WSUM's Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

  • Post Author
    by Web manager
  • Post Date
    Fri Feb 20 2015


2015 promises to be a year full of new, exciting, and sometimes long-awaited releases. We at WSUM hope that something released this year speaks to you. Keep listening to the station and you might just find it!

For each album, our DJs have selected either a leading single for the album or a song indicative of the group's sound. Simply click the link for the song to pull up a Youtube video of that song. Warning: not all links are work safe.


Izzy Fradin

Naming my top 5 most anticipated releases is a lot tougher than I would have thought. With so many great artists planning on putting out new material in 2015, I can't even fit all of my favorites on the list. Laura Marling's first plugged album, Waxahatchee's follow up to 2013's “Cerulean Salt,” Fleet Foxes Drummer-Father John Misty's new work, Death Cab's revival, and so much more that I'm super psyched for couldn't all make the list. Regardless, there are SO many albums that I'm excited for in 2015– way more than I could list here.

Strangers to Ourselves by Modest Mouse – Fans of the group have been waiting since 2007 for the group's next move. As a huge fan of the Moon and Antarctica, and The Lonesome Crowded West, there's mixed feelings about how this album will turn out. As far as mainstream indie-rock goes, it's not uncommon for bands to lose fans once the major record label takes over. But as far as I see it, Modest Mouse has yet to put out a disappointing record, and I think if “Lampshades on Fire” is any indication of the album, Strangers to Ourselves won't be an exception.

Track to check out: “Lampshades on Fire”

Aureate Gloom by Of Montreal – Kevin Barnes doesn't know how to write a generic song. Of Montreal front man has talked about this album being heavily influenced by 70's New York rock (Talking Heads, Television, etc.) The psychopop mastermind is at it again with Gloom, and I have complete and total faith that this album will be as exciting, fun, and dancy as the Of Montreal standard holds itself up to.

Track to check out: “Bassem Sabry”

Surf by Chance the Rapper – Chicago native Chance the Rapper appeared on the scene in 2013 with his wildly successful Acid Rap mix tape. Though creating music for years before, the 21 year old has just recently earned his shot in the spotlight of Chicago artists, and rappers alike. I'm especially excited for this album since he's working with retired Kids These Days musician and Save Money member, Donnie Trumpet. I'm a huge fan of both his instrumental work, and production, and the two geniuses combined can only lead to greatness.

Track to check out: “Good Ass Intro”

TBA by Frank Ocean – Channel Orange, Ocean's last album, was one of the most original, well produced albums of 2012. When it first came out I was taken aback by the smooth, funky, sexy sounds that flowed throughout the entire record. There wasn't a bad track on the album. Ocean has reportedly spent about every day in the studio working on his next great work. I cannot wait to hear just what all his time and production work will sound like… and just how sensual this one's gonna get.

Track to check out: “Pink Matter”

Carrie & Lowell  by Sufjan Stevens – Though not another addition to the 50 States Project, Carrie and Lowell is sure to be an exciting follow up to Steven's Age of Adz. Aside from a Christmas album in 2012, this will be the first album the Detroit native has put out in 5 years. Unpredictable as Stevens can be, I'm looking forward to the nostalgic, orchestrated, epic tracks that he is so well known for.

Track to check out: “Casimir Pulaski Day”


Lorenza Zebell

2015 has already proven to be a very exciting year in music.  From the hauntingly beautiful melodies on Björk's Vulnicura to the hypnotizing cyclical beats on Panda Bear's Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, I have been very pleased thus far.  With that said, there are still a many albums that the WSUM DJs and I are psyched to see come out over the remainder of this year.

TBA by Joanna Newsom – The harpist, lyricist, and all-around amazing musician Joanna Newsom has been working on an album for the past few years.  In fact, it's been five years since we've seen music released by Joanna! I am absolutely on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what fantastical stories the songs on her next album depict. I can only hope the rumors are true and this year really will bring us more of her charming, evocative, lovely music.

Track to check out: “What We Have Known”

TBA by Grimes – Another female solo artist, Grimes makes music that is very unlike Joanna's, but no less wonderful. Her last album, Visions, was heralded as “one of the most impressive albums of the year” by the New York Times in 2012.  Her music is a smorgasbord of electronic sounds from pop to psychedelic, so it will be interesting to see what direction she takes this next album in.

Track to check out: “Go (ft. Blood Diamonds)”

Radio Silence by James Blake – A pioneer in electronic sounds, James Blake is set to release an album this year. Many believe we have Blake to thank for the layered yet simplistic beats overlaid with crooning vocals we see so often in popular music today.  At best, this new album will explore a brand new electronic sound.  At worst, it will still be a very well-produced, solid album.

Track to check out: “Retrograde”

Primrose Green by Ryley Walker – A Chicago-based singer-songwriter guitarist, Ryley Walker recently came to my attention when he played on a special edition of Live@WSUM (which you can listen to here). I was blown away by how well he develops the authentic folk sound inspired by folk staples like Bert Jansch and Tim Hardin. He is definitely a new favorite of mine, and I'm excited to hear anything he releases this year.

Track to check out: “Primrose Green”

TBA by Beach House – Dream pop masters Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally of Beach House are rumored to be releasing new material this year. I'm hoping their new album will be like their track off of Lefse Records' The Space Project. Outer space-inspired music brings soundscapes that I love, calling to mind floating ambience and desolate absence of sound.

Track to check out: “Myth”

TBA by The Dead Weather – Several tracks have been released off of this super group's third album, but the full album release date hasn't been announced yet. This band is so talented that all the members have hits with other bands, and they can virtually all switch instruments with each other and still rock out. If the singles are any indication, their gritty sound seems to be cleaner on this album – but not for the worse.

Track to check out: “Buzzkill(er) / It's Just Too Bad”



Blade of the Ronin by Cannibal Ox – 2014 was the year of the surprise album drop, so why shouldn't 2015 be the year of the surprise reunion & album drop combo? On 1/20 Cannibal Ox not only announced that they were making music together again, but that the follow-up to 2001's classic The Cold Vein would be dropping in less than three months. If lead track “Gotham (Ox City)” is any indication, this will be a worthy addition to the dark sci-fi rap that made them legends. Here's hoping more underground legends reunite this year and I can hear some more Company Flow…

Track to check out: “Gotham (Ox City)”

Sol Invictus by Faith No More – Faith No More is another band that fans never thought they'd hear from again, but surprisingly reunited. The band has been playing shows since their reunion in 2009, but hadn't released anything since 1997's Album of the Year. That all changed this Record Store Day when they released the first single off of Sol Invictus, the wonderfully titled “Motherfucker”. Live videos of a new song, “Cone of Shame”, have also been popping up, only building anticipation for what will surely be a great, incredibly weird metal album.

Track to check out: “Motherfucker”

Another Eternity by Purity Ring – I absolutely loved this groups first album, Shrines, with its creepy-sexy distortion of the chopped and screwed/trap genres. I also loved their collaboration with Danny Brown, “25 Bucks”, so I am just salivating over the chance to hear what they'll come up with this time. The track listing is already out online and I'm happy to see that their odd portmanteau-esque naming convention is still in effect with tracks like “Bodyache” and “Heartsigh”.

Track to check out: “Push Pull”

TBA by Deafheaven – If the band's twitter is to be believed, the follow-up to 2013's amazing Sunbather will be released sometime this year. I hope they can take their shoegazing black metal to new heights, but if they can even fall somewhere between Sunbather and their first album, Roads to Judah, it will still be a flat-out amazing album. Let's just hope that we can believe everything little birdies tell us.

Tracks to check out: “Sunbather”

TBA by Tool – I might die before I hear new Tool music, but as of right now there are numerous rumors swirling that Tool will finally release a follow-up to 2006's 10,000 Days. I wrote about this fabled album being on my “most anticipated” list last year, but I just hope I don't have to do this again next year. Only time will tell…

Track to check out: “Sober”

Meow The Jewels/RTJ3 by Run The Jewels – I'm adding one last album to my list in case Tool fails to deliver this year (probably a safe bet). Unlike Tool, RTJ has been amazingly transparent and consistent. We've been promised that the cat remix album of RTJ2, Meow The Jewels, will be coming out this year and there has been word that Jaime (El-P) and Mikey (Killer Mike) are already starting to record RTJ3. Knowing how those two work, it might already be done.

Track to check out: “Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)”


Colin Adams

Sauna by Mount Eerie – One of my eternal favorites, Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie, the Microphones) is releasing his new album Sauna in early February. The teasers for the album have been enticing, and his acoustic performance of “Dragon” reminds me all too well of one of his most impressive creations, “Through the Trees, pt. 2”. Elverum's lyrical landscapes are back and as beautiful as ever.

Track to check out: “Through the Trees, pt. 2”

Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens – It's been far too long since Sufjan Stevens has released a non-Christmas-themed album of purely his own material, but the time has finally come. Or it's close, at least. Named after Sufjan's mother and stepfather, Carrie & Lowell is set to return to the folk sounds that we haven't really heard since his Michigan and Illinois albums. The title track “Carrie & Lowell” features Stevens's signature banjo, with lyrics that recall the song from his most recent Christmas release “Justice Delivers Its Death.”

Track to check out: “Carrie & Lowell”

Meow the Jewels / RTJ3 by Run The Jewels – One of the best albums of 2014 remixed with cat sounds..? Admit it: you're at least a little curious. Plus, El-P has already confirmed that Run The Jewels will begin work on RTJ3 in January.

Track to check out: “Lie, Cheat, Steal”

TBA by Jai Paul – Who knows if Jai Paul will actually release an album…ever. However, the minute tastes of Jai Paul's music we've gotten so far have been flashes of genius, and I can't wait for more. “Jasmine” has been my go-to jam for the past 6 months.

Track to check out: “Jasmine”

TBA by Radiohead – Radiohead officially returned to the studio in September of 2014. Get pumped.

Track to check out: “Identikit”


Rob Zabrowski

Strangers to Ourselves by Modest Mouse – Modest Mouse has without a doubt been my favorite band since grade school. I've poured countless hours into each of their albums, and Isaac Brock's unmatched songwriting has become a sort of soundtrack for my adolescence. Modest Mouse hasn't released any recordings since their 2009 EP No One's First and You're Next, but they've been teasing some new stuff since then.  2015 is the year it finally happens.  On March 3 we will finally be able to lean back from the edge of our seats and enjoy it. Check out the recently released single “Coyotes” for a little taste of what's to come.

Track to check out: “Coyotes”

A Distant Fist Unclenching  by Krill –I think if I was a very talented musician and made an album I was really proud of, it'd end up sounding just like Krill.  The first time I heard these guys I freaked out and flailed around the room like a fool. I don't know if it's the manic vocals, the ear-worm guitars, or the uncomfortably honest lyricism, but I FEEL this band.  Their EP Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears was one of my favorite releases of 2014, and the two already released singles from A Distant Fist Unclenching have me expecting nothing less.

Track to check out: “Torturer”

QUARTERBACKS by QUARTERBACKS – Last May Quarterbacks released Quarterboy, a collection of soft, personal songs recorded by songwriter Dean Engle on a Tascam MF-P01 cassette portastudio.  The result was a lo-fi bedroom pop release that was brimming with tracks that were full of potential, but they sadly gave off the unfinished aura of demos.  Thankfully Quarterbacks has been working hard on fleshing out these tunes and writing a few new ones for their February self-titled release.  All three singles released so far have been full band versions of songs from the previous release, and they sound like jangly goodness. Quarterboy showed a lot of promise, and Quarterbacks will be the album that lives up to that.

Track to check out: “Center”

Infinite Room by Ava Luna – Ava Luna is the band we need.  If you haven't listened to their 2014 album Electric Ballroom, you need to listen to Electric Ballroom. It's important.  It's a perfect blend of soul, pop, and r&b that flow together to get you involuntarily moving. And let's be honest, it's been far too long since you stood up and got your groove on. Ava Luna's next album Infinite Room drops in April, and I can promise you that it'll be the grooviest album of the year.

Track to check out: “Billz”

Aero Flynn by Aero Flynn – Aero Flynn is the new moniker of Eau Claire native and ex-Amateur Love frontman Josh Scott.  Since the disbanding Josh Scott has stayed surprisingly quiet while his friends went on to release albums and tour the world in bands such as Bon Iver, Field Report, and Megafaun.  He's finally coming out of his self-imposed hiatus, and he's coming out strong. This self titled album is going to just explode this year, and it's long overdue.

Track to check out: “DK/Pi”


Devlin Brush

TBA from Kanye West (please be called Good Ass Job) – After the divisive and innovative Yeezus, a lot of people asked if Kanye could do anything crazier with his next album. Yeezus involved brash production from up-and-comers Evian Christ and Hudson Mohawke, a heartfelt and intense guest spot from Chief Keef, and misogynistic lyrics that have led some of the internet's writers to consider Yeezus as one big phallic metaphor. So how could he top that? Well, so far, by going as far in the other direction as possible: pure, radio-friendly pop music. Kanye has teamed with Beatles legend Paul McCartney for musical direction in the first two singles, “Only One” and “Four Five Seconds” featuring Rihanna, and the results have drawn mixed reactions based mostly on how tame they are in comparison to West's past music. It remains to be seen what shape the yet-untitled album will take, but all signs so far point to a Kanye hoping to regain the mainstream audience that he rudely interrupted with Yeezus. Perhaps he's just upset that Taylor Swift is winning again.

Track to check out:  “Only One (ft. Paul McCartney)”

TBA by Earl Sweatshirt – The prodigal Odd Future MC is poised to return to store shelves this year with an album that has reportedly been done since June of 2014. While at one point the album was supposed to be titled Gnossos, all we know about it right now is… well, almost nothing. Earl's 2013 album Doris was met with rave reviews based on the gritty production and smart, serious lyrics that got Earl attention as a teenager in 2010, and the alternative rap world eagerly awaits more work from the kid formerly known as Thebe, but Earl has been tight with both words and music since then, only appearing on a few feature spots and tweeting every once in a while. Based on his internet presence, we know that he's always working, and here's hoping he shares that work with us in the near future.

Track to check out: “Knucklehead (ft. Lil Herb)”

TBA by Frank Ocean – As you can see, 2015 looks to be a year full of Beyoncé-style releases of albums that drop from the sky, unannounced, to bless our ears. One such album that I am especially praying for information about is the new LP from Frank Ocean, the R&B innovator whose last album, Channel Orange, was genre-defying and critically adored. Much was made at this time about Ocean's sexuality, which he discussed in a Tumblr post right before the album released with subtle allusions to the “he”s in his life. However, now that the world has become more comfortable with Ocean as a person, all eyes are on his ability to deliver musically in the same way that Channel Orange did in 2013. Much like his ex-Odd Future cohorts Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, Frank has been almost deadly silent since his album, save for a few features. In January, he released a cover of the Isley Brothers' “At Your Best (You Are Love)”, showing that his singing chops are just as good, if not better, than when he unleashed that climactic high note in the sentimental “Bad Religion”. All that remains to be seen is whether his songwriting has kept up as well.

Track to check out: “Memrise”

Another Eternity by Purity Ring – Purity Ring is a Canadian electronic duo made up of singer Megan James and producer Corin Roddick, and they are awesome. I say that because their sound is hard to describe in any other way. Their first album, Shrines, was beautiful and psychedelic, consisting of James' soft and almost childlike vocal style over Roddick's sparkling synths, trap-inspired drums, and very cool use of vocal sampling and delay. Pitchfork described the album as sort of looking at a sculpture from many different angles, as each song maintained the same overall style and sound but with slight tweaks to make each song unique and interesting. Now, they have released two more singles, “Begin Again” and “Push Pull”, and their sound seems to have held up with some slight tweaks. James sounds a bit more confident and Roddick aims a little more grandiose, but the sound is still the awesome electronic atmosphere that I loved from the first album. I can't wait to chill out to this album on March 3rd.

Track to check out: “Begin Again”

TBA by Best Coast – This isn't quite for sure, but Bethany Consentino mentioned a few times near the end of 2014 that we would be seeing more Best Coast in 2015. It would make sense that this would be the album that she announced was finished early last year, but never saw any release. Best Coast's last project, Fade Away, was a short 7-song mini-album that continued to show growth from Consentino as a songwriter, but again failed to capture the absolute magic of their 2010 album Crazy For You. I had the pleasure of seeing Best Coast live at Summerfest this past summer, and it's hard not to fall in love with Consentino's laid-back attitude, simple musicianship and lyrics, and beach-washed sound. I trust that this won't change much for their next album, and after spending about a month binge-listening to Crazy For You this summer, I absolutely can't wait for more music from them.

Track to check out: “Crazy For You”

Henry Schlenker

Man It Feels Like Space Again by POND – Tame Impala's Aussie brethren have been saving up their biggest pop hits for this one. In fact it just came out just last month. Don't worry, it's still a complete nervous wreck of psychedelic instability in classic POND form, just very very danceable this time around. Seriously brilliant. Check out my favorite track ‘Outside is the Right Side' and you'll see what I mean.

Track to check out: “Outside is the Right Side”

Driver by In Tall Buildings – This album will, without a doubt, be a breakthrough for the tasteful folk rockers, In Tall Buildings. The leading single, “Bawl Cry Wail”, is a unique blend of electronic synth, warm snares and skillful rock song writing. The vocals are what really make it stand out.

Track to check out: “Bawl Cry Wail”

issue 02 by alaya. – I guess I'm definitely bias because I helped start and run this label, but issue 02 will be the second compilation album released by the artist collective alaya. It will include some of the best producers in the world and it's going to make a big ol' splash in the electronic music community. Artists such as Bear//Face, Misogi and Dream Koala have crafted tracks to fit alaya's concept; unique, tasteful & thought provoking electronic composition.

Track to check out: “Vibe” by Melvv

TBA by Tame Impala – No idea what it is called, or what it'll be like. But it's coming out in 2015, and it's Kevin Parker so…

Track to check out: “Mind Mischief”


Trevor Krause

Fantasy Empire by Lightning Bolt – The noise-rock band from Rhode Island announced they will be releasing an album this year, after a collaboration with Deerhoof this past December. Their 2005 album Hypermagic Mountain is prime study music, and I've been playing it nonstop this semester. Hopefully I can add Fantasy Empire to the rotation as well.

Track to check out: “Birdy”

TBA by Frank Ocean – It's been 3 years since his debut Channel Orange, so a new album is long overdue. From the few singles he's released, it looks like he might be showing off his vocal abilities more. Channel Orange was smooth as hell, and one of my top albums of 2012, so expectations are way up.

Track to check out: “At Your Best”

Fantasy Empire by Sufjan Stevens – Speaking of overdue, it's been 5 years since Sufjan released an album. 2010's Age of Adz was prime Sufjan, and showed off his versatility by going electronic. He's going back to folk with this new album, but I'm sure he won't disappoint.

Track to check out: “Vesuvius”

TBA by A$AP Rocky – After a long period of silence since LongLiveAsap in 2013, there was some concern that he fell off, but then he released “Multiply” this past fall. The song came with some controversy about his negative lyrics towards Hood By Air and Been Trill clothing brands, which I guess is the closest thing we are going to get to a modern hip-hop beef. Take if how you like, but I have no doubt that this next album will be fire (if it gets released this year, which it probably won't be).

Track to check out: “Multiply”


Chloe DeVries

Strangers to Ourselves by Modest Mouse – It's been 8 long years since Modest Mouse released their last LP in 2007. AhhHH!!! I will probably love everything they make ever, but after two killer singles, “Lampshades on Fire” and “Coyotes”, I honestly cannot wait to see what's in store for this album.

Track to check out: “Lampshades on Fire”

Strange Trails by Lord Huron –Their freshman album, Lonesome Dreams, basically created an entire world within 11 songs, so I'm ecstatic to see what LH has next. Lead singer Ben Schneider, also a digital media artist, has been releasing video clips and images to preview the new album, which look beautiful, just like everything else that has come from this group. This should be an amazing album!

Track to check out: “Fool For Love”