The indie and alternative albums we’re looking forward to most this year: confirmed, rumoured and wishful thinking. Everyone from The Lathums to, erm, Oasis.
Happy New Year! Now Christmas has flown by and we’ve entered 2023, it’s time to hit up those New Year’s resolutions and pretend a new you is on the horizon. January itself may feel like a depressing slog, but one of our favourite things to counter this is to look ahead to all of the new music the following 12 months have in store.
Here at Blinded by the Floodlights we’ve compiled a list of indie and alternative records we’re looking forward to the most. Oh, and a few rumoured releases too.
Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy (3 February)
Since winning the Mercury Prize in 2014 for debut album Dead, Young Fathers have been up there with the most critically acclaimed indie artists of the past decade. One of the reasons for this is their unique sound, which sits somewhere between hip-hop with industrial rock. They were first sold to me as the UK’s answer to New York 00’s legends TV On The Radio. I think they're a fantastic band who have their own distinctive character and identity.
Young Fathers gained nationwide prominence in 2016 when six of their tracks featured in T2 Trainspotting. By 2018, their fourth record Cocoa Sugar won Scottish Album of the Year and tracks like ‘In My View’ and ‘Toy’ received heavy rotation on BBC 6Music. ‘I Saw’ dropped back in October as the first preview to new album Heavy Heavy, whetting our appetites with a stomping and additive single. (words by Matthew McLister)
Paramore – This Is Why (10 February)
To say I used to hate Paramore would be an understatement. In the mid-00s, my music tastes very quickly moved from American pop punk to the thriving British garage rock indie scene. So when a new batch of pop-punk/emo bands came around (headed by Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Paramore), to replace my old favourites, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and pour scorn on the movement. And yet, after hearing Paramore’s latest single ‘This Is Why’ I’m intrigued by the new, tighter direction they're aiming at.
Speaking on the Everything Is Emo podcast in July, singer Hayley Williams admitted her love of Bloc Party’s 2005 debut Silent Alarm and how their new record was influenced by the urgency of the London band’s sound. With praise also being heaped on Foals, Arctic Monkeys and Wolf Alice, there are signs Paramore’s sixth studio album could be winning over new audiences (including yours truly). (words by Matthew McLister)
Caroline Polachek – Desire, I Want To Turn Into You (14 February)
Debut album Pang announced Caroline Polachek’s arrival as a solo artist in 2019, after previously being in a band called Chairlift for the best part of 10 years. Pang boasted hugely enjoyable indie-pop single ‘So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings’, which is so moreish that it even had a resurgence on TikTok as recently as last year.
Since her debut, she has featured on Christine and the Queens’ song ‘La vita nuova’ and joined him for Charli XCX’s collaborative banger ‘New Shapes’, too. Four of the 12 tracks that make up Desire, I want To Turn Into You have already been released as singles. The most recent was ‘Welcome To My Island’ and I have to say: I adore it. There is now palpable anticipation for the full album, but she’s experienced enough to ignore the noise and produce something great (words by Josh Robinson).
Shame - Food For Worms (24 February)
Shame's last album Drunk Tank Pink was one of my favourite releases of 2021 so I can’t wait for their follow-up. It’s about them being mates after years of touring and playing together. If you thought the first single ‘Fingers Of Steel’ implied a slightly more polished offering at the hands of producer Flood then ‘Six-Pact’ set the record straight. With its rabid bulldog intensity, it lays the gauntlet to their peers. All going well, the album is going to be heard at venues and festivals this year and will soundtrack those moments of being lost in the moment. Preferably with your mates. (words by Neil Renton)
The Lathums – From Nothing to a Little Bit More (24 February)
Back in 2021, The Lathums gave us one of the year’s biggest delights through the release of chart-topping debut album How Beautiful Life Can Be. Their signature sound of jangly indie bops with plenty of heartfelt melody has pushed the Wigan band to the top tier of British guitar bands over the past couple of years. So it’s going to be interesting to see if they can match their previous brilliance when the new one hits us in February.
The dark and personal track ‘Say My Name’ (which is thankfully not a Destiny Child cover…) dropped in October and is said to be about a “conversation with someone who has gone…saying the things that they want to hear”. More importantly, the band announced their sophomore release would sound like “ambition and euphoria meets sad and strange”. Very high hopes for this return! (words by Matthew McLister)
DMA’s – How Many Dreams (31 March)
Australian trio DMA’s are known for producing an anthemic brand of Madchester-inspired indie rock with delicacy at its core. 2020’s third album THE GLOW was their best effort yet, the sweetness of tracks like ‘Silver’ sitting next to pulsating dance anthems of the calibre of ‘Life Is a Game of Changing’. 2021 EP I Love You Unconditionally, Sure Am Going To Miss You saw them adopt an excellent, more shoegazey approach.
DMA's returned in August with the heartfelt banger ‘I Don’t Need to Hide’ and soon announced a record with more uplifting and hopeful tunes was on its way in March. Gleaming with positivity and light, the Aussie band's fourth album is bound to be amongst the most talked-about records of 2023. (words by Matthew McLister)
The Cure - Songs of a Lost World (no release date yet)
Ah, I’m getting a bit sick of talking about this one after two years of no results! In both my 2021 and 2022 album predictions, the signs were strong of new music from The Cure. In 2020, keyboard player Roger O’Donnell spoke about the new “amazing” album, though tempered expectations by suggesting a “little patience” in its delivery. Then in 2021, the 80’s goth rockers teased a new “67 minute” album, their first new music since 2008’s 4:13 Dream.
Earlier in 2022, we finally had an album title, Songs of a Lost World and a description by frontman Robert Smith of it being “the doomiest thing that we’ve ever done”. With two albums of ten tracks written, something has to give in 2023. The wait is almost over, surely... (words by Matthew McLister)
Radiohead (wishful thinking)
This one was initially on the list in hope more than any sort of realistic expectation then it was reported the band were due to get together in "early 2023" to discuss future plans. Come May 2023, it’ll have been seven years since A Moon Shaped Pool, now by far the greatest gap between Radiohead albums (previously five years between 2011's King of Limbs and 2016's A Moon Shaped Pool). And I still haven’t given up on them.
Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood joined together last year for new music as The Smile and it sounded as close to the main event without actually being it. It was pretty odd that the two main Radiohead players (plus longtime producer Nigel Godrich) went down the side project route, but without any breakup announcement and the recent reports, our faith is still strong with this one. Radiohead are notoriously secretive, often dropping an album without any prior notice. Will 2023 be the year they do the same? I guess we better watch this space… (words by Matthew McLister)
Oasis (more wishful thinking which will never happen)
There’s about as much chance of Liam and Noel announcing their change of allegiance from Manchester City to United than there is of them getting the band back together. But if the unthinkable did happen, what would a new Oasis album sound like in 2023?
A lot of Noel’s solo material has been more experimental than his brothers while Liam has been pretty much sticking to the same rock n’ roll formula. They wouldn’t have the youthful enthusiasm of Definitely Maybe and the bloated excess of Be Here Now would be a thing of the past. What you would have would be one of the country’s best songwriters team up again with his sibling whose voice is improving as he gets older. I could see fireworks both in the studio and with the finished article (words by Neil Renton).
Hailing from Galway in Ireland’s west coast, NewDad produce a genre of dreamy rock music self-described as “bringing sombre themes to life with (an) easy-going sound, raw vocals and thrumming backing”. In 2021, we couldn’t get enough of their debut EP Waves and they equalled it again last February with the outstanding EP Banshee. Moving effortlessly between beautiful, melancholic and euphoric, NewDad’s music can’t help but hit the spot and over the past two years they’ve confirmed their status as one of indie rock’s hottest young bands. 2022 saw them support the likes of Paolo Nutini and Inhaler, and I have high hopes 2023 is the year they steal the show with their debut. (words by Matthew McLister)
Dua Lipa (rumoured)
I don’t hide the fact that I love a bit of pop music. We all should. Yes. Even you, the guitar snob, reading this. When it comes to pop music there’s no one better than Dua Lipa. Her 2020 album Future Nostalgia gave birth to the likes of ‘Physical’ and ‘Levitating’ and soundtracked lockdown for us all. Then when we were finally allowed out Dua Lipa went on a mammoth tour to get us all dancing in public again.
It might not come this year as you can imagine the tour has taken up a lot of her time. The interesting thing is there are rumours she’s been in the studio with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. See? I knew I’d get the guitar snobs interested… (words by Neil Renton).
The Japanese House (rumoured)
The Japanese House, real name Amber Bain, is yet to release their second album, following the well-received 2019 debut Good At Falling. She has a soothing voice that is often drowned in vocal effects and autotune, creating depth when coupled with dreamy, indie pop production.
There is clear influence from Bon Iver. So, when their frontman Justin Vernon featured on track ‘Dionne’ for a later EP, Chewing Cotton Wool (August 2020), this was not only a coup but a match made in duet heaven. It would be fair to say, then, that their early success and momentum hasn’t been built upon like many artists would have ensured.
Dirty Hit labelmate and close friend George Daniel (drummer for The 1975) is one of Amber’s go-to producers. His hectic schedule may play a part in her relative lack of new music, but it is more likely due to personal or artistic reasons. (words by Josh Robinson)
Keep your eye on this site for the latest new music reviews and features. You can also check out our 2023 recommends playlist below.