Group Feature: ACRN’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

Will 2018 be as bright as 2017 for music? Here are our most anticipated albums of 2018!

Jon Fuchs, Music Director: Current Joys – A Different Age

Nick Rattigan has never made a bad record before. Whether it’s with guitarist Jacob Rubeck as Surf Curse or by himself as Current Joys, every record he’s been a part of is a refreshing dip into a nostalgic pool of love, depression and youth. His last Current Joys record, Me Oh My Mirror, was one of the most overlooked records of 2015 and is easily one of the most well-written indie records in years. Out March 2nd, his follow-up, A Different Age, is already looking to be one of this year’s most promising indie records, with the three singles leading up to the album (“Become the Warm Jets”, “Fear” and “In a Year of 13 Moons”) being some of Rattigan’s saddest, lushest material yet. The songs also have some of his best production and most varied instrumentation, all while keeping his themes of sadness and heartbreak. So be ready to get out a box of tissues and jump back into that sweet, sweet nostalgic pool.

Devon Hannan, Editorial Director: Haley Heynderickx – I Need to Start a Garden

After two solid EPs, Haley Heynderickx is about to put out her debut LP, I Need to Start a Garden. With tinges of similarity between Angel Olsen and Adrianne Lenker, Heynderickx’s lyrical composition and whimsical acoustics are ready to tackle the folk genre—and with the way her singles are sounding, she’s about to knock it on its ass.

“Oom Sha La La” begins with a bouncy, upbeat pop melody, however, it doesn’t take long for it to burst with even more color. With lyrics suggesting all-too-familiar feelings of an existential crossroads, Heynderickx yells over a once fun, folky ballad turned mad, “I need to start a garden! I need to start a garden!” over and over again. The second single, “Untitled God Song”, is an evocative tune set to the sound of bellowing croons dusted over dazzling guitar work. Heynderickx’s brilliance may have only just begun, but it’s a light that is guaranteed to have a long-lasting flame.

Justin Cudahy, Columns Editor: Brockhampton – Team Effort

Brockhampton, America’s favorite boy band, absolutely dominated the alternative hip-hop scene last year with their trifecta Saturation trilogy, all released within a span of six months. Just less than 24 hours before the release of Saturation III, their fourth studio album was already confirmed, Team Effort, slated for a 2018 release.

The group’s leader, Kevin Abstract, tweeted just days before the new year, “team effort is not what you think it is,” leading to mass speculation online on what that could mean. Will it be a live album? A collaborative effort? Given Brockhampton’s unique approach to their own sound and style, anything is game here. Personally, I’m hoping they stick to the same approach they went with the Saturation trilogy—each member contributing their own style, themes and beats while continuing to experiment with other genres. Let’s be real though, even if the new album is just 45 minutes of Joba screaming and making weird voices, it’d still be amazing.

Marvin Dotiyal, Features Editor: Underoath – TBA

I stopped listening to Underoath since Define the Great Line, which was the perfect progression to their quintessential post-hardcore classic and my personal favorite, They’re Only Chasing Safety. After a series of compilation releases and break-up/reunion tours, Underoath is hinted to be coming back with new music. Although there isn’t a lot of information speculating about the new release, it is confirmed that the band had already finished recording in September of 2017.

As an iconic band that had set big standards for the scene back in the day, I am quite excited about how they will shape their sound in their forthcoming release. Silverstein, another post-hardcore staple, turned new heads and received great appraisal with their latest, Dead Reflection, in 2017, so Underoath probably won’t disappoint. Will they make a comeback? Will they resurrect the dying scene? Either way, I’m not going in with any expectations; it will be interesting to see their growth, to say the least. Until then, I’ll binge on their remaining discography.

Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer: MGMT – Little Dark Age

I am most excited about MGMT’s new album this year. I have been a fan of their electronic groove style and crazy music video choices for years. I’m not even searching for an instant classic—just something within their style that I can add to my playlist without skipping it every time it comes up (@The Killers last year).

Their title track, “Little Dark Age”, and two other tracks have already dropped and show a lot of potential for the band that dropped their first album, Oracular Spectacular, almost 11 years ago. After MGMT’s last two albums were poorly received, I was worried that they were going to produce another dud. Luckily, these tracks show a lot of stylistic choices from MGMT’s earlier years, giving me hope that the rest of their album will follow this pattern. They also have pretty amazing music videos that are worth checking out.

Hunter Bych, Contributor: A Perfect Circle – TBA

It has been nearly 15 years since the release of their last original album, Thirteenth Step. It’s hard for me not to feel a little giddy with the fact that A Perfect Circle, one of the bands I loved in middle school, is coming out with something after over a decade. With the band releasing both “The Doomed” and “Disillusioned” as singles for the album, expectations have been raised as both are very good songs. Additionally, some of the concert exclusives such as “Feathers” or “Hourglass” may very well show up. It’s going to be interesting what the band has in store for this.

They have been doing live performances since the return from their hiatus a couple years ago. With that, expectations for me are much better than other bands who come out with a new album after years of being inactive. Regardless of whether this album is good or bad, it will still be one less band Maynard James Keenan needs to answer to when someone asks him for something new from one of his bands.

Paige McCluskey, Contributor: Shinedown – TBA

The long-anticipated follow-up to 2015’s Threat to Survival, Shinedown’s sixth studio album is sure to reflect the philosophy they’ve been following for so long: that they will never make the same album twice. The time between Threat to Survival and Shinedown Six has been anything but dry, as the band has been working themselves into a frenzy touring for nearly three years. Now, though, it’s time for the focus to return back to new music. This time, Shinedown is trying their hand at a concept album, an idea the band has never explored before. The album is being produced by the band’s very own bassist, Eric Bass, who also produced the first hit off of Threat to Survival, “Cut the Cord”. The first single is set to come out sometime in the near future.

While it’s been a fun few years seeing them on tour, I’m ready to hear something completely new from Shinedown. Knowing that they’re going to continue to toy around with the “dark” themes they explored on their last album but possibly throw a story in there only makes me more excited to see what this album is going to be like!

Eric Perzanowski, Contributor: Napalm Death – TBA

In what’ll be the group’s 16th full-length effort, a new release from Napalm Death is expected later this year. It’s hard not to get excited about the possibility of new Napalm Death music, given the work put in on the band’s past several albums (and arguably their whole discography). While there is no information regarding a release date or title, the band has been recording in the studio, and guitarist Shane Embury hopes that “this will be the most diverse yet.” If the experimentation shown in places on 2015’s Apex Predator – Easy Meat is expanded, this forthcoming material should easily end up as one of the best heavy albums of the year (or next year, if that ends up being the case). It’s impressive how, for over thirty years, Napalm Death has remained on the forefront of heavy music, and have continued to influence and shape the scene.

Allegra Solomon, Contributor: Arctic Monkeys – AM6

The resurrection of the Sheffield band is just around the corner, and a new Arctic Monkeys era is upon us. Fans have been itching for new music since the 2013 release of AM, which was named one of NME’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. While thoroughly enjoying the existence of side projects like The Last Shadow Puppets—I even saw them at Lollapalooza in 2016—my desire to see the entire band back together cranking out hits is at an all-time high.

The band has now entered their thirties, and I’m curious to know what that means in terms of their sound. If AM6 stays true to traditional Arctic Monkeys fashion, this album’s sound won’t be like anything else in their discography—none of their albums sound the same. I’d been prepping myself for the existence of new music since last summer, but the band may be back sooner than I had expected. At the beginning of this week, their website updated with a clean, black and gold minimalistic look, announcing festival tour dates for the upcoming year. The time is near, and I will be waiting anxiously.


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