Welcome one and all. We are here standing at the base of 2015, squinting to look up at what's to come. Through all the swirling haze you can just about make out some of the more prominent peaks, rising up and then disappearing. This is a rather weak metaphor. So let's just say that it's the start of the year and there are some things to look forward to in the coming months. Musical things.

Recent events have left something of a sour taste in the mouth, a pain in the heart and a whirring anxiety in the stomach. When I "the" I mean "my". It's therefore a little bit difficult to see any brightness in the year – the best we can do, whilst fearing for the world and its people, is hope. And harbouring our vague hopes for vague happiness, we can be free to soothe ourselves with music. Because, as William Congreve said in his 1697 play The Mourning Bride, "Music has charms to soothe a savage breast."

So here is a list of musical medicine that we'll be taking in the near future.


José González - Vestiges & Claws (out February 16th)

This is the Gothenburg artist's first solo album in seven years and, from first single, 'Every Age', it is clear that his song-writing has lost none of its lagom allure. There is some cross-over between this material and González's contribution to his band, Junip's last album, although with Vestiges & Claws you definitely get his more folky side. If you liked 2005's breakthrough effort, Veneer, you'll find a lot to love ten years later with this debonair affair. As González also makes for a mesmerising live act, we are also looking forward to hearing the new songs brought to life on stage. Doron Vidavski


Say Lou Lou - Lucid Dreaming

This hotly-anticipated debut was originally supposed to come out back in June. Then it was November. Then it was February. Now it's looking more like March but we're guessing that Lucid Dreaming is going to be worth the wait. True, we can take or leave recent LINDSTRØM collab, 'Games For Girls', but as it was more of a 'featuring' kind of effort, we consider the Say Lou Lou streak of amazing releases to be pretty much untarnished. Look at (that is, listen to) the evidence: 'Maybe You', 'Julian', 'Everything We Touch', Chet Faker duet, 'Fool For You' and, of course, 'Beloved'. Amazing. From what we gather, quite a lot of material has been recorded for this album and, whether or not the delayed appearance of the record hints at the Kilbey twins' indecisiveness or, perhaps, perfectionism, we really can't wait to hear the bloody thing already. - Doron Vidavski


Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear (out February 9th)

2012's Fear Fun was not Josh Tillman's first album, but it was the first released under the moniker Father John Misty, and in many ways it was like a debut. It felt like a rebirth for Tillman after his stint drumming for Fleet Foxes, and it felt like the first time he'd really expressed his core emotions in a universally resonant way. The follow-up, I Love You, Honeybear, was written and recorded over a time when Tillman was falling madly in love with his new muse, so it would seem like it will be written from a much more stable mental constitution - but judging from the songs released so far that's not necessarily true. 'Bored In The USA' has Tillman despairingly calling out for saviour by "President Jesus" and listing his numerable problems with living in America, while a laugh track mercilessly makes light of them. 'Chateau Lobby #4' details his tour de force of a love affair which involves "Satanic Christmas eve" and telling his bride "I wanna take you in the kitchen, lift up your wedding dress." These are just small pieces of the fractured, hilarious and fascinating psyche of Josh Tillman, which will be fully exposed on this upcoming album. - Rob Hakimian


Charli XCX - Sucker (out February 16th)

Pop belonged to Swifty in 2014 thanks to her already agreed 'modern classic' 1989. Therefore you might have been forgiven for thinking that with Charli XCX's infectious single 'Boom Clap' she'd polish up her pop sound heard on True Romance, but no - this girl's gone punk (or at least pop punk). Her success overseas - thanks to collaborations like 'Fancy' - is outlined on tracks 'London Queen' and 'Gold Coins' and although Sucker is set to catapult Charli into the mainstream, there has been no compromise in quality or integrity on this record. The singles are loud, seemingly obnoxious at times, but brimming with power and scuzzy guitars that will set her apart from her contemporaries. Having heard a glimpse of next single 'Doing It' with 'One Show flasher' Rita Ora, Sucker is undoubtedly going to be a jam-packed roller-coaster of pop perfection. - Thomas Ingham


Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love (out January 20th)

The impending release of Sleater-Kinney's No Cities to Love -- their first new record in ten years--still seems a little too good to be true. The legendary riot grrrl trio went on indefinite hiatus in 2006 and announced their reunion and subsequent tour back in October. Needless to say, expectations are high. Sub Pop Records accidentally made No Cities to Love available for streaming just before Christmas, but for those of you who didn't scramble for a listen, guitarist Carrie Brownstein promises that the album will pack a punch: "We sound possessed on these songs," she said in a recent press release. With longtime producer and collaborator John Goodmanson on board No Cities to Love just might manage to replicate the raw intensity of Sleater-Kinney's beloved back catalogue. - Jennifer Jonson

Read Rob Hakimian's review of the album by heading here.


Laura Marling - Short Movie (out March 23rd)

As if you weren't excited for this release from England's dark folk heroine already, there are loads of reasons you should be. Firstly, the title track for 'Short Movie', released towards the end of 2014, was exploding with heavenly strings and the brash sounds of Marling guitar, which has set the tone for the album, we hope. The surprise release was a miracle for many and despite her quiet movements for most of last year, it looks like she had a busy schedule. Some of the clues we have so far is Tom Fiddle from Noah And The Whale will be on strings, she "managed to resist EDM" and she wrote and produced it herself in LA after six months of staying away from music to refresh her mind. "It was definitely good for me," she says about the music abstinence. "But it was also absolutely horrible and I'll never do that again." So glad, Laura, so glad. - Lydia Morrish


Karin Park - Apocalypse Pop (out March 2nd)

Karin Park still feels somewhat like pop's best kept secret. Following the stealthy and charismatic artist's run of four albums, which reached a distinguished height on Highwire Poetry, the Scandinavian singer is ready to unleash her fifth record Apocalypse Pop on March 2nd. Judging by the album's juxtaposing title, it appears she is set to continue what made her Highwire Poetry outstanding; drawing together razor-sharp electronics and introspective lyrics that are anchored by solid pop melodies. The album's enveloping first single 'Shine' and the thrilling assault of 'Look What You've Done' indicates this could be the record that exceeds her creative accomplishments to date and may even enchant a wider audience. - Andrew Darley


Joey Bada$$ - B.4.DA.$$ (out January 20th)

Joey Bada$$ has become one of the hottest young rappers on the planet since his debut mixtape 1999 dropped in 2012. The debut album 'B.4.DA.$$' drops on January 20th and with the release of the first single 'Big Dusty', fans will be in for a treat. Raury, Maverick Sabre, Kiesza and BJ the Chicago Kid will also feature on the album. Praised for his '90s boom bap style of rap, Joey Bada$$ has been equally criticised for not creating his 'own' sound. Since the release of Summer Knights, his second solo mixtape, Bada$$ has incorporated a more aggressive tone in his flow. No longer is he the kid on the block trying to make himself heard, he has developed the confidence of a seasoned veteran. Rightly so, the Pro Era head honcho hasn't had the backing of a major label and he represents the school of DIY rappers who have proved that you don't need studio albums to headline shows and festivals. - Jesse Bernard


Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves (out March 3rd)

It's quite hard to believe that it's been eight long years since Modest Mouse have released a full-length album. It's a sad truth, one that is about to change when their seventh LP Strangers to Ourselves comes out in March. The boisterous lead single 'Lampshades on Fire' is already out there for people to hear, screaming "we're baaaack!" and reeking of that loud, brash spirit we've been missing from Isaac Brock and the gang. The song wastes no time in kicking straight into the chorus, which is as catchy as you'd hope whilst still retaining the black humour that Brock injects so well into his lyrics. We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank was near-perfect, so it's going to be hard to beat but I've got my fingers and toes crossed that this new offering will be as memorable and classic as their others. Will they continue their ascent in the mainstream? Not long 'til we find out. - Luke Allen


Viet Cong - Viet Cong (out January 20th)

From the ashes of Women rose Viet Cong, a Calgary, Alberta band that continue their art-rock tendencies only with a darker, more claustrophobic sound. They're not all doom and gloom by any counts; their first EP, the (originally) tour-only Cassette had the smoky, Beach Boys-esque 'Static Wall' and the upbeat punk number 'Throw it Away'. But with their first album proper, the forthcoming self-titled record out on Jagjaguwar on January 20th, things look to be taking a turn towards the darkness. 'Continental Shelf' was possibly the best song of 2014; it's lead riff stank of Pixies, it had the same drumbeat as 'Be My Baby', and its distortion-drowned low-end frequencies would shatter your floor if played at a loud volume, which in this case is imperative. 'Silhouettes' offers more post-punk goodness, with a new wave synth melody thrown in for good measure. With other highlights such as the older tour de force that is 'Bunker Buster', this album looks easily set to dominate the 2015 end of year lists. They are maybe the best band in the world right now. Pay attention. - Luke Allen

Read Mike Clark's review of the album by heading here.


Action Bronson - Mr. Wonderful (out March 24th)

Bronsolini is without doubt one of the most humorous, sexy and interesting rappers in hip-hop at the moment. Already a seasoned pro in rhyming over African Jazz with collaborators like Party Supplies, Mr.Wonderful is his 'official' debut record. The first drop 'Easy Rider' oozes classic Bronson - braggadocios, bold and hilarious. With this much hyped debut and a possible world tour on the way, it's time for some Action, Bronson. - Thomas Ingham


A Brief Disclaimer:

A number of high-profile artists confirmed new albums this week. You've got Sufjan Stevens (Carrie & Lowell, out March 30th), Death Cab for Cutie (Kintsugi, out March 30th), Björk (Vulnicura, out in March), and Purity Ring (Another Eternity, out March 2nd).

    Other Notable Releases:

  • Zun Zun Egui - Shackles' Gift (January 26th)
  • BADBADNOTGOOD x Ghostface Killah - Sour Soul (February 16th)
  • Future Brown - Future Brown (February 23rd)
  • Clarence Clarity - No Now (March 2nd)
  • Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - After (March 2nd)
  • Twin Shadow - Eclipse (March 16th)