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Most Anticipated of 2012

Posted by - 10:47 AM on 01/16/12
The beginning of the year, much like the first day of school or a new job, reigns with the scent of anticipation. It's that moment where we haven't yet heard what the future holds and we're all thinking of what new albums could sound like. With these feelings tingling in our fingers, the AP.net staff have put compiled together our "Most Anticipated of 2012" feature. We've worked on putting together the albums that we are most excited about getting our grubby little hands on. After reading through what the staff are looking forward to playing, check out our reader poll - where we ask you to fill out what it is you're anticipating this year. We'll compile all of the answers, and run a feature at the end of the month that's put together from the top mentioned artists.

We did our best to include links to places where you can hear some tunes from all of the artists included below. Might as well get on the bandwagon early, right? We've also put these suckers in alphabetical order ... trying to get all of us to agree on an order was just not going to happen. And while it's tempting ... asking why "so and so" didn't make the list can only be answered with, "because we had to draw the line somewhere, otherwise this list could be infinite."

Andrew Bird
- Break It Yourself
Release Date: March 6th
Record Label: Mom + Pop

Why We're Anticipating: It's been three (long!) years since Noble Beast came out, an album which topped critics' lists everywhere, so it's only natural to be psyched for a new release by one of the most talented artists out there. The way that Bird, who is a classically trained violin player, blends different genres to create his unique sound is awe-inspiring. Whether he will be able to top his flawless previous release remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: this new project will be executed with passion and originality, and it will be nothing short of amazing.

Angus Stone & Julia Stone - TBA
Release Date: Spring 2012
Record Label: Nettwerk
Why We're Anticipating: This sibling duo took the world by storm in 2010 with the release of their incredible sophomore effort Down The Way. This year, however, they are returning with solo releases before they work together again. Yes, two releases. If either of these albums end up being half as gorgeous as their previous work, I think our ears will be in a state of euphoria for a long time. Until then, go track down a copy of their discography and immerse yourself in some of the most beautiful music that you'll ever hear.

The Appleseed Cast - TBA
Release Date: Spring 2012
Record Label: Graveface Records
Why We're Anticipating: There aren't many bands whose discography I would describe as "flawless," but theirs would most certainly fall under that category. After putting out 8 incredible full lengths, The Appleseed Cast still released one of the best EPs of 2011 with The Middle States. If you consider yourself a fan of indie-rock, post-rock, or 90s emo music, then their albums are must-haves in your collection. And I imagine their new album won't be any different, so to say that it's "highly anticipated" would simply be an understatement.

Bad RabbitsAmerican Love
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: While everyone was defending pop-punk, Bad Rabbits were funkin’ up Warped Tour with infectious pop grooves, big beats, and just enough 80’s soul to make you smile. Stick Up Kids was everything you could have asked for from a fun hip-hop/punk-meets-Michael-Jackson hybrid, and their upcoming full-length should leave you bouncin’ along. The tentatively-titled American Dream will be produced by Teddy Riley, who worked with MJ himself; look for that experience to bring the band to new heights.

Billy Talent - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Warner Music Canada

Why We're Anticipating: Back in 2010, Billy Talent drummer Aaron Solowoniuk said their next record would be a new turn for the group and two years later, we're still curious to see if they really decide shake it up or just play it safe. While it can be argued every band has their own sound, this is especially true for Billy Talent. No one sounds quite like Ben Kowalewicz and you can instantly tell it's Ian D'Sa when he picks up a guitar. Their trademark sound has made them huge in Canada, but something new wouldn't be a bad thing. And even if it's not a huge departure, you can't go too wrong with new Billy Talent tunes. Whatever happens this will be worth checking out.

Blondfire - Win The Game
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Tender Tender Rush

Why We're Anticipating: Out of every release to have been announced thus far, Blondfire's sophomore effort has limitless amounts of potential to be perhaps the most addictive, infectious and irresistible of the year. If the first two tracks, "Where the Kids Are" and "Walking With Giants" are any indication as to what we as an audience can expect from the album, one thing is for certain, we're in for tremendous hooks and lovely dance oriented choruses. Erica Driscoll has a stunning vocal delivery somewhere between that of Emily Haines (Metric) and Amy Millan (Stars) -- and such is the confidence that I have in this duo, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Win The Game causes major labels and unsuspecting audiences worldwide to sit up, take notice, and adore. They're that good.

Bruce Springsteen
- Untitled 17th Studio LP
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Columbia

Why We're Anticipating: Did you see that, there? That "Untitled 17th Studio LP" thing? Fucking 17 records. Who does that? Perhaps that's not the question here––perhaps the question is, who releases 17 records that I actually want to listen to? Even if I wasn't me––and this is worth taking into consideration, as I am quite the Springsteen fanboy––even if I was just a casual fan of the rock and roll stylings of American music culture, I would be anticipating Springsteen's first LP sans Clarence Clemons to a feverish degree. His most recent outputs––the phenomenal, charged Magic and career-encapsulating Working On A Dream––were more than worthy additions to his catalog, and the Hollywood Reporter writes that Springsteen's latest masterpiece is his "angriest" yet: "'He gets into economic justice quite a bit,' says an earwitness who’s heard some of the music. 'It’s very rock ’n’ roll. He feels it's the angriest album he's ever made. Bear in mind, though, that [Springsteen] wrote and recorded the majority of the album before the Occupy movements started, so he's not just setting headlines to music.' Produced by Ron Aniello, the album, which was recently played for label execs, is described as veering into 'unexpected textures -- loops, electronic percussion … an amazing sweep of influences and rhythms, from hip-hop to Irish folk rhythms.' The still-untitled effort is said to be 'terrific.'" Is there a way to anticipate a record more?

Cat Power - TBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Matador

Why We're Anticpating: It's been six years since the beautiful Chan Marshall's album, The Greatest, and her original songs have been sorely missed. This time around Marshall has gone back to picking up the instruments and playing them all herself again on this forthcoming record, a process that will excite fans even more than just the release of a record itself. If the recent re-working of "King Rides By" which was released at Christmas is anything to go by, then it's safe to say the forthcoming album will be a real treat.

Caspian - TBA
Release Date: Spring
Record Label: Mylene Sheath

Why We're Anticipating: Have you had a chance to hear their Live At The South Church album yet? If you have, then the reason we're anticipating their upcoming release should be self-explanatory. However, if you've somehow been living under a rock and have deprived your ears from hearing their epic music, go listen to their most recent full-length, Tertia, immediately. Once you do, you will probably join our excitement in anticipating what will without a doubt be another mind-blowing instrumental rock album.

The Company We KeepTBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: Brian Southall is back, and he’s recruited quite the band. The guitarist/programmer from The Receiving End Of Sirens grabbed Justin Pierre (Motion City Soundtrack) and Branden Morgan (Misery Signals), and newcomer Amy Brennan to fill out his long-awaited new project. Last time we heard from BSouth, he crafted all the tunes from Isles & Glaciers’ EP; we'll have to wait and see if we get big-rock-with-expert-programming or something more subtle and experimental this time around.

ConditionsTBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Good Fight

Why We’re Anticipating: 2010's Fluorescent Youth was a genuine breath of fresh air in the "scene." Combining ripping guitar licks, powerful vocals, and a theme of optimism, Conditions definitely turned some heads with the debut. It's safe to say we should expect huge things from these guys this year, making their follow-up record highly anticipated.

Converge - All That We Love We Leave Behind
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Epitaph

Why We're Anticipating: As a band often considered to be the kings of consistency, Converge gave us a short, albeit brutal taste of what might be to come in last year’s split with Dropdead. 2012 makes to be another landmark year for the band and their ravenous fans, as another full-length is in the books for us to gnaw, thrash and burn through. What lies in store this time is still up in the air, but when was the last time Jacob Bannon and company disappointed us?

The Dangerous Summer - TBA
Release Date: Most Likely Fall/Winter
Record Label: Hopeless Records

Why We're Anticipating: No duh, people. War Paint had all of us on the edge of our seats, Reach For The Sun made us cry and made us stronger; this next one will probably literally deliver us from evil. Or whatever. Point is, when AJ Perdomo started talking on social media about writing new stuff and recording new stuff, it seemed a little soon. Shouldn't we still be absorbing songs like "Miscommunication" and "Waves?" I guess not, which is probably ok, because far be it for us to deny The Dangerous Summer the right to make more music. They'll be busy this year on lots of huge tours, but let's all hope and pray that they find the time to get in the studio and drop mad tunezzz all over our pimply faces.

Dr. Dog - Be The Void
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Record Label: ANTI-

Why We're Anticipating: I once heard a pretty amazing statement about Dr. Dog. A friend said, "Nobody's favorite band is Dr. Dog." And while they are not my favorite band, they are certainly one of my favorites. While I think it may be unfair that my (typically) well-informed friend sees them as some sort of vanilla/plain-jane indie rock band, his opinion seems to be one shared by more than a few musical mouthpieces. I don't know, albums like We All Belong, Fate, and especially Shame, Shame certainly had more than enough quirks and catchy numbers to make them regular attendees to my Magical Ear Parties. With a new album titled Be The Void, and a new member in Dimitri Manos, this could shape up to be their most substantial dosage of retro rock-meets-dive bar-meets-mushrooms. Who knows, maybe they'll make disciples out of us yet.

The Early November - TBA
Release Date: Summer
Label: Rise Records

Why We're Anticipating: The Early November was one of those bands you always doubted would do anything very serious again. 5 years ago, it seemed like the relationship within the band was too volatile for anything to ever come from the band again. At the end of 2011, myself and the rest of the world were shocked when the band announced a new full length for 2012. An iconic band that has developed a cult-like following over their career, The Early November is poised to release a record that no one is truly sure how it will really sound, but we are all excited nonetheless.

Every Time I Die - Ex Lives
Release Date: March 6
Record Label: Epitaph

Why We're Anticipating: By now, you would feel like you already know what to anticipate with a new Every Time I Die record. Soaring guitar riffs, punishing breakdowns, and the best lyrics you'll find in its genre. Well, that's all true with the band's sixth studio album Ex Lives, but there are also a few surprises. New drummer Ryan Leger offers a level of drumming that the band has never had on any previous album, as Legs kills it behind the kit throughout the album's 11 tracks. Also, you'll be intrigued by the sound of the flute as well as head banging along to a blistering banjo solo. Before your brain melts with excitement, I'll also give one more tidbit: Keith Buckley's lyrics and vocals have never sounded better. Prepare yourself for destruction.

Fallen From The Sky - TBA
Release Date: 2012
Record Label: Self-released

Why We're Anticipating: 2012 will mark the 10th anniversary since Fallen From The Sky kickstarted their debut in the melodic punk rock scene. When they rose from the ashes with "Rebuilder", sweaty explosions of Rise Against were left on our palettes, as well as a thirst for renewed FFTS punk anthems. The fact that they seem to be detached from the corporate clown-act will give a splash more realism to their music, as they prepare to bring us more complete self-released material throughout the year.

The Forecast
- TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: The Forecast is a band that just continues to get better with every album as they hone in on their sound in attempts to perfect it with each new song. Powered by their Kickstarter last year, the band are currently in the studio working on LP number five (if you count Proof of Impact). The Forecast have always been the underdogs with a small cult following throughout the years. Here's hoping this puts shoves them a bit more to the front of the current class - and burns out some less than stellar deadwood along with it.

Foxy Shazam - The Church of Rock and Roll
Release Date: January 24
Record Label: IRS Records

Why We're Anticipating: Every year there are a couple of picks on this list that we've already heard, and Foxy Shazam is one of them this year. The Church of Rock and Roll is certainly a step from the self-titled record that brought Foxy a good amount of mainstream attention, but the question is, which way is that step going? Some songs fly higher than the highest highs on the self-titled but there are a couple of misses here, too. This band is certainly not one to edit itself or slam on the breaks of any creative idea, and this record should spawn at least a couple hit singles that will make an impact. This band has the sound and potential to develop into one of 2012's biggest breakout groups.

fun. - Some Nights
Release Date: February 21
Record Label: Fueled by Ramen

Why We're Anticipating: Nate Ruess, the frontman of fun., has almost single-handedly shown that pop music does not have to be a four letter word. With the new album we're sure to get something different, something unique, but just looking at the band's history - there's a damn good chance it's going to be something special.

The Gaslight Anthem - TBA
Release Date: Summer/Late Summer
Record Label: Mercury

Why We're Anticipating: When you watch Brian Fallon on stage, or you watch him in a video giving someone an interview, there are times when the New Brunswick native gets a particular look in his eyes––the sort of look that I imagine other songwriters envy. It's the sort of look that says, man, I have done some awesome things in my career so far, but you know, I might just be getting started. The fourth studio LP from The Gaslight Anthem isn't just an anticipated release––it stands a strong chance to be the most anticipated release of the last few years. As if Gaslight's astronomical progression from Sink or Swim to the instant classic that is The '59 Sound to 2010's adored American Slang isn't enough of a reason to get your ears aroused, Elsie from The Horrible Crowes and the ensuing iTunes Session deliver an expectation of a whole new level of diversity that the New Jerseyans might have been hiding from us before now. The best part about TGALP4 is that we have no idea what it will sound like––but we all have a sneaking suspicion that Fallon is going to walk out of the studio with that look in his eyes. And with Brendan O'Brien producing, the door is shattered for even more high expectations. This band has well evolved from the Bruce Springsteen disciples they were pegged as years ago and they're well on their way to developing an immortal status of their own. Anything less than a strict AOTY contender in this case would be a severe disappointment.

The Ghost Inside – TBA
Release Date: Spring
Record Label: Epitaph

Why We’re Anticipating: 2010’s “Returners” was one of the best metalcore releases in recent memory. The Ghost Inside has recently toured with bands such as A Day To Remember, August Burns Red, As I Lay Dying, and Parkway Drive. The band’s been in the studio with Jeremy McKinnon (A Day To Remember) and producer Andrew Wade (The Word Alive, Veara) to record an album vocalist Jonathan Vigil described to me as “big about what’s really important and the things that I neglected [before my brother passed away]”. Expect nothing short of incredible from this record.

Grizzly Bear - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Kranky

Why We're Anticipating: Honestly, it's been too long since 2009's Veckatemist for me. The band reportedly entered the studio as of last May, and even Ed Droste said he promises the new record will be released this year through an update on Facebook last month. Along with Deerhunter and Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear are inclined to write some of the most interesting pop numbers to date, even though they sound more fit for a symphony when all is said and done. While indie seems to run the gambit of the new mainstream success story from the underground - here's hoping Grizzly Bear shows everyone else are still part of amateur hour once again.

Hostage Calm - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Run For Cover

Why We're Anticipating: Mark my words, Hostage Calm will be one of the biggest bands in the punk scene by the end of 2012. Remember when no one knew who The Gaslight Anthem were? This is happening again. Take one spin of the band's track for the Mixed Signals compilation and tell me it's not their time. When I spoke to Chris Martin late last year, he said the band are already working on new songwriting, a bit different from their self-titled and far from their debut. Who says you can't progress and become stronger. Most of my favorite bands follow that path.

Industries of the Blind - Chapter II: We Couldn't Fight the Tide
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: Many fiction enthusiasts claim that the first chapter of a novel is the most crucial. I beg to differ. IOTB's future arrangement of EPs will be no different, and will conveniently enough serve as an acceptable demonstrator of my position. While a terrible first chapter will typically only waste a few minutes that are easily discarded and forgotten about, a captivating one will naturally achieve the opposite effect. Therefore, it is much more tragic when the rest of the book does not excel or match it. We would be left with only the finely laid groundwork and a permanent hint of despair as we rifle through the rest of the book, pleading its pages to what could have been. Will Chapter II develop on the immortalized emotional groundwork that proves Chapter I: Had We Known Better to be an unsung classic? For now, that can only be determined by its authors.

Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid in a Mad City
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: Kendrick Lamar's Section.80 put itself amidst a dog-eat-dog rap scene dripping with the blood, sweat, and aggression of Compton intellect. As a fierce conductor of the socially aware mic, K.Dot's rapid fire flow is one that few can imitate. He delivers a mixed unabashed flavor of ethnic division, religion, shape-shifters, the hustle, hometown love and rumble all in one swift blow. We may or may not receive an earful of avant-garde jazz hooks, but with a title like Good Kid in a Mad City, his familiar hard-knock resonance will bellow.

Lakefield - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: When Lakefield released their debut full-length, Sounds From the Treeline in the middle of 2010, it had no label or fanfare whatsoever in which to assist in pushing or promoting it to a variety of audiences. Consequently, this luscious indie-pop record reminiscent of The Submarines went criminally unheard despite lead vocalist Kate Rossiter having one of the sweetest and prettiest vocal deliveries in the music industry. The as yet unannounced and untitled follow-up to such a delicate and poised debut should feature more sweeping pianos, beautiful arrangements, and slow-building, cascading choruses full of all the passion and sincerity that one is able to comprehend.

Lucy Rose - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: After gaining many fans following her guest appearance on Bombay Bicycle Club's acoustic album, Flaws, Lucy Rose has gone from strength to strength in her own right. Releasing her own singles, touring the UK and Europe, gracing the cover of "Anticipated for 2012" publications and then having an even more involved role on BBC's new album A Different Kind Of Fix, it's safe to say that people are now eager to hear Rose's debut solo full length. Whilst little is known about it at the moment, we know that recording will be happening this year and we cannot wait to be swept away even further.

The Maccabees
- Given To The Wild
Release Date: January 9 (UK)/January 24 (U.S.)
Record Label: Fiction/Polydor

Why We're Anticipating: Two years since the release of the infectious and heartfelt Wall Of Arms, The Maccabees return in a highly evolved way. With the UK release of the album already sending critics, fans and new listeners into a new state of awe and adoration, it's soon time to unleash the beast into the wild world. Managing to balance some of their most tender and delicate moments with some of their loudest and most layered arrangements involving dizzying guitars, scintillating keys, impeccable vocals and a devastating rhythm section, the band has crafted something truly evocative and it's high time they received the attention and adoration that they deserve.

Memoryhouse - The Slideshow Effect
Release Date: February 28
Record Label: Sub Pop

Why We're Anticipating: If there's a more gorgeous vocal delivery than that of Denise Nouvion, then I'm yet to have heard it. The Slideshow Effect is a lovely ten-track release that sees Memoryhouse shy away ever so slightly from their trademark melancholic sound that's regularly saturated in ethereal reverb, and instead this debut effort exudes hopefulness, renewed confidence and a startling sense of self-discovery. Featuring tracks such as the up-tempo first single, "The Kids Were Wrong", a re-recorded favorite in "Heirloom", and beautiful, unheard tracks such as "Old Haunts" and "Punctum", this is one album you most certainly won't want to overlook come late February.

The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past
Release Date: February 21
Record Label: Epitaph

Why We're Anticipating: This band gained a lot of fans when they released Chamberlain Waits in 2010 through Red Scare and they should gain even more now that they've signed a deal with Epitaph. "The Obituaries" sees them sticking to much the same, with Greg Barnett's occasional extra gruff voice and repetitively memorable lines that are perfect to shout along with. But "Gates" has the band showing another side, parts of it sound like something The Gaslight Anthem might write, and it'll be interesting to hear how this record comes together as a whole. There's a good chance this could be one of the best punk records of 2012.

Metric - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Last Gang

Why We're Anticipating: Their last album Fantasies, which was released independently on their own (new) label, was easily the best work that they have put out to date. Following such an amazing indie-rock record may be a challenging task, but if their recent performances are any indication, it's safe to say that we're all in for another insanely catchy electro rock album (read: an album that we'll all dance to in front of our mirrors). What more do you need?!

Modest Mouse - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Epic

Why We're Anticipating: It's been almost five years since the March 2007 release of We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which is quite a while, even for a band famous for taking their sweet ass time. Over the last sixteen years, Modest Mouse have gone from making noise for the scrappy Up Records to scoring a number one album on the Billboard 200, in the process becoming a driving force (along with bands like The Shins and Death Cab for Cutie) for raising indie-rock into the mainstream consciousness, through it all never losing sight of their own weirdness and songwriting smarts. They threw us for a loop last year, announcing they were in the studio with Big Boi working on their new record. If history is our guide, the new music will sound unlike anything we've heard from the band before-- and it will be well worth the wait.

Motion City Soundtrack
TBA
Release Date: Spring
Record Label: TBA

Why We’re Anticipating: The one word I'd pick to describe Motion City Soundtrack would be consistent. With My Dinosaur Life, Pierre spilled his guts yet again - expelling some of the most candid lyrics of his career. After their split from Columbia, MCS will be able to go their own way with their upcoming record, making fans all the more excited as to how it will sound.

Native
- TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Sargent House

Why We're Anticipating: Have you seen some of those new songs live? They're a heavier direction for the four piece, and it's no surprise considering the music exchanges I get from bassist Bobby Markos on a regular basis. I'm expecting something quite different from the band's first full length. Last I heard they were going to be recording with Nicholas Sadler (Fang Island, Daughters). I'm hoping this is what it's going to be like when Bayles recorded with Cave In and Botch or Albini with The Jesus Lizard. My most anticipated of 2012 - and a competitor for number one.

No Trigger - Tycoon
Release Date: February 21
Record Label: No Sleep Records

Why We're Anticipating: As Nitro Records veterans, no other label could have eased their transition better than No Sleep. Their Be Honest EP dropped in 2010, bringing back Rheault's rugged vocals, poppy melodies, and a forthright title that perfectly reflects the band's say-or-die attitude. Once we discovered that producer Jay Maas would be at the helm of their latest release, Tycoon, we immediately knew that we were in for an authentic, raw feel that hardcore punk rockers No Trigger radiate by nature.

Paramore - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Fueled By Ramen

Why We're Anticipating: Brand New Eyes was a record no one was ready for. We knew Paramore had the chops to write some damn good songs, but they weren't just a scene pop-punk now. With the release of Brand New Eyes they became a certifiable rock band. Hayley showed unparalleled power in her vocal performance and delivered a Grammy nomination for "The Only Exception." The album was so dynamic that it was widely accepted from all kinds of critics. The band then released the Singles Club EP, which flew under the radar as it was not heavily promoted but nonetheless a great release. 2012 will be another big year of touring for Paramore in support of a new album.

Periphery
- TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Date: Sumerian Records

Why We're Anticipating: There are two sides to every coin. The power of an individual's creativity brings with it the focus of a pure and unique vision, which despite having many facets, is also paradoxically one dimensional. The transposition of multiple individuals' creativity follows the same rule, as it holds the potential for limitless beauty while dancing dangerously near the edge of an incoherent abyss. The prog-metal outfit Periphery's sound and vision have been directed up to this point by one man, Misha Mansoor. Now the doors of collaboration have opened, unveiling the means to tap into infinity. The one instrumental limbs of Periphery now have minds of their own, operating equally with the head. The resulting question, though perhaps uncomfortable, must be asked: will the awakened creative forces compliment, or clash?

Pierce The Veil – TBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Fearless

Why We’re Anticipating: I got a chance to talk with vocalist Vic Fuentes at their co-headliner a month ago, and he mentioned to me that the band had written a large amount of material since their time writing in a cabin in California last summer. Although Fuentes explains that the record will be “different” from their 2010 record “Selfish Machines”, don’t expect them to stray from the elements that made that record great: strong lyricism, heavy bass-lines, and a up-tempo beat. Expect to blast this record in your car with the top down all summer long and into the school year.

Propagandhi - TBA
Release Date: Spring 2012
Record Label: G7 Welcoming Committee

Why We're Anticipating: There's no mistake that we've moved further away from the authoritarian aimed expletives and high school antics of Less Talk, More Rock, but Propagandhi continue to remain at the forefront of middle-finger defiance. They're re-sharpening their sardonic consciousness to follow up a 2009 shredder, Supporting Caste, with another release that's bound to take us on an even more exciting metallic joyride. And with Chris Hannah as the blunt voice of reason, we can bet it will exceed our fun-loving expectations.

Relient KTBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Mono vs. Stereo

Why We’re Anticipating: After releasing the more straight-forward rock record Forget and Now Slow Down back in 2009, Relient K made it clear that their talent has only grown over the years. First dabbling in fast-pace, raucous pop-punk music at the start of their career, Relient K have gradually grown with each release, becoming more tight-knit and focused. While the masterpiece of FANSD will be hard to follow-up, it's pretty evident that Relient K have the talent - and tact - to live up to the challenge this year.

Saosin - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: Let's face it, folks. Anthony Green is long gone. But does that close the door on Saosin fulfilling their greater potential? Of course not. The real fate of this band does not lie in the hands Cove Reber or Tillian Pearson, or even Anthony Green itself. The weight of achieving exceptionalism has and will always be placed on the musicians who conjure more impact on the mind than any one man's voice ever could. Their early works sparked a transformational wildfire that has since been reduced to embers, pandered away to a mediocre amalgam of fleeting limbs and false security. What Saosin needs is focus. But can they get it back without trudging in circles, aimlessly chasing the past? Only time will tell.

Sharks - No Gods
Release Date: March 20
Record Label: Rise

Why We're Anticipating: Signing with Rise Records last year put Sharks on the radars of many North American punk fans and it's not hard to see why. They bring back the sound of acclaimed British bands like The Clash while adding their own modern spin at the exact same time. And if the first single "Arcane Effigies" is any indicator, this record should live up to our expectations. The production, courtesy of Brian McTernan, sounds a lot cleaner than what's found on their earlier material. Vocalist James Mattock's voice might be missing a little bit of the bite, but the big catchy chorus remains and the guitars sound better than ever.

Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror
Release Date: February 21
Record Label: Mom + Pop

Why We're Anticipating: If there's one thing that can be said about Sleigh Bells' 2010 debut Treats, it's that it was impossible not to feel something toward it, whether that something was "this is exactly what music is missing right now" or "for God's sake, turn that awful noise down." Treats is a headrush of so many disparate ideas-- earsplitting noise, sugary female vocals, relentless hooks, everything cranked to eleven, all seemingly in the name of fun-- it almost shouldn't have worked, but for many of us, it proved irresistible. In many ways, it feels a little like a lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenon that may very well be an impossibly difficult act to follow, but perhaps this is all the more reason to be eager to hear what the creative duo have cooked up for Round Two.

Stick To Your Guns
- TBA
Release Date: Spring
Record Label: Sumerian

Why We’re Anticipating: In a scene full of “Debbie-Downers”, hope and perseverance isn’t particularly the first thing most band’s choose to write about – but that’s what Stick To Your Guns brough with their 2010 release, “The Hope Division”. Look forward to the same great dynamics, the same punishing breakdowns, and most of all, the same great message everyone can get behind and fight for. Vocalist Jesse Barnett had this to say: “It's our best album to date and we are excited for people to hear it and we are very excited to start playing these songs live. Hope you enjoy, see you in the pit”.

Surfer Blood - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Kanine Records

Why We're Anticipating: Although no real information exists about a 2012 Surfer Blood LP, the release of last year's excellently disaffected Tarot Classics EP seems to imply an impending long-player. The band has certainly grown since they, ahem, surfed onto the scene in 2010, and their take on beach-rock is one that I don't see getting old anytime soon. Perhaps it's because singer John Paul Pitts so elegantly lays his (first world) trials and tribulations on the line - all smashed against a backdrop of palm trees and umbrella drinks. While Tarot Classics moved a smidge further away from Astro Coast's outright giddiness, it will be interesting to see how the band handles their next challenge: super-ish stardom.

Teenage Bottlerocket - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords

Why We're Anticipating: You know exactly what you're getting when you pick up a Teenage Bottlerocket record, but that doesn't make the prospect of a new one any less exciting. The band announced they'd be heading to The Blasting Room this February and what will follow is sure to be worth checking out. The music they play is always fast, always fun and always catchy. Plus, They Came From The Shadows was released in 2009 so it's time for something new anyway.

Tegan & Sara - TBA
Release Date: Fall
Record Label: Sire

Why We're Anticipating: Everyone's favorite twin duo took some time off in 2011 other than few short tours and the release of their first live album (equipped with their second DVD featuring 3 short films). The sisters used the year to regroup and plan out their 2012 takeover. What their upcoming seventh full length will sound like is anyone's guess. Tegan & Sara have never adhered to just one genre of music, but it sounds like the duo wants to mix in some classic Petty with their already rock solid indie sound. Regardless, it's a journey we can't wait to take.

Titus Andronicus - Untitled Third LP
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: XL Recordings

Why We're Anticipating: I discovered The Monitor in a way I've literally never discovered anything before––via Rolling Stone magazine. Despite the fact that I never read the publication, I usually don't approve of their reviews anyway...too much political correctness for me. But when RS compared The Monitor to a dirty Bruce Springsteen, I had to check it out. Turns out the reviewer was wrong; while Titus mentions Springsteen on more than one lyrical occasion, that comparison is more of an eye-grabber than anything else. And aside from a storytelling songwriting style, comparisons to The Boss are minimal. That didn't stop The Monitor from being an inch away from my AOTY spot in 2010, though. Titus had a lot to say on that record, and they said it all––to the tune of 10 tracks that totaled over an hour of run time. From the brilliance of the 7-minute opener "A More Perfect Union" to the running commentary on the Civil War to that moment when the bagpipes kick in on closer "The Battle of Hampton Roads," Titus crafted an LP for the ages. They certainly have quite a bit to live up to, and anything other than another sweeping, grandiose epic of a record will seem a strange listen. More than many of these bands, Titus has quite the hit-or-miss possibility.

Valise
TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: TBA

Why We’re Anticipating: Dreamcatcher may have been my favorite surprise of 2011. Catching Valise by chance at a concert, I was floored by their performance. Quickly acquiring their EP, I knew there was something special about these guys. With striking similarities to acts like Circa Survive and Tides Of Man, these guys are definitely a band to watch out for in 2012, as their debut full-length is sure to turn many heads.

We Are The Emergency - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: TBA

Why We're Anticipating: We Are The Emergency have become a chain with a broken link, and as a result are lacking a sizable creative section that would allow greater reach and versatility. Ryan Lake, their stunningly talented guitarist and vocalist, has departed the band to pursue other goals. Almost like a platoon without a captain, the remaining bandmates were left with a shattered morale and a long battle ahead of them. Will they rise up to the challenge and soar beyond the diamond in the scene rough that was Whispers & Fragments, despite suffering and injuries so great that it is tantamount to losing a dominant hand. I hope so.

Winterpills - All My Lovely Goners
Release Date: February 14
Record Label: Signature Sounds

Why We're Anticipating: Without using the word lightly, the fourth full-length from Massachusetts quintet Winterpills is utterly captivating and arguably their most accomplished release thus far. I could talk about the album featuring gorgeous wordplay that evokes vivid imagery, and I could also give insight into the amount of stunning vocal harmonies that can be found within these thirteen tracks, but that would be doing a terrible injustice to the cohesive body of work that All My Lovely Goners undoubtedly is. Instead, when it's released on February 14th, I encourage you to take in the assortment of instruments continually vying for attention, the dual vocals as they rise and soar with conviction, the lyrics as they shine at times with optimism, other times with wounding fragility, and just prepare to fall utterly in love with everything about this record.

The Word Alive
- TBA
Release Date: Spring
Record Label: Fearless

Why We're Anticipating: The Word Alive is one of the few bright up and comers in the metal scene and they are aiming to rise to the top with LP2. Lead man Telle Smith has been focusing over the past year on improving his already smooth vocal delivery, striving to be the best in the genre. What can we expect musically? Well, expect a ton of cool shit. Not only will LP2 display some more atmosphere and melody into their songs, but the riffing has been beefed up along with the intensity, as The Word Alive won't be satisfied until you're head banging the entire length of their next set.

YellowcardTBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Hopeless

Why We’re Anticipating: If When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes proved anything, it's that Yellowcard didn't lose any of their edge while on hiatus. The record picked up right where Paper Walls left off - as if the guys never even took a break. It was everything we loved about Yellowcard. After touring non-stop for the past year, Yellowcard are settling down to record yet another record, which is sure to be just as memorable as WYTT.

Yeasayer - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Secretly Canadian

Why We're Anticipating: Rock guitars, New Wave synthesizers, World Music rhythms and arrangements, chilling harmonies-- Yeasayer's first two albums have established the band as masters of boiling all these elements down into one intoxicating brew that never for one second sounds like anything other than pop music. 2010's Odd Blood demonstrated surprising confidence by sanding off some of the band's quirky edges that earned them critical-darling status and focusing more on lush textures, and anyone who's heard "Madder Red" and "I Remember" can attest to its deep immersive quality. As long as Yeasayer don't lose their sense of atmosphere, whatever they have in the works should be more than worth our anticipation.

Xerxes - Our Home is a Deathbed
Release Date: March 16
Record Label: No Sleep Records

Why We're Anticipating: After an impressive first time watching them tear through a bombastic set inside of a classroom at last year's Bledfest, the Kentucky-based hardcore group seem primed to make move waves in the underground with their No Sleep debut. Combining pure aggression with a tiny bit of beautifully woven chaos, this is a band you're going to want to keep your eye on in 2012.

The xx - TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Young Turks

Why We're Anticipating: Their debut was nothing short of magnificent, moody and moreish. Taking over award ceremonies and becoming firm favourites in a somewhat silent assassin manner, it's safe to say that the second album is highly anticipated amongst critics and fans alike. With Jamie xx recently gaining a lot of success through his solo material it will be interesting to see if it has any influence on the final product and sound. That's the beauty of The xx and the build up for this record; whilst we're not entirely sure what to expect, whether it's the "club" sound they've been hinting at or the more relaxed feel of the debut, we know it will be something great.

--

And there you have it ... this will certainly be fun to come back to at the end of the year and see how these albums lived up to expectations. While it's always fun to "anticipate" new albums -- this year is also sure to bring surprises. That album you didn't think would hit you in the chest - does. That artist that you've yet to hear - but by July will be considered a favorite. The song that will become attached to memories that, at present, are simply dreams. Those are the feelings that only music can bring. It's going to be a good year. Thanks for sharing in it with us. Don't forget to vote in the reader poll for what albums you're looking forward to!

Also, some of the staff have put together their own "personal" most anticipated lists - these showcase their own personal tastes a little bit more ... if you're interested in checking those out, they're below:

- Jason Tate: I've posted my list in my blog.
- Christian Wagner: I've posted my full list in my blog.
- Jake Denning: I've posted my list in my blog
- Dre Okorley: I've just posted my uber-exciting list in my blog.
- Jason Gardner: You can read more of my list in my blog.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 369
10:52 AM on 01/16/12
#2
DPDurden
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WTF no say anything? Weird.
10:54 AM on 01/16/12
#3
Irr3l3vANT
Bick Black Dig.
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no The Used either?
10:54 AM on 01/16/12
#4
jaredohgren
I'm just an artist on a shelf.
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Really hope Story So Far is recording a new album, though they just released one in 2011. Can't get enough of them.

Also, where is TEN on this list?

EDIT: TEN was added.
10:55 AM on 01/16/12
#5
Jason Tate
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WTF no say anything? Weird.
.. "because we had to draw the line somewhere, otherwise this list could be infinite."
10:55 AM on 01/16/12
#6
Jason Tate
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Anyone is anticipating The Used? I don't believe it.
10:55 AM on 01/16/12
#7
Jason Tate
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Really hope Story So Far is recording a new album, though they just released one in 2011. Can't get enough of them.

Also, where is TEN on this list?
.. "because we had to draw the line somewhere, otherwise this list could be infinite."
10:56 AM on 01/16/12
#8
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Naturally the first replies are people complaining about stuff that wasn't picked, preferring to skim through the names and whine rather than read what we had to say about ones that we thought were the most anticipated.
10:56 AM on 01/16/12
#9
DisasterCode
http://funeralsounds.com/
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y u no Circa Survive or Anthony Green.
10:58 AM on 01/16/12
Eva Friedman
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Really looking forward to Lucy Rose's album. It's going to be another great year for music.
10:58 AM on 01/16/12
jaredohgren
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.. "because we had to draw the line somewhere, otherwise this list could be infinite."
I know that, but I would think that TEN would get a spot since it's been 5 years since they've played together/recorded an album...
10:59 AM on 01/16/12
jaredohgren
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Naturally the first replies are people complaining about stuff that wasn't picked, preferring to skim through the names and whine rather than read what we had to say about ones that we thought were the most anticipated.
like I just told Jason, it's been 5 years since TEN has done anything so they're the one band that's not on the list that definitely should be.
10:59 AM on 01/16/12
Michael1002
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.. "because we had to draw the line somewhere, otherwise this list could be infinite."

We love infinite. Infinite means good music all year long
10:59 AM on 01/16/12
DPDurden
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.. "because we had to draw the line somewhere, otherwise this list could be infinite."
I read that, and it's a fine list, but c'mon... Say Anything...? You must know it's weird not to include them here
11:00 AM on 01/16/12
saysmydoctor
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WTF no say anything? Weird.


Really hope Story So Far is recording a new album, though they just released one in 2011. Can't get enough of them.

Also, where is TEN on this list?

y u no Circa Survive or Anthony Green.
Reading comprehension.

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