Aphex Twin – Syro
Holy shit, seriously? Even Richard D. James’ most diehard fans long ago gave up hope that the mercurial madman would ever follow up his 2001 effort Drukqs with anything other than the occasional reissue. But, lo and behold, after sending a blimp across the sky bearing his stage name and planting release info in the darkest recesses of the Internet, Aphex Twin is finally back with a new studio album. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea what to expect — but that’s part of the fun, right? If nothing else, Syro promises to be one of the most fascinating records in recent memory. I mean, after 13 years of buildup, James can’t let us down now, can he?
Vashti Bunyan – Heart Leap
Underground folkie-cum-Animal Collective collaborator Bunyan has released only two albums across a 40 year career — that makes the upcoming Heart Leap, her third and self-described last LP, worth looking forward to. Bunyan is known and beloved for the gentle, intimate folk that’s best listened to in silence with a cup of tea in hand; something of a rarity in the current musical landscape. With the summer waning and the Vancouver rain promising to return, expect Heart Leap to serve as a perfect companion during those long wintry nights.
Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita
Their follow-up to 2012’s underappreciated Breakup Song, Deerhoof’s upcoming La Isla Bonita is sure to be just as unconventional and noteworthy as the rest of their canon. If press releases and first single “Exit Only” are to be trusted, the record will have more of a rock-’n’-roll flavour than the band’s last few albums; Sonic Youth, Lou Reed, and David Byrne are all said to have been big influences. Deerhoof remain an acquired taste, but once you’ve acquired it, you’ll always be hungry for more — which is exactly what La Isla Bonita promises. (Plus, it was recorded live — how cool is that?)
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!
Electronic guru Flying Lotus (née Steve Ellison) has never been shy sharing information about his upcoming projects — fans of his have known that he’s been working on a new record for months, and original artwork for each of You’re Dead!’s 19 tracks have been released on his personal Tumblr in anticipation of its October release date. Frankly, Ellison hasn’t missed a beat since his debut back in 2006, and this new record — which he’s described as a fatalistic pastiche of prog, jazz, and hip-hop beats — is likely to continue the trend. Guest spots from Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg are sure to be album highlights.
Kendrick Lamar – Untitled third studio album
Okay, I’m cheating a little bit here. Lamar’s much-anticipated follow up to good kid, m.A.A.d city, my number one record of 2012, has yet to be officially announced. Still, Lamar has made clear it’s in the works, and even went so far as to predict a September 2014 release date during an interview with Billboard earlier this year. Let’s hope that’s true. Lamar is head and shoulders above most emcees right now, and I know I’m not the only one holding my breath waiting to see how he follows up one of the best hip-hop records in recent memory. Fans need only hope Lamar’s perfectionism doesn’t get the better of him — he told Complex that he’s recorded between 30 and 40 songs so far, but has yet to settle on a tracklist. Don’t ever change, Kendrick.