20 albums coming out in 2014 that we actually give a shit about

It’s 2014, and if we wanted to, we could easily wheel out a list of 100 albums due to come out this year that are, in theory, anticipated. 

But let’s cut through the bullshit a little. Nobody outside the rap blog feedback loop really cares about a new Maybach Music Group compilation, the same way that nobody cares about what Trinidad James thinks of New York or knows who Maino actually is. You don’t need us to tell you that there’ll probably be a new Rihanna album the same way there’s been a Rihanna album every year bar one since 2005, we can safely presume that Four Tet, Main Attrakionz and Starlito will release minimum eighteen full-length projects between them, and the various Top Dawg projects on the boil (Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, possibly Kendrick) have been speculated over so much that we’d rather leave them until they drop. As for Broke With Expensive Taste, even with Angel Haze deciding to release Dirty Gold on just about the worst possible date, she’ll probably still win that battle.

Instead, here are 20 albums that a) we think will actually be released this year, b) should add something to the conversation rather than merely the glut, and c) we’re actually looking forward to hearing – even if in one album’s case, it’s because it will almost certainly be a six foot seven car crash (that’s you, Waka).

They’re not the only ones by any means, though: here’s a quick list of LPs that could have made the cut but didn’t, often due to a lack of concrete information about them.

Also check:
10 grime producers to watch in 2014

10 hip-hop producers to watch in 2014
10 house and techno producers to watch in 2014
10 rappers to watch in 2014

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Hudson Mohawke & Lunice
TBC

TNGHT may have knocked things on the head for the moment, but both Yeezus infiltrators have solo albums planned for 2014: Hudson Mohawke on Warp, and Lunice, presumably, on LuckyMe. We’re also excited about the forthcoming LuckyMe album by Sevendeaths, a solo project by American Men’s Steven Shade.

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Wen
TBC

One of our grime producers to watch this year, the Keysound newcomer will follow his white label remix of Dizzee’s ‘Strings Hoe’ with a full length this year. Expect titanium snares, thick basslines and a lot of MC chatter.

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Kelis
Food

News we didn’t expect to hear as 2014 closed: r’n’b singer Kelis signing to Ninja Tune for the release of her sixth album, Food. Whether it’s the career move Kelis wanted after past years spent living it up with the Neptunes and Will.i.am, we’re not sure, but with TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek at the album’s helm it could be the one she needs.

Release date: April 28

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Waka Flocka Flame
Flockaveli Psychotics

At some point last year, larger-than-life rapper Waka Flocka Flame decided that he would be the first MC to go full EDM, and has since announced Flockaveli Psychotics, the “world’s first rap-EDM album”, presumably featuring Waka’s new-found mates Steve Aoki and Borgore. Honestly? This album will be a mess, but God knows it’ll be a fun ride. And let’s face it, probably more memorable than Flocka’s swiftly-forgotten last effort Triple F Life.

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Sampha
TBC

Collabs with Sbtrkt and Jessie Ware, a BBC Sound of 2014 nod, a well-timed co-sign from Drake and backing from a label with a proven record of making this kind of thing work (Young Turks): if an album arrives this year then the stage is very much set for Sampha to make 2014 his.

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Plastikman
TBC

Now this one’s a bit special – and if you’ve spent any time with Richie Hawtin’s genre-defining trio of Plastikman albums Sheet One, Musik and Closer then you’ve likely got chills just even thinking about it. There’s precious little info about the new full-length except that it was finished in five days and that it was spurred on by the fact that Hawtin had been performing Plastikman shows at NYC’s Guggenheim in November. Regardless of how it all ends up playing out, we’re still counting the sleeps until it comes out.

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Future
Honest

Originally slated for release in November 2013, Future’s follow-up to 2012’s acclaimed Pluto might be floating in limbo, but it’s safe to assume that it’s due imminently. The title track appeared last year and was a sizzling return to the addictive melancholy Atlanta sound that made tracks like ‘Turn on the Lights’ so damned unbeatable. Maybe Future’s just waiting for the right time – going toe to toe with Miley on ‘My Darlin’ and supporting Drake on tour last year has to have helped the promotional drive, so we’re guessing this one’s just around the corner now.

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Actress
Ghettoville

After a decade of muddled house and whitewashed beat music par excellence, Ghettoville is being touted as Darren Cunningham’s final album as Actress. Don’t expect a cheery victory lap, of course, but those puzzled by 2012’s elliptical R.I.P can breathe a small sigh of relief – pre-release rumbles suggest we’re looking at a partial return to the weirdo Detroitisms of his earliest releases.

Release date: January 27

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Katy B
Little Red

Less streetsmart than the fantastic On A MissionLittle Red might be the album that vaults Katy B to proper stardom – the underground literacy is still there, but the pop stardust has been applied more liberally for outing number two. Geeneus, George Fitzgerald and Diplo are among the hired help.

Release date: February 3

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Mark Pritchard
TBC

2013 saw Pritchard take an axe to his many aliases, Harmonic 313 and Troubleman among them. Darlings slaughtered, it should be fascinating how Pritch uses his tabula rasa on his first solo Warp LP since 2009’s When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence; if those recent EPs are anything to go by, he’s still cooking with kerosene.

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The Bug
Angels & Devils

Six years after the barnstorming London Zoo, Kevin Martin’s best-known project returns with more hypertrophied ragga and bass-bin hoodoo. With a heavy acid influence and likely guest spots from Grouper and Danny Brown, Angels & Devils should see The Bug scuttling off in unexpected new directions.

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Lucy
Churches Schools and Guns

Lucy smacked us for six with his arcane, studiously detailed 2011 LP Wordplay For Working Bees. If the Stroboscopic Artefacts boss turns in an album half as good as his debut, Churches Schools and Guns is going to be one of that increasingly rare breed – a techno album that’s more than just functional or capable. “Misdirection and unpredictability” are promised.

Release date: February 17

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Mogwai
Rave Tapes

Mogwai have inexplicably managed to transcend the shackles of a genre that seemed to fizzle out back when people still bought CDs and “actual” magazines, and they’ve done it simply by sticking to their guns and making great records. Rave Tapes follows last year’s moody soundtrack to French horror TV series Les Revenants, and isn’t a million miles away from that score’s blustery instrumental grandeur – just look out for the added nods to Italian synth maestro Fabio Frizzi and prog rockers Goblin.

Release date: January 21

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Untold
Black Light Spiral

This year, Hemlock boss Jack Dunning will cap his seemingly never-ending run of singles and EPs with his first full-length effort. As Untold, Dunning has crossbred grime, dubstep, techno and jungle for his entire career; the brutal, dubbed-out album cut ‘Sing A Love Song’ finds the producer bringing industrial influences into the mix for what is sure to be an adventurous debut.

Release date: February 24

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Future Brown 
TBC

Future Brown — the club music supergroup comprised of Fatima Al Qadiri, Lit City Trax’s J-Cush, and Nguzunguzu pair Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda — only have two songs to their name. But judging by the Tink-spotlighting ‘Wanna Party’ and the grime posse cut ‘World’s Mine’, the group’s debut full length will be a treat; Kelela, Maluca, Riko Dan, Ian Isiah and more are expected to feature.

Photo credit: Dina Litovsky

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Gunplay
Living Legend

The MMG maniac made this list last year, back when his proper debut was ingeniously titled Medellin. His legal problems are behind him (for the time being), but 2013 came and went with only a few stop-gap mixtapes. ‘Kush’, the first single from his album (now titled Living Legend), is promising; here’s hoping a quiet year hasn’t dampened Gunplay’s firestarting tendencies.

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Clipse
TBC

Despite Malice deciding to take up a Godly mission and change his name to No Malice, it looks like there might indeed be new material in the works from legendary Virginia duo Clipse. The two brothers never officially split up (they were on hiatus, natch), and with Malice revealing that they are “coming to agreement” on some of the things that had been preventing a reunion previously, things are looking bright. With the Neptunes on the boards, we’re right to be enthusiastic.

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SunnO))) & Ulver
Terrestrials

It’s been far too long since we’ve had a proper album from post-Earth doom mongers Sunn O))), and while Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson have certainly kept themselves busy running the Ideologic Organ and Southern Lord imprints respectively it’s refreshing to see them back. Terrestrials teams the duo with Norwegian prog metal supremos Ulver, so there’s good reason to expect that the album will be ambitious, grandiose and very, very good indeed.

Release date: February

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Dean Blunt
A Bullet In Yr Eye, Throwin Money 2 Tha Sky

As ever with Blunt, obfuscation is the word: A Bullet In Yr Eye, Throwin Money 2 Tha Sky might be another solo effort, the rumoured return of Hype Williams, or, for all we know, a James Ferraro-helmed promenade play set in a burnt out branch of Niketown. We do, however, know that something is coming – and considering Blunt released our favourite album of 2013, that’s appetite-whetting news.

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Swans
TBC

Don’t call it a comeback (or Michael Gira will eat you alive), but since Swans’ revival, the New York racket-rousers have released two of their greatest albums yet, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky and The Seer. The latter was a double-album almost two hours in length, so God knows what’s in store for this year’s record – but it is, according to Gira, very much on the way.

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