50 Most Anticipated Albums

A whole lot of music happened in 2011. Like a whole lot. Virtually every artist on our collective radar seemed to release and album or a mixtape or five mixtapes or a cassette-only EP that, if you wanted it, you had to rob somebody at knifepoint outside Other Music. Music in general could be excused for taking a breather in 2012, especially with the Mayan apocalypse looming and all. But no, that’s not happening. Already, we’re excited to hear a whole ton of music that’s slated to arrive over the next 12 months.

The year ahead of us raises a whole ton of questions. Can James Mercer’s reconstituted Shins recapture their once-dominant indie majesty? Do Sleigh Bells have anywhere left to go after their face-rupturing first album? Can the xx possibly follow up that first album? Is Nicki Minaj, a certified pop star at this point, really going back to her jackhammer demon-rap roots? What are Best Coast and Jon Brion cooking up together? Will the return of Leonard Cohen leave a smoking hole at the center of all of our hearts? And will Lana Del Rey still be worth arguing about a couple of months from now? We don’t know, and we can’t wait to find out, but the period of speculation is, in its way, just as fun.

Below, you’ll find our alphabetical list of fiftysomething albums that we can’t wait to hear. We’ve limited our scope to albums that are definitely (or, at the very least, almost definitely) coming out during the next calendar year, which means the Detoxes and Aphex Twin comebacks will have to find spots on someone else’s list. (For real though, can those please come out finally?) And even without the hypotheticals, we’re left with a deeply interesting list of new records. And if the world does crumble next December, at least we’ll have fun batting these records around between now and then.

So that’s our list. But what are we missing? What are you guys looking forward to hearing next year? Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments section, and we’ll update as we get more confirmations…

Comments (348)
  1. you forgot The Walkmen’s upcoming album

  2. Boards of Canada? My Bloody Valentine? Wishful thinking I suppose.

  3. Well, lookie here — Finally you guys recognize Ceremony. Thank you! That’s all I could ask from you this Christmas. It arrives in February, and it’s supposed to be rather post-punky and not at all hardcore (but still maintaining the integrity of the genre, if that makes any sense.)

  4. Purity Ring

  5. Queens of the Stone Age

  6. “@rpecknold: @grizzlybear just started demo’ing, hope to be done by summer! Class of ’09 bound.” Sounds like Fleet Foxes will release a new album. It also looks like Grizzly Bear will release an album as well. I’m also looking forward to a new record from Ben Kweller.

  7. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp, Jagjaguwar, 2/7
    The Walkmen – March or April
    Fiona Apple

    These are, hands down, my most anticipated.

    • Evangelicals, too (Dead Oceans, I assume).

      • Yes! Evangelicals is right up there, next to Spiritualized, as my most anticipated albums of 2012. Their last album, Darkness Descends, was and is, a work of genius. Can anyone from either Dead Oceans or the band itself give us some kind of progress report as to how the new record is coming along? Much appreciated.

        • They posted on facebook a few months back that they were almost done the new record. That’s about all I got!

        • Record was actually called Evening Descends, but I agree one of the best and most overlooked albums of the decade. Talked to a mutual friend and apparently they’ve been tracking in multiple studios and being very meticulous and wanting to make the best record possible. Hopefully it comes out this year.

    • The most glaring omission: SHARON VAN ETTEN.

      I mean, there’s even a release date set. It’s not speculation.

  8. Fanfarlo. Mazzy Star.

  9. What’s number 7?

  10. You forgot Kanye’s Good Ass Job and the ever-increasing possibility of Watch The Throne 2

  11. Franz Ferdinand. Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

  12. Fanfarlo and Ellie Goulding

  13. School of Seven Bells, maybe?

  14. Beach Boys!!!!!!

  15. Grizzly Bear? Animal Collective?

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  17. Sharon Van Etten is easily my #1

  18. Isn’t the Ghostface-MF Doom album supposed to come out sometime soon? though I guess its been delayed so many times that you never really know. almost like detox, except the songs that leaked out of Detox weren’t very good.

  19. Dr Dog- Enter the Void
    New Pomegranates album
    Miniature Tigers-Mia Pharaoh
    New Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band record
    New Black Moth Super Rainbow record
    New Wavves Record
    Ben Kweller- Go Fly a Kite
    New Mars Volta record (hopefully)

  20. Beach House and Vampire Weekend spring to mind as missing from the list…Vampire Weekend is absolutely recording LP3 right now, Beach House is more hopeful optimism

  21. A new Vampire Weekend and Modest Mouse LP would be nice… :P

  22. Guided By Voices.

  23. The recent interview with Corgan makes me wanna say Smashing Pumpkins. And I am quite surprised by this actually.

  24. Love the inclusion of Rancid. Been a great rock band for 20 years.

    I’d add Sigur Ros too.

  25. Sigur Ros plans to release an album next year, amirite?

  26. Grizzly Bear, Beach House, Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective

    Class of ’09 indeed. What’s up with you stereogum? Lana Del Ray is more exciting than those? SHEESH

  27. Damien Jurado

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  29. Delta Spirit? Surfer Blood? Alabama Shakes?

  30. Woah woah woah now…no Grizzly Bear AT ALL?
    #1-50 for me.


  32. Miniature Tigers
    Spinto Band
    Ben Kweller

  33. Sounds like Tegan & Sara will be releasing something next year.

  34. Laura Gibson – La Grande (1/24, via Barsuk)
    speaking of Barsuk, Ramona Falls likely. Maybe even Menomena (they at least said they’re writing stuff).

    • What do you know about a follow-up Ramona Falls album? I’ve been dying for any sort of news. Thanks for the heads up about Laura, really dig her a lot.

      • Went Brent left Menomena a year ago, he said it was, in part, to focus on Ramona Falls. Back in September, on twitter, he said he was 70% done tracking the new album (though I guess that could refer to another artist’s album he might be working on, but I doubt it). He’s also made references to working on the second LP (on twitter), but nothing specific.

  35. Rancid and No Doubt but not the Knife or Animal Collective?

    You guys really rushed this list!

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  37. The Knife, they said they would release a new album on their website.

    Sigur Ros (spring)

    The Walkmen

    Most likely new Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors albums.

    Some others are mostly MAYBE (HOPEFULLY)s – Portishead, Bat For Lashes, Mars Volta, Phoenix, Queens of the Stone Age, and finally? Fiona Apple

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  39. someone’s actually looking forward to a new fleetwood mac album?

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  41. the avalanches?

    jk hahaha your list is great

  42. Avi Buffalo
    Purity Ring
    Nite Jewel

  43. John K. Samson is releasing his solo album on January 24th:

    The Weakerthans started working on a new album, so hopefully that will be released sometime Q2 2012

  44. You forgot about the St. Vincent/David Byrne collaboration album!

  45. New Yellow Ostrich on Barsuk and Point Reyes’ debut Lp on Cakes and Tapes


  46. The Wrens.

    No need to confirm, it’s automatic.

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  48. I’ve read a few articles that said the Wrens would finally be releasing their follow-up to The Meadowlands in 2012, but I’m not sure if it’s 100% confirmed yet.

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