaborations, including Sampha and David Longstreth, frontman of The Dirty Projectors. Referring to her regret at making fans wait five years or so between the first and second albums, Solange highlighted that 2014 was the year we were going to hear a fresh full length. Get pumped.


What It's Called?

Unfortunately, although we're well underway with the year the album's set to hit our eardrums, the singer hasn't confirmed an album title nor any track names thus far.


What Will It Sound Like?

Going off the back of her lush yet gritty and at times lyrically morose EP True, and with the aforementioned collaborations in mind, we've got a sneaking suspicion Solange is set to take flight with this one in a more stripped-back, string-heavy fashion.
Bearing quite a hefty weight on her shoulders with the unholy success of her elder sister Beyonce, she'll want to show that she isn't just imitating or following family tradition.

11 years after her debut album, there's a lot of hope she'll have ripened enough as a musician in order to see this desire through.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Needless to say, Sampha and David Longstreth aren't the biggest of big name collaborators. However it's much more vital for Solange to choose guests artists she believes will best compliment her new record rather than picking someone purely for A-List presence. 

As for the producer, this is still unconfirmed -- but personally we're holding out for Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange) to continue where he left of with True EP's sublime attention to detail in production techniques. With a spectacular new record recently under his belt in late 2013 as Blood Orange, Hynes has been smacking the collective jaw of new-age jazz funk fans, rightfully making his talent widely recognised.


Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When? 

It's impossible to say, but here's hoping for a late 2014 release. 

 

#25 Tool

(Words By Dave Connell)

 

A little background…

Tool’s last album, 10,000 Days, came out in 2006, a full eight years ago. Even for Tool, this has been a long wait. In that time, bassist Justin Chancellor has recorded an album under the name MT Void, vocalist Maynard James Keenan has toured and recorded with Puscifer and bought a vinyard, and Chinese Democracy actually came out. The band hasn’t been entirely inactive, appearing at the occasional festival (such as Ozzfest in Japan last year) and even the odd tour, but this is the longest, and quietest period of the band’s history.

The writing process for their new record has been ongoing, on and off, since around 2008. A movie was also touted and with guitarist Adam Jones’ connections in the movie industry this is a possibility - Jones worked on set design and SFX for several big films including Terminator 2. They are a hugely ambitious band and take their art seriously. The 10,000 Days packaging was particularly spectacular, folding out into a pair of lenticular glasses and a series of 3D photographs and pictures, so there is no doubt that a new project will be big, bold and slightly left-field.

 

What it's called?

No idea, Tool are such a secretive bunch that information like this never slips out. Their first three records all had single word titles, so that seems like a good bet. 

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Tool’s style has evolved hugely from Opiate, their first EP. They were always different and more considered than their peers’, but also raw. From debut album Aenima onwards, they really found their feet and each release showed more maturity, with odd time signatures and deep, obtuse lyrics becoming their signature. They still retain a very basic setup, though. Jones’ shuns guitar pyrotechnics in favour of atmosphere and texture, Justin’s bass is a rumbling lynchpin and in Danny Carey they have one of the most dedicated and challenging drummers around. Maynard is a lyrical genius, even writing the lyrics of the song Laterlalus to correspond with the Fibonacci numbers. This means that any new album will be a deep record, demanding repeat listens before its true nature reveals itself. We can expect long songs too, most Tool tracks clock in at well over six minutes. 

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Tool always at least co-produce their own records, and, on 10,000 Days, produced it themselves completely, with no word on producers for this album, it's likely that'll be the case again. No word on guest appearances, though they've been known to include a few guest vocalists, with the likes of Henry Rollins and Bill McConnell among the singers who've sung on earlier Tool records. 

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Rumours of a new Tool album abound whenever a new Tool album isn’t out. This could have been written every year from 2009 on- but there is a certain momentum that a new album WILL be out this year. Maynard has commented that Jones, Carey and Chancellor are perfecting the music before he gets to lay down his vocals, but both Keenan and Jones’ have stated that there will be a record out in 2014, though with their sloth-like pace, a late summer release or after is likely.

 

#26 Damon Albarn

 

A little background…

Since Blur’s (let's be honest) final album, Think Tank, in 2003, Damon Albarn been very busy indeed. He’s worked on a range of projects including Gorillaz with pal Jamie Hewlett, The Good, The Bad and The Queen with producer Danger Mouse, as well as Rocket Juice and the Moon, featuring legendary afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers. In addition, he’s released two albums of African music in conjunction with a range of musicians from Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo and produced a record by Bobby Womack, even finding time to write a Chinese opera named Monkey: Journey to the West. In fact, the only thing he hasn’t done over the last decade is release a solo album under his own name. That’s soon to be put right though, with a solo debut coming in 2014.

 

What’s it called?

Albarn confirmed the albums title on Twitter this week, saying that the album will be called Everyday Robots, as well as posting an image of the cover artwork (see below).

 

What will it sound like?

Damon Albarn's music is nothing if not eclectic, so there will no doubt be lots of variety on the new record. The title track is a down-tempo, piano-led lament on our obsession with technology and how this impedes our interaction with each other, with a clear electronic / hip-hop influence in its drums and percussion, but as yet the only other preview came by way of a live performance at Sundance, so we guess we’ll have to wait and see.

 

Who’s producing it? Are there any big-name guests?

Albarn has been working with producer and XL Records boss Richard Russell, the pair co-producing the new record between them. The singer has also confirmed that here will be appearances from Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan and Brian Eno.

 

Will it really come out this year? And when?

Yep, It’s happening. The release date has been announced as April 28 and the video for the title track and lead single premiered this week, as well as a track listing for the album, both of which you can find below:

 

#27 The Avalanches

(Words by James Forryan)

 

A little background…

As album gestation periods go, the wait for the second album by The Avalanches is up there with the longest on record. In recent years, only Chinese Democracy by Guns ‘n’ Roses and My Bloody Valentine’s mbv have taken longer to surface, and fans could be forgiven for giving up on the idea of a new record after a wait of 14 years. Rumours have been circulating about a follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2000 debut, Since I Left You, since as far back as 2005, and in 2007 the band released a statement saying that 40 new tracks were being considered for the new album, but just as fans started to get their hopes up, it went quiet again. Then, late in 2011, things started to happen.

In December that year the band posted lyrics to a new song entitled ‘The Stepkids’ on their Twitter account. By March 2012, Jennifer Herrema and Danny Brown had both publicly commented that they had been working with the band on new music. By August, Ariel Pink had been added to the list of collaborators, and fans really began to hope when a clip of new music was released for the first time in more than a decade, albeit in the form of a strange narration by David Berman named ‘A Cowboy Overflow of the Heart’. By the middle of last year, reports were circulating that the album was finally expected to surface in 2014, with a single due to be released last September, but it never materialised.

 

What’s it called?

Although there has been confirmation of a couple of the track names, there’s no official word on the album title yet. There was however a rumour that the new record had tentatively been given the title On a Saturday or Friday Night Fever, but still nothing confirmed from the band or the label.

 

What will it sound like?

Good question. According to various statements released over the last few years it won’t be a huge departure from the sound on Since I Left You, in fact according to the band it sounds ‘exactly the same’ as their debut, with another statement from the group in 2013 stating that the new material is “so fucking party, you will die, much more hip-hop than you might expect, and while there is still no estimated time of arrival, were sure you’re gonna love it”.

 

Who’s producing it? Are there any big-name guests?

Since The Avalanches are known to self-produce it’s likely they’re doing it all themselves. Aside form the collaborators already mentioned, no others have been confirmed, but then this is The Avalanches and information is scarce at the best of times.

 

Will it really come out this year? And when?

Well, this is a band that has considerable previous form with false dawns and rumours that come to nothing, so we’re not exactly holding our breath. Having said that, it does look more likely now than it has at any point over the last decade. Given that statements have been released to the effect that the new record has been sequenced, even mixed, one reason for the delay could be sample clearance: Since I Left You featured more than 3,500 samples, so if there’s anything like that amount again it could take some time before we finally see a new record.

 

#28 Stevie Wonder

(Words by Shane Layden)

 

A Little Background...

Signing to Tamla Motown, at just 11 years old, multi-instrumentalist Stevie Wonder has enthralled the world time and time again with his innovative music. His most critically acclaimed work remains his string of groundbreaking soul recordings released in the 70s; his sound evolved constantly, taking in many different influences and tempos.

Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life are widely regarded as landmarks in both his career and the evolution of soul music (Kanye West has mentioned these two albums as the standard of music he aspires to create). Wonder's popularity continued to grow during the 80s with four studio albums and several other projects spawning dozens of hit singles including one of his biggest, 'I Just Called to Say I Love You'.

He released two studio albums in the 90s and then in 2005 he released A Time to Love, his 23rd studio album. Since filing for his second divorce in 2012, Wonder has been busy composing music and looks set to make up a dry spell that has lasted almost a decade with his sights set on releasing two, or maybe even three albums, this year.

 

What's Are They Called?


When the World BeganTen Billion Hearts and Gospel Inspired by Lula.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Wonder will be joined by a symphony orchestra while recording When the World Began which will feature new songs as well as new arrangements of several of his well-known hits (including 'Isn't She Lovely' and 'I Just Called to Say I Love You'). The title track When the World Began is likely to be the first single to be released off the upcoming album.

Wonder has spoken about being inspired by hip-hop and, ever keen to move forward, he wants to create something different. The results should make his upcoming solo album, Ten Billion Hearts, rather interesting and could introduce his voice and amazing songs to a whole new generation. During the 2012 Billboard Music Awards he gave the ecstatic audience an idea of what's to come as he performed the song 'Ten Billion Hearts' which oozed a sumptuous melody, a trademark harmonica solo and a full gospel choir accompaniment. You can hear it below.

Making good on a promise to his beloved mother, Lula, who passed away in 2006, Wonder is working on a traditional gospel album called Gospel Inspired by Lula. He has said he wants the album's message to be focused on love, which is common to all religions that believe in the word, however, he wants to do it in a unique way and will possibly even record a song in either Arabic or Hebrew. Sounds ambitious.

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Wonder is working in collaboration with fellow multi-Grammy winner and producer David Foster. Former collaborators, the a cappella sextet Take 6, have also been involved in the recordings. Following news about the inclusion of the song 'This Town', penned by Wonder at the age of 13, it has been speculated that Tony Bennett may be a guest on the album as Bennett has sung 'This Town' before.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

In a career that has spanned 50 years, the legendary Stevie Wonder is clearly not done. He is passionately creating, innovating and refining his sound yet again. There are no confirmed release dates, but it's certain that the music is on its way. The question is, will it be one, two, or all three albums coming out this year?

 

#29 Lupe Fiasco

(Words by Helen Maule)

 

A Little Background...

To anyone familiar with the hip hop scene, Lupe Fiasco needs no introduction, to the wider public though, he's still something of an unknown. Finding fame after remixing Kanye West’s ‘Diamond’s of Sierra Leone’, Lupe has gone on to forge a career as a successful MC in his own right. Over the past 7 years and 4 studio albums, Lupe has become known for addressing social issues such as violence and suicide in his lyrics, as well as his outspoken political views, never following the crowd, all following his own path. 

After the delayed release of his critically and commercially successful 3rd album, 2011's Lasers, there was speculation over the release of a Food & Liquor Part II, however just 6 months after it’s release in 2012 came the announcement of Tetsuo & Youth. With such an interesting album name we were hoping there was an amazing story behind it, but alas it doesn’t mean anything - simply just two words he liked.

 

What It's Called?

Tetsuo & Youth. Like we said. 

 

What Will It Sound Like?

Tetsuo & Youth is set to be unlike any Lupe Fiasco album that’s gone before. Firstly, although not a party album there is no political subtext. This has been a conscious decision by Lupe in an effort to have people judge him based on his musical capabilities and not his political stance, which doesn’t seem too outlandish, after all he is a musician and not a politician. He’s described the album as “ratchet”, no not the tool you use to mend your engine but the word used by Gen Y American’s when describing something as ‘street’. Lupe has elaborated that despite stating the album is ratchet he uses the word in the context of being graphic and that could be a word or a point of view, and that when he uses the term ratchet it’s more situational and less in the context many other people use it (as in to repair a car?).

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

The confirmed features so far have been Rick Ross, Big K.R.I.T and Chris Brown, not to forget label-mate and all round nice guy, our very own Mr Ed Sheeran. Sheeran lends vocals to the lead single ‘Old Skool Love’ which was released in the US on 14th October, peaking at Number 3 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 singles chart. A very classic sounding hip hop beat, the signature Lupe Fiasco lyricism, plus Sheeran’s vocal adding a certain depth, the end result being an all round great track.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Although no exact date has been set yet, with 98% of the album complete ‘Tetsuo & Youth’ has been tipped for release in early 2014.

 

#30 Azealia Banks

 

A Little Background...

Since she penetrated international consciousness at the end of 2011 with the undeniable '212', Harlem's newest, brashest, least predictable rap star Azealia Banks has been working towards the moment when her debut album would be released, and... we're... almost... there.......….. now! (ish)

To be fair, there's been no shortage of entertainment and output from Banks while the various postponements, revisions and retractions in connection with the album have been announced over the last two years. We've had an EP (1991), a mix tape (Fantasea), a whole bunch of singles and videos and enough spats with fellow artists (over that medium which facilitates such bitch-fests so beautifully - Twitter) for a lifetime. In addition to all this, Banks has been doing some pretty extensive touring including a ball-breaking mid-afternoon performance at last year's Glastonbury.

 

What's It Called?

The title of the album was announced last February as Broke With Expensive Taste and to the best of our knowledge this still stands! Banks is probably slightly less broke now though than when the title was first conceived.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

This is anyone's guess really! With Banks' penchant for working with a different producer each week (and only sometimes because she's fallen out with the last one) and also for constantly changing her mind about the proposed track listing, we are still in the dark somewhat. We're pretty sure '212' is going to be on there though and it's fair to expect the rest of it to be dancey, aggressive and with sojourns into 90s rave stylings for which she's demonstrated a strong taste in the past (she opened her Glastonbury set with her remix of The Prodigy's 'Out Of Space').

 

Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

Probably a better question would be ‘Are There Any Big Names Absentees?’, then we could say ‘Yeah! You’ve got Disclosure (track dropped after Banks decided they had been rude about her in an interview), Pharrell Williams (recent single ATM Jam features Williams on production and vocals - Banks recently indicated in a tweet that it was now dropped) and Busta Rhymes (has collaborated twice with Banks including recent remix of Beyoncé’s Partition but sadly not tipped to feature on the album)’.

It seems that for Banks no working relationship is sacred and that if she’s not happy in any way with the fruits of the collaboration then she has enough confidence in creating something fresh for it not to be a problem ditching it without a further thought.

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

We're currently looking at March but if we get to April and it still hasn't come out, don't say we didn't warn you.

 

 

#31 U2

(Words by Tom Goodwyn)

 

A little background…

It's been five years since U2's last album No Line On The Horizon, and in that time, they've undertaken a world tour which grossed a total of $736 million and 7.2 million people turned up to see, headlined Glastonbury to mixed reviews and singer Bono and guitarist The Edge also composed and recorded the soundtrack for the infamous Broadway calamity Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.

They returned to the studio at the tail end of 2011 and have been holed up there on and off ever since. Late last year the band's first new material 'Ordinary Love', the lead-off single on the soundtrack of the film Mandela – Long Walk To Freedom was released (you can hear it at the bottom of the page) emerged.

Another new track 'Invisible' is set to emerge on Sunday (February 2) during a Superbowl commercial and will be available to download free for 24 hours with the Bank of America donating $1 for every download. The band have stressed that this isn't the beginning of the campaign for their new album, just a giveaway. They're also booked to be Jimmy Fallon's first musical guests when he takes over The Tonight Show on February 17th, which seems as good a place as any to kick off their new album campaign…

 

What It's Called?

There's no word on that yet, but the last three U2 records have had pretty lengthy titles. They did reveal in mid-2012 that the record had been given the working title of '10 Reasons To Exist', we'll see if that sticks…

 

Who's Producing It? Are There Any Big-Name Guests?

After working with various producers on No Line On The Horizon and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, including Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Jacknife Lee and Steve Lillywhite, this time the band have thrown a curveball by enlisting Danger Mouse (he of Gnarls Barkley playing and Gorillaz producing fame) to produce the record.

As for guests, Coldplay's Chris Martin was spotted entering New York's Electric Ladyland Studios with the band, suggesting he could feature on the record in some capacity.

 

What Will It Sound Like?

U2's sound is big, blustery rock songs built around guitars so huge they could fill aircraft hangers, so it's unlikely they'll deviate too much from that. It'll be very interesting to hear whether Danger Mouse attempts to rein the band in or persuade them to come up with something more nuanced.

The band have also reportedly been working with songwriters RedOne, who's most famous for his co-writes with Lady Gaga and Pitbull, and Carl Falk, who's helped sculpt many of One Direction's biggest hits. Does this mean we're in for a return to the days of 1997's Pop? Who knows?

 

Will It Really Come Out This Year? And When?

Interviewed the other day, Bono is reported to have said that the band's new album will emerge in June with a single due out in the coming weeks. Much as these things have a habit of getting delayed it seems pretty likely that the band's new record will indeed emerge in 2014.

 

You can check out U2's back catalogue in our download store now. 

 

More Articles

View All