Our executive staff weighs in on albums to look out for in the coming year.
NOTE: We’re setting some obvious albums aside. Not included: Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Sleater-Kinney, Drake, The Decemberists, and Radiohead.
Ellen Collingwood – Promotions Director
Frank Ocean – TBA (TBA)
When I chart the most important, influential albums of my short 21 years of life, Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange undoubtedly finds its place towards the very top. The 2012 release has been followed with critical acclaim for its genre-challenging complexities and mesmerizing storytelling. The same mystery that draws listeners to Ocean is what has kept us at bay for the last 2 1/2 years, anxiously pacing and dying for more from the heart-spilling young artist. With as little information as we have, we know this: Ocean is pulling inspiration from The Beatles and The Beach Boys, reportedly collaborating with the likes of King Krule, Tame Impala, and James Blake, and promises another polished concept piece that will take us just as high as the last. Other than that, information is sparse. All we can do is cross our fingers, say our prayers, and obsessively check Ocean’s Tumblr page daily for any helpful clue or cryptic sign.
Nick Fief – Music Director
Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves (3/3)
It’s been almost eight years since the last proper Modest Mouse album, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, the follow up to 2004’s platinum certified Good News For People Who Love Bad News. After breaking down the barriers of indie rock in the “mainstream” in a world before modern social media, Modest Mouse to some has garnered unwarranted expectations, as many bands have experienced after being dragged into the spotlight. But Modest Mouse has succeed at growing as a band and putting out great albums year after year. In a recent short documentary about their 1997 release, The Lonesome Crowded West, frontman Isaac Brock talks of not rebuilding the things that worked in the past, and letting things naturally happen, explaining “you could make a terrible record with this approach, but at least you won’t make the same record.” So with great anticipation, I wait for whatever these rambunctious rockers from Issaquah have to put out for us.
Jordan Swoyer – Program Director
Chromatics – Dear Tommy (TBA)
The past couple years have been marked by a complete overload of synth-pop music, including some breaks into the mainstream (Chvrches, M83). The swell in popularity has led to an increased emphasis in production, and songwriting has suffered. I’m hoping that in 2015, my first true love in the genre, Portland’s Chromatics, can bring me back on board. With roots in punk music, Chromatics’ music shows a marked interest in creating a mood throughout an album, and the live instrumentation keeps the songs grounded. Chromatics’ Prolific producer Johnny Jewel has multiple releases scheduled for 2015 (Glass Candy and Symmetry will also release records). If I could only choose one, this would be it.
Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful (3/24)
Action Bronson’s debut album Mr. Wonderful is due out on Tuesday, March 24 and I couldn’t be more excited…and scared. For years, I have loved Bronson’s mixtapes, especially 2013’s Blue Chips 2, and can’t wait to hear his debut album. Unfortunately, one of the things that has drawn me to Bronson’s music has been his seemingly careless meandering between talking and rapping over the top of constantly changing beats throughout each of his mixtapes. I have significant concerns about this style transferring over to an album. I hope these concerns are unfounded, but only time will tell.
Kari Bingham-Gutierrez – Website Manager
Brandon Flowers – TBA (TBA)
The name Brandon Flowers may ring a bell to you if you were once (and, maybe, still are) a fan of The Killers. Flowers fronts the Las Vegas based band; however, he will once again strike out on his own to create a second solo album. Back in 2010, Flowers debuted his first solo album, Flamingo. The album did remarkably well in the United Kingdom and the United States, earning spots on top album charts. Flowers’ new album will stray from his usual sound and bring listeners a taste of something new. As seen with all of his albums, though, he will always be influenced by his home, Las Vegas. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for boys from Las Vegas (Panic! At the Disco, The Cab, The Killers), so, regardless of where he takes this new album, I’ll be excited to hear what comes next.
Willy Evans – Production Director