There’s been an increasingly insistent buzz around Scottish punksters Dead Pony for a while now, but with their debut LP set to drop in April, this could be the year that sees them translate their frenetic blend of synth-guitars-samples noise and pure pop sensibilities into proper chart success. Tracks like “MK Nothing” and latest single “About Love” dance between teen-friendly shoutalongs and more sophisticated melodic invention – and promise big things for the future. They’re set to tour early in the year – catch them before they get too massive.
Liam Gallagher & John Squire
The rumors have been circulating for years, but in December the former Oasis singer and the one-time Stone Roses guitar legend finally confirmed that not only have they been making music together, but that their first single, “Just Another Rainbow” would be dropping on January 5, with an album to follow later in the year. Understandably, indie music fans of a certain age have gone into something of a tailspin as a result… including this critic. Will they be greater than the sum of their parts? They don’t have to be – the sum of their parts is already pretty great as it is.
The Last Dinner Party
Winners of the Rising Star Brit Award for 2024, the all-female art-rockers only released their first single in April 2023, but have already drawn comparisons with Florence + The Machine, Warpaint and Kate Bush. Their debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy, is due on February 2 and promises more of the angular, baroque, Sparks-esque wit and musical innovation that saw singles like “Nothing Matters” and “My Lady of Mercy” cause such a splash.
The Brooklyn lo-fi alt-rockers have been knocking around in one form or another for nearly a decade now, but after debut LP Endless Scroll came out to widespread acclaim in 2018, have somehow remained under the radar to the world at large. Word is that’s set to change this year, with talk of a new album announcement any day now. And not before time: Bodega’s brand of catchy guitar-driven “dance punk” and untouchable New York City cool recalls the more listener-friendly side of Sonic Youth, and that’s always a welcome thing.
The Libertines, "All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade"
The one-time likely lads return with an album in March that – remarkably, given, well, everything – fizzes with much of the same passion, energy and ear for a lovely minor-chord melody that informed the best of their early work. The two singles we’ve heard so far have not disappointed: “Run Run Run” is the kind of rollocking call-and-response guitar thrashout that made their debut LP so exciting all those years ago, and “Night of the Hunter,” with its riff nicked from Swan Lake (of all things) is beautiful and heartbreaking and deeply poetic. Could it be that this older, wiser Libertines will turn out to be the band they promised to be all along?
At this point, every year is a big year for Jack Antonoff. He’s produced for chart-topping acts like Lana Del Rey and the 1975. He’s also been Taylor Swift’s trusty studio sidekick for the past decade. But Antonoff’s production career may take a backseat in 2024 as he focuses on his eclectic post-punk band Bleachers. The group will release its new album Alma Mater on March 8 and embark on a highly coveted nationwide tour shortly thereafter. Two singles from the album have already been released. “Alma Mater” is a slow, spacey and deeply nostalgic track. The other song “Modern Girl” sounds like an updated version of a classic Bruce Springsteen track. It seems like Antonoff is trying to get back to his New Jersey roots with this LP. That may be part of the reason the upcoming tour is slated to end in Asbury Park.
Job For a Cowboy, "Moon Healer"
Job for a Cowboy will release its first new album in a full decade next year. Moon Healer won’t come out until February 23, but fans can already stream the LP’s two final tracks – “The Agony Seeping Storm” and “The Forever Rot.” They’re both scalding examples of spotless mid-tempo death metal with despondently chaotic guitar leads punctuated by pleasant funk bass interjections. Casual listeners probably still associate Job for a Cowboy with the deathcore sound they helped popularize on their 2005 EP Doom. The band was young at the time and deeply impacted by the intense online criticism they received from extreme metal purists. They’ve been putting out 100% uncontaminated death metal ever since. Will there finally be another breakdown on this album? Probably not, but we can all hope.
Darkest Hour, "Perpetual Terminal"
Darkest Hour is one band that has been keeping the -core alive over the years, but there are no traces of the group’s hardcore roots on the lead single for their upcoming LP Perpetual Terminal. The band has always had some of the best musicians in the metalcore scene, so it’s no surprise they were able to pull off a flawless progressive melodeath track. But the song is a notable departure from the rougher hardcore production utilized on the group’s 2017 LP Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora. Regardless, 2024 is clearly going to be a big year for death metal. The new album will come out on Feb. 29.
Sum 41, "Heaven :x: Hell"
After a career spanning three full decades, Sum 41 will call it quits next year. They’ll end their time in the spotlight with a worldwide tour and their upcoming double album called Heaven :x: Hell, which is slated for a March 29 release. Two singles are already out. The first half of the LP will be a throwback to the pop punk sound that made the band famous, which can be heard on their new track “Landmines.” The back end will be a continuation of the more metallic sound their fans have come to love in recent years, as embodied by “Rise Up." Given how ubiquitous Blink-182 was in 2023, it’s not hard to imagine Sum 41 becoming inescapable in 2024.
Mannequin Pussy, "I Got Heaven"
This Philadelphia indie rock band with occasional but punishing emo outbursts will release their new album I Got Heaven on March 1. Three singles are already out, including one with the same title as the LP. Frontwoman Marisa "Missy" Dabice vacillates between primal growls and sweet crooning on the track defined by its grungy low end. Mannequin Pussy set itself up for a big 2024 when it launched its own label Romantic Records this summer. Although I Got Heaven is an Epitaph Records project, the band re-released their 2016 album Romantic on the new company after buying the masters from Tiny Engine earlier this year. It would be surprising if the band didn’t have more plans for the new label in 2024.
Sleater-Kinney, "Little Rope"
Even as someone who misses no opportunity to aggressively argue that Sleater-Kinney was, hands down, the greatest rock band in operation from the years 1997-2005, I still have a hard time mounting a defense of their more recent work. (2019’s The Center Won’t Hold had its moments — although the highly-publicized departure of Janet Weiss days before its release cast a pall on its reception — and on 2021’s Path of Wellness, they seemed dangerously close to running out of juice.) But thus far, what we’ve heard from Little Rope seems immensely promising, and a recent Los Angeles warm-up show saw the band already in fine form prior to an upcoming tour. The songs that have been previewed thus far don’t sound like Sleater-Kinney of old (and nor should they), but they definitely sound like a band with plenty of new ideas and no shortage of inspiration.
Lil Wayne, 'Tha Carter VI'
Lil Wayne’s discography over the last, well, decade has been hit-and-miss. Of course, he was always a little bit hit-and-miss, but at his peak the sheer overwhelming volume of his output made it so much easier to focus on the wheat and quickly forget about the chaff. One project to which the rapper always brings his A-game, however, has been Tha Carter series, and with a still-undated-yet-long-promised sixth iteration theoretically due this year, I’m cautiously optimistic that another Weezy classic could still be in the offing. (Forget any naysayers, by the way: Tha Carter V contained some of the sharpest, funniest rapping of Wayne’s career.)
Hip-Hop in Las Vegas
Considering hip-hop was a purely live musical form in its early years — spontaneous, improvised, fully-interactive — it’s been consistently frustrating how often the modern medium has lagged behind other genres in terms of live performance. This has not been the fault of the performers themselves; the live music industry has simply always been several years behind the curve where hip-hop is concerned. The absence of any hip-hop acts from Las Vegas during the ongoing gold rush of casino residencies has been a particularly glaring example of this, and in that regard, last month’s announcement of a short Vegas casino residency from the Wu-Tang Clan seems promising. There are dozens upon dozens of veteran rappers who could easily pack casino theaters night after night with hit-heavy sets, all seemingly just waiting for the resort bookers to finally ante up.
Joanna Newsom's (Possible) Return
No, you haven’t missed a press release: as of this writing, there are no official plans for the 21st century’s greatest harp-oriented singer-songwriter to release any new music. But as we approach eight years since her last album, Divers, the ever-mercurial Newsom seems to be slowly edging her way back into the spotlight. In early 2023, she delivered her first live performance in three years, debuting five new songs as an unannounced opener for the Fleet Foxes in Los Angeles. More recently, she was announced as a headliner for Salt Lake City's Kilby Block Party in May. Newsom has always followed her own muse, at her own pace, but we can hope, can’t we?
An Appropriately Confounding-Sounding Brian Eno Documentary
From his work with Roxy Music, Talking Heads and David Bowie, through to his own genre-defining ambient works, few 20th century music figures seem as overdue for the full, proper documentary treatment as Brian Eno. And as luck would have it, one is on the horizon, with director Gary Hustwit’s Eno scheduled to premiere at Sundance in January. Lest anyone imagine the film might be a simple Behind the Music-style career highlights reel, a press release describes it as: “a feature film that’s never the same twice. Hustwit and creative technologist Brendan Dawes have developed bespoke generative software designed to sequence scenes and create transitions out of Hustwit’s original interviews with Eno, and Eno’s rich archive of hundreds of hours of never-before-seen footage and unreleased music. Each screening of Eno is unique, presenting different scenes, order, music, and meant to be experienced live.” What does this actually mean in practice? I haven’t the foggiest. But I’ll be first in line to find out should it hit theaters anywhere near me next year.
Squeeze's 50th Anniversary
2024 is the unofficial 50th anniversary of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook’s first meeting as young teens, followed closely by the emergence of what would be become one of the UK’s first new wave bands. The revelation that not only will we see music from those formative years —never recorded professionally — plus brand-new material, is a testament to their enduring appeal across multiple generations.
The 60th Anniversary of the Beatles' Arrival in America
For Beatles obsessives, February 9 is celebrated as an annual milestone. And 2024 will be the Diamond anniversary of the band’s arrival on U.S. soil, an event that had far-reaching cultural and historical importance that few – including the Beatles themselves – ever imagined would on that transatlantic trip from London to New York City. The impact of that moment is impossible to dispute: 1964 was the year that literally drew a line across what was and what would be.
"Reputation (Taylor’s Version)"
Among the devoted Swifties who follow such things, there’s not much to explain: Reputation (Taylor’s Version) is coming out in 2024. Cryptic posts, Easter eggs, snippets of alleged "Vault Tracks," yes, it’s all there for the taking. But what about an actual release date? That’s harder to decipher and please note: Ed Sheeran has not re-recorded his vocal for “End Game”… yet. With that being said, there will be more to social media “clowning” until we hear otherwise. Thanks, Taylor.
A New Wave of Gen Z Pop Musicians
This is not a comprehensive listing, but there are so many very young artists that have been noticed, written about, played, streamed and look ready to have a pretty good 2024: Em Beihold, Gracie Abrams, and Cavetown, to name a few.
Cast, "Love is the Call"
When Cast first started out, they were known to many simply as “that band with the other guy from The La’s in it,” but it didn’t take long for John Power to transform Cast into a musical force to be reckoned with. It’s been a few years now since the band’s last studio album, but with Cast’s 30th anniversary less than two years away, it’s great news that they’ve got a new album due out on February 16 – and one produced by Youth, no less - and it’s even better that the two singles they’ve dropped thus far are both sound like classic Cast.
The Dream Academy, "Religion, Revolution & Railways (The Complete Recordings)"
You wouldn’t think that the prospect of a box set from a band that’s basically been broken up for 30+ years would be that big a deal, but given that it’s a 7-disc set featuring all three of their studio albums, a plethora of B-sides, single versions, remixes, and rarities, and 15 previously-unreleased tracks, it’s actually a pretty amazing piece of work, not to mention a treasure trove for fans. “It’s taken me a very long time to put it together, and I still can’t quite believe it’s finished!” frontman Nick Laird-Clowes told Q, and Q – or at least this editor/writer for Q, anyway – is giddy at the prospect of hearing it.
Kaiser Chiefs, "Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album"
The idea of Kaiser Chiefs collaborating with Nile Rodgers is one that’s had fans excited since the moment the news broke that the two artists were going to be working with each other. Frontman Ricky Wilson described Rodgers to NME back in 2022 as “a force to be reckoned with,” admitting that “he does make you think about dancing quite a lot! He’s an amazing man to write songs with.” Rodgers is all over the band’s latest single, “Feeling Alright,” and the excitement about hearing how else he’s influenced the record is palpable.
Real Estate, "Daniel"
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to this record already, and it’s a truly wonderful piece of work, one on which producer Daniel Tashian has allowed the band to embrace their desire to go all-in on their unabashed love of pop and made it sound just as fantastic as you’d expect a collaboration between these two artists to sound. Long story short, if you love either of them, you’ll dig this in a big way.
Morrissey and the Cure
Both artists would almost certainly be infuriated to find themselves being listed together in this piece, but the fact of the matter is that both have been threatening to release new music for quite some time now, and the new songs they’ve teased during their live shows have sounded fantastic. Mind you, we’ve no reason to think that 2024 will be any different in terms of any of this new music actually being released, but we’re trying to close the year with a little optimism...