Halestorm – Vicious
Date: July 27
The Pennsylvania based rock outfit has made waves in the modern rock world since their self-titled debut record in 2009 thanks to there heavy guitars, catchy melodies, and the powerful vocal work of lead singer Lizzy Hale. Since then, they have released two more studio albums in 2012 and 2015, each to considerable critical and commercial success, as well as putting on several notably excellent live performances.
Two Singles, “Black Vultures,” and “Uncomfortable,” have been released to date. The first is built around a formulaic but spirited structure and benefits from a few very interesting choices in minor chords and scales, while the latter sports a few excellent tempo changes and entertaining drum work. Hale’s vocals are, as expected, powerful and commanding, and if these tracks are any indicator of what’s to come, fans and newcomers alike are in for a treat.
Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You for Today
Date: August 17
The godfathers of soft, indie rock have been releasing music steadily since 1998, making them older than myself. They hit their real stride, however, on their 2005 classic, Plans. For a several year period around this time, the group was headlining massive tours, playing MTV Storytellers, and generally bringing the soft rock sound to the mainstream in an unprecedented way.
Thirteen years later and DCFC has just announced the August release of their eleventh studio album. Only one single has been released entitled, “Gold Rush.” While much of the backing harmonies and witty lyricism remains, the group seems to have updated their instrumental pallet and pushed the drums much louder in their mixes. The track is fun and unique, both to the band and the modern music industry as a whole. My hopes are high that Death Cab for Cutie just might have a fresh new sound full of surprises waiting just around the corner.
Amanda Shires – To the Sunset
While many may know her as the wife and frequent collaborator of outlaw country megastar, Jason Isbell, Shires is actually a very talented country/pop songwriter in her own right. She recently announced the upcoming release of her fourth studio album via twitter, as well as giving us our first peak at the colorful, psychedelic cover.
If the album wasn’t indication enough, the two singles we’ve heard so far are radical departures from the Shires we’ve come to know. “Eve’s Daughter” features heavy electric guitars and even segments of dissonant guitars, while “Leave It Alone” creates more of a pop vibe with sampled drums and heavily produced vocals. It would seem that we’re in for a more diverse and unique project than Shires has ever created.
Denzel Curry – TA13OO (Taboo)
Curry has been notably coy about the release date of his upcoming third studio release, but all signs point to a late 2018 drop. This will, of course, follow 2016’s, Imperial. This was one of the best trap albums of all time and put the growing Florida scene on the map critically. Curry’s relentless flow, trap music’s trademark heavy bass, and heavy jazz influences meshed well on Imperial to create a sense of well directed chaos.
We’ve heard three singles from TA13OO thus far. “Skywalker,” is nocturnal, melodic, and leans harder on the trap than the jazz influences. “SUMO/ZUMO,” is loud, treble heavy, and features Denzel’s attitude heavy flow well. “PERCS/PERCZ” was the latest release and calls back to early tracks, like “Ultimate.” With such a diverse showing between tracks, its impossible to be sure what to expect, but with two fantastic projects under his belt, its reasonable to expect nothing short of excellence.
IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance
Neo-punk superstars, IDLES exploded on to the rock scene in 2015 with their second EP, MEAT. They were angry, loud, and aggressive at a time when rock music just doesn’t allow itself to feel that way anymore. The follow up LP in 2017 entitled Brutalism was one of the best albums of the year, and likely the best punk album in several decades
We’ve heard two singles so far from the upcoming Joy as an Act of Resistance, and both are telling about the album they foreshadow. “Danny Nedelko” is bass-heavy and sports a far more melodic chorus than any the band has recorded thus far. “Colossus,” is far more surprising, as the first several minutes are fairly slow and droning. This builds to a drop out near the end of the track, before a quick burst into an up-tempo punk jam. It’s entirely possible that this will open the album, and the first few minutes will function as an intro, but if IDLES really are planning to incorporate drones and tempo changes into their very solid toolbox, we could be in for a punk record that will rank among the all-time greats.