Guide to upcoming music releases of 2015

James Blake's upcoming album will feature guest stars like Kanye West and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. Bill Ebbesen via Wikimedia Commons

The past 10 months or so have been jam-packed with great music releases. From industry legends like Sufjan Stevens and Björk, to newer artists such as Julia Holter and Vince Staples, music-lovers have had a lot to be excited about. There has, of course, been a fair share of forgettable projects, as well. Who actually thought Ryan Adams could successfully cover “1989” (2014) and provide the same addicting, youthful exuberance that Taylor Swift brought on her own version? And how could any reasonable person sit through the excruciatingly painful 92 minutes of “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz” (2015)?

Luckily, there’s still a good crop of records to get amped about as 2015 comes to a close. Here are five albums to get excited (or hopeful) for in the final weeks.

1. Joanna Newsom — “Divers”

Set for official release on Oct. 23, “Divers” is singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom’s fourth studio album and her first since “Have One on Me” (2010). Newsom’s earlier work was heavily influenced by polyrhythms — the synchronization of two rhythms, one of which is an irrational rhythm — but she moved away from this tactic on her previous album, “Have One on Me,” and will likely do the same on “Divers.” New listeners will quickly notice her unique voice, her keen ear for songwriting and the delicate intricacy of the accompanying musical arrangements.

2. Grimes — “Art Angels”

Claire Boucher, better known by her stage name “Grimes,” has stayed relatively quiet about her upcoming album, “Art Angels,” revealing new information in a slow, unconventional manner. The album art and title, for example, were announced earlier this week, a few months after she hinted at releasing it in “surprise” fashion sometime in October. Boucher scrapped her last album in 2014 after dropping the polarizing single “Go” (2014). Since then, she has released two more terrific singles, “REALiTi” and “Entropy,” both of which dropped earlier this year. She’s stated, however, that “Art Angels” will be quite different from her singles and not to expect them to find their way onto the album (at least not on the A side). The anticipation for “Art Angels” is high, and indie music’s favorite alternative pop singer has major expectations to meet.

3. James Blake — “Radio Silence”

James Blake’s third full-length album is expected to be released sometime in 2015, though no official date has been set. Blake’s songwriting incorporates gripping lyrics with an electronic backdrop defined by deft changes in tempo, exhilarating pacing and skillfully woven instrumental accompaniment. “Radio Silence” will hopefully display Blake at his best, much like his earlier albums “James Blake” (2011) and “Overgrown” (2013) did. The upcoming release will feature Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Kanye West, a signal that Blake is treading in new territory by employing high-profile guests.

4. Rihanna — “Anti”

Rihanna’s eighth studio album “Anti” — which is currently without a firm release date — is being executive produced by Kanye West and will feature singles she dropped earlier this year: “Bitch Better Have My Money,” “FourFiveSeconds” and “American Oxygen.” The album cover, which also includes a poem in Braille, is different from her usual fare. It features picture of Rihanna as a child, wearing a gold crown that covers her eyes and holding a black balloon, with red paint dripping down the photo. “Anti” will be Rihanna’s first full-length album since “Unapologetic” (2012), and considering the range in styles of her newest singles, it likely will be Rihanna’s most risky and diverse project to date.

5. Kanye West — “SWISH”

“SWISH” will, most likely, not drop in 2015 (Kanye has stated, albeit very vaguely, that he’s not interested in rushing a project for this year), but one never knows with West. The hip-hop star released “Yeezus” rather unexpectedly back in 2013. He has given fans tastes of new material in a variety of forms since then, eliciting both positive and negative feedback. West’s near-perfect streak of albums is at stake, so fans should be hoping for quality over rushed, half-baked hip-hop.


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