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29 Most Anticipated Spring 2015 Albums

From pop-punk veterans to hugely hyped hip hop projects to total newbies, here are all our must-listen records for the season, listed chronologically for your pleasure

1 / 29

Marina & The Diamonds, 'Froot'

Release Date: March 17

Why We're Excited: The Welsh singer-songwriter has crafted two near-perfect pop records with 2010's The Family Jewels exploring offbeat indie-pop while 2012's Electra Heart went full-throttle electro-Top 40 pop. Froot feels like it'll be a culmination of the two sentiments, with lush productions acting as the perfect bed to Marina's signature quirk. Check out the record's title track, or the brutally honest lyrics from "I'm a Ruin" (above): "I know I'm playing with your heart / And I could treat you better but I'm not that smart."

Froot also marks a moment of enlightenment for the star, who shows some of her most positive and hopeful songs on tracks like "Happy" and "Forget," a significant sonic moment for the Diamonds that have been with the starlet since Day 1. —Jeff Benjamin

2 / 29

Modest Mouse, 'Strangers to Ourselves'

Release Date: March 17

Why We're Excited: Few bands have been able to teeter on the line between emo and indie the way Modest Mouse have, finding themselves welcomed by both subcultures with open arms. (Death Cab for CutieManchester Orchestra and maybe Sunny Day Real Estate also fit into this camp.) MM, like Death Cab, found real success after being mentioned on The O.C. and now mainstream music fans also claim the band as their own. This has allowed the Washington state band to have an extensive career, gearing up for their sixth album—and their first in EIGHT YEARS—this month. —Maria Sherman

3 / 29

Sleeping With Sirens, 'Madness'

Release Date: March 17

Why We're Excited: No one owns the Warped Tour/metalcore/post-hardcore/whatever-you-want-to-call-it scene the way Sleeping With Sirens owns the Warped Tour/metalcore/post-hardcore/whatever-you-want-to-call-it scene. The reason is simple: Their songs are anthemic, adolescent, understanding and don't ask too much of you, just that if you're feeling blue, there's someone out there that understands you. The first single, "Go Go Go," is all about that. —Maria Sherman

4 / 29

Twin Shadow, 'Eclipse'

Release Date: March 17

Why We're Excited: Twin Shadow (a.k.a. George Lewis Jr.) has always been a heart-on-the-sleeve romantic with songs that are lovelorn yet fist-pumping. Everything Twin Shadow has done and said in the preceding months points to his third album sounding gigantic, confident, and arena-ready. Album single "I'm Ready" suggests that Twin Shadow is fully self-aware of his pop-heavy artistry, and here, he is embracing his ability to craft finely tuned, radio ready anthems full on. From the handful of singles we've heard so far, we fully expect Twin Shadow's major label debut to break through in a massive way. —Taylor Brown

5 / 29

Kendrick Lamar, 'To Pimp a Butterfly'

Release Date: March 23

Why We're Excited: If there's any artist worth maintaining utter, studied patience for, it's Kendrick Lamar. It's been more than two years since the glorious, grim, GRAMMY-robbed good kid, m.A.A.d city, and actual verifiable news on the follow-up LP has never actually surfaced. Until Friday, March 6, when K-Dot introduced a new move to the surprise-album playbook: a surprise iTunes listing for a record as long-awaited as they come, PLUS the revelation that it'd be coming in mere weeks. To Pimp a Butterfly will feature the heavy, thought-provoking "The Blacker the Berry." There's a rumor going around that "i," one of 2014's biggest hits, won't show up.

According to Rolling Stone, who sent a writer to hear six songs, it's "adventurous, incorporating elements of funk, spoken-word poetry, and free-jazz, augmented by lots of live playing." Kendrick says Miles Davis and Parliament-Funkadelic were in heavy rotation during the recording process. And there's a Roots-referencing song called “King Kunta,” which "could be the theme song from a Seventies blaxploitation flick." Hot damn, we want to go to there NOW. Zach Dionne

6 / 29

​Godspeed You! Black Emperor, 'Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress'

Release Date: March 23 

Why We’re Excited: This cult-infamous crew of Canadians have been weirding me out with their highly unique brand of experimental, post-rock, indie-whatever jams since they landed on my radar in 2000. While nothing that I've heard from their camp has trumped 2000's wonderfully-titled Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, they exude consistency in quality, and inconsistency in that they never release the same record twice. Plus, did you know they took their band name from a Japanese biker gang? Tight. —Andrew Poitras

7 / 29

Action Bronson, 'Mr. Wonderful'

Release Date: March 24

Why We're Excited: The anticipation for internet-famous rappers' albums is usually built around the coming-out party, the early assessment of main stage skills. Not so with Action Bronson, who's only done one solo studio album, 2011's Dr. Lecter, but has been mixtaping and guest-versing hard every year since. Mr. Wonderful feels like a low-pressure chance to stun everyone all over again, and so far we've seen no signs that it'll be anything less than throw-your-computer-through-a-window bonkers. Evidence: "Actin Crazy," produced by Drake's sonic architect 40, and the brilliant Mark Ronson-helmed "Baby Blue," featuring Chance the Rapper. Now start predicting all of the foods Action's gonna reference this time. Zach Dionne

8 / 29

Laura Marling, 'Short Movie'

Release Date: March 24 

Why We're Excited: Marling's had our ear since 2008's Alas, I Cannot Swim, released when she was just 18. The British chanteuse scored her biggest hit yet with 2013's Once I Was an Eagle, and the delicious bits we've heard from Short Movie—the feisty "I Feel You Love," the aptly cinematic title track (above)—give us no reason to expect anything less than another stellar record. Also: it's Marling's first LP since ditching L.A. to return to London. —Zach Dionne

9 / 29

Liturgy, 'The Art Work'

Release Date: March 24

Why We're Excited: With the exception of Deafheaven, Liturgy is one of the few bands to ever get pigeonholed as an uncool black metal band. The reason is their accessibility. Their songs are heavy, but as lush as Godspeed You, Black Emperor's work. Perfectly dark background music for a night in. —Maria Sherman

10 / 29

​EXO, 'Exodus'

Release Date: March 30

Why We're Excited: Last year, EXO's Overdose EP led them to become as the best-selling K-pop act on Billboard's year-end charts ever. America's favorite Korean boy band has eyed this spring to drop their new full-length. K-pop fans know albums aren't confirmed and we don't hear any music until a few days ahead of release date, but EXO revved up the excitement when they performed a slew of new tracks at their latest concert in Seoul including the standout "El Dorado," while giving a quick peak at new single "Call Me Baby." Can they break another record? —Jeff Benjamin

11 / 29

Death Cab for Cutie, 'Kintsugi'

Release Date: March 31

Why We're Excited: Without any of the complications or context: "Black Sun" is SO good. With the context: This is the first Death Cab record since guitarist and producer Chris Walla left the band, so there's big-time pressure to perform. Coming off the slick-but-kinda-forgettable Narrow Stairs and Codes and Keys means Ben Gibbard & Co. have strong momentum, even if it's been four long years since the last release. There are few albums on this list we'd rather hibernate until release-day for more than Kintsugi—Zach Dionne

12 / 29

Ludacris, 'Ludaversal'

Release Date: March 31

Why We're Excited: Just another Ludacris album, right? Wrong. It's been five years since Battle of the Sexes, and based on his latest single "Call Ya Bluff," it sounds like Luda's ninth record might be as good as the classics he was popping off in the early- and mid-2000s. —Zach Dionne

13 / 29

​Jodeci, 'The Past, The Present, The Future'

Release Date: March 31

Why We're Excited: '90s R&B fans rejoice! After a 20-year (!!!) hiatus, the classic quartet returns with a new full-length. Despite such a long time away from the game, Jodeci's harmonies are tight as ever and their mix of blues and gospel is just as satisfying as it was in the '90s. The guys made sure their comeback would be a success with Timbaland producing and B.o.B. on the powerful first single "Nobody Wins." (And maybe they can thank biggest-rapper-alive Drake for writing a song titled "Jodeci" and then sampling the group on the recent cut "How Bout Now."—Jeff Benjamin

14 / 29

Wale, 'The Album About Nothing'

Release Date: March 31

Why We're Excited: Longtime hip hop fans will remember Wale's The Mixtape About Nothing, which led him to getting signed to a major label. Inspired by Seinfeld, the classic "show about nothing," the D.C. rapper tackled and honestly conversed about all kind of topics a la Jerry and friends. The upcoming album looks to follow in a similar style and may even feature the comedian himself—Jeff Benjamin

15 / 29

All Time Low, 'Future Hearts'

Release Date: April 7

Why We're Excited: Of the mid-aughts pop-punk bands that rose to semi-stardom, All Time Low has easily had one of the most memorable careers. Fall Out Boy and Paramore skyrocketed to the mainstream, but ATL is a band that's consistently held the attention of a long-loyal fanbase and been, at times, the largest band on the Warped Tour circuit. Their new album, Future Hearts, seems like it retains the pop-punk core that we've grown familiar with, and that we saw polished on 2012's Don't Panic, while mixing in the best parts of the more poppy leanings from 2011's Dirty Work"Kids in the Dark" seems like an arena-sized banger, while "Something's Gotta Give" screams radio-rock potential; Future Hearts could be massive. Thomas Nassiff

16 / 29

The Weaks, 'Bad Year'

Release Date: April 7

Why We're Excited: With a lead single titled "Nevermind," it should come as no surprise to new listeners that Philadelphia's the Weaks wear the influence of ‘90s alt-rock all over their sleeves. But the band is hardly just here to deliver Weezer-tinged songs named after Nirvana records; Bad Year is chockablock of guitar-driven hooks embedded within grungy garage band songwriting. If you’re in the market for a rock record that wants to leave a dent in your ears, Bad Year is waiting for ya. —Thomas Nassiff

17 / 29

Matt and Kim, 'New Glow'

Release Date: April 16

Why We're Excited: It's been two years since Fuse last chatted with Matt & Kim, and even longer since the dynamic duo have shared new music with the world. But now they've got the fantastic, high-energy "Get It," later releasing another new single, "Hoodie On." We like what we've heard thus far and can only imagine how great a full album will be! —Maria Sherman

18 / 29

Tom DeLonge, 'To the Stars…Demos, Odds and Ends'

Release Date: April 20

Why We're Excited: We're only three months into the year and the world has been endlessly gazing at Tom DeLonge. He's talked ad nauseum about alien existence and has, well, quit and/or been fired by the band he founded 23 years ago, Blink-182. He's now set to release his first solo record next month. If it's anything like the single, "New World," we're in for a treat. —Maria Sherman

19 / 29

Passion Pit, 'Kindred'

Release Date: April 20

Why We’re Excited: Passion Pit reserved a piece of my heart way back in 2009 when they delivered the pioneering "Manners" seemingly out of nowhere. If the record hadn't hooked me on its own, I then caught Michael Angelakos with his backers at a severely oversold Trip Rock Social Club performance where I could have cut the sweaty energy in the air with a spoon. Since then Angelakos has maintained a strict standard of quality across all elements of his work, marrying beautiful images with star-powered production, sleek and artful video direction, and kinetic live shows. We have no reason to expect anything less from him this time around either. —Andrew Poitras

20 / 29

Alabama Shakes, 'Sound & Color'

Release Date: April 21

Why We're Excited: The Shakes broke out three long years ago with Boys & Girls, the little indie record that may have singlehandedly rejuvenated no-frills guitar-rock. Lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard is to thank—she takes an otherwise by-the-numbers soul-'n'-roll group and gives it enough personality to dominate hearts and festivals around the country. (Every music lover is now contractually obligated to witness the life-changing live show before dying.)

So, yeah. Sound & Color should be terrific. Especially based on lead single "Don't Wanna Fight," which takes the band's sound to a newly nuanced space and shows Howard growing and, still, crushing. The track was perfection on SNL, and another new one, "Gimme All Your Love," wowed us just as much. —Zach Dionne

21 / 29

Red City Radio, 'Red City Radio'

Release Date: April 21

Why We're Excited: Red City Radio is well-known within certain circles—those circles being entirely compromised of punk fans who bide their time waiting for The Fest to roll around in Gainesville every year—but the Oklahoma City act's self-titled LP could be the release that turns them on to a larger fanbase. Upon its release, "Electricity" immediately became the band’s catchiest song, and decidedly more rock-'n'-roll than straight-up punk. The shift suits vocalist Garrett Dale, whose rough vocals adopt a much smoother, bluesier tone on the album. Self-titled records usually indicate a time of change, and this LP, the band's first via Staple Records, seems like it'll be a great change for Red City Radio. —Thomas Nassiff

22 / 29

Blur, 'The Magic Whip'

Release Date: April 27

Why We're Excited: When inspiration rains on Blur, it pours. After a 12-year break from the music industry, the English rock vets recorded their new album in just five days during a trip to Hong Kong. If the fuzzy lead single "Go Out" sounds like classic Blur, the band's said the fast-paced recording style is reminiscent to their early days, "We didn't have much [equipment]; it was like back when we first started recording," Damon Albarn told BBC Radio 1. And do we really need to remind you how good Parklife was? —Jeff Benjamin

23 / 29

Raekwon, ‘Fly International Luxurious Art'

Release Date: April 28

Why We're Excited: To start, we're talking about damn Raekwon. If your count begins at the year he joined as the nineth member of the clan in '92, 2015 marks the Wu veteran's 23rd year in the rap game and there's no sign of him stopping any time soon. As long as we're on the subject of numbers, die-hard Wu fans know how instrumental Supreme Mathematics was to the guys in their formative years. Noting this, it's interesting that Fly International Luxurious Art is Raekwon’s sixth studio album—a number that signifies equality. Will this be the album that elevates Rae to an equal playing field with peers like RZA? Known collaborations and features on the record include AkonEstelleSnoop Dogg, and Melanie Fiona—Andrew Poitras

24 / 29

Mumford & Sons, 'Wilder Mind'

Release Date: May 4

Why We're Excited: It's been six years since the lads debuted with Sigh No More, and three since they dropped the Album of the Year-winning Babel. But you haven't forgotten that banjo, have you? You've enjoyed the time apart, kind of, haven't you? Well, Wilder Mind is designed explicitly to inject some essentialness to idea of Mumford & Sons doing their thing again in 2015. Namely because it won't really BE "their thing"—it's an all-electric album, with every banjo left behind in the village. Rolling Stone describes the new layout as featuring "U2-sized guitars, synths, spacey mellotrons and even some drum machines." One of the biggest still-young bands in the world radically redesigning itself on LP3? Uh-huh—we're in. (PS: "Believe" delivers on all this.) —Zach Dionne

25 / 29

​Brandon Flowers, 'The Desired Effect'

Release Date: May 18

Why We're Excited: The Killers frontman released his debut solo album, Flamingo, five years ago. While his one-man show is put on hold/is totally subject to his band, we're more than stoked for The Desired Effect, his sophomore record. Flowers teased tracks earlier this year, and since then we've been nothing but confident. —Maria Sherman

26 / 29

Hot Chip, 'Why Make Sense?'

Release Date: May 19

Why We're Excited: The sixth record in the band's 15-year career, Hot Chip have promised the new material will fuse their traditional indie-electronic sound with eclectic influences ranging from post-punk ('Why Make Sense?') to '90s RnB ('Love Is the Future'). With layers of funk sprinkled across all 10 tracks, we have high hopes this release will fill the void that has plagued the dance floor (and our hearts) since LCD Soundsystem called it quits. —Rose Campbell

27 / 29

Pet Symmetry, 'Pets Hounds'

Release Date: May 19

Why We're Excited: Pet Symmetry frontman Evan Weiss is best known for his work as the sometimes-loud, sometimes-quiet Into It. Over It., and Pet Symmetry is easily his most exciting and promising non-IIOI project. Putting aside the fact that it should be national law to listen a record called Pets Hounds, first single "Give Thanks (Get Lost)" is a brilliantly written, tightly knitted exploration of a heavier sound than we’re used to hearing from Weiss. If the single is a good indication of Pets Hounds as a whole, punk fans will have an album of the year-quality release from Pet Symmetry in 2015. —Thomas Nassiff

28 / 29

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 'Multi-Love'

Release Date: May 26

Why We're Excited: Perhaps no other modern band blends melodic earworms indebted to '60s pop sensibility with virtuosic guitar-driven psychedelia better than Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Ruban Nielson has really honed in on a sound that's physical and organic, and lead single "Multi Love" suggests that this album will catapult the band to the next plane. The songwriting here is succinct without sacrificing the creativity or musicianship, and the tonality is considerably more present and full than either of the band's last two LPs. Oh, and they're an incredible live band. If Unknown Mortal Orchestra existed in 1969, they would have been one of the highlights at Woodstock. Expect them to jump up several spots on festival posters once this album is out. —Taylor Brown

29 / 29

Kanye West, 'So Help Me God'

Release Date: TBD, probably soon

Why We're Excited: We don't, at this point, need to discuss the momentousness surrounding each and every Kanye West album. We instead can look straight to the four So Help Me God songs we've heard, all of which have appeared in this young year. "Only One" has Paul McCartney on keys; it's Kanye's version of a Beatles ballad, a paean to his two angels, Kim and Nori. "FourFiveSeconds" is a piece of country-pop, an omigod-she's-back duet with Rihanna, with Paul McCartney on the acoustic guitar and organ. "Wolves" is a brooding, throbbing, addictive thing with Sia and newcomer Vic Mensa. "All Day" (above, in its flamethrower-aided live debut in London) is…well, "All Day" is everything; 'Ye balling so hard for the first time in way too long, 'Ye inviting even more up-and-comers (Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom), 'Ye reclaiming his title as the one holy Yeezus. This album needs to happen, soon, and it will.

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