The 30 Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

Ready or not, here are 30 reasons to be excited for the upcoming year in music

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There’s a very brief, fleeting moment that takes place between celebrating and reflecting upon the music of a fading year and anticipating the sounds and possibilities of the calendar flip to come. If you blink, you could miss it. So, if you’re scratching your head right about now, odds are you blinked. That’s right. Last year’s best album was … hold on, we’ll think of it. And that song we couldn’t get out of our heads for months … wait, it’ll come to us. That’s a bit hyperbolic, we know, but it’s not entirely untrue either. It’s remarkable how we are able to arbitrarily rope off huge masses of half-processed pop culture in our heads and make way for more to come marching through. Is it fair? Maybe not. Ideally, we’d have a couple months to finish digesting 2017 before we’d have to start consuming all over again. But that’s life, and ready or not, there are dozens more remarkable records on their way. These are the ones we’re most excited to make some room on our plates for.

Happy 2018!

–Matt Melis
Editorial Director

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First Aid Kit – Ruins

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Release Date: Jan. 19th

Why We’re Excited:  After an exhaustive tour behind their last album, 2014’s acclaimed Stay Gold, the sisters of First Aid Kit took some much needed time apart to decompress. When Klara and Johanna Söderberg regrouped, they felt stronger as both sisters and a musical duo and then applied this sense of renewal to their fourth full-length, Ruins. The result is a rawer sound and a willingness to expose more of their inner selves than perhaps ever before. Here, the Swedish outfit focuses on a crushing heartbreak and the feeling of absolute purposelessness that follows, assisted by the likes of R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Wilco’s Glen Kotche, and elements of Americana and ‘50s-era Everly Brothers balladry. –Lake Schatz

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tUnE-yArDs – I can feel you creep into my private life

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Release Date: Jan. 19th

Why We’re Excited:  Merrill Garbus has kept busy in the four years since 2014’s Nikki Nack: she contributed to albums from Cut Chemist and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, wrote a song for Mavis Staples, and kept on the road — and, as evidenced by early tracks from new album I can feel you creep into my private life, she might have gotten deeper into house music. The officially released tracks have been thrilling, but the live preview of ”Heart Attack” proves there’s far groovier Garbus to come in the near future. –Lior Phillips

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Nils Frahm – All Melody

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Release Date: Jan. 26th

Why We’re Excited:  In preparation for his ninth (!) studio album, Nils Frahm created his ideal recording studio. Saal 3 is located within the historic Funkhaus building in Berlin and boasts bespoke cabling, a mixing desk, and a self-built pipe organ, among other unique features that have helped the German composer fully realize his vision and properly translate the arrangements inside his head onto record. While Frahm was already operating at a high level on his last few LPs, including 2015’s Solo, All Melody represents an accomplished musician elevated and empowered by a nurturing personal environment. –Lake Schatz

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Ty Segall – Freedom’s Goblin

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Release Date: Jan. 26th

Why We’re Excited:  It almost doesn’t make sense to eagerly anticipate a new Ty Segall record, given the maddeningly prolific clip that the seasoned garage guru records at. But his second self-titled effort, released in early 2017, showed Segall’s ability to branch beyond his savage musical instincts into subtler territory. To that end, it’ll be interesting to see if Freedom Goblin represents further growth or a retreat back to garage punk primitiveness. –Ryan Bray

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Rhye – Blood

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Release Date: Feb. 2nd

Why We’re Excited: Rhye may have lost one of their two founding members since releasing the Polaris Prize-nominated Woman in 2013, but the R&B outfit have still managed to evolve and become the most complete version of themselves on BLOOD. Much of this growth stems from Rhye’s many, many months spent on the road: Their music now is more inspired than ever by the intimacy and humanity that goes into a live performance. There’s also a noticeable emphasis on the sounds of funk and soul, which goes hand in hand with the LA-based act’s desire for closeness and emotional intoxication. –Lake Schatz

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Justin Timberlake – Man of the Woods

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Release Date: Feb. 2nd

Why We’re Excited: The last we heard from the ever-entertaining Justin Timberlake was a theme for an animated movie about Troll dolls. Not the most inspired songwriting, but catchy as always. Man of the Woods appears to be coming from a much more earnest place, as JT says his work with producers like Timbaland and Pharrell Williams is inspired by “my son, my wife, my family, but more so than any other album I’ve ever written, where I’m from [Tennessee].” The recent teaser revealed an earthy, folktronica sound, something that’s readily being compared to Bon Iver-turned-pop. It’s surely an interesting turn for the former N’Sync-er, and we’ll see if he can pull it off well enough to warrant his return to the Super Bowl–Ben Kaye

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Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows

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Release Date: Feb. 9th

Why We’re Excited: It’s been eight years since we’ve had the emo songwriting of Chris Carrabba to empathize with us while we wallow in our emotional depths, and there’s no better time for a return than 2018. Lead single “We Fight” was a reminder that those of us who feel like loners are still part of a community built on the acceptance of the outcast. Emo has had its ups and downs artistically as well as culturally over the years, but with the recent surge of talented young bands in the genre and a milieu more in need of rallying cries than ever, Dashboard Confessional is well set to return to the vanguard. –Ben Kaye

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Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending

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Release Date: Feb. 9th

Why We’re Excited: Following the collaborative album FFS, released in conjunction with the band Sparks in 2013, the boys in Franz Ferdinand are getting back to business. Always Ascending marks the band’s first proper album since 2013 and features production from Philippe Zdar, who has previously worked with the likes of Phoenix and Beastie Boys. The self-titled lead single is heavy on synth and also gives fans their first look at new members Julian Corrie and Dino Bardot, who will help fill the gap left by founding member Nick McCarthy, who departed in 2016. Now 14 years removed from their smash hit “Take Me Out”,  Always Ascending offers a chance for Franz Ferdinand to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. –Zack Ruskin

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Superchunk – What a Time to Be Alive

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Release Date: Feb. 16th

Why We’re Excited: Don’t take the title of Superchunk’s 11th studio album at face value. What a Time to Be Alive, from its moribund-looking cover art to its angry-as-all-fuck title track, appears poised to be the most pointed and overtly political outing of the iconic indie act’s career. In today’s turbulent times, we’ll take all the fiery sonic catharsis we can get. Fortunately for fans, Superchunk haven’t missed their mark yet. –Ryan Bray

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Wild Beasts – Last Night All My Dreams Came True

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Release Date: Feb. 16th

Why We’re Excited: Wild Beasts announced their split in September, but the UK indie rockers’ many passionate fans will have one last album to cherish. The culmination of more than a decade and a half together, Last Night My Dreams Came True features 13 live studio recordings of tracks pulled from across the band’s five studio albums. It’s a bittersweet farewell, but a powerful one as evidenced by early sample “The Devil’s Palace”, which inventively combines Limbo, Panto highlight “The Devil’s Crayon” and “Palace” from 2014’s Present Tense. –Lior Phillips

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Screaming Females – All at Once

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Release Date: Feb. 23rd

Why We’re Excited: It’s common knowledge that Marissa Paternoster is one of our generation’s greatest guitarists. Through six albums with Screaming Females, she’s also proven to be one of punk’s sharpest voices, a bastion of clarity, and an undeniable force. The band’s seventh album, All at Once, is due out February 23rd on Don Giovanni Records and appears to be nothing less than a monster. Single “Glass House” builds momentum into a pummeling crescendo, claustrophobic and thrilling in the best ways, and if it’s representative of what’s to come, we may be in for the band’s heaviest record yet. –David Sackllah

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David Byrne – American Utopia

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Release Date: Mar. 9th

Why We’re Excited:  “Lyrics are best when the writing is not obvious — when they appear to be naturally occurring,” David Byrne said in a recent Reddit AMA. He followed up, of course, saying that it would only appear that way after meticulous work and editing. That kind of organic thoughtfulness and keenly detailed ambition is par for the course for the art rock icon, but pairing it with contributions from both Brian Eno and Oneohtrix Point Never — not to mention inspiration from Sinkane, Lambchop, and Sampha — suggests deep listening exploration into an enigmatic, digital-organic universe. –Lior Phillips

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A Perfect Circle – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  Maynard James Keenan knows how to keep listeners waiting. In addition to the forthcoming Tool album, he’s also sitting on the fourth studio album from A Perfect Circle, their first since 2004’s Emotive. Unlike that Tool album, though, we’ve actually heard a taste of what to expect from APC4: “The Doomed”, a knotty, cinematic track released in October, was the band’s first new song since 2017, and Keenan’s promised a second single from the new album any day now. Keenan’s apocalyptic lyrical outlook has never felt more needed in 2018, and A Perfect Circle’s mournful melodicism has been sorely missed. –Sasha Geffen

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Arctic Monkeys – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  Since AM was released in 2013, the members of the Arctic Monkeys have stayed quite busy. Lead man Alex Turner toured around with the sophomore effort from his side gig, The Last Shadow Puppets , while drummer Matt Helders joined with Josh Homme and Iggy Pop to record and tour behind Pop’s Post Pop Depression. How these forays into other soundscapes will shape the Arctic Monkeys’ forthcoming sixth album remains to be seen, but after five years, fans are eager to see what evolutions the Sheffield quartet might make in 2018. — Zack Ruskin

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The Breeders – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: For much of their long existence, The Breeders have fairly or unfairly been looked at as Kim Deal’s Pixies side hustle. Nonetheless, the Dayton rockers’ output has never been anything less than solid. And if we’re judging strictly on the yet-to-be-titled record’s first single, “Wait in the Car”, the band hasn’t lost any of its quirky, alt rock cool. –Ryan Bray

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Brockhampton – Team Effort

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Our recent Rookie of the Year nearly stole 2017 away with their Saturation trilogy. Now, after one kind-of-funny breakup hoax, the coolest boy band around will return with yet another album in Team Effort. So, what can we expect? Who the hell knows with this cryptic bunch. As News Editor Ben Kaye recently pointed out, their latest video for Saturation III cut “RENTAL” finds the group’s Robert Ontenient in a bathtub, eating a banana, and telling us in Spanish: “My name is Robert, and this is the end of an era. Thank you very much to all. I love you all very much.” Considering they’re going to be supporting Saturation-era work all spring, we doubt they’ll stray too far. Either way, we’re not sweating it. –Michael Roffman

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Danny Brown – TBA

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Photo by Lior Phillips

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Two years after Atrocity Exhibition melted brains with its artful blending of wit and woe, the hood hipster is back. In an interview with Complex, the Detroit emcee teased a new album “produced by one producer, who’s legendary in hip-hop.” Danny Brown’s tastes run towards the eclectic: he’s as fluent in Black Sabbath and Bowie as he is in Pete Rock, and on Twitter he’s suggested that this rap legend might not be one of the usual suspects. As always with Brown, expect the unexpected. –Wren Graves

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Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy

car seat headrest The 30 Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: When Will Toldeo’s bedroom project Car Seat Headrest broke through to the (relative) mainstream with 2016’s Teens of Denial, he easily earned our Rookie of the Year honors. It also led fans to dig deep into his extensive Bandcamp archives to discover this guy has been a fascinating and resonate songwriter for years. Recent non-album singles “Beach Life-in-Death” and “War Is Coming (If You Want It)” have demonstrated he still is unmatched in his ability to pen tracks filled with both lyrical and compositional ambition. He’s proven his chops over and over again in just a few short years, so it’s only reasonable that we’d await his next full-length with eager expectations. –Ben Kaye

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Charli XCX – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  Unfortunately, Charli XCX still hasn’t released her third studio album since making our Most Anticipated Albums list last year, but it’s not all bad news. In addition to keeping her songwriting skills sharp by writing for Blondie and Camila Cabello, the British pop singer put out two mixtapes made in collaboration with PC Music’s A.G. Cook. Number 1 Angel featured moody party anthems while Pop 2 experimented with glitchy, futuristic production that stretches the boundaries of pop music. At this point, it seems like Charli has settled into her post-“Boom Clap” sound; now, it’s just a matter of slowing down to make a studio album. –Eddie Fu

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Chromeo – Head Over Heels

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Make no mistake, Dave 1 and P-Thugg never left us. Sure, it’s been over three years since Chromeo last torched our soles with 2014’s White Women, but they kept busy this past year by getting involving with two of the best pop hits: a brilliant remix of Lorde’s “Green Light” and the video for Charli XCX’s “Boys”. Now, they’re ready for an epic return in 2018 with Head Over Heels, their fifth studio album that’s not at all a choice homage to the Tears for Fears song of the same name. Granted, we still have no idea when it’s supposed to drop, but we do have a swanky new single in “Juice” and a hilarious album trailer to hold us over. Both point to some rich and sweaty dancing in the near future, a wonderful promise for the new year. –Michael Roffman

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Sky Ferreira – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: “The journey to Sky Ferreira’s sophomore album, Masochism, has been both wonderful and strange — and it’s far from over.” That’s what we wrote last year, and that still applies now. Yes, it’s been another year without a follow-up to her 2013 debut, Night Time, My Time, but to her credit, she hasn’t exactly been slumming it in the studio. She appeared in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, contributing a cover of The Commodores’ ‘Easy” and disgustingly scratched her armpit sore in this past summer’s Twin Peaks revival. So, who knows what happens for her in 2018, though it has to be a good sign that she kicked off the year with a New Year’s Eve gig in Detroit, Michigan. Right? We’ll just have to wait and see. –Michael Roffman

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Gorillaz – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: After waiting seven years for Gorillaz to follow up 2010’s Plastic Beach, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s animated brat pack finally returned this past summer with Humanz. But, here’s the thing: It wasn’t exactly great. The guest list was fairly long, the Albarn was fairly non-existent, and too many of the songs ended when they were just getting good. So, maybe that’s why they’re planning to return in 2018. In a recent interview, Hewlett dropped this bombshell, stating: “We are working on another Gorillaz album, which is going to be released next year. So we’re going straight into the next album with no break. Usually we have a good five years break but this time we decided to keep going.” Hey, as long as it’s not The Fall. –Michael Roffman

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My Bloody Valentine – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Don’t get too excited, but My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields says his band of shoegazers will “one hundred percent” release a new album in 2018. The album “started off as an EP” before Shields “realized it has to be, like, a mini-album, because it’s going to be at least 40 minutes long.” This is all rather interesting, though, seeing how Shields was originally set to follow up 2013’s exceptional m b v with an EP that never came to fruition. Perhaps it evolved into this project? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, we’re feeling pretty good about the prospects of hearing new music, especially after his recent solo set and that genius Eno collaboration. Fortunately for us, we’ll have those new remasters to hold us over in the meantime. –Michael Roffman

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Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife 3

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: In 2016, Rae Sremmurd were responsible for two major cultural moments when they co-wrote Beyoncé’s “Formation” and found viral success with their own song “Black Beatles”. By comparison, the Atlanta duo was quiet in 2017, but younger brother Swae Lee was in high demand as a guest artist and scored his first top 10 hit on French Montana’s “Unforgettable”. After further lending his talents to Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign, and more, it’s time for Swae Lee to reunite with Slim Jxmmi and give us more party starters like the SremmLife 3 teaser, “Perplexing Pegasus”. –Eddie Fu

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Schoolboy Q – TBA

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Photo by Philip Cosores

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  ScHoolboy Q has more hooks than a bait shop, and his first four albums were endlessly listenable. He’s been in the studio working on his fifth LP since the beginning of 2017, and early signals were that it would drop last fall. But Q has spoken of a competitive streak that drives him to constantly try to top labelmates SZA and Kendrick Lamar, and their successes this year drove him back into the studio. With his track record, the wait will be worth it. –Wren Graves

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Bruce Springsteen – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: We expected Bruce Springsteen to release his first album of all new material since 2012’s Wrecking Ball last year, so you’re damn right we’re anticipating it in 2018. The Boss has spent 2017 revisiting what it’s like to perform solo with his sold-out Broadway show, and this new album is said to hearken back to the songwriting of previous solo albums like Devils and Dust and Tunnel of Love. Only this time around, Springsteen says the music was “influenced by Southern California pop music of the ‘70s. Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach – those kinds of records.” In tumultuous times like these, it almost doesn’t matter how it’s packaged. It’s just good to hear the voice of the Champion of the Everyman again. –Ben Kaye

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Earl Sweatshirt – TBA

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Photo by David Brendan Hall

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Earl Sweatshirt’s last album, 2015’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, was a wondrously insular work, a purposefully sparse and deeply personal examination of grief and depression. After a period of relative quiet, he’s begun to trickle out new music in his live sets, and based on performances at Camp Flog Gnaw and Day for Night this past fall, we have a sense of his new direction. With meandering verses anchored by swirling, heady beats, his mastery of production is on full display as much as his signature profound lyricism. Even though nothing has been formally announced, the hint of new music from one of the most consistent rappers of the past decade is enough to make us excited. –David Sackllah

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Vampire Weekend – TBA

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Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  Believe it or not, but 2018 marks the fifth anniversary of Vampire Weekend’s last album, Modern Vampires in the City. That’s a long time for an indie outfit, but they have their excuses, ranging from departures to solo albums to anime shows. But really, it all comes down to singer-songwriter Ezra Koenig’s desire to do something totally different while also keeping in line with the Vampy Weeks brand. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Koenig extrapolated on how hard that hurdle has been, citing everyone from producer Ariel Rechtshaid to Kacey Musgraves to Kanye West to Hank Williams as some form of inspiration or help. In other words, this will be another eclectic chapter for Vampire Weekend. –Michael Roffman

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Kanye West – TBA

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Photo by Joshua Mellin

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Aside from a few leaks and appearances on Drake’s “Glow” and CyHi The Prynce’s “Dat Side”, Kanye West made more headlines for meeting with Trump and beefing with JAY-Z than putting out music in 2017. Not all hope is lost, however, as the Chicago rapper reportedly holed up on a mountaintop to work on new material and was later spotted in Japan with his former protege Kid Cudi, where the duo purportedly spent studio time. It’s also worth noting that the last time he was this quiet, West reemerged with one of his defining albums, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Given all he’s been through since releasing the disappointing The Life of Pablo, it’s a sure bet the GOOD Music founder has plenty to say, and we can’t wait to hear it. –Eddie Fu

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Jack White – Boarding House Reach

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Release Date: Mar. 23rd

Why We’re Excited:  For the first time since 1999, Jack White has gone more than two years without releasing an album of new music. For the prolific White, one of the last of the guitar gods, that three years qualifies as an eternity. But he’s back in the studio, and as he told Gary Oldman in Interview magazine, “It’s good gardening music or roofing music or, you know, back alley-stabbing music.” What does that even mean? We’re excited to find out! –Wren Graves

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