35 Most Anticipated Albums of 2023

The albums we're most excited about this year

Music Lists Upcoming Albums
35 Most Anticipated Albums of 2023

As we lay 2022 to rest, dissecting its Best Albums, Best Songs and Best Debuts, it’s time to look ahead at some of the most exciting releases that have been announced for 2023. These 35 albums have been announced with titles and release dates, and there are plenty more on the horizon whose details should be coming soon.

Samia: Honey

January 27

The train of singles preceding Samia’s sophomore album Honey continues, with “Pink Balloon” and “Sea Lions” joining “Kill Her Freak Out” and “Mad At Me.” The double single release makes a lot of sense, as the songs hold hands, finding completion in each other. “Pink Balloon” is a classic Samia heartbreaker, full of honesty about another person’s life, and her love for them. It’s so intimate in that you, along with her, are only peering in at first, trying to help ease this person’s pain without fully knowing it yourself. But then over muted, bare piano chords, Samia’s voice twists towards and away from you, writhing under the pressure of a relationship filled with hurt, making clear the impossible floating of the situation. While “Pink Balloon” is short and, well, not entirely sweet, “Sea Lions” clocks in closer to five minutes. The beginning makes it feel like a second movement of “Pink Balloon,” both singles combining to tell one large sad story, focused around smaller objects and moments—a pink balloon, a hat, idly watching sea lions swim around on a screensaver. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski


Complete Mountain Almanac: Complete Mountain Almanac

January 27

New music collective Complete Mountain Almanac is a collaborative project between Swedish musician Rebekka Karijord and siblings Jessica, Aaron and Bryce Dessner. Their debut self-titled record arrives at the end of January and finds the quartet contemplating climate change in a 12-song suite. Each track on Complete Mountain Almanac is titled after a month of the year and, last fall, the group teased the upcoming album with “May,” a beautiful track about giving back to Mother Earth. Earlier this year, listeners were gifted with “February,” the solemn, poetic tune about a body being taken apart in order to be saved. The band name stems from a book of poetry written by Jessica after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and imagery of mortality deeply, and often, intersect with the environmental themes on the album. —Matt Mitchell


The Arcs: Electronphonic Chronic

January 27

For the first time in nearly eight years, neo-psychedelic rock band The Arcs are releasing a full-length studio album. Electrophonic Chronic, the long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Yours, Dreamily, is the first Arcs release since the passing of Richard Swift, who played drums, keys and guitar in the band until 2018. Produced in tandem by frontman Dan Auerbach and pianist Leon Michels, Electrophonic Chronic continues to build on the band’s interests in their unique fusion of blues, garage rock, R&B and psychedelia. Highlighted by its singles, “Keep on Dreamin’,” “Eyez,” “Heaven Is a Place” and “Sunshine,” Auerbach has made certain to separate the hypnotic grooves of the Arcs from the heavy blues influences he translates in his other band, The Black Keys. Swift’s presence will surely be missed on Electrophonic Chronic, but it’s clear that the Arcs opted to wait for the proper time to make a new record without their beloved bandmate. —Matt Mitchell


James Brandon Lewis: Eye of the I

February 3

James Brandon Lewis’ 2021 release The Jesup Wagon introduced scores of new fans to the work of this jazz saxophonist through the music’s fusion of spiritual jazz uplift and avant garde convulsion. For 2023, Lewis is leveling up to work with venerable label Anti- Records and, in response to the bigger budget and grander expectations, working with an even broader palette of sounds and collaborators. That includes a stirring track recorded with D.C. punk trio the Messthetics, devilishly swinging bop and a cover of Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free” that grafts the R&B original to post-rock’s bombast and fuzz. — Robert Ham


The Go! Team: Get Up Sequences Part Two

February 3

Kaleidoscopic indie-pop act The Go! Team are back with a follow-up to last year’s Get Up Sequences Part One. Lead single “Divebomb” is out now to light a fire under your day. Punchy piano and blown-out guitars lead the way on “Divebomb,” a pro-choice protest song that showcases 19-year-old Detroit rapper IndigoYaj. The emcee raises her voice to underscore the importance of doing exactly that: “I’ve got the viewpoint and I’m taking aim now,” she raps over The Go! Team’s characteristically vibrant instrumental, which is later accented by police sirens and the whistle of falling bombs. Few bands could make taking a fierce stand for reproductive rights sound so fun. —Scott Russell


Young Fathers: Heavy Heavy

February 3

On the first released track from their upcoming album Heavy Heavy, Young Fathers sings to you out of some ethereal location filled with both darkness and light. Their calls emerge high over crashing synths, stopping you in your tracks and providing the sort of catharsis that getting knocked off your feet by a wave might. There is nothing that can get in the way of this overwhelming stream of music, and it feels foolish to do anything other than open yourself up to it fully. The lyrics aren’t afraid to pull their punches to make a point — “You scream, but your soul, your soul ain’t sound” drops you straight into the emotional turmoil in the very beginning of the song, giving you no place to hide. “Everybody’s anybody many bodies know / Tell somebody / Many bodies feel the drop and everybody go / Tell somebody” is heard in between shots of echoing synth. There’s a cry for help, born out of a loneliness they’re not sure how to shake—they scream to you to tell somebody, but you’re not quite sure who to look for. In the aftermath, we are left singed and shivering. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski


Andy Shauf: Norm

February 10

Andy Shauf’s upcoming album Norm seems to bring a slight change in style for the musician, as he reworks the gentle folk and pop harmonies he is known for, bringing hints of jazz into the mix. Shauf self-produced the LP, and played every instrument, creating this body of work in the early days of the pandemic, and challenging himself every step of the way. The album tells the story of a character named Norm. The musician warns, “The character of Norm is introduced in a really nice way. But the closer you pay attention to the record, the more you’re going to realize that it’s sinister.” With a flutter of gentle piano notes and strings, Andy Shauf announced the album with “Wasted on You.” Hearing the singer’s familiar subdued timbre on the track instantly infuses you with the comfort and warmth of familiarity, while the musical arrangements push his boundaries with a dancing lightness. But in typical Shauf style, not everything is quite as it appears, as the repeating lyrics hold a heavier side to them. “Was all my love wasted on you?” he asks himself over and over again, trying to get to the root of an issue he can’t quite understand. He again threads the needle with his typical gentleness, subtle as he treads over trepidation on the second single, “Catch Your Eye.” His vocals pull everything together so carefully that you can just imagine him nervously hovering, bated breath setting the atmosphere for the track. The song turns around the story of a grocery store missed connection, the whole thing shivering with an air of melancholy undeniably covering everything as Shauf repeats, “I need to meet you / I need to catch your eye.” The singles released off Norm create a confusing logistics puzzle as we are handed pieces of a concept album, left to figure out the clues preemptively. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski


Black Belt Eagle Scout: The Land, the Water, The Sky

February 10

The Land, The Water, The Sky, coming out Saddle Creek, is an album of homecoming for Black Belt Eagle Scout, aka Katherine Paul. In 2020, she returned from Portland to her homelands in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, finding comfort in coming back to the place that generations of ancestors before her had known as home. This is the storyline connecting the 12 songs on the album, drawing them together as she was drawn together by her community. It is certainly not a straightforward, cushy homecoming—she struggles with the harm and violence inflicted by colonialism, a heaviness that won’t leave. But she also embraces the connection to herself that she finds through engaging with her environment, touching the earth and rocks and knowing they support her every step. “My Blood Runs Through This Land” contrasts the soft dreamy wideness of “Don’t Give Up.” The fuzzy guitars creating the bed of the song make everything find its point of grounding, with the drums launching near the end to drive home the intensity of the experience. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski


Paramore: This Is Why

February 10

People around the world rejoiced when the “Still Into You” band returned to the stage with live shows last year after being on a four-year hiatus. Now they’ve released a trio of singles from their upcoming Atlantic Records album, This Is Why. Translating literally from French as “it’s like that,” “C’est Comme Ça,” follows the idea of “that’s just how it is.” The song has a narrative form, flipping between singing and smooth talking to show the difference between a life of survival and one of stability. The lyrics attest to Hayley Williams and fellow bandmates coming from a place of security, and not catastrophe: “I hate to admit getting better is boring / But the high cost of chaos, who can afford it?” It’s hard to accept a life that doesn’t warrant a constant fight-or-flight reaction when that’s all you’ve known for so long. The single packs a punch with a staccato-like rhythm to grab the listener’s attention with zipper-y tones from the initial guitar riffs. —Rayne Antrim


Quasi: Breaking the Balls of History

February 10

Portland, Oregon rockers Quasi have remained one of the most-underrated working rock bands in music. The brainchild of former Heatmiser bassist Sam Coomes and Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, Quasi is unveiling their 10th studio album, Breaking the Balls of History, in early February. The record was written during lockdown, when Coomes and Weiss elected to play together every day after realizing that going on tour wasn’t an option. The songs were recorded live by just the two of them in a single room, capturing the raw intensity that the band was founded on 30 years ago when Coomes and Weiss were spouses. Breaking the Balls of History is a gritty rendering of Quasi’s classic garage sound, spearheaded by the blistering single “Nowheresville,” serving as a long-awaited return to form for the band—who bring a triumphant masterclass to the forefront of Sub Pop’s modern catalog 10 years after their last record, Mole City. —Matt Mitchell


Tennis: Pollen

February 10

Husband-wife indie-pop duo Tennis have announced their sixth album, Pollen, via the band’s own Mutually Detrimental label. “One Night with the Valet,” produced and recorded by Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore in their home studio in Denver, Colorado, is our first preview of their follow-up to 2020’s Swimmer. The song is as fleeting as its title suggests, flashing past in under two minutes. Over mid-tempo percussion, throbbing bass and interconnected keys, Moore sings about staring down a desire far bigger than herself: “Finding myself tempted by the face of love / Really fear that I could never get enough.” Her voice is as ethereal as the images she conjures (“We’re riding high up watching over silent things / Like pearls scattered at our feet”), and before you know it, both have disappeared. —Scott Russell


Yo La Tengo: This Stupid World

February 10

On their 17th full-length album in 40 years, Yo La Tengo reasserts themselves as the most consistent (and consistently great) band of their era. After the low-key sprawl of 2018’s There’s a Riot Going On and the early Covid-era confusion of 2020’s all-instrumental We Have Amnesia Sometimes, the trio dips a little bit more into their golden pop sensibilities on their (relatively economical) new album. (It’s only got nine songs! The longest is only seven and a half minutes! YLT’s keeping it tight.) You can hear that poppier side on the advance singles “Fallout” and “Aselestine,” which both wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘90s albums like Electro-Pura and I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. On This Stupid World Yo La Tengo does what only they can do, and brings it all in under an hour, making this the most direct and accessible thing they’ve done since 2013’s Fade. I’m totally cool with them getting as indirect and inaccessible as they want to be, but no matter what choices they make they’re usually always the right ones. Yo La Tengo has long been one of the rare bright spots in this stupid world, and thankfully their new album keeps the streak alive.—Garrett Martin


Caroline Polachek: Desire, I Want to Turn Into You

February 14

What better release date than Feb. 14 for Caroline Polachek’s new album, Desire, I Want To Turn Into You to that list. Happy day of love, indeed. On the single “Welcome To My Island,” Polachek’s pure and piercing vocals arc over the intro to the song, becoming a scream that explores a range of octaves. Electric guitars mix in for the artist’s signature sound, with elements of hyperpop, choral music and supporting undertones of indie rock. With a number of producers—Dan Nigro (who worked with Polachek before on her break out track “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”), Danny L Harle, A. G. Cook, Jim E-Stack and Polachek herself—the track is a mix of flavors, most of them distinctly Polachek. The tone bounces between deeply in love and claustrophobically obsessive, with that wry twist of humor that marks Polachek’s lyricism. And when Polachek sings “Flew / The ocean blue,” she truly does sound like she’s taking off. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski


Runnner: Like Dying Stars

February 17

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Noah Weinman has announced his debut album as Runnner, Like Dying Stars, We’re Reaching Out, on Run For Cover Records. Lead single “i only sing about food” is out now alongside a music video. The song finds Weinman continuing to refine his sound, splitting the difference between the ghostly indie-folk of his peer (and collaborator) Skullcrusher and the hooky bedroom-pop confessionals of Field Medic. Looping banjo plucks and acoustic guitar chords fade in over a rapid-fire drum loop, with whirling synths flickering in and out of the mix. Meanwhile, Weinman wrestles with his own internal monologue, struggling not only to express himself, but also to deal with the emotions that disconnect engenders (“I cried in your car / When I couldn’t find the words I was looking for”). Hooky and brief, the track pairs its lightness with the urgency of a search for badly needed relief from the pitfalls of one’s own mind. Piano and wordless vocal harmonies carry the track through its home stretch, Weinman’s vocal falling silent as if he’s focused on imagining a future in which he can just be understood. —Scott Russell


Algiers: Shook (February 24)

February 24

With new single “Irreversible Damage” that comes at you like an exploding truck during the fiery climax of an action movie, Algiers have announced a new album. SHOOK, coming out on Matador, is the victory cry from a band who, on the brink of breaking up, decided to go back and put large chunks of their being into a fresh album instead. With the city of Atlanta, where the record was conceived of, at the heart of this project, guitarist Lee Tesche says, “It feels like the most Algiers record that we’ve ever made.” It has a long line of musicians standing in belief and support of it, too. Features abound in large numbers, including names such as Big Rube (The Dungeon Family), Samuel T. Herring (Future Islands), Zack de la Rocha, billy woods, Backxwash and many more. Their fourth album will clock in at 17 tracks, with the latest, “Irreversible Damage,” featuring de la Rocha. It’s tight with intensity, with the beat buzzing between your teeth. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski


En Attendant Ana: Principia

February 24

I feel like a cliché drooling over another record on Trouble in Mind, but it’s been a while since any one label has so consistently put out the good stuff like this. The French band En Attendant Ana will be releasing their third LP on the label in February, and it’s an uncommonly great piece of work—a gorgeous, heartfelt, pop-minded indie rock instant classic that churns together all manner of recognizable influences into something unique and unmistakable. It’s catchy, it’s jangly, it’s droney, it’s got robotic rhythms straight out of krautrock driving delicately human pop songs—it’s something special. And I’ve got to single out “Wonder,” an intricately structured miniature epic that is easily my most listened to song in 2023 so far. En Attendant Ana have been around for a spell but aren’t that well-known in the States yet; this should be the one to fix that.—Garrett Martin


Gorillaz: Cracker Island

February 24

After releasing a track called “Cracker Island (feat. Thundercat)” last summer to very little fanfare, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s animated band Gorillaz announced a new album of the same name, coming out on Warner Records. “New Gold (feat. Tame Impala & Bootie Brown),” was our second preview of the record. Gorillaz’s eighth studio album, and their first since 2020’s Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez, Cracker Island features collaborations with Stevie Nicks, Bad Bunny, Beck and Adeleye Omotayo, in addition to Thundercat, Tame Impala and the band’s longtime collaborator Bootie Brown (of The Pharcyde). Recorded in London and L.A. last year, the 10-track LP is produced by Gorillaz, eight-time Grammy winner Greg Kurstin, and Remi Kabaka Jr. —Scott Russell


U.S. Girls: Bless This Mess

February 24

In 2020, U.S. Girls, Meg Remy’s electro-pop stage name, released Heavy Light, one of the year’s sweetest experimental records. It would garner an Alternative Album of the Year nomination at the Juno Awards in 2021 and set expectations high for whatever Remy’s next record would become. Fast-forward to 2023 and Remy has returned with Bless This Mess a sign-of-the-times project conducted in the wake of a still-going pandemic and Remy’s pregnancy in 2022. From the seething guitars of “Futures Bet” to the scaled-back, stringed balladry of the title track, Remy is uninterested in making the same record twice. Bless This Mess, the Toronto-based musician’s eighth studio album since 2008, is daring, diverse and enchanting. If Bless This Mess marks an apex for Remy, whose 2018 record In a Poem Unlimited remains one of the best electronic projects of the last decade, may it continue burning on in perpetuity. —Matt Mitchell


shame: Food For Worms

February 24

South London rockers shame have announced their third album, Food for Worms, coming out on Dead Oceans. Frontman Charlie Steen describes the band’s Drunk Tank Pink follow-up as “the Lamborghini of shame records,” while a press release says the album, produced by Flood (Nick Cave, U2, PJ Harvey), “marks a sonic departure from anything they’ve done before, and—for the first time—the band are not delving inwards, but seeking to capture the world around them.” Steen says of this shift in focus, “I don’t think you can be in your own head forever. It’s weird, isn’t it? Popular music is about love, heartbreak, or yourself. There isn’t much about your mates.” On the first single, “Fingers of Steel,” Steen and company pair this new perspective with a fresh sense of purpose and restraint. The brute force post-punk of their 2018 debut Songs of Praise is gone, replaced by more clear-eyed precision and complex instrumentation. A distant piano is soon joined by staccato guitar and backing vocals, as Steen observes an avatar of our modern plight: Alone, indoors, days devoid of meaningful connection, chasing fake validation online—always wanting, never fulfilled. “Well, this time you feel that you’ve been found / But when you look there’s no one around,” shame sing in unison, their singalong punctuated with spidery riffs. Looming synths cast a shadow over the song halfway in, like the sun going down at the end of an already-dark day. An explosive solo races like an anxious mind, shortly before the song drifts to an abrupt end. —Scott Russell


Lonnie Holley: Oh Me Oh My

March 10

Alabama visual artist and musician Lonnie Holley has a new album on the way. Oh Me Oh My comes out March 10th on Jagjaguwar, and the first single “Oh Me Oh My,” featuring R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe is already out. Following his 2018 debut MITH—one of Paste’s best albums of that year—Oh Me Oh My features several collaborators beyond Stipe, including Sharon Van Etten on “None of Us Have But a Little While,” Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon on “Kindness Will Follow Your Tears,” Moor Mother on two tracks and Rokia Koné on “If We Get Lost They Will Find Us.” Produced by Jacknife Lee (R.E.M., The Cure, Modest Mouse), Oh Me Oh My focuses Holley’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics over gorgeously layered droning instrumentation. “The deeper we go,” he sings on the title track, “the more chances there are, for us to understand the oh-me’s and understand the oh-my’s.” —Josh Jackson


Shalom: Sublimation

March 10

Keep Shalom, the Brooklyn-based, South Africa-raised musician on your radar for 2023 and beyond. Her emotional powerhouse of a debut, Sublimation, is a heart-stopper. At 13 tracks long, Shalom has crafted a project of urgency, openness and plainspoken vulnerability. Done in collaboration with producer Ryan Hemsworth, Sublimation is soft yet danceable, a manifesto thrown into the wind. A song like “Concrete” laments a relationship that fell alway, while lead single “Happenstance” builds a groove-soaked bridge toward getting away from negativity. Shalom work is a progeny of Lucy Dacus, Vagabon and Indigo De Souza that she has formed into a sound that is wholly her own – and unequivocally cool as all get-out. Her self-released 2020 EP the first snowstorm of the year helped land her on Hemsworth’s, and label Saddle Creek’s, radar. Few debuts on the docket this year are as exciting, heartbreaking and needed as Shalom’s Sublimation. —Matt Mitchell


M83: Fantasy

March 17

French electronic legends M83 are back for their first full-length album since 2019’s DSVII. Fantasy was recorded over the past two years by Anthony Gonzalez, Joe Berry and Justin Meldal-Johnsen after wanting to make a record that felt like a room of musicians jamming. Lead single “Oceans Niagara” is atmospheric, gentle and sprawling. “I wanted to create this sense of friendship. Listening to that song, I imagine people running, driving fast, or riding spaceships together,” Gonzalez said about the single. “It’s this sense of going forward, like a magic potion that you take to discover new worlds.” The fusion of synthesizers and guitars serves as a callback to the band’s great 2005 album Before the Dawn Heals Us. After celebrating the 10th anniversary of their seminal album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming in 2021, M83 aims to further solidify their places among the echelons of dream pop on Fantasy. —Matt Mitchell


Caroline Rose: The Art of Forgetting

March 24

Nearly three years after the release of Superstar, Caroline Rose returns with a confessional honesty that’s only been glimpsed in previous works—though the cheeky humor is still there. Rose announced The Art of Forgetting, out March 24 on New West Records, with a new single, “Miami.” After an acoustic opening, the song finds a near gear with a war-like drumbeat and deep growls of an electric guitar for the chorus. Rose explains: “I’m not one to shy away from drama, and so this was a perfect opportunity to really bring out every ounce of desperation and anger and all those confusing emotions that happen after a big heartbreak.” The song ends kindly, hinting at what The Art of Forgetting means—healing. —Rayne Antrim


Nickel Creek: Celebrants

March 24

After an extended hiatus that saw all three of its members reaching new heights of acclaim in the music industry, Americana/bluegrass supergroup Nickel Creek has reunited to release and tour on their first new album in nine years. The group announced the release of Celebrants, out March 24 via Thirty Tigers.. Since releasing their last album, 2014’s A Dotted Line, each member of Nickel Creek has been constantly busy. Thile hosted American radio variety show Live From Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion) from 2016-2020, until the show concluded. Sean Watkins released solo material and recorded with fellow Nickel Creek member Sara Watkins in the sibling project Watkins Family Hour. And Sara may have been the most dizzyingly active of all, working on the aforementioned sibling duo, along with Grammy-winning roots trio supergroup I’m With Her, alongside Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz. She’s likewise recorded in recent years with everyone from Phoebe Bridgers to The Killers. Celebrants, meanwhile, apparently “explores the inherent dynamics of human connection,” according to the band, across a surprisingly lush 18 tracks that “address love, friendship and time with lyrics both poetic and plain-spoken, as they see bridges built, crossed, burned and rebuilt.” The album was recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A, where the band will return to debut the new material with three “very special” sold-out shows at the historic Ryman Auditorium on April 27, 28 and 29. Additional tour dates will be announced soon. —Jim Vorel


Boygenius: The Record

March 31

Back in 2018 a trio of beloved singer/songwriters announced a new supergroup. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus had united to become boygenius, releasing a self-titled six-song collection that Paste named that year’s best EP. If we complained that it’s only (forgivable) flaw was that it was too short, the trio has just announced it’ll be righting that wrong with a full-length album, the record, coming out on Interscope Records. The album was produced by Baker, Bridgers and Dacus, along with Catherine Marks, and recorded at Shangri-la Studios in Malibu, Calif., over a month of 10-hour days of writing and re-writing and recording an unfathomable number of guitar parts. The album announcement comes with the release of the first three singles: Baker wrote ”$20,” the hardest-hitting of the trio of new tracks. “In another life we were arsonists,” she sings, as they all seem to set virtual fire to their instruments. It’s a joy to hear boygenius turn it up to 11 as the song crescendos with a chorus of singing and shouting and shredding and beating holes into the drums. “Emily I’m Sorry,” on the other hand is a lovely Bridgers-penned ballad. The harmonies and counter-singing on the chorus are a wonderful reminder of why we loved this particular supergroup. The three friends complement each other so well, adding a musical complexity to the most straight-forward songs. Dacus wrote and takes lead on “True Blue.” “I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself,” she sings. “I remember who I am when I’m with you / Your love is tough, your love is tried and true blue.” The care and craft of a month in the studio comes through beautifully in this soaring anthem built on top of atmospheric guitar that gives weight to the sisterly love she celebrates. —Josh Jackson


Deerhoof: Miracle-Level

March 31

The news of any fresh music from the irrepressible art-rock quartet Deerhoof should be shouted from every rooftop, balcony and street corner in the world. But something about the details regarding the group’s 18th full-length feels particularly significant. For the first time, Deerhoof recorded their music entirely in a recording studio. As well, it’s the band’s first record where every song was written and sung by bassist / vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki’s native Japanese. Those may not be the most groundbreaking creative decisions on paper but for a group that has built a reputation for blending cultural influences and capturing the raw sound of their basement jam sessions, these moves could make or break the tone of Miracle-Level. — Robert Ham


The New Pornographers: Continue As Guest

March 31

The Canadian indie-rock band The New Pornographers have graced the new year with a new single, “Really Really Light,” the first from their upcoming album Continue as a Guest, set to release on March 31 with Merge Records. A.C. Newman began work on Continue as a Guest over the course of a year after the band had just finished touring behind 2019’s In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights. The album covers themes of isolation, mundane feelings of everyday life and being chronically online amidst the pandemic. The 10-track record is produced by Newman and features fellow bandmates Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Todd Fancey and Joe Seiders as well as contributions from saxophonist Zach Djanikian. —Rayne Antrim


Wednesday: Rat Saw God

April 7

Asheville rockers Wednesday have returned with their fifth studio album, Rat Saw God. It’s the band’s first project of new music since Twin Plagues in 2021, though they released a record of covers, Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ‘em Up last year. Twin Plagues established Wednesday as a premiere rock band unafraid of mixing the soft and the loud. Kicked off by the heavy, sprawling, eight-minute single “Bull Believer,” Wednesday are proving why Rat Saw God is one of the most-anticipated albums of 2023. The track covers an entire country of sounds, pointing to Wednesday’s continued growth as a collective. The production is tight, the guitar work is immense and Karly Hartzman’s vocals are aweing. Hoping to build on the successes of their past two records, along with guitarist MJ Lenderman’s acclaimed 2022 solo effort Boat Songs, Wednesday are back with a well-curated vengeance. —Matt Mitchell


Fenne Lily: Big Picture

April 14

Bristol-born musician Fenne Lily’s third album Big Picture is one of the best forthcoming singer/songwriter projects on the docket in 2023. A follow-up to 2020’s BREACH, Big Picture is beautiful and tender, brimming with sharp lyricism and storytelling. The album was mixed by Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and some of the songs were done with contributions from Christian Lee Huston and Katy Kirby. Headlined by the mystical lead single “Lights Light Up,” Lily, again, is showcasing why she is one of the brightest songwriters we’ve got right now. “Lights Light Up” features a hypnotizing, supple guitar part paired with a well-paced snare drum. “We held each other while everything burned up ‘round us / And inside of me, too / That’s called love,” Lily sings on the track. Big Picture is a detour from Lily’s tales of retrospect on BREACH, as she fills the tracklist with vivid imagery of the present, sketching out a novela-in-song about two people doing whatever they can to keep their heads above water. “Writing this album was my attempt at bringing some kind of order to the disaster that was 2020,” Lily said of the album in a statement. “By documenting the most vulnerable parts of that time, I felt like I reclaimed some kind of autonomy.” Big Picture is a confident catalog of love amid a mirage of unanswerable questions and doubts. —Matt Mitchell


Natalie Merchant: Keep Your Courage

April 14

Since leaving 10,000 Maniacs way back in 1994, Natalie Merchant has refused to let her work get pinned down as she’s worked in the mode of smoothed out pop and gone deep in an exploration of traditional folk music and poetry. Rest assured that her first album of original material in nearly a decade will also defy any expectations as she worked on Keep Your Courage with a batch of contemporary classical composers and arrangers including Gabriel Kahane and Megan Gould and welcomed in contributions from global artists like Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and the Celtic ensemble Lúnasa. —Robert Ham


Everything But The Girl: Fuse

April 14

If “Nothing Left To Lose,” the first single released from Fuse, Everything But The Girl’s first new album in nearly a quarter-century, is anything to go by, the duo is picking up both right where they left off and smack dab in the center of our current musical epoch. That track is a soulful banger with gobs of sub-bass that stick to the ribs and flickering synths that briefly reveal the trysts and break ups happening in the darker corners of the dance club. The rest of the record follows suit, while sliding easily into lush ambient tracks suffused with cloudy memories. —Robert Ham


Cinder Well: Cadence

April 17

Folk artist Cinder Well’s 2020 release No Summer was one of that year’s most pleasant surprises—an album that let the influence of traditional Irish music sink deep into songwriting already steeped in Americana and pop. The music was astringent, warming and wild. Well’s follow-up Cadence leans a little more homegrown, recorded as it was near Venice Beach and with a band that pulls the music into a lane previously opened up by like minded artists such as Fleet Foxes and Laura Veirs. —Robert Ham


Joseph: The Sun

April 28

The Sun is the sister trio’s fourth studio album, following Good Luck, Kid released back in 2019. The band fundamentally started by playing ethereal folk, but gradually strayed from their dreamy rural sound to a grittier dynamic in Good Luck, Kid. Their soul-searching lyrics are elevated by gorgeous vocals and unique harmonies throughout their discography. Their voices are alluring and can reel in any kind of audience to listen to what they have to say. In their newest single “Nervous System,” the band calls out their own experiences with anxiety—hard lessons learned through relationships—and personal growth. It’s a classic pop song with strumming acoustics, a steady kick and sparkly electric guitar hooks. The chorus brings the most energy to the track with the sisters’ harmonies and phrasing, singing the lyrics, “No it’s not selfish if you save yourself. Don’t feed the paranoia, that won’t help. It’s in your head and it’s under your skin,” to drive the point in feeling safe within yourself despite negative external circumstances. —Rayne Antrim


The National: First Two Pages of Frankenstein

April 28

For the first time in four years, Brooklyn rock band The National have returned with new music. First Two Pages of Frankenstein, the follow-up to the band’s critically acclaimed 2019 record I Am Easy To Find, will arrive on April 28 via 4AD. The record will be the National’s ninth studio album since their self-titled debut in 2001 and will feature guest appearances from Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift. First Two Pages of Frankenstein serves as the band’s first new music since their 2021 single “Weird Goodbyes,” which featured vocals from Bon Iver. The first single teased from First Two Pages of Frankenstein, “Tropic Morning News,” points to the National taking an upbeat direction akin to their 2013 project Trouble Will Find Me. With glittering guitars, atmospheric synths and Matt Berninger’s sprawling vocals, “Tropic Morning News” is an amalgamation of everything that makes a perfect National song work: fine-tuned arrangements, contemplative yet vulnerable lyrics from Berninger and a great, soul-awakening Aaron Dessner guitar part. —Matt Mitchell


Arlo Parks: My Soft Machine

May 26

After a year spent touring with Harry Styles, Clairo and Billie Eilish, among others, Arlo Parks’ sophomore album, My Soft Machine, the awaited follow-up to her Grammy-nominated debut Collapsed in Sunbeams, is finally on the horizon. With a title lifted from Joanna Hogg’s 2019 film The Souvenir, Parks is aiming to reckon with the highs and lows of her 20s. “This record is life through my lens, through my body—the mid-20’s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating P.T.S.D. and grief and self-sabotage and joy, moving through worlds with wonder and sensitivity – what it’s like to be trapped in this particular body,” Parks said of My Soft Machine in a statement. Lead single “Weightless” is a fit of electronic joy that puts Parks’ soft vocals on a pedestal at the track’s forefront, a trend that continues across the singer-songwriter’s entire record. —Matt Mitchell


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