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10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2013

By

January 15, 2013
If, even two years ago, you'd suggested that the second album for The Avalanches and the third album for My Bloody Valentine were actually going to be released —like anytime, in any way, ever— you would've been laughed at. They were indie music fans two most persistent pipe-dreams; one a decade in the making, the other two decades in the making; each shrouded in as much mystery and myth as any concrete facts. But, entering 2013, there's a very real possibility that both will be released this year, making one wonder if the end-of-the-world truly is imminent. And if they do come out, what do we turn to next? Waiting for the third Neutral Milk Hotel album?

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire -The Suburbs
CBC Radio 3/Flickr/CC by 2.0
Not long after their surprise album-of-the-year win at the Grammys in 2011, Arcade Fire first started talking about making a follow-up to 2010's wildly-acclaimed The Suburbs. Last year, the band confirmed they were at work with producers Markus Dravs (with whom they collaborated on The Suburbs) and, more notably, James Murphy (the founder of DFA Records and leader of LCD Soundsystem). The 'Murphy producing the album' rumors quickly picked up steam, but he's only serving more as spiritual supervisor. The band have promised the undoubtedly-epic opus will be out before 2013 is through; and given that, in their existence, they've kept exactly to an album-every-three-years pace —2004's Funeral, 2007's Neon Bible, 2010's The Suburbs— we can surely expect the new Arcade Fire album will arrive on schedule. Excited yet?

The Avalanches

The Avalanches 'Cowboy Overflow of the Heart'
The Avalanches
Though The Avalanches have been apparently "clearing samples" for the last three years, the evidence suggests that their long, long, long-awaited follow-up to 2000's increasingly-legendary Since I Left You, is still a work-in-progress. More and more collaborators have been added with the passing years: Ariel Pink, David Berman, Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux, rappers Danny Brown and Dominique Young Unique. And, by this stage, you figure the second Avalanches album will be whittled down from dozens —if not hundreds— of tracks the band (who are down to roughly one-and-a-half members, these days) have worked on over the past decade. Yet the fact that The Avalanches let loose a demo of their David Berman collaboration ("A Cowboy Overflow of the Heart) and remain active on Twitter means the dream of a second LP remains very much alive.

Glass Candy

Glass Candy
Italians Do It Better
Body Work, Glass Candy's follow-up to 2007's Beatbox, has been billed as 'Coming Soon' since 2008; it was, indeed, on this very same list last year. Such is the working ways of Johnny Jewel, the studio mastermind whose "magic element is time." Jewel is content to have an album essentially finished, yet kept on hold, seeing if it needs to change shape as it goes. This means that, for example, the October-due After Dark 2 compilation hasn't actually come out, three months after its due date. But the wait is worth it: last year Chromatics' Kill for Love killed; an album-of-the-year contender that made them one of 2012's breakout bands. This year, you could feel the same happening for Glass Candy. If, y'know, Body Work ever actually comes out.

The Knife

The Knife
Rabid
When The Knife landed on my most anticipated albums of 2012 list, their presence with tinged with hopes and dreams. Sure, the Swedish siblings had announced that —after nearly five years on hiatus— they were back at work, in the studio, on the follow-up to 2006's increasingly-influential Silent Shout. That follow-up didn't arrive in 2012, but now 2013 is officially the year. They ever-odd band recently returned from the wilderness heralding the release of the new Knife LP, the news announced behind a single strange image, of wigged figures in eyesore outfits, standing back to the camera. Though the duo remain as mysterious as ever, now we have also have the facts: The Knife's fourth album will be called Shaking the Habitual, and it's going to be out in April. They're even playing a handful of liveshows, to boot. See them whilst you can.

Modest Mouse

Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse
IFC
When Isaac Brock founded his own record label in 2005, he called it Glacial Pace. At the time, it seemed a reference to 2000's The Moon and Antarctica, but as the wait for the sixth Modest Mouse record has dragged, the label-name has seemed more like a prank on the world (from the guy who guested on Portlandia). The fifth Modest Mouse LP, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank came out back in 2007, and reports of the band starting work on a follow-up began surfacing in 2009. Four years on, and the pace has indeed been glacial; the 2011 news that Modest Mouse were in the studio with Big Boi of Outkast only adding to the feeling of a band tinkering and experimenting more than careening towards the finish line. Brock and co. have kept making festival appearances, and often that's found new material being road-tested. Could 2013 be the year when the new songs finally show up on a new album?

My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine
Creation
Whilst it almost seems too fantastical to be believed, there's a growing sense of belief that this year will finally be the one that finds shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine releasing the eternally-in-the-making follow-up to the immortal 1991 LP Loveless. For one, the album is, apparently, finished; the band announcing that, on December 21, they mastered the album; leader Kevin Shields letting the Mayan Apocalypse be a final deadline after two decades of blowing off others. Shields has been publicly pronouncing the album's imminence plenty. "I think with this record, people who like us will immediately connect with something," Shields has said. "Some people think it's stranger than Loveless. I don't. I feel like it really frees us up, and in the bigger picture it's 100% necessary." Of course, Shields also said he'd self-release the LP before 2012 was out, and, well, that didn't happen. But after 20+ years, what's a few more months?

Owen Pallett

Owen Pallett
Domino
Owen Pallett talks a good game, and it's been no surprise that his quotes about his in-the-works next album have been illuminating. The follow-up to 2010's awesome Heartland, the first album the Canadian fiddler released under his own name, will be called In Conflict, a loaded title that summates a thematic obsession with violence, repression, and instability. "The new record will be fairly autobiographical, [and] will probably address the manic mind," Pallett has said. "I have struggled with some mental problems, and instead of seeking professional help, I have let it become a source of inspiration." Befitting its themes, Pallett has described the album as dark, dissonant, more rhythmic and repetitive. In Conflict is expected to be released in 2013, and odds are off-the-table that it'll be brilliant.

Phoenix

Phoenix
Glassnote
Four years after the crazy, Grammy-winnin', unit-shiftin', on-to-the-big-time breakout success of 2009's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, endlessly melodic French pop combo Phoenix are slowly working towards finishing up a follow-up. Early fans of the band will know all about long waits: the four years between 2000's United and 2004's Alphabetical seemed like an eternity back in that dark, distant, status-update-free era. Of course, back then, they were semi-anonymous Frenchman known only to indie-pop nerds; now, they're dealing with outsized expectations. And dealing with it in style: Thomas Mars calling the early recordings "experimental" and a considered move away from pop. The fifth Phoenix album has been long-rumored for an April release; whether or not in comes out then, it'll definitely be out in 2013.

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend
Terry Filisetti Yoshinaga
Coming on three years after the release of their strong second album, Contra, and Vampire Weekend will be finishing off a follow-up before 2013 is out. They've been playing new songs live (including debuting "Unbelievers" on television in skeleton face-paint, back on Halloween), and have already talked about the record a lot. In a lengthy interview with Spin, the band describe the set as "darker" and less orchestrated; the fact that they played acoustic guitar and two pianos on TV perhaps suggesting the as-yet-untitled set's greater direction. No confirmation of when the LP will be out, or what it'll be called, but in the meantime Ezra Koenig's Twitter will keep you happily distracted.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Dan Martensen
Where so much of this list is based on rumor, innuendo, speculation, and prayer, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are already locked in for their next LP. The trio's fourth LP —and first since 2009's It's Blitz!— will be released on April 16. It's called Mosquito, its front cover is either the best or the worst of the year (I think it's hideous), and it features production from Nick Launay, James Murphy, and Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio. Mosquito has been described as 'reggae-influenced,' which just makes me think they may sound like No Doubt, now. I mean, why else would Karen O peroxide her hair? But as just their fourth LP in their thirteen-year career, Mosquito comes at a time when Yeah Yeah Yeahs' (vast) fanbase was starting to get restless.
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