Each year brings a new crop of artists, projects and expectations for the music industry, and if all indicators are true, 2018 will prove to be another prolific year for musicians and music fans alike.
2017 brought greater attention and acclaim to female creators and creators of color, and streaming’s popularity surge has given the indie community a significant boost in exposure. These trends are likely to continue in 2018, with several highly anticipated albums slated to make a big impact. Here are five upcoming projects to get excited about.
To say that Donald Glover has kept busy over the past few years would be a massive understatement. From producing and starring in his Emmy-winning FX show Atlanta, to landing critical roles as Simba in the upcoming The Lion King and Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Star Wars films, Glover’s acting career has blossomed at a blistering pace. Naturally, Glover has had less time to release music under his Childish Gambino moniker. But in a one-off show at New York’s Governor’s Ball Music Festival in June, he announced that his next album will be his last under his alter ego. If this announcement holds true, expect the workaholic entertainer to put forth an impressive effort in his final project as Childish Gambino.
Glover’s most recent album, Awaken, My Love!, dropped in 2016. The album saw a departure from his experimental hip-hop style to a more funk-inspired, neo-soul sound, and earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album.
The anticipation Frank Ocean built for the follow-up to 2012’s widely acclaimed Channel Orange became a well-documented internet meme, going strong until Blonde and Endless were eventually released in 2016. Since then, a string of canceled festival appearances, in addition to several breathtaking performances following the release of these albums, has produced similar excitement for the indie R&B crooner’s next project. Ocean once promised to make five albums before the age of 30, and while Ocean celebrated his 30th birthday last year without releasing his fifth album, he revealed in a late-November Tumblr post that the project was finished. It would be reasonable to expect the project’s release in 2018.
My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine has remained one of the most prolific and forward-thinking rock bands of the last 25 years, due largely in part to its impressive and consistent musical output. The shoegaze trailblazers have not released a project since 2013’s critically acclaimed m b v, but frontman Kevin Shields said there is a “100 percent chance” that a new album is coming in 2018. The new project has been described as a psychedelic turn from the band’s last album, and should make waves when it is released.
For the most part, artpop visionary FKA twigs has remained quiet about a full-length project following her monumental LP1 in 2014. Since then, however, she’s turned heads with a Matisse-inspired dress at the Met Gala, and released the critically acclaimed M3LL155X in 2015. After ending her highlypublicized relationship with actor Robert Pattinson, the singer has seemingly strayed from the public eye. For her fans, this hiatus is hopefully indicative of an artist hard at work in the studio, meaning 2018 could bring a second full-length album as well as a string of her acclaimed live performances to accompany it.
Since 2013’s critically acclaimed Modern Vampires of the City, each member of Vampire Weekend has kept busy in his own right. Drummer Chris Tomson, bassist Chris Baio and producer Rostam Batmanglij have each released solo albums, while frontman Ezra Koenig has produced his own Netflix series Neo Yokio. Batmanglij’s departure from Vampire Weekend in 2016 left many fans uncertain of the band’s musical direction. While it has been confirmed that Batmanglij has contributed to several tracks on the band’s upcoming fourth LP, fans should expect some variation from its classical-influenced, indie pop sound. Koenig, the band’s primary songwriter, previously said that he was inspired by a performance from a country-pop star. No matter what direction Vampire Weekend takes on its latest album, expect Koenig to wear his influences and oddities on his sleeve.