Updated: Jan 13
A look at 18 exciting album releases we're expecting this year from Wet Leg, Arctic Monkeys, Foals and more.
So, this is the New Year. A chance for self-reflection and resolutions you're bound to break by the time February hits your calendar. For music fans, it's a moment to get excited as we look ahead to incoming new releases and decipher the clues to see what surprises there could be further down the line.
This year we're expecting an influx of new albums from our favourite bands as the delays caused by COVID slowly wear off (fingers firmly crossed on that one...).
Here's a selection of indie albums we're excited for in 2022, both confirmed and expected.
Animal Collective - Time Skiffs (4 February)
I'm not going to lie, upon first hearing Animal Collective in the late 2000s I quickly wrote them off at pretentious, unlistenable, hipster-friendly nonsense. A few years later, I stumbled upon their track 'My Girls' again and I dove into their most famous album Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009) with an open mind, eventually coming to fully appreciate its awesomeness. The Baltimore band's sound is hard to nail down - experimental, electronic and often psychedelic. One things clear though, their music is deeply rooted in the indie underground and will always intrigue the listener. They'll release their first studio album in six years in February and, judging by preview singles 'Walker' and 'Prester John', the signs are very strong that this will be an early year favourite.
alt-J - The Dream (11 February)
Back in September 2021, I couldn't get enough of alt-J's new song 'U&ME'. It was released whilst I was exploring the Northumberland countryside on a family holiday and I couldn't help but get my earphones on and listen on repeat (I wasn't exactly the most popular McLister that morning let me tell you...). The Leeds trio have produced some of the most interesting and unique music within the indie rock world over the past decade so their first music in five years was reason to celebrate. According to the band, The Dream features "both beauty and darkness...often seamlessly merging on the same track, a purposeful choice that pays dividends across the record".
Beach House - Once Twice Melody (18 February)
Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House have decided to do things a little differently for their eighth studio album. Instead of following the tradition of teasing a couple of singles prior to a full album release, they instead opted to release their new double album Once Twice Melody in four chapters. With the first two chapters already released (the first part was covered in our November indie review), the next two instalments arrive on 19 January and 18 February. As one of the most unique and evocative bands around, we can't wait for the final product. If their past few records are to go by, it's guaranteed to feature highly on many publications end of year lists come December.
Sea Power - Everything Was Forever (18 February)
In August last year, the Reading band announced that they were changing their name, removing the "British" part to now be known as Sea Power. This was due to "a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world...that (they) don't want to run any risk of being confused with". Oh and they also announced that their eighth studio album was set for release in February. This was news that was perhaps less attention-grabbing but more important to us as music fans. On 5 January, they shared the magnificent 'Green Goddess', which followed singles 'Two Fingers' and 'Folly', further justifying the excitement for their first album in five years. The band name is irrelevant when they're producing music this good.
Franz Ferdinand - Hits to the Head (11 March)
'Billy Goodbye' felt like a return for form for Glaswegian indie rockers Franz Ferdinand back in November, though it was with a twinge of disappointment that new material would be limited due to the fact the song was previewing the announcement of a greatest hits album. Still, what a great excuse to celebrate one of the best and most popular indie bands of the last twenty years. The 20 track greatest hits collection will also feature another new song called 'Curious' and followed the announcement of a European tour.
The Heavy North - Electric Soul Machine (March/April)
Upon asking my followers their most anticipated album of 2022, The Heavy North sprung out as a heavy favourite. The Liverpool blues/garage rock got the ball rolling on 2022's releases with 'Satisfy You', their fourth preview single and an absolute banger of a rock tune that will have you nodding your head in no time. I asked the band about the release of their debut album, to which they revealed, "Electric Soul Machine is a collection of 10 tracks that we feel are our most accomplished tunes to dates and we can't wait to share the full debut album in the coming weeks." Keep an eye out for these guys, their debut won't disappoint.
Wet Leg - Wet Leg (8 April 2022)
Last year saw the breakthrough of Isle of Wight indie rock duo Wet Leg, their track 'Chaise Longue' exploding into our consciousness and featuring heavily on the likes of 6Music and Radio 1. The song finished fourth in our favourite songs of 2021 list and was so addictive and quirky it was tough to get out of our heads. Despite only releasing a couple of songs since (the pick being the excellent 'Too Late Now'), the hype is strong for their self-titled debut set to be released on Domino Records in April. They also finishing second on BBC's Sound of 2022 list, so mark my words, Wet Leg are going to be massive this year.
Fontaines D.C. Skinty Fia (22 April)
This is one that caught us completely off-guard. On Tuesday 11 January, the Dublin post punk band announced the release of new album Skinty Fia and gifted us with the excellent single 'Jackie Down the Line'. Their new album will be their third in four years and expectations are already through the roof. Skinty Fia will follow their previous two records that easily go down as a couple of the best indie albums of the modern era (2019's Dogrel (2019) and 2020's A Hero's Death). Our writer Neil Renton gave us his initial thoughts on the single and album announcement only hours later.
Bloc Party - Alpha Games (29 April)
They may have changed form since their mid-noughties breakthrough, but Kele Okereke and co are due to release their sixth album in April. Alpha Games will be Bloc Party's first since 2016's Hymns and, according to Pitchfork, "the new record aims to capture a breakneck, raucous collection of indie rock gone post-punk". Their latest single 'Traps' was released in November and revealed a familiar ferocious indie rock sound that we came to love on early albums Silent Alarm (2004) and A Weekend In The City (2007). These were two records I obsessed over in my student days and I have every hope the London band will continue to rock our socks off a decade and a half later.
The Shop Window - A 4 Letter Word (July/August)
The Shop Window delivered one of my favourite albums of last year with The State Of Being Human (number 12 on my best albums of 2021, no less) and they're not messing around when it comes to the follow-up. The Kent-based jangle-pop fourpiece recorded their second album over eight days in August 2021. It will feature their brilliant November single 'The Lay of the Land' and 'Lighthouse', due for release on 4 February. Their debut was a pleasant surprise for me in 2021 and I'm expecting more of the same come the summer.
Arcade Fire - TBA
There's a sense of deju vu with this entry. Last year, I expected the Canadian indie legends to gift us with their sixth studio album for it not to materialise. In October 2020, Win Butler revealed on the Broken Record podcast with Rick Rubin that they'd written "two or three" new albums and the band were planning on returning to Texas to record their next record. A month later, Arcade Fire returned with a political song on Colbert's Election Night 2020 Special for their first music since 2017's Everything Now. So imagine my disappointment that further new material was lacking. In fairness, Butler did reveal at the time that the pandemic was causing issues with recording due to the band's scattered geography and we can only assume such issues didn't resolve in time. Thankfully they gave us some hope again in December 2021 when they played their first gig since the COVID pandemic began at the Gala Games' Galaverse crypto party in Las Vegas. This is the year, I can feel it.
Arctic Monkeys - TBA
Nine years ago, Alex Turner and co were at the height of their powers following the release of AM, and yet you wouldn't have believed me had I told you then that they'd only deliver us with one more album in the following decade (2018's Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino). Their divisive sixth album was a concept album about a futuristic resort on the moon, with many traditional fans lamenting the prevalence of pianos over guitars and believing they'd quickly release a more "conventional" album soon after. Such a follow up wasn't forthcoming so we've been patiently awaiting their next work for three and a half years now. In November, drummer Matt Helders admitted Arctic Monkeys latest album was "pretty much" finished and this followed the news in August that they'd reportedly been recording new music in Suffolk. Will they be returning to their garage rock roots, developing their art-rock sound or exploring a more psychedelic rock focus? Your guess is as good as mine and that's what makes the new release so fascinating.
The Cure - TBA
Another case of deja vu here as this was another album we expected to drop last year. Though, with The Cure having not released an album since 2008's 4:13 Dream, we realise our expectations should've been tempered. However, with the band announcing a 44-date tour for later on this year and mentions in a press release of a "67-minute" album due for a release soon, the signs are strong that they'll finally deliver their long-awaited fourteenth studio album.
Foals - TBA
I must admit to feeling sad upon the announcement that Foals original member and keyboardist Edwin Congreave had decided to leave the band after 15 years back in September. The Oxford band have been one of my favourites over the past decade and a half and there was a fear that this would mark the beginning of the end. Thankfully only two months later they batted away any fears with new single 'Wake Me Up' and revealed a new "party-ready" album was on its way. Foals are here to stay and a new album of theirs is expected to bring some light back into our lives.
Interpol - TBA
I love the gloomy, post-punk sounds of Interpol so much that I'd consider their first couple of albums, Turn on The Bright Lights (2002) and Antics (2004), as two of my favourites of all time. Even their last album (2018's Marauder) was one of my most listened to of that year. So, when news broke through that they were due to release a new album in 2022, it was met with great excitement on my end. In September, the New York trio announced that they'd begun work on their seventh album with producers Alan Moulder and Flood in London. Frontman Paul Banks described the new record as "a bit more uplifting" and "positive-feeling", suggesting a sudden change of direction was on the cards. We can't wait to hear the end results.
Kendrick Lamar - TBA
Here's one you probably didn't expect on this list! Whilst 90% of my listening these days is guitar-based indie rock, I do enjoy dipping my toe into Hip Hop now and again. One of the most fascinating characters in the world of contemporary rap has to be Compton's own Kendrick Lamar, an artist expected to release the follow-up to 2017's Grammy award-winning Damn this year. Over the course of his career, he's explored concepts of gang culture, religion and black consciousness to great effect, often in unconventional and complex ways. As a deep thinker and banger creator, we're expecting big things after such a long break without new music. On 13 February, Kendrick will appear with Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Eminem in a whose who of Hip Hop royalty at the iconic Superbowl halftime show. Fingers crossed a new album will be released soon after.
My Bloody Valentine - TBA
There was collective excitement in the indie world when Dublin shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine revealed they were working on not one but two albums after signing with Domino Records in March 2021. Frontman Kevin Shields told The New York Times that the first album would contain "warm and melodic" material, whilst the second would be more experimental. It will be their first new music since 2013's mbv, which, at the time, was their first since 1991's iconic Loveless album. I'm very eager to hear what the band have come up with, though we'll definitely need to savour whatever they do release for fear of another massive gap between albums.
The Smile - TBA
Whilst I've been holding my breath for a new Radiohead album for over five years (!), details of a new Thom Yorke/Johnny Greenwood side-project with British jazz drummer Tom Skinner, called The Smile was initially met with much frustration. I mean, isn't that just holding off the main event?! After a surprise debut performance at Glastonbury 2021, they then released their first single 'You Will Never Work In Television Again' on Wednesday 5 January. Produced by Nigel Godrich, there's a certain rawness and a throwback to the Oxford band's earlier days. In July, Godrich revealed the band were recording a new album and it can't help but intrigue. The fantastic new single then whetted our appetites nicely and gave us reason to have faith in the side-project after all.
What albums are you looking forward to the most this year? Let us know @BFloodlights.
Listen to our Blinded by the Floodlights indie recommendations playlist for a selection of the best new music released in 2022.