KEXP's Most Anticipated Albums of 2019

Music News
Jasmine Albertson

Now that 2018 is officially behind us, the only option is to look forward at what’s ahead. “What is ahead?” you ask. We don’t know, we’re not fortune tellers! But we can tell you there’s going to be a lot of really good music! Read below to find KEXP’s 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2019.

20. Bob Mould – Sunshine Rock (Merge, 2/8)

Hüsker Dü legend Bob Mould is following up 2015’s Patch the Sky with a new album called Sunshine Rock, due for release on Feb. 8 via Merge Records. The album is incredibly divergent from Mould’s legacy and reputation for gloom and doom. Here’s what Mould had to say about the new album as well as its title track, shared in October:

“‘Sunshine Rock’ was such a bright, optimistic song, and once that came together, I knew that would be the title track, and that really set the tone for the direction of the album. It was funny, because writing with that as the opener in mind, it was like, ‘This is not Black Sheets Of Rain [1990 solo LP].

“To go from [2011 autobiography] See A Little Light to the last three albums, two of which were informed by the loss of each parent, respectively, at some point I had to put a Post-It note on my work station and say, ‘Try to think about good things. Otherwise, I could really go down a long, dark hole. I’m trying to keep things brighter these days as a way to stay alive.”

Mould will embark on a tour behind the album in February, with a date in Seattle on Saturday, April 6. Below, listen to “Sunshine Rock” and watch Bob Mould’s 2016 KEXP in-studio performance.

19. The Raconteurs (Third Man, TBD)

The Raconteurs are BACK, baby! Jack White’s long-dormant band are releasing their first album in over a decade in 2019. But before we can get into a new album, the quartet made up of White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler needed to release a deluxe reissue of their 2008 album Consolers of the Lonely as part of the Third Man Records Vault series. Included in the reissue were two new songs that are expected to be included on the forthcoming as-yet-unnamed album, “Sunday Driver” and “Now That You’re Gone.”

Really milking this anniversary, the duo of songs were, “Pressed on incredibly unique magnificent copper foil vinyl, this is the first time the double LP has EVER been made available on colored vinyl.” So go ahead and buy that here until we learn more details about the album and watch the black & white noir video for “Now That You’re Gone” starring burlesque performer Gia Genevieve and directed by Dikayl Rimmasch below.

18. The Chemical Brothers – No Geography (Astralwerks, Spring)

English electronic duo The Chemical Brothers are releasing their ninth studio album and first album in four years sometime in Spring 2019. Titled No Geography, they’ve shared two tracks off the record, the frenzied dance track “MAH” and the electro-groover “Free Yourself.” The former comes with a video shot by Marcus Lyall at their recent sold-out show at London’s Alexandra Palace which features visuals by Adam Smith and Lyall while the latter’s video focuses on a pack of revolting factory robots. Watch the video for “Free Yourself” below.

17. Ryan Adams - Big Colors (4/19), Wednesday, & Third Unnamed Album (Pax-Am/Blue Note/Capitol, Spring/TBA)

On Monday, Jan. 7, Ryan Adams tweeted his intentions on releasing not one, not two, but three studio albums in 2019. At the moment, he hasn’t made an official announcement but instead has made the odd choice of leaking information about two of the albums to various political reporters. Through those leaks know that those albums are called Big Colors and Wednesday, with the former due for release first, on April 19, via Pax-Am/Blue Note/Capitol. The latter features guest appearances by Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell, and Heartbreakers guitarist Benmont Tench and will be out at some point later in the year.

So far, he’s premiered one song from Big Colors via Philadelphia radio station WXPN. While that also may seem an odd choice rather than now-standard streaming services/blog premiere, it actually makes some sense considering the song is called “Doylestown Girl” (Doylestown, PA is about 27 miles north of Philly). A recording of the radio premiere has appeared online, listen below.

16. Panda Bear – Buoys (Domino, 2/8)

Noah Lennox is releasing his sixth Panda Bear album next month. Titled Buoys, the record follows 2015’s Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper and is due for release on Feb. 8. Lennox co-produced and co-mixed the new LP in Lisbon, Portugal with Rusty Santos, who previously worked on 2007's Person Pitch. Other Buoys collaborators include Chilean DJ/vocalist Lizz and Portuguese musician Dino D’Santiago. So far, he’s shared the single “Dolphin” as well as video of him playing the guitar part of what would become “Inner Monologue” in his practice studio. Listen to “Dolphin” below.

15. Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? (4AD, 1/18)

Atlanta art rockers Deerhunter are releasing their eighth studio album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, on January 18 via 4AD. So far, the Bradford Cox-led band have shared the singles “Element,” “Death In Midsummer,” and “Plains.” The album is described by Cox as “an elegy for ecology (a landscape done in toxic watercolors).”

Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? was co-produced by Cate LeBon, who joined Cox at a residency at the Marfa Myths Festival and follows 2015’s Fading Frontier. Watch the Marisa Gesualdi-edited video for “Death In Midsummer” below.

14. Girlpool – What Chaos Is Imaginary (Anti, 2/1)

Los Angeles indie rock duo Girlpool are releasing their third studio album, What Chaos Is Imaginary, on February 1 via Anti- Records. So far, they've shared the singles "Where You Sink," "Lucy’s," and most recently "Hire." The album is the first since Tucker’s journey of gender transition and their lower register is beautifully on display in the new singles. In an interview with KEXP at (the final!) Sasquatch! Music Festival, Tucker and Trividad gave DJ Troy Nelson the scoop on the new LP before it had even been mixed. What Chaos Is Imaginary was co-produced with David Tolomei and recorded at King Size in Los Angeles. It follows 2017’s Powerplant.

Girlpool will take the Neumos stage on Saturday, April 13. Listen to “Lucy's” below.

13. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar, 1/18)

Sharon Van Etten will release her first album in four years, Remind Me Tomorrow, in early 2019. In the years since 2014’s Are We There, Van Etten has dabbled in acting (on the Netflix series The OA), made an appearance on David Lynch’s reboot of Twin Peaks, had a baby, wrote the movie score for Katherine Dieckmann’s movie Strange Weather, reissued her debut, and pursued a psychology degree.

The lead single off of Remind Me Tomorrow, “Comeback Kid,” sees Van Etten leaning away from her singer-songwriter guitar roots for a sound that’s darker and more electronic-focused. The second single, "Jupiter 4" is hypnotic song that comes with a black and white video directed by Strange Weather director Dieckmann who hadn't shot a music video since the ‘90s, when she was shooting videos for artists like R.E.M., Aimee Mann, Wilco, Everything but the Girl, Throwing Muses, and Vic Chesnutt, among others.

Speaking of the new record in a press release, Van Etten states: “I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school, but yeah, I have a stain on my shirt, oatmeal in my hair, and I feel like a mess, but I’m here. Doing it. This record is about pursuing your passions.”

Remind Me Tomorrow is out January 18 via Jagjaguwar. Below, listen to “Comeback Kid” and watch Van Etten’s KEXP in-studio performance from 2014.

12. Karen O & Danger Mouse (TBD)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O and producer Danger Mouse have a forthcoming album, currently untitled with no release date announced. So far, they’ve unveiled the lead single, a 9-minute trip-hop epic, called “Lux Prima.” Karen O says of the new record:

“‘Lux Prima’ is the first song we wrote for the record. After making music for the past twenty years and embarking on making this record with Danger Mouse I knew a couple things: one was that the spirit of collaboration between us was going to be a pure one, and two was that the more I live the less is clear to me. When you create from a blurry place you can go places further than you’ve ever been. I think we both were excited to go far out.”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ last record was 2013’s Mosquito while Danger Mouse produced Parquet Courts’ 2018 album Wide Awake!. Listen to "Lux Prima" below.

11. Jenny Lewis – On The Line (Warner Bros, Spring)

Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman and all-around fantastic musician Jenny Lewis announced a new solo album last month to be released in spring 2019. Titled On the Line, the album is her first in five years following 2014’s The Voyager. While Lewis hasn’t shared any music from the record yet, she has unveiled some details behind it. On the Line was recorded at Capitol Records’ historic Studio B and features a lineup of star-studded appearances including Ringo Starr, Don Was, Beck, Ryan Adams, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, and drummer Jim Keltner.

She also announced a North American tour behind the new record that includes a date in Seattle on Tuesday, May 21 at the Moore Theatre. Watch the video for “Just One Of The Guys” off of The Voyager below.

10. Chromatics – Dear Tommy (Italians Do It Better, TBD)

Chromatics were supposed to release their long-awaited album Dear Tommy this fall. Then again, the original Dear Tommy was also supposed to be released in 2015 so you’ll excuse me if I’m not completely holding my breath that the record will actually be released in 2019 but hope must endure! It’s tough, though, when Johnny Jewel is admittedly wishy-washy about the release, saying this year that it would finally be revealed, “unless I change my mind again.” The only encouragement that it may actually happen comes with 2018’s release of two singles, "Black Walls” and “Blue Girl.”

Chromatics last studio album was 2012’s Kill For Love. Watch the video for “Black Walls” below.

9. My Bloody Valentine (TBA)

In 2018, Kevin Shields made it seem very likely that he would be releasing two My Bloody Valentine EPs that year. Instead, this fall he switched his plans up. “We’re trying to finish a short album of material… it was going to be an EP in the summer, but we decided not to and decided to make it longer.” Shields said in an interview. “So it will be seven tracks or eight tracks, hopefully, will be finished in the end of November [2018].”

He goes on to spill even more stimulating details: “We’ll also be recording new material next year. There will be a lot of new material coming in the next… in the next year, there will be about two new records.”

Two albums in one year is completely out of character for My Bloody Valentine and I’m here for it. This year, Isn’t Anything celebrated its 30th anniversary, which Dusty Henry wrote on here. Watch the video for “You Made Me Realise” off of Isn’t Anything below.

8. Beirut - Gallipoli (4AD, 2/1)

Beirut’s first album since 2015’s No No No is titled Gallipolli and will drop Feb. 1 via 4AD. Produced by Gabe Wax, the record is named after the Italian town the band visited while recording and where Condon wrote the title track.

“We stumbled into a medieval-fortressed island town of Gallipoli one night and followed a brass band procession fronted by priests carrying a statue of the town’s saint through the winding narrow streets behind what seemed like the entire town," writes Condon. "The next day I wrote the song I ended up calling ‘Gallipoli’ entirely in one sitting, pausing only to eat.”

So far, Condon has shared the title track, the instrumental “Corfu,” and “Landslide” (not a Fleetwood Mac cover). The band will be embarking on a tour behind the album in 2019, with a date in Seattle on Wednesday, February 27 at the Paramount Theatre. Watch the humorous Ian Beattie-starring video for “Landslide” below.

7. Sleater-Kinney (TBA)

Just this week, Sleater-Kinney announced that not only would they be releasing a new album in 2019 but that it would be produced by none other than ST. VINCENT! The trio announced the news in a tweet with a photo of the four of them in the studio that made the internet go crazy.

“We always planned on getting back in the studio — it was just a matter of when,” Carrie Brownstein told NPR. “If there is an overarching principle to this album, it’s that the tools on which we were relying proved inadequate. So we sought new ones, both metaphorically and literally.”

The new, currently-untitled album follows up 2015’s No Cities To Love, which was Sleater-Kinney’s first new album in a decade. Watch the Fred Armison-featuring video for "No Cities To Love" below.

6. Thom Yorke (TBA)

I feel like I’ve written a new Thom Yorke news item at least once a week for the past six months. And for good reason, the man’s been busy! His score for Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria could possibly win him an Oscar (his first motion picture soundtrack by the way) and KEXP was there for the whole rollout. Well, it looks like 2019 will be spent the same way since Yorke is supposed to be releasing a new solo album this year. Made with longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, the album is said to be politically-charged.

“I didn’t have the wish to make politically charged music, but everything I do goes that way anyways,” Yorke explained. “I’m trying to finish a record with Nigel, and it’s going that way. It’s something that’s always there.”

Listen to “Has Ended” off of Suspiria below.

5. Grimes (4AD, TBA)

Grimes’ fifth studio album has been so long delayed it’s almost mythological at this point but with the recent release of the single “We Appreciate Power,” it seems the album rollout may actually be happening. The Canadian-born musician also recently revamped her web store with new merch including a variety of t-shirts and stickers designed by herself. Grimes previously expressed frustrations with her label being the issue behind her new album getting released. Her last studio album was 2015's Art Angels.

Listen to “We Appreciate Power” and watch Grimes’ 2012 KEXP in-studio performance below.

4. Tame Impala (TBA)

“New year. New shows. New sounds.” That’s what Tame Impala captioned the Instagram post announcing their headlining spot at Coachella. And that’s essentially all we have confirmed about this supposed forthcoming Tame Impala record. In an interview, Kevin Parker said that he’d ideally like the album out by summer, going on to say: “I would very much hope so. I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t have something out by then.” I guess that’ll have to do for now!

Tame Impala’s last album was 2015’s Currents. This week, POND announced they'd be releasing a new album called Tasmania, with production from Parker. Read an interview KEXP had with Kevin Parker in 2015 here. Below, watch the video for “Let It Happen.”

3. James Blake - Assume Form (Republic, 1/18)

Due to a French Amazon leak, we’ve had knowledge of James Blake’s upcoming fourth studio album, Assume Form, for over a full week. Based solely on the impressive list of features, it’s bound to be good. Travis Scott, Andre 3000, Moses Sumney, Rosalia, Metro Boomin, and SwaVay all make appearances on the 12 track album. Visiting the website plays a snippet of new music, the track “Lullaby for My Insomniac," played on a loop.

This week, Blake confirmed that Assume Form is due out earlier than expected, January 18 rather than the 25th, which coincides with the English artist’s recently announced a North American tour. The tour includes a stop in Seattle on Sunday, March 10 at the Moore Theatre.

Blake’s last record was 2016’s The Colour In Anything and his most recent single was May’s “Don’t Miss It.” Watch Blake’s 2013 KEXP in-studio performance below.

2. Solange (Columbia, TBD)

A Solange record is a gift that doesn’t come often and we just received our latest present from her in 2016, A Seat at the Table, so we should be praising the heavens to have even the possibility of a Solange record in 2019. Well, sometimes miracles happen and according to an October New York Times profile, her currently-untitled fifth album is “imminent.” Good enough for me. She went on to say this about the album, “There is a lot of jazz at the core. But with electronic and hip-hop drum and bass because I want it to bang and make your trunk rattle.”

Watch the video for “Cranes in the Sky” below.

1. Pedro The Lion – Phoenix (Polyvinyl, 1/18)

If I’m honest, this is primarily in the number one spot for Dusty Henry whose fervent excitement for new Pedro the Lion has been palpable here at KEXP. But really, after 15 years we all should be excited. The first record since 2004’s Achilles Heel is titled Phoenix and will drop Jan. 18 via Polyvinyl. In an in-depth interview Henry recently did with Bazan, we learn that the album is the first in a series of albums about places Bazan grew up.

Bazan spent his first 12 years in the city of Phoenix and the songs on the record analyze and unwrap memories and feelings from his childhood. So far, he’s shared the singles “Yellow Bike,” “Model Homes,” and “Quietest Friend.Catch Pedro the Lion at KEXP on Jan. 18 where they’ll play the Gathering Space at noon. The show is free and open to the public.

Below, watch the video for “Yellow Bike” and Pedro the Lion’s 2017 KEXP in-studio performance.

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