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18 albums we're looking forward to during the rest of 2019

By Emily Mackay and Jamie Milton

We’re nearly a quarter of the way through 2019, and it’s clearly shaping up to be another amazing year for music lovers.

We've already had superb records from Sharon Van Etten, Julia Jacklin, Ibibio Sound Machine, Ex: Re, The Specials and Deerhunter, but there's plenty more still to come.

Here is a selection of albums we're looking forward to hearing throughout the rest of 2019.

The National – I Am Easy To Find

Release Date: 17 May

All signs point to The National's eighth studio album being a bold new chapter in the group's career.

Led by fidgety opening track You Had Your Soul With You – featuring former David Bowie bandmate Gail Ann Dorsey – it sees the group collaborating with females who "have long been in the band's orbit," according to label 4AD.

"Yes, there are a lot of women singing on this, but it wasn't because, ‘Oh, let's have more women's voices,’" says frontman Matt Berninger. “It was more, ‘Let's have more of a fabric of people's identities.’ It would have been better to have had other male singers, but my ego wouldn't let that happen."

Expect appearances from Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan and This is the Kit's Kate Stables, plus an accompanying 68-minute film directed by Mike Mills.

Credit: Graham MacIndoe

Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

Release Date: April 19

Positivity, attitude and a whole lot of energy, Lizzo’s profile has been rising steadily since the release of aptly-named 2013 debut Lizzobangers and her EP Coconut Oil this year. 2019 looks set to be the year she truly breaks through.

This year's Juice single is a faultless, feel-good summer anthem, the twist being that it was released in the first week of January. Cuz I Love You's title-track is the complete opposite; a frank and emotional account of falling hopelessly for someone else.

The Minneapolis rapper's forthcoming second album, she told the Guardian in October, was tricky to pin down: "I make all different types of music… I feel like when you’re good at doing a lot of different styles, it hard to stick with one." In the summer, though, she found the key to the album in her vocals: "I hit my stride. It was about embracing my singing voice."

Childish Gambino – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) was responsible for perhaps the most arresting video of 2018 with This Is America - and the song itself was one of the year's standout tracks too. If it's a taste of what to expect from his next album, we're surely in store for something great.

It may also be his last too, either as Childish Gambino or his final record altogether. "There’s nothing worse than like a third sequel, like a third movie and we’re like, 'again?'" he told the Huffington Post in 2017. Glover has also hinted at disillusion with the music world in an interview, telling The New Yorker in February: "Before my first album came out, I wanted people to like me, and to realise that I had good intentions. Then I realised that no one has good intentions—we all just have incentives."

Aside from This Is America, Gambino performed a soulful new song called Saturday on US television in May 2018, and released Summer Pack, a two-song summer soundtrack comprising of Summertime Magic and Feels Like Summer, in July. Will Gambino's new album have this lighter, sunnier feel or follow the widescreen politically-charged nature of This Is America? His headline appearance at Coachella 2019 could be the first indication.

"My mum was like, 'this song's good!'" - Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover)

Why his mum's verdict mattered, and how an Atlanta hairdresser helped shape the track.

Grimes – Miss_Anthropocene

Release Date: TBA

It's been three years since critically-acclaimed album Art Angels, but it finally looks like there's a new Grimes record on the way.

Taking to Instagram, Claire Boucher revealed the title Miss_Anthropocene, calling her new LP "a concept album about the anthropomorphic goddess of climate change."

Lead single We Appreciate Power came out at the start of December. Refining the unholy alliance forged on one of her previous album's standout tracks, Kill V. Maim, between K-pop, riot grrl punk and industrial metal, its lyrics are quintessentially Grimes too, touching upon simulation theory, artificial intelligence and self-discovery. It also features long-time collaborator Hana.

There's still no official date for the album, but Grimes says she plans to first release "an EP or a few more singles of synth-based stuff" before it comes out.

Grimes - Glastonbury 2016 Highlights

There isn't another artist out there like her. Electronica dreams are brought to life.

Hot Chip – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Hot Chip have been prolific with their side ventures in recent years, from Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard's solo albums to Al Doyle’s work with LCD Soundsystem and as New Build with his main band's drummer Felix Martin. Taylor and Goddard even contributed to a track on Katy Perry’s album Witness in 2017.

This year will mark four years since their last record, Why Make Sense, and there's been hints that something is coming. In January 2018, Taylor shared a short clip of Doyle playing guitar, while they're also booked for Glastonbury 2019. Watch this space.

Hot Chip play 6 Music Festival on Sunday 31 March

'My dad used to play...and my cat!' Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor on his love affair with the piano

Alexis Taylor talks to Mark and Stuart about the making of 'Piano'.

The Chemical Brothers – No Geography

Release Date: April 12

The Chemical Brothers' ninth album will put the dance giants back in the spotlight. Free Yourself, a needling, trance number with a Kraftwerk-ian glimmer, will feature on the LP, with the pair recently revealing a video for the single which sees AI drone workers starting a rave rebellion in a warehouse (including cameos from Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands themselves as robots set on liberty).

Follow-up single MAH has swiftly become one of 2019's most brilliantly in-your-face tracks, and the similarly head-spinning Got To Keep On doesn't exactly hint at anything less colossal.

Their last album, 2015's Grammy-nominated Born in the Echoes, mixed huge bangers with more experimental moments, and guest spots from Cate Le Bon and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, among others. Expect both big name and unexpected vocal guests this time round too. It's become something of a Chemical Brothers calling card after all.

The Chemical Brothers discuss their influences

The Chemical Brothers Tom and Ed talk about their influences with Lauren Laverne.

Loyle Carner – Not Waving, But Drowning

Release Date: April 19

Loyle Carner's recent single, Ottolenghi, was named after the Israeli-British chef and food writer Yotam Ottolenghi and brought the star's love of food to his music. The London rapper has made no secret of his foodie tendencies in the past. Three years ago he set up his own cookery school, the excellently named Chilli Con Carner, for culinary students with ADHD.

Carner's latest song, featuring Jordan Rakei, was inspired by a real-life incident. "I was reading Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem on the train, on the way to the studio, and these two guys started effing and blinding and one said: ‘Why the f*** are you reading that? You know you can get in trouble for reading that around here?'" he told the Guardian. "I said 'It’s a cookbook. A Bible of sorts, to me'. They started taking the p*** but – thank God – got off the train. Then a mother and daughter got on and the mum explained: 'You have to have rain, otherwise things wouldn’t grow.' After arriving at the studio I wrote the lyrics for Ottolenghi in one stream of consciousness."

More recently, he sidestepped cooking chat to team up with fellow UK talent Jorja Smith on laidback collaboration Loose Ends.

The Cure – TBA

Release Date: TBA

It's set to be a huge year for fans of The Cure. Frontman Robert Smith has revealed plans to release the group's first album in over 10 years, and their 14th full-length follows news that they'll be headlining Glastonbury in 2019, for the fourth time in their career.

Speaking to CapeTalk radio host John Maytham in March, Smith said they had "just recorded a new album", and that they were "still doing [music] for the right reasons." He added: "It's difficult to take in how the band has grown. I live a normal, quiet life at home."

The band will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of classic LP Disintegration this year, with four commemorative shows planned for Sydney Opera House in May.

Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain

Release Date: Summer 2019

Newcomer Slowthai looks poised to release one of 2019's most essential debuts; a frankly-told depiction of the UK told from the perspective of a Northampton-based youngster who felt ignored by modern society.

Coupled with an appearance at 6 Music Festival in Liverpool, Slowthai's first work is due out later this year via Method Records, and looks set to include dance-punk hybrid single Doorman.

Slowthai plays 6 Music Festival on Saturday 30 March

Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2

Release Date: September 2019

"Good things coming on the horizon," Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis wrote online in October, and he wasn't kidding. The Oxford band are delivering two full-lengths in 2019, separated by just six months.

They began working on their fifth LP in 2017, and the self-produced sessions were so fruitful they also ended up writing album six.

Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost is split into two parts. The first is out now, containing epic lead single Exits and the more streamlined On the Luna.

Philippakis explained the wait for their new album, telling DIY: "We haven’t made a straightforward record. That wasn’t the concern. We wanted to have a more wildly creative experience and experiment more, take more time over the music, really try and push ourselves to make a record that we would feel was the defining expression of the band, where in 20 years time we’d look back and hopefully it would be our favourite. And then we ended up with two."

Foals - Reading + Leeds 2016 Highlights

Oxford's finest deliver an energetic and angst packed headline set.

Tame Impala – TBA

Release Date: Summer 2019

Kevin Parker has been busy in the three years since 2015’s Currents, the most recent instalment in his psychedelic adventures with Tame Impala. He's worked with Lady Gaga, Kali Uchis, Travis Scott and even popped up - to his own surprise - on Violent Crimes from Kanye West’s 2018 album Ye. He’s about to appear on Mark Ronson’s new solo record too, on a track called Laurie.

Somehow he's also managed to find the time to work on a new Tame Impala record, indicating in July 2018 that a new album is due by the summer of 2019. There’s been little taste of the new record live, with Parker explaining: "I like that the first time people hear it is the kind of the recorded glory... like the premeditated thing that I’ve spent two years on, rather than being half-drunk bashing it out on stage, hitting clanger notes."

What will the album sound like? Well, Ronson let slip to NME that he's heard some of the new Tame Impala music, and it "sounded amazing – like that’s a surprise to anyone. It’s pretty mind-blowing and great."

Tame Impala - Glastonbury 2016 Highlights

The psychedelic rockers make their Pyramid Stage debut.

Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

Release Date: April 12

Dublin's Fontaines D.C. are readying a much-hyped first work via Partisan Records.

Recorded with Dan Carey in south London and mastered at Abbey Road Studios, Dogrel is set to encapsulate the group's ferocious post-punk, underpinned by frontman Grian Chatten's whipsmart lyricism. "My childhood was small, but I'm gonna be big," he boldly declares on recent track Big, in which he describes the band's hometown as "a pregnant city with a Catholic mind." And as a politicised, thoughtful but uncompromising guitar band, they can be filed next to the likes of Shame and IDLES.

Fontaines D.C. perform at 6 Music Festival on Sunday 31 March

Vampire Weekend – Father Of The Bride

Release Date: May 3

Father of the Bride is Vampire Weekend's first release after signing to Sony, and their first since the departure of Rostam Batmanglij, although the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter said he would still contribute to the band's music in the future.

So far, the sunny-side-up New Yorkers have shared four tracks, including glistening lead single Harmony Hall and Sunflower, a head-turning collaboration with The Internet's Steve Lacy.

Frontman Ezra Koenig describes the record as a double-album, and fans who'd heard no new material for five years will be pleased to know the new LP contains 18 tracks. Good things come to those who wait.

Vampire Weekend chat to Stuart Maconie

Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend catches up with Stuart Maconie.

Big Thief – U.F.O.F.

Release Date: May 3

It's been just under two years since Big Thief's most recent album, 2017's Capacity (itself the band's second record in the space of two years). Lead singer and guitarist Adrianne Lenker also released her solo debut abysskiss in 2018. But new music keeps coming, with the group's third full-length out this Spring.

U.F.O.F.'s last 'F' stands for 'Friend', and Lenker says these songs are about "making friends with the unknown". She told label 4AD: "If the nature of life is change and impermanence, I’d rather be uncomfortably awake in that truth than lost in denial."

Andrew Sarlo produced the record, and its lead single is an ever-changing, softly-strummed bright sign of things to come.

Big Thief's Companion Track

Lead singer Adrianne chooses The Lonesome Border by Dear Nora.

My Bloody Valentine – TBA

Release Date: TBA

They don't exactly have a reputation for sticking to schedules (their last record, 2013's m b v, took 22 years to arrive), but Kevin Shields has promised that there’ll be two new My Bloody Valentine albums in 2019. Mind you, he had also previously stated that the band would "one hundred percent" have an album out in 2018, self-imposing a deadline of releasing it before the group's live dates in the summer.

However, festival season came and went with no sign of an album. They did play new songs live at the shows in question though, while Shields has also recently released two haunting collaborations with Brian Eno, The Weight of History and Only Once Away My Son, that may indicate the direction their new material is heading in.

Shields told interviewers at Summer Sonic festival in Japan this year that he hoped to have a seven or eight track album finished by November, adding: "We’ll also be recording new material next year. There will be a lot of new material coming in the next year, there will be about two new records." Maybe it won’t be two decades until we get another LP from the legendary shoegazers then.

Aldous Harding – Designer

Release Date: April 26

New Zealander Aldous Harding made a huge impression with 2017's complex and devilishly unorthodox Party album.

The Auckland musician has once more teamed up with PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish for Designer, a third full-length featuring contributions from H. Hawkline and Sweet Baboo.

Lead single The Barrel comes complete with a surreal, oddly sinister video, which sees Harding eyeballing a camera and performing a strangely compelling shuffle-dance. Proof if it was required that she's continuing to push boundaries.

Disclaimer: Third-party videos may contain adverts.

Anderson .Paak – Ventura

Release Date: April 12

Last year, singing-rapping-drumming extraordinaire Anderson .Paak released third album Oxnard. But it turns out productive recording sessions also spawned a fourth LP, out in April.

Ventura is the last of the .Paak albums to be named after a piece of California coast. In contrast to the themes of Oxnard – greed, gluttony, hedonism – it's set to be the sweeter, more soulful other half. .Paak recently revealed a huge list of special guests set to feature, including Smokey Robinson, Andre 3000 and Jazmine Sullivan. As usual, legendary mentor Dr. Dre executive-produced the album.

Mac DeMarco – Here Comes the Cowboy

Release Date: May 10

Here Comes the Cowboy is the first release on Mac DeMarco's own imprint, simply named Mac’s Record Label. It follows 2017's This Old Dog, a laidback and emotionally-raw turn from a musician previously best known for on-and-off-stage antics.

"This one is my cowboy record," DeMarco says. "Cowboy is a term of endearment to me, I use it often when referring to people in my life. Where I grew up there are many people that sincerely wear cowboy hats and do cowboy activities. These aren’t the people I’m referring to."

It was written in two weeks over January 2019, and is led by chilled and restrained track Nobody.

Disclaimer: Third-party videos may contain adverts.

We're also expecting new albums from...

  • Badly Drawn Boy – TBA
  • Bibio – Ribbons (April 12)
  • Chance The Rapper – TBA
  • Clinic – Wheeltappers and Shunters (May 10)
  • Ezra Collective – You Can't Steal My Joy (April 26)
  • Fat White Family – Serfs Up! (April 19)
  • FKA Twigs – TBA
  • Flying Lotus – TBA
  • The Futureheads – TBA
  • Hayden Thorpe – TBA
  • Kevin Morby – Oh My God (April 26)
  • Mystery Jets – TBA
  • Pip Blom – Boat (May 31)
  • Q-Tip – TBA
  • Richard Hawley – Further (June 7)
  • Rosie Lowe – YU (May 10)
  • Rozi Plain – What a Boost (April 5)
  • Sinkane – Dépaysé (May 31)
  • SOAK – Grim Town (April 26)
  • The Smashing Pumpkins – TBA
  • Stealing Sheep – Big Wows (April 19)
  • Vince Staples – TBA
  • White Denim – Side Effects (March 29)

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