Five of our most anticipated releases of 2018

From Cardi B to Arctic Monkeys, we're eagerly on the edges of our seat for these upcoming efforts

It's 2018. It's a new year of blank slates, blank canvases, and eagerly awaiting the next round of fresh new sounds from artists who have been MIA, somewhere in recording studios.

That's not to say 2017 didn't bring us some serious artistry (and now overplayed loops), though. With a year that was made up of powerful political punches (DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar), understanding the times and trials of young women of color (CTRL by SZA), and getting to know the difference between being alone and being lonely (Flower Boy by Tyler the Creator), there was a lot of moving self-discovery, personal realizations, and the growing pains of growing another year wiser. That's why, despite the troubled times, we're looking into this year with hope and optimism, knowing that the music that is created out of a deeply political time is all what we need to keep moving forward.

We've compiled a list of some of our most anticipated releases, all due out sometime this year.

Arctic Monkeys - 'TBA'

After years of anticipation, Arctic Monkeys just announced their first live gig in more than four years at this year's Firefly Music Festival. The English band has been MIA, working on album no. 6, with resounding confirmations from varying sources (including the band's own Nick O'Malley, with an article from For The Ride stating "Nick found time for the track day before recording began on the eagerly anticipated sixth album, started at a secret location in September. The new album will be out next year because 'if it isn't, we've got problems'"). Besides their confirmed appearance this June, it seems like we don't know much else, but it also seems like it won't stay that way for long.

MGMT - 'Little Dark Age'

When psych duo MGMT released their first confirmed single "Little Dark Age" earlier this year, we were seriously impressed by it's new direction - the goth grittiness, which features vocalist Andrew VanWynGarden lamenting "I grieve in stereo / the stereo sounds strange / I know that if you hide it doesn't go away", sounds just as new and refreshing with each loop. Since then, the band has released supporting singles "When You Die" and "Hand It Over", with confirmations that the record will feature collaborations with Ariel Pink and Connan Mockasin. "We felt like we had reached a flow, it was the sort of chemistry, the kind of magic feeling we had when we started the band," said Ben Goldwasser. Release date is still TBA, but the New Yorker suggests it will drop sometime in February.

Cardi B - 'TBA'

Ever since the booming summer success of "Bodak Yellow", Cardi B has become a household name. What everyone's been wanting to know? What she'll do next. Her upcoming debut LP has been topic of much conversation, with many questioning if it can live up to it's own hype. However, with the recent release of "Bartier Cardi", you can rest assured that Cardi still has a lot of bars to spit and just as much money to flex. In her cover story with Rolling Stone, she discussed in-depth what the process has been like. "I got six, seven solid songs that I like, but I wonder if a month from now, I'm going to change my mind. It's not as fun to do music," she says. "My mind doesn't flow as free 'cause I have so much on my mind."

My Bloody Valentine - 'TBA'

My Bloody Valentine, having only three albums under their belt since 1988, still know how to keep us on our toes. While no exact details are confirmed, the band has been hard at work in the studio, having said that their next effort will likely be seven or eight tracks and expected to clock in around 40 minutes. "In some respects, some of it is a bit straightforward. The MBV album that we did in 2013 feels more meandery and not as concise. This one is like if somebody took that and dropped some acid on it or created a dimensional clash or something. It's more all over the place… The record I am making now is not so much about death and change as freedom of the soul," Kevin Shields told Rolling Stone.

Interpol - 'TBA'

You've seen Interpol tour their debut album Turn On The Bright Lights for it's 15th anniversary extensively. So what gives? While the release date is yet to be confirmed, it's safe to say that a new record is underway, as they've been performing a new and shiny track by the name of "Real Life." Interpol last delivered one of the most exciting albums of 2014 with El Pintor, so we're eagerly awaiting what comes next.

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Kendrick Lamar and SZA drop a new banger "All the Stars"

The new track is fresh off the soundtrack for the upcoming Marvel film Black Panther, overseen by the duo

Record label mates Kendrick Lamar and SZA have dropped a fresh take titled "All the Stars", according to Top Dawg Entertainment.

The track is a part of the soundtrack for the upcoming and highly anticipated Marvel film Black Panther, which Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment president Anthony Tiffith will be overseeing selection of songs for the film as well as other means of collaboration - "All the Stars" was created specifically for the film. Black Panther, which is set to be directed by Ryan Coogler (best known for his 2015 film Creed), is easily one of the most anticipated films of the year. "Marvel Studios' Black Panther is amazing, from its cast to its director," Lamar said in a press release. "The magnitude of this film showcases a great marriage of art and culture. I'm truly honored to contribute my knowledge of producing sound and writing music alongside Ryan [Coogler] and Marvel's vision."

All the Stars is quite a gift from the two Grammy-nominated artists. Lamar kicks off the adrenaline-pumping beat with a verse like, ""Tell me what you gon' do to me / Confrontation ain't nothin' new to me / You can bring a bullet, bring a sword, bring a morgue / But you can't bring the truth to me." SZA adds to the flow by singing her own infectiously catchy chorus: "This may be the night that my dreams might let me know / All the stars are closer, all the stars are closer." It's a light and triumphant ode to love overcoming all, as per usual with major motion pictures. This is a notable move from the universe of Marvel, which isn't usually known for it's emphasis on music curation - however, who better to pick then Lamar and SZA themselves?

Other powerful artists who curated the soundtrack for a major picture, who have paved the way for how to do it successfully, include Jay-Z for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby - which included a hauntingly eerie track, "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey, that was stuck in just about everyone's head in 2013. Pharrell is also known for his work for 2015's Dope, which had a focus on 90's hiphop and gems from Nas and A Tribe Called Quest. Solange Knowles, who is not a newcomer to this ballpark whatsoever, was a consultant handpicked by Issa Rae for her highly successful show Insecure, which also broke some gems like "Just Sayin/I Tried" by the Internet onto the big screen. Not to mention - who can forget the highly successful - and highly marketed - star-studded soundtrack for the Hunger Games, which featured gems by Lorde, CHVRCHES, and Tinashe?

Black Panther: the Album will feature 14 songs and will be released on February 9. Until then, we'll be keeping this song on loop.

courtesy of Movieweb

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Lady Bird wins big at the Golden Globes - but it still deserved "Best Director"

Despite its two wins, Greta Gerwig is still missing one important title.

It's been quite a year for female-empowering movements, and at the Golden Globes it was no different, with the touching story of "Lady Bird" sweeping up awards for Best Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

The Greta Gerwig-directed film (her first, in fact) has been making rounds for it's vulnerabilities and heartbreaking sincerity when it comes to a mother's love for her daughter - and the very real fact that she, as all daughters do, must leave home to find her own. It's been so widely critically-acclaimed, in fact, that it became the first film to achieve (and maintain) a perfect 100 score on the film critic website, Rotten Tomatoes. It stars Saoirse Ronan, who longs to break free from the confines of her hometown of Sacramento, California (the same place Gerwig calls home). "I think that it's inevitable that those stories won't get told if you don't have female creators," Gerwig told CNN earlier this year. "But I do think that it's important to tell these stories because on a very basic level, as Virginia Woolf said, 'Men don't know what women do when they're not there.' So we need to tell the stories of what we're doing when they're not there. Otherwise, they will go completely undocumented."

Gerwig was notably shut out of the Best Director category - and everybody knew it. Actress and presenter Natalie Portman was quick to note, "here are the all-male nominees." In a world where Film Critics Society named "Lady Bird" best picture, and the National Society of Film Critics dubbed it the best film of 2017, it seems almost impossible that Gerwig did not at least receive a nomination for her first big-time director role. In a world where the majority of the Golden Globes room praised the Times Up movement, it's abundantly clear that the same energy of supporting women does not, in fact, apply to the nominations themselves.

The Sacramento-born director was not the only woman who was snubbed for the category. "Mudbound", the film that's been as widely-praised as the rest of the Best Picture nominees, was directed by Dee Rees, who was also snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Barry Jenkins, before directing "Moonlight", stated this to IndieWire a while back: "I'm probably going to get in trouble for saying this, but I've always felt like I can tell the difference when I'm watching a film directed by a woman," said Jenkins. "I just feel like the metaphors are more eloquent, by which I mean they don't shout as much. Even for myself, when I try to make a movie with a message, it's clear I'm trying to make a movie with a message, whereas when I watch a Lynne Ramsay film or a Claire Denis film, it's the metaphors you can feel — Lucrecia Martel, especially."

While I don't necessarily agree that there are differences in directing based on gender, Jenkins statement highlights the work of women who manage to put something more than personal on the big screen. Gerwig's work deserves to be recognized, and when it comes to those who are not taking women seriously into the conversation - like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association - it's time to say, time's up.

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