Atoms for Peace: Amok
Release Date: February 25
Back in 2006, Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke did what lead singers do, he wrote a solo record and called it The Eraser. True to his own words on a Radiohead fan site (“I don’t wanna hear the word solo”), Yorke went out and formed a supergroup to translate the electronic-leaning album for live performances. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Beck’s drummer Joey Waronker and Brazilian percussionist Mauro Reosco apparently had such a good time that they adopted the name Atoms for Peace, got drunk and recorded the basis for their debut album titled Amok. In a twist on The Eraser’s production process, Yorke and Godrich took elements from their jam session and fashioned another potential masterpiece of the paranoid, glitchtronica that Yorke has become known for.
Release Date: April
Following M.I.A.’s insane pregnant performance with Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and T.I. at the 2009 Grammys, fans were hoping for a suitable follow-up to the world conquering hit “Paper Planes.” Unfortunately her hyper-political follow-up “/\/\/\Y/\” was not it. The album’s first song literally opened with buzzing chainsaws and the video for the single “Born Free” features gingers getting rubbed out in a dystopian Iraqi-style occupation scenario. That’s her style, we get it (see: Super Bowl XLVI), but fans were asking for a little more swagger and a little less violence. It seems M.I.A. got the message. Her latest leak is a throwback to the early work on Arular that first made people’s heads spin and recent reports say that Interscope delayed the album because of “too many positive vibes…”, clearly not knowing a good thing when they see it.
Release Date: April
The title of Phoenix’s last album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix set the stage for either colossal pretensions or an album of epic proportions. Fortunately for fans it fell somewhere in between as an unabashedly pop masterpiece that stands up to the tongue-in-cheek title. Their work didn’t go unnoticed, netting them a Grammy for Best Alternative Album and high hopes for the follow-up. As the father of Sophia Coppola’s first child, lead singer Thomas Mars has a pretty good in as a musical collaborator on her recent work and has stated that their work on her film Somewhere provided inspiration for the new album which will be far more experimental than Wolfgang and “could be revolutionary.”
A$AP Rocky: LongLiveA$AP
Release Date: January 15
Riding the success of his mixtape LiveLoveA$AP, a smoke-filled celebration of the chopped-n-screwed, Kush and purple drank-fueled, groupie-loving lifestyle, this Harlem-repping rapper landed a $3 million record deal and a spot alongside Kendrick Lamar opening on Drake’s Club Paradise tour. Along with an impeccable taste for beats and a Dirty South-tinged flow, shrewd decisions like his collab with flavor of the month Lana Del Rey, guest appearances on LongLiveA$AP by Santigold, 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Florence Welsh (?), and production by Hit Boy, Clams Casino, Noah “40” Shebib and Danger Mouse make this the 2nd most anticipated hip hop album of 2013.
Wu-Tang Clan: Sixth Studio Album
Release Date: TBD
The first most anticipated hip hop album of 2013 belongs to a little group known as the Wu-Tang Clan, hailing all the way from the 36th Chamber of Shaolin (and Staten Island). Word from the RZA himself is that this could be the final chapter in the Wu-Tang saga. RZA has established strict rules regarding the recording, asking that the remaining members unite one more time behind his artistic vision. In his own words, “I’ve been talking to some of the guys, like, ‘Yo, look, I would suggest that you put down everything you know, and trust me one more time.” On January 9th, 2013, the Wu-Tang began recording on what might possibly be their final album.