Right around this time last year, we published a list of the 50+ Most Anticipated Albums Of 2012. To be specific, the final count came in at 57. Of the 57 albums included on that list, some never actually arrived (Rancid, Mazzy Star), some arrived but didn’t fully reward our anticipation (Lana Del Rey, Best Coast), and some were longshots in the first place that kinda felt like also-rans on arrival (Garbage, Soundgarden). Of course there were plenty of albums that arrived and were good, some very good, but of the 57 albums on that list, 13 eventually landed among Stereogum’s Top 50 Albums Of 2012. Those 13 albums came from (listed here accompanied by their rank on the Top 50): Cloud Nothings (6); the Walkmen (8); Chairlift (9); Dirty Projectors (10); Grizzly Bear (16); the Men (17); Spiritualized (20); Sleigh Bells (24); Grimes (26); Cat Power (28); the Evens (45); Rick Ross (47); and the Shins (48).
That means that about 23 percent of the albums we were most anticipating last December more or less lived up to the hype enough to stay with us, collectively, till this December. It’s hardly a perfect science (or, in fact, a science at all), but if you were drafting a team for a fantasy indie-music league and used our list as a cheat sheet, you’d probably have a good shot at the title, given a few savvy trades and careful attention paid to the waiver wire.
Still, it’s worth noting that of the 57 albums on that list, none cracked the top 5 of our Top 50. That’s partly, but not entirely, due to a lack of foresight. Some releases slipped our minds; some that eventually won our hearts were simply too unpredictable to count on in December of last year. Heck, Scott said as much in the comments:
We did forgot some, though others (e.g., Fiona Apple) we’re leaving off intentionally because WHO KNOWS.
And some others … well, who could have predicted Frank Ocean would have this kind of year? Considering Dre’s track record, was anyone counting on even seeing an album from Kendrick Lamar, much less good kid m.A.A.d. city? Were you betting on Swans, led by a 58-year-old Michael Gira two years removed from one of his not-best albums, dropping a double-disc masterpiece?
Maybe you were. If so, you should consider a future in professional gambling.
One of the great joys in being an obsessive fan of music is that constant element of surprise, the fact that every year, you will hear and fall madly in love with something — and very likely many things — you never saw coming. That’s why we’re here, right? That’s what keeps us coming back.
Alternately, though, there is the thrill of anticipation, the slow-building excitement that comes with thinking about something long in advance of its arrival. The old-timers wax nostalgic about the days of official release dates — when half the country hit the record store on Tuesday morning to cop the new Smashing Pumkpins album or whatever — and yeah, those days were fun and all, but they are long gone. Still, our blood gets going when we hear Arcade Fire is in the studio with James Murphy, or the Knife have emerged from the terrifying Scandinavian darkness with a new LP ready to go, or that Oliveri and Grohl are reuniting with Homme for the new Queens Of The Stone age disc. We get stoked for sophomore albums from bands that caught us off guard the first time around — Earl, Iceage — or debuts from bands that have taunted us with brilliance in short bursts — FIDLAR, Azealia Banks — or supergroups that actually look legit — Atoms For Peace (featuring Thom Yorke, Flea, and Nigel Godrich), VHÖL (featuring Mike Scheidt from YOB, John Cobbett from Ludicra, and Aesop Dekker from Agalloch). And we can’t wait to hear new tunes from old faves that are back, finally (Phoenix, Vampire Weekend).
The list we’ve compiled here ranks the 50 albums the Stereogum staff is most stoked about hearing in 2013. The albums we’ve included here are only those we’re confident in saying will see release next year — those with release dates attached already, those in the near-final stages of the production cycle. And yeah, you could read that last sentence, then jump down to No. 1 on this thing, and come back LOLing, but there are enough promising reports that we’re willing to put our money on red, spin the wheel, and pray. Next year can’t come soon enough.
50 Kvelertak – Meir (March, Indie Recordings)
49 Major Lazer – Free The Universe (2/19, Mad Decent/Downtown)
48 Autre Ne Veut – Anixety (2/12, Software Recording Company)
47 Jamie Lidell – Jamie Lidell (2/18, Warp)
46 William Tyler – Impossible Truth (3/19, Merge)
45 VHÖL – VHÖL (4/16, Profound Lore)
44 Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic (1/22, Jagjaguwar)
43 HAIM – TBD (Spring)
42 AlunaGeorge – TBD (June, Island Def Jam)
41 Beach Fossils – Clash The Truth (2/19, Captured Tracks)
40 Wavves – TBD (3/26, Mom + Pop)
39 Rhye – Woman (3/5, Loma Vista)
38 Free Energy – Love Sign (1/15, Free Energy Records)
37 Hilly Eye – Reasons To Live (1/22, Don Giovanni)
36 Doldrums – Lesser Evil (2/25, Souterrain Transmissions)
35 The Mary Onettes – Hit The Waves (3/12, Labrador)
34 Sun Kil Moon & The Album Leaf – Perils From The Sea (5/14, Caldo Verde)
33 Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze (Spring, Matador)
32 Bleeding Rainbow – Yeah Right (1/29, Kanine)
31 Devendra Banhart – Mala (Spring, Nonesuch)
30 Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse (2/5, Canvasback)
29 Ducktails – The Flower Lane (1/29, Domino)
28 Deafheaven – Sunbather (Spring, Deathwish Inc)
27 Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return (1/22, Carpark)
26 Depeche Mode – TBD (March, Columbia)
25 Yo La Tengo – Fade (1/15, Matador)
24 Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II (2/5, Jagjaguwar)
23 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away (2/18, Anti-)
22 Low – The Invisible Way (3/19, Sub Pop)
21 Queens Of The Stone Age – TBD
20 Marnie Stern – The Chronicles Of Marnia (3/19, Kill Rock Stars)
19 FIDLAR – FIDLAR (1/22, Mom & Pop)
18 Tegan & Sara – Heartthrob (1/29, Sire)
17 Local Natives – Hummingbird (1/29, Frenchkiss)
16 James Blake – TBD
15 Deerhunter – TBD
14 M.I.A. – Matangi
13 Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste (2/12, Interscope)
12 Iceage – You’re Nothing (2/19, Matador)
11 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – TBD (Spring)
10 A$AP Rocky – LongLiveA$AP (1/15, RCA)
09 Atoms For Peace – Amok (2/18, XL)
08 Christopher Owens – Lysandre (1/15, Fat Possum)
07 Cloud Nothings – TBD
06 The Knife – Shaking The Habitual (4/9, Rabid/Brille/Mute)
05 Phoenix – TBD (Spring, Glassnote)
04 Vampire Weekend – TBD
03 Earl Sweatshirt – Doris (Tan Cressida/Columbia)
02 Arcade Fire – TBD
01 My Bloody Valentine – TBD
So now it’s your turn! What albums are you most excited for in 2013? What did we rank too high, too low, not at all? Don’t even joke about Detox — you know as well as we do that one’s not seeing light of day till 2014, earliest.