Hey, 2013: Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya! And no, we're not quoting a member of the Cyrus family. There's a spectacularly shiny and/or gloriously grimy and/or fabulously phony world out there awaiting us, so here are 50 of the most anticipated albums of the new year.

1. 50 Albums You Gotta Hear in 2014


2. Future


Honest (Epic Records/A1/Freebandz)
Release Date: Originally scheduled for November '13, Future's Twitter account currently says, "COMING SOON."
The Skinny: Perpetually delayed despite the critical acclaim for 2012's Pluto and the pop appeal of that album's biggest single, "Turn on the Lights," the Auto-Tune sweetheart of rap and bullshit has been hammering away at a release date with vulnerable tracks ("Honest") and futuristic bangers ("Karate Chop," "Sh!t"). The Miley Cyrus-featuring robo-ballad "Real and True" — complete with a doin'-it-in-space video — and a rumored and much-coveted guest spot from André 3000 (recall that Dungeon Family elder spokesman Big Rube introduced Pluto, and Future's cousin is Dungeon Fam producer Rico Wade) better be enough to convince label suits to set this one free. He talks more about it with us here.  
Worth Noting: Real-life lovers Future and Ciara are enacting one of the most heartening back-and-forth romances in hip-hop right now via her "Body Party" and his recent mixtape track "Hands on U." Let's just hope they keep the coy slow jams coming. BRANDON SODERBERG
Listen: "Sh!t"

3. Bruce Springsteen


Album: High Hopes (Columbia)
Release Date: January 14
The Skinny: A beguiling mix of old friends (dearly departed E Street deities Clarence Clemons and Danny Federeci are represented on archival tracks) and new-ish partnerships (Tom Morello features prominently, having been described by Bruce himself as "my muse"), this is an odds-and-ends collection imbued with a distinctly Springsteenian grandeur, mixing tender covers (Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream") with bold new spins on some of his more confrontational originals ("The Ghost of Tom Joad," "American Skin").
Worth Noting: After an apparently accidental Amazon leak, most of this album is streaming online ahead of its release. ROB HARVILLA
Listen: The Rage Against the Machine-goes-to-New Orleans rave-up of title track "High Hopes."

4. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings


Give the People What They Want (Daptone)
Release Date: January 14
The Skinny: Sometimes the people have to wait. This Brooklyn-based retro-soul outfit initially had planned to release its sixth album last August, but doctors diagnosed Jones with bile-duct cancer. The tumor has been removed, and the singer was back up on her feet in time for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where she belted out the band's Christmas tune, "Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects."
Worth Noting: Give the People What They Want is streaming online now. Also, Jones and the Dap-Kings contributed a remake of "Goldfinger" — yes, the theme to the 1964 James Bond film, originally sung by Shirley Bassey — to the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall StreetKEITH HARRIS

5. Against Me!


Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Total Treble Music)
Release Date: January 21
The Skinny: Tom Gabel could deliver an anthem of righteous empathy with the best of them, and nobody expects anything less from Laura Jane Grace, as the Against Me! singer has been known since coming out as a transgender woman in 2012. From its title to its cover (a graphically sketched cross-section of a hunk of breast) to its lyrics, Transgender Dysphoria Blues addresses the singer's physical transformation and personal journey head-on.
Worth Noting: The album was recorded in an abandoned Florida post office and will be released on Grace's new label, Total Treble Music, a return to the band's indie roots after two albums with Sire/Warner. K.H.
Listen: "Black Me Out"

6. Warpaint


Album: Warpaint (Rough Trade)
Release Date: January 21
The Skinny: This breathy L.A. prog-pop quartet are as emotionally intense as it gets — if you've ever had the urge to play air bass and curl up into a ball and weep simultaneously, their mesmerizing 2010 full-length The Fool will do the trick. The follow-up is likely to be just as violently hushed.
Worth Noting: The fight for Album Cover of the Year honors begins (and possibly) ends here. R.H.
Listen: First single "Love Is to Die," which pretty much sums it up.

7. Doug Paisley


Strong Feelings (No Quarter)
Release Date: January 21
The Skinny: Before his 2008 solo debut, Paisley had performed in a Stanley Brothers tribute act and opened for Will Oldham on tour as part of music-and-visual-art duo. Now, for his third full-length, the rootsy, Canadian singer-songwriter brings in some top-shelf collaborators: frequent Oldham accomplice Emmett Kelly plays guitar, Garth Hudson of the Band brings along his keyboards, and beloved cult artist Mary Margaret O'Hara contributes vocals.
Worth Noting: Paisley recorded Strong Feelings in a series of 12-hour overnight sessions at Ottawa's National Arts Centre so he could use the Steinway piano that had belonged to Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist known for his Bach interpretations. K.H.
Listen: This clip of the title track starts off wintry and then tucks into the studio for a cup of cold comfort.

8. Actress


Ghettoville (Werk Discs/Ninjatune)
Release Date: January 27
The Skinny: Phoenixes don't come much more ashen than Actress, who follows up 2012's almost funereal R.I.P. with an album billed as a sequel to his debut, 2008's Hazyville. But what seems like some kind of cycle-of-life statement sounds instead utterly exhausted, slowing the London producer's beats to an agonized crawl and burying conventional tonality beneath layers of digital hiss. Suggesting that this new beginning also may constitute a final chapter, a press release declares Ghettoville "the bleached out and black tinted conclusion of the Actress image," and it's not hard to imagine the album as a bleakly beautiful corpse, its face pressed cold against the noise floor.
Worth Noting: The box-set edition of the album will include a three-LP version of Ghettoville, a 32-page art book, and a remastered, two-LP version of Hazyville, never before released on wax. PHILIP SHERBURNE
Listen: "Grey Over Blue"

9. RiFF RaFF


Neon Icon (Mad Decent)
Release Date: January 28
The Skinny: A baffling Dada rapper birthed out of reality television and, seemingly, the armpit of the Internet that gave us V-Nasty and Andy Milonakis, this guy is a polarizing figure — no wonder he's been heavily cosigned by Diplo and is releasing his proper debut on Mad Decent. But Riff Raff's secret is that he's a Houston-raised "freestyle scientist" with stand-up-comedy punch-line raps and occasional moments of touching insight: He's more than a lark, with enough complexity to inspire Spring Breakers' gangsta-mystic character "Alien," so pay attention. Industry types as disparate as DJ Mustard, Skrillex, and Wiz Khalifa are set to appear.
Worth Noting: A track with Drake is almost confirmed (teased last February via Instagram) — any collaboration between one of rap's most po-faced MCs and one of its most ridiculous is certainly worth anticipating. B.S.
Listen: "How to Be a Man"

10. Quilt


Held in Splendor (Mexican Summer)
Release Date: January 28
The Skinny: This psych trio's 2011 self-titled debut was sometimes dreamy, sometimes folksy, sometimes poppy, sometimes all of the above. For their follow-up, Anna Fox Rochinski, Shane Butler, and John Andrews augment that already beguiling sound with additional instrumentation (saxophone, violin, cello, steel guitar) and boost the vocals so you can hear what they're singing about.
Worth Noting: The trio recorded Held in Splendor in the Brooklyn basement studio operated by Mexican Summer, the Kemado Records offshoot that broke big in 2010 with Best Coast's Crazy for You. K.H.
Listen: "Tired and Buttered"

11. Dum Dum Girls


Too True (Sub Pop)
Release Date: January 28
The Skinny: Following 2012's excellent End of Daze EP, Dum Dum Girls largely lay low in 2013, but they reappearied towards the end of the year with a pair of videos — for H&M and VMagazine, respectively — that found them accelerating their leather-booted march to becoming full-on style icons. On "Lost Boys and Girls Club," which interpolates Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole" with the Dum Dums' customary wind-tunnel bubblegum, leader Dee Dee's voice sounds more expressive than ever, evoking both Madonna and Siouxsie while sounding more sure-footed than either; "Too True to Be Good," despite its wary title, boasts some of the most ebullient vocal harmonies the group has set to record yet, not to mention a swirling bridge that blows up their sound to Echo and the Bunnymen proportions.
Worth Noting: Longtime co-producer Richard Gottehrer, who reappears behind the boards alongside the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner, wrote "My Boyfriend's Back," "Hang on Sloopy," and "I Want Candy"; he also produced Blondie and the Go-Go's' respective debut albums. P.S.
Listen: "Lost Boys and Girls Club"

12. Rick Ross


Mastermind (Maybach Music Group/Slip-n-Slide/Def Jam)
Release Date: January
The Skinny: We've known the title for about a year now, but the original December release date for the MC and MMG label chief's sixth album proved a little too optimistic. And so, despite hot advance singles "No Games" and "The Devil Is a Lie" (featuring an energized Jay Z), Ross' most newsworthy act of the past year remains his oblivious boast of roofie-abetted rape on "U.O.E.N.O." — unless audaciously rhyming "Europe" with "tourist" on Jay-Z's "FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt" counts.
Worth Noting: For cover art, may we suggest an image from the code-breaking '70s board game that shares its name with the album? K.H.
Listen: "The Devil Is a Lie"

13. Katy B


Little Red (Columbia)
Release Date: February 3
The Skinny: Katy B helped kick off U.K. club music's chart-conquering renaissance with her debut album, 2011's On a Mission, and this year, she'll return to take the baton from 2013 breakout stars like Disclosure and Rudimental. Her longtime collaborator Geeneus co-produced much of the new album, which also features guest vocals from Jessie Ware and Sampha, along with production from Joker, George FitzGerald, Jacques Greene, and Magnetic Man's Artwork. Those underground credentials are balanced by co-writes from Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams), Fraser Smith (Britney, Cee Lo), and the Invisible Men (Girls Aloud, Ellie Goulding), suggesting Katy B's expanding pop ambitions.
Worth Noting: "Everything" producer Rowan Jones is better known as the OWSLA-signed dubstep producer Dream; judging from credits listed on Allmusic, he's also behind the hitherto anonymous Route 94 project. P.S.
Listen: "I Like You"

14. Broken Bells


After the Disco (Columbia)
Release Date: February 4
The Skinny: The Shins' James Mercer and celebrated producer Danger Mouse (a.k.a., Brian Burton) have insisted from the start that Broken Bells is a real band, not just a side project. Some were skeptical: Burton's a serial collaborator who restlessly proceeds from one working arrangement to the next, and Mercer had parted ways recently with several Shins under acrimonious circumstances. But after a 2011 follow-up EP, the duo are back again, once more crafting a stylishly barren electro-scape and playing up the eerie edge of Mercer's falsetto, as though their dream is to land the first Gibb brother on the moon.
Worth Noting: Broken Bells already have released two seven-minute segments from a short film connected with the album. It's directed by Jacob Gentry, stars Kate Mara and Anton Yelchin, and confirms what we all suspected about the future: Crazy shit will happen to sexy people, and there will be so much purple. K.H.
Listen: "Holding on for Life"

15. Eric Church


The Outsiders (Universal Nashville)
Release Date: February 11
The Skinny: The rural townie who looked askance at baggy pants and gold fronts on "Homeboy" just a couple years back now slings hip-hop slang on his audacious country-metal stomp "The Outsiders." But with his sales figures and industry awards, this Nashville bad boy is an insider now whether wants to be or not, which is why he's allowed to smash styles so recklessly on his fifth album, touted as a cross between Waylon Jennings and Metallica.
Worth Noting: A quickly pulled teaser for the new album titled "One Will Rise, One Will Fall" featured a clip of Taylor Swift's CMA acceptance speech in a manner that country-music blogs interpreted as a jab at Nashville's golden girl. You knew he was trouble when he walked in. K.H.
Listen: "The Outsiders"

16. Hurray for the Riff Raff


Album: Small Town Heroes (ATO)
Release Date: February 11
The Skinny: New Orleans-via-Bronx songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra is a good bet to fill the Alabama Shakes/Valerie June/Neko Case/Caitlin Rose wide-sweeping Americana lane on her big ATO debut; Segarra's idea of a come-on is "I'll feed you watermelon off the vine." Let's just say they don't let everybody cover Joni Mitchell these days.
Worth Nothing: No, not that Riff Raff. R.H.
Listen: Here we find her making waffles and previewing the fiddle-driven "End of the Line."

17. Temples


Sun Structures (Fat Possum)
Release Date: February 11
The Skinny: Following the feverish online response to their first-ever recording, 2012's "Shelter Song," retro-futurist psych-rock duo James Bagshaw and Tom Warmsley quickly took to forming a full-fledged band so that they might enjoy the many gig requests they were receiving throughout the U.K. By the following year, they were opening for the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park in July, and receiving stamps of approval from Robert Wyatt, Noel Gallagher, Suede, and Johnny Marr — all good reason to focus intensely on the writing and recording of their debut.
Worth Noting: "It's not really music that should be played in a pub," Gallagher told the NME in April of 2013. "It's cosmic space music — it should be played in an empty Death Star." DAVID BEVAN
Listen: "Mesmerise"

18. Cibo Matto


Hotel Valentine (Chimera)
Release Date: February 14
The Skinny: The iconic duo have described their first release of new music in 15 years as an album about two hotel ghosts who are in love. They so totally would. The pair always reveled in absurdism: food kitsch, nostalgic '60s kitsch (supplemented by sometimes-bandmate Sean Lennon), and '90s club-life kitsch. With their latest, they collaborate with Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, and Mauro Refresco (Atoms for Peace); new single "MFN" — that stands for "Motherfucking Nature," BTW — brings along Reggie Watts for a distorted, sing-songy, club-rap view into their ridiculously rad, hyperactive world.
Worth Noting: Every pre-ordered album comes with a handwritten Valentine’s Day card from Hatori and Honda. PUJA PATEL
Listen: "MFN"

19. Phantogram


Voices (Republic)
Release Date: February 18
The Skinny: This moody New York electropop duo may have released its first full-length back in 2009, but Josh Carter and Sarah Bartel have been keeping plenty busy since. In addition to recording their major-label debut, they collaborated with Big Boi on three tracks from Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, worked with the Flaming Lips on a song from The Terror, and contributed a cut to the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack.
Worth Noting: For once, "New York" doesn't mean Brooklyn — Carter and Barthel live and record in Saratoga Springs, a good ways upstate from New York City. K.H.
Listen: "Fall in Love"

20. Angel Olsen


Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar)
Release Date: February 18
The Skinny: For her second full-length (and first for growing indie-rock juggernaut Jagjaguwar) the Missouri-born Olsen has expanded on the striking, minimalist folk of 2012's Half Way Home by enlisting the help of her touring band and producer John Congleton (Bill Callahan, Joanna Newsom, Modest Mouse). While the arrangements are more muscular than before, her high-arching voice remains unobstructed and completely devastating.
Worth Noting: A member of Emmett Kelly's Cairo Gang, Olsen also has toured and recorded with Bonnie "Prince" Billy. D.B.
Listen: "Forgiven/Forgotten"

21. Lydia Loveless


Somewhere Else (Bloodshot)
Release Date: February 18
The Skinny: Loveless' big voice has earned some Neko Case comparisons from folks who probably don't listen to a lot of country music. Like Case, this young Ohioan is a robust belter who harnesses the power of classic-country female singers in a personalized, contemporary context, but as her third full-length demonstrates, her music has a punkier, less stylized attack.
Worth Noting: Loveless' hometown, Coshocton, Ohio, is also the birthplace of Civil War General William Wallace Burns, Cubs announcer/former Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly, and Noah Haynes Swayne, the first Republican U.S. Supreme Court Justice. K.H.
Listen: "To Love Somebody"

22. St. Vincent


Album: St. Vincent (Loma Vista)
Release Date: February 25
The Skinny: Fresh off an extensive tour behind her horn-driven, jovially baroque 2012 David Byrne collaboration Love This Giant, everyone's favorite guitar-shredding art-rocker (née Annie Clark) will soon grace/terrorize us with another solo album of deceptively sweet ultra-severity; as she's already put it, "I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral." Verily, her newly unveiled white-lightning shock of Doc Brown hair suggests we're in for some shit.
Worth Noting: Clark has made some gorgeously unsettling pop songs ("Champagne Year" off 2011's Strange Mercy, for example), but let's hope her unrelentingly ferocious side dominates this one — her harrowing live Big Black cover remains the raddest thing she's ever done. R.H.
Listen: Alluringly gnarly first single "Birth in Reverse" and Byrne-saturated, horn-strutting new jam "Digital Witness"

23. Schoolboy Q


Oxymoron (Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope)
Release Date: February 25
The Skinny: For Black Hippy and Top Dawg Entertainment (Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and recent recruits Isiah Rashad and SZA), there is a before and after Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city. Simply put, the stakes have been raised since Lamar's instant classic. And while Schoolboy's 2012 album Habits & Contradictions birthed a minor radio hit ("Hands on the Wheel") and pushed his rugged-and-raw mythos further, Oxymoron seems intent on competing with K. Dot via a carefully curated collection of weed rap featuring the Alchemist, A$AP Rocky, and Danny Brown.
Worth Noting: Make of this what you will, but Mac Miller has claimed that Oxymoron is "better than" good kid, m.A.A.d city. B.S.
Listen: "Collard Greens," feat. Kendrick Lamar

24. The Notwist


Close to the Glass (City Slang/Sub Pop)
Release Date: February 25
The Skinny: Modeselektor, Daedelus, Radiohead, and Atoms for Peace were among the guesses listeners ventured when Sub Pop posted an unidentified clip to SoundCloud in November, by way of announcing the label's latest signing, later revealed to be German post-rockers the Notwist. Quite a few folks hit it on the nose, which is impressive, given that the 15-second snippet left out Markus Acher's telltale lead vocals. Judging by "Close to the Glass," the lead single off the band's new album, they have toughened up their sound considerably since 2008's The Devil, You + Me, diving into the rubbery abstraction that's afforded by modular synthesis and adopting the percussive, post-rave sensibilities of Mouse on Mars and Simian Mobile Disco.
Worth Noting: Ryan Hemsworth mashed up "Close to the Glass" with Beyoncé's "Mine" on his recent bootleg set, ?RYANPACKv.1?. P.S.
Listen: "Close to the Glass"

25. Neneh Cherry


Blank Project (Smalltown Supersound)
Release Date: February 26
The Skinny: British dance-pop didn't come any more cutting edge in 1989 than Neneh Cherry's debut, Raw Like Sushi, but the one-of-a-kind Swede had become a real whatever-happened-to? story before reappearing in 2012 with The Cherry Thing, an album of mostly covers recorded in collaboration with jazz trio the Thing. Now she's back with her first solo album since 1996, produced by Kieran Hebden (a.k.a., Four Tet), with a guest appearance from another one-of-a-kind Swede, Robyn.
Worth Noting: Cherry's stepfather, Don, was a jazz trumpeter best known for his work with Ornette Coleman; Cherry's daughter, Tyson McVey, is now continuing the family tradition with her electronic R&B project, PANES, which will release its debut EP in 2014. K.H.
Listen: "Blank Project"

26. Addison Groove


Presents James Grieve (50 Weapons)
Release Date: February 28
The Skinny: If 2012's Transistor Rhythm was Tony Williams' love letter to Chicago juke and footwork, then Presents James Grieve is the Bristol producer's attempt to make nice with his hometown's storied drum'n'bass tradition. Williams has said that he made "Footcrab," his scene-bridging breakout track, as a way to transition between dubstep and juke in his own DJ sets; this time, it was a handful of quick-stepping cuts created with Sam Binga and later caned in his junglist friends' DJ sets that led him to craft an entire album around an even faster, more mercurial pulse. Flecked with restless 808 hi-hats and carefully sliced breaks, the results flicker mesmerizingly beyond the usual stylistic signposts.
Worth Noting: In addition to Binga and the singer Josefina, Full Cycle founder and Reprazent member DJ Die and Good Looking veteran MC DRS both make appearances. P.S.
Listen: "Rzor"

27. Beck


Morning Phase (Capitol)
Release Date: February
The Skinny: This time, he's not going to make you play the songs yourself. In 2012, Beck released the clever conceptual-music project Song Reader, which provided sheet music and challenged fans to be creators and interpreters. But he hasn't released a proper album since Modern Guilt in 2008, co-produced by Danger Mouse. Beck's framing this new disc as his California album, namedropping the likes of Gram Parsons and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Worth Noting: He'll also collaborate once again with his father, noted arranger David Campbell, whose work scoring the strings was a standout feature of his son's contemplative 2002 album, Sea Change. K.H.
Listen: "Wave"

28. Shlohmo/Jeremih


Title TBA (WeDidIt/Def Jam)
Release Date: February
The Skinny: After their collab on one-off banger "Bo Peep (Do U Right)," this unlikely pair released a video announcement that fans could soon expect a full EP of sultry, wallowing R&B grooves. It’s a match made in the underground urban-radio heavens: Here we have the head of the L.A.-based WeDidIt crew — an imprint that routinely reworks hip-hop and R&B kitsch into sultry, skittering-bass sex-romps — paired with a singer whose "Birthday Sex" proudly embodies the need for some special bump-and-grind.
Worth Noting: Jeremih claims that listening to 2Chainz and Gucci Mane taught him how to freestyle. (Does Jeremih freestyle?) P.P.
Listen: "Bo Peep (Do U Right)"

29. Eagulls


Eagulls (Partisan)
Release Date: March 4
The Skinny: Ten years ago, a postpunk revival had critics insisting that every new band featured "angular guitar" — and lots of 'em did, honest. With this moody Leeds quintet releasing a debut LP that's all reverb and bad vibes so soon after Savages made indie once again a playground for black-on-black atmospheric rage, don't be surprised if the "a" word starts popping up in record reviews again soon.<br>
Worth Noting: As though to clear up any doubts about where they're coming from, Eagulls covered Killing Joke's "Requiem" for a B-side to their first single. K.H.
Listen:  "Tough Luck"

30. Metronomy


Love Letters (Because Music)
Release Date: March 10
The Skinny: Metronomy’s vision has been hard to pin down over their last three albums: They’ve tried their hand at bluntly trendy blog house, introverted electronica, and satin-lined pop-rock. On 2011's The English Riviera, the group came into their own, massaging out their quirks into a comfortable, glossy, Phoenix-laced swagger. And with "I’m Aquarius," the newest single from their forthcoming album, it feels like singer Joseph Mount has fully discovered where his croon will serve him best, cushioned by clean, finely tuned blips of bass and the coos of his backup singers.
Worth Noting: The album was recorded at all-analog Toe Rag Studios, the same place where the White Stripes recorded Elephant in 2003. P.P.
Listen: "I'm Aquarius"

31. Tensnake


Glow (Astralwerks)
Release Date: March 11
The Skinny: Before "Latch" and "Need U (100%)," there was "Coma Cat." When the Hamburg producer Tensnake (a.k.a., Marco Niemerski) released the single on his own Mirau Musik label in 2010, his retro-leaning take on house remained a niche within a niche within a niche, small potatoes compared to EDM's laser-strafed juggernaut. But U.K. dance powerhouse Defected, who licensed the sing-songy paean to Balearic R&B, helped push it to No. 85 on the U.K. singles chart — an early sign of the chart-topping success that Disclosure and Duke Dumont would enjoy — and soon it was one of the summer's most inescapable songs. Since then, in between remixes for Lana Del Rey and Pet Shop Boys, Tensnake has continued to expand his horizons, trying his hand at slo-mo soul with the Prince-ly "58 BPM" and shimmering, melancholic pop with "See Right Through." Featuring contributions from Jamie Lidell, Jacques Lu Cont, Toronto house producer Jeremy Glenn, the ubiquitous Nile Rodgers, and the Tasmanian-born singer Fiora, Glow looks likely to set a new benchmark for dance/pop crossover in early 2014.
Worth Noting: Fiora, who sings on roughly half the album's tracks, also has recorded with EDM heavyweights Moguai, Arty, and Armin van Buuren. P.S.
Listen: "Love Sublime," feat. Nile Rodgers and Fiora

32. Sisyphus


Sisyphus (Asthmatic Kitty/Joyful Noise)
Release Date: March 18
The Skinny: The follow-up to last year's Beak and Claw EP from Serengeti, Son Lux, and Sufjan Stevens — then going by "s/ s /s" and now recording under the name Sisyphus — is a full-length extension of this strange collaboration. The buggy, self-deprecating raps of Serengeti, the post-rock hip-hop beats of Son Lux, and the aching melodies and emotionality of Stevens pile on top of one another, creating a record that's about lyrical skills as much as it is about existential dread and longing.
Worth Noting: In an interview on the Asthmatic Kitty website, the trollish Sufjan Stevens joked that Beyoncé appears on the record and Kendrick Lamar ghost-wrote all the raps, adding that he was just trying to "make something up to generate press." That'll never work. B.S.
Listen: "Calm It Down"

33. The War on Drugs


Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)
Release Date: March 18
The Skinny: After the breakthrough success of 2011's Slave Ambient, Adam Granduciel returns with Lost in the Dream, another seismic reinterpretation of '70s FM magic, as conjured by Petty, Dylan, the Boss, and Fleetwood Mac. Once a solo recording project, the War on Drugs becomes a true rock band here, writing songs shaped with longtime touring members Dave Hartley and Robbie Bennett. No word yet on whether or not former guitarist Kurt Vile makes a guest appearance.
Worth Noting: Granduciel is a born-and-bred Boston Celtics fan who bore witness to Michael Jordan's 63-point performance against the Celts at the Boston Garden on April 20, 1986. D.B.
Listen: "Red Eyes"

34. Liars


Title TBA (Mute)
Release Date: March
The Skinny: On their 2012 release WIXIW, Liars seemed to have embraced their Mute label aesthetic more than ever, favoring the dense layering of analog synths and beat machines over splitting guitars. By way of Instagram video clips and a few sound-byte teasers, it appears that the band will be going even farther into computer-assisted minimal bliss. The sneak-peeks deliver vignettes of an album full of deft beat construction and crawling bass lines, the end product of what frontman Angus Andrews calls a "fun, instinctual, and confident" recording session in Los Angeles.
Worth Noting: Remember when Yves Saint Laurent had the band rework their "Mr. Your on Fire Mr." into a 19-minute runway strut for Fashion Week? P.P.
Listen: "WIXIW"

35. Todd Terje


Title TBA (Olsen)
Release Date: Late March
The Skinny: With the new year, Todd Terje celebrates his first full decade of releasing music: His debut single, "Eurodans," earned him a co-writing credit on Robbie Williams' 2012 single "Candy." He has remixed everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Roxy Music. And over the past few years, his singles — "Ragysh," "Snooze 4 Love," "Inspector Norse," "Lanzarote," "Strandbar," plus "Spiral" and "Q" — have won hearts and minds across dance music's fractured landscape, while helping to fuel pop music's ongoing love affair with disco. ("Strandbar" was No. 17 in SPIN's 50 Best Songs of 2013 and No. 2 in our 50 Best Dance Tracks of the year.) Unlike Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, the other two-thirds of the Nor-disco holy trinity, the Oslo-based producer has never released an album, but that changes in March. We don't know much about his debut long-player, which he recently mastered at Oslo's Propeller Mastering (Motorpsycho, Lindstrom, Jaga Jazzist), beyond the fact that it will feature some of his 2013 singles and "lots of new material," according to his manager. But expect plenty of sneaky chord changes, peppy melodies, and a palette as vivid as the Northern Lights.
Worth Noting: The record will feature an appearance from Bryan Ferry, whose "Alphaville" and "Don't Stop the Dance" Terje previously remixed. P.S.
Listen: "Strandbar"

36. Migos


Y.R.N. 2 (Quality Control)
Release Date: Early this year
The Skinny: After Migos maintained street buzz for nearly a year with "Bando," the transcendent monotony of "Versace" (and a remix featuring Drake) pushed Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset into the mainstream. Their summer mixtape Y.R.N. was one of the year's best, standing above similar trap-rap via a pop-fluent consistency and an endless supply of hooks. Additionally, this new release will feature more involvement from Offset, who was in jail for much of last year, limiting his involvement in Y.R.N.
Worth Noting: The newish, bonkers "YRN" — featuring yelping ATLien Young Thug, an island-vibes beat, and more screaming ad-libs — suggests Migos have no desire to tone down their yammering appeal. B.S.
Listen: "Ounces"

37. Kelis


Food (Ninja Tune)
Release Date: April 28
The Skinny: Remember when Kelis released a dance album? One that was executive produced by will.i.am and hosted one of David Guetta’s best pop-crossover hits ever? (It was called "Acapella" — please take a moment and refresh your memory, if you must.) Well, Kelis has changed it up again. Her teaser stream of new track "Jerk Ribs" (since taken down) hinted that the Harlem-born singer would be revisiting her R&B and soul roots. Photos show her in the studio with TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone, and the whole shebang is executive produced by the TVOTR’s David Sitek.
Worth Noting: Potential explanation of the album title: When Kelis was working on 2010 album Flesh Tone and didn’t have a label to support her, she offered to pay her producers with home-cooked meals. To be fair, she recently had graduated from culinary school. Maybe this is take two? P.P.
Listen: No seriously, "Acapella"

38. Future Islands


Singles (Label TBA)
Release Date: Spring
The Skinny: Aggressive DIY touring and a rapturous live set have helped this crew of Baltimore synth romantics develop an increasingly devout following along the Northeastern seaboard. This spring, they’ll unveil their fourth LP, an ambitiously swoony set of songs.
Worth Noting: The trio began as Art Lord and the Self Portraits, a self-described concept band in which operatic lead singer Samuel T. Herring played the character "Lord of Art." D.B.
Listen: "Balance"

39. Wild Beasts


Title TBA (Domino)
Release Date: Spring
The Skinny: This U.K.-based avant-pop group are an eclectic free-for-all — shrieking and wallowing over fidgety beats and tense builds, crooning over funkified bass lines, or streamlining it all into an intimate and confident groove. Their second album, 2009's Two Dancers, was nominated for the Mercury Prize.
Worth Noting: Frontman Tom Fleming confessed to NME that he's prone to tasteful self-delusion: "I guess when I was 17 I thought I was Nick Drake. Now I'm 28 — I think I'm J Dilla. Neither of those is true; you need to be reined in." P.P.
Listen: "Smother"

40. tUnE-yArDs


Sink-o (4AD)
Release Date: Spring
The Skinny: As voracious kitchen-sink noisemaker Merrill Garbus surely knows, the cool thing to do when you become indie-rock royalty is to seek out fresh inspiration in… Haiti (cf. Arcade Fire, Reflektor). And so, as she revealed in an engrossing travelogue Talkhouse post this summer, on her eagerly awaited, still largely mysterious follow-up to 2011's awesome w h o k i l l, she aims to "situate myself in a non-Western musical tradition" and emerge with "a wild mess. Chaos." Chaos has always suited her.
Worth Noting: In the meantime, the current Oakland resident is popping up in delightfully odd places, for example, scoring a guest spot alongside My Morning Jacket and Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard on a Fela Kuti tribute record. R.H.
Listen: Weirder still, here she is playing the world's least orthodox hook girl for Bay Area underground rap royalty Latyrx.

41. Conor Oberst


Title TBA (Nonesuch)
Release Date: Late Spring
The Skinny: In the years following his most recent (some say final) Bright Eyes offering, 2011's The People's Key, Oberst has been busy writing and performing with his recently reunited post-hardcore outfit, Desaparecidos. And while that band did release a handful of new singles between tours, Oberst has been working quietly on "the solo album he's been threatening" for some time, due to arrive in the first half of 2014.
Worth Noting: It's been a whopping five years since the ultra-prolific singer-songwriter released an album of his own. For a guy who seems to write daily, that constitutes a hiatus. D.B.
Listen: "Cape Canaveral," from Oberst's 2008 self-titled debut solo album

42. Swans


Title TBA (Young God)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: Sonic brutalists long obsessed with lopsided power dynamics ("Cop," "Your Property," "Raping a Slave"), Swans are the last band you'd expect to embrace crowdfunding and its warm, fuzzy back-and-forth between artists and fans. But ever since 2010's triumphant return, Michael Gira and his bandmates seem to have figured out how to thrive in an environment that's even more unforgiving than it was when the group disbanded in 1997. In 2011, Gira sold a limited-edition double-CD of home recordings to help raise money for the sessions that would become 2012's The Seer, and he did the same in 2013 with Not Here/Not Now, a limited double-CD of live recordings and demos whose proceeds, he said, would fund the band's trip to a "communal desert environment with the committed goal of making joy through sound, for an extended period of time." Four years on the road have turned Swans into one of the heaviest bands on the planet, and The Seer, with its 32-minute title track, affirmed them as one of the most expansive; expect the new one to venture even further into the abyss.
Worth Noting: While no tracklisting has been announced, it is likely the album will include "Nathalie Neal," "Kirstin Supine" — which Gira says was inspired by "the beautiful spectacle" of Lars Von Triers' Melancholia — and "Screen Shot," which all featured in live or demo form on Not Here/Not Now. P.S.
Listen: "Oxygen," live at Pitchfork Music Festival

43. EMA


The Future's Void (City Slang/Matador)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: "Open the satellites," Erika M. Anderson commands repeatedly on the first track released from her third album as EMA, declaiming with such force and authority you wonder how the damn satellites possibly could still be closed. This album is the South Dakota-born singer-songwriter's first since breaking through with 2011's Past Life Martyred Saints and its coruscating, unforgettable single "California"; it's also her first with prestige-indie label Matador.
Worth Noting: For SPIN's 20th-anniversary tribute to Nirvana's Nevermind, EMA recorded "Endless, Nameless," the album's hidden instrumental track. K.H.
Listen: "Satellites"

44. Grimes


Title TBA (4AD)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: In a year that saw a New Zealand poet's daughter go from blog fave to pop royalty, while Kanye, Drake, and Beyoncé all went scouring the web for collaborators that not even the bloggers had heard of, the news that Grimes had signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation agency sounded… well, just kind of logical, actually. (After all, the Roc Nation roster already includes Haim, EDM heavies Calvin Harris and Deadmau5, Beyoncé's mystery producer Boots, and even leftfield electronic heartthrob Matthew Dear.) No one knows better how to navigate pop music's #newrules than Canada's Claire Boucher, even if, as she told SPIN's Jessica Hopper, "I don't necessarily trust [the Internet], but it's a useful thing." Roc Nation's biography of the artist stresses her versatility, noting that she's "best known for her work as a producer, singer and songwriter, although 'Grimes' also encompasses her work as a director, painter and writer." Perhaps we should be on the lookout for another "visual album"?
Worth Noting: She did, after all, say of Beyoncé's Beyoncé, "ive been waiting my entire life for this album" and "changing out of this beyonce t shirt no longer seems like a reasonable thing to do." P.S.
Listen: "Genesis"

45. Reignwolf


Title TBA (Label TBA)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: Singer-guitarist Jordan Cook, a.k.a. Reignwolf, has drawn a lot of attention for a guy who's still at work on his debut EP. Some have wondered if Cook can translate the intensity of his live show's virtuoso bluesy guitar assault to the studio. Single "In the Dark" suggests that he most certainly can, even when you can't watch him shred on guitar and stomp on the drums at the same time.
Worth Noting: The Saskatchewan native (now based in Seattle) impressed crowds at last year's Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits festivals, and has been tapped to open for Black Sabbath on the Canadian leg of their tour in April. K.H.
Listen: "In the Dark"

46. Banks


Title TBA (Harvest)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: Bridging the U.K.'s plush, soulful dance/pop (think AlunaGeorge, Sampha, Jamie Woon) and American R&B's hushed heavy-breathers (like the Weeknd, with whom she toured), the Los Angeles singer Banks plies a sound so overwhelmingly atmospheric, you might assume her first name was Fog. (It's Jillian.) With a voice recalling Fiona Apple's controlled smolder and lyrics reminiscent of Lana Del Rey's seductive vulnerability ("You make me feel sexy but it's causing me pain"), she sketched the outline of her aesthetic across a handful of singles and EPs in 2013 that featured production from SOHN, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and Lil Silva and Jamie Woon. In the process, she landed on the BBC's Sound of 2014 shortlist, Shazam's list of artists to watch, and — perhaps appropriately, given the styling of her "This Is What It Feels Like" video — a Victoria's Secret commercial.
Worth Noting: One of her unreleased songs is a kohl-streaked cover of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." P.S.
Listen: "Waiting Game"

47. Lana Del Rey


Ultraviolence (Polydor/Interscope)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: Enraging pop consumers ain't easy in post-Miley America. In 2013, the former Lizzy Grant turned her Tropico EP into a short film in which she played Eve (as in "Adam and") and recited Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg — and hardly anybody complained. Little is known about this upcoming album besides its title, a bit of self-explanatory futuristic slang lifted from Anthony Burgess' 1962 classic of dystopian lit, A Clockwork Orange.
Worth Noting: The Stanley Kubrick film of Burgess' book offers some notoriously disturbing visual possibilities, should Lana choose to adopt them. K.H.
Listen: Tropico

48. Cloud Nothings


Title TBA (Carpark)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: Recorded in the New Jersey studio of producer John Congleton back in October, the band’s fourth album is described by frontman Dylan Baldi as noisier and less melodic than its predecessor, 2010's Attack on Memory. The only preview thus far has been a live performance of a new song called "Psychic Trauma" at SXSW last year, which evolved into a mosh-pit romp by song's end. 
Worth Noting: Congleton is also rumored to be back in the studio with Modest Mouse for an upcoming release. P.P.
Listen: "Psychic Trauma"

49. TV on the Radio


Title TBA (Federal Prism)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: Brooklyn’s beloved experimental rock band has been relatively quiet since the passing of bassist Gerard Smith shortly after the release of Nine Types of Light back in 2011. The group have hosted All Tomorrows Parties and worked on individual projects in the meantime: Singer Tunde Adebimpe recorded with his Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band, while producer David Sitek worked on on several significant releases (most notably Santigold and Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Then, in July, the group unexpectedly released "Mercy" — a swirling head-trip of propulsive drums and melodic distortion — and announced the release of their sixth album.
Worth Noting: Parting ways with Interscope, TVOTR claimed that any future group albums would be released on Sitek’s Federal Prism imprint. P.P.
Listen: "Mercy"

50. Mikky Ekko


Title TBA (RCA)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: There’s no getting around the fact that Ekko’s career was validated by his collaboration with Rihanna, especially on chart-topping single "Stay." Learning from that experience, the Louisiana singer has rallied an ace production team to work alongside him on his major-label solo debut: Clams Casino produced "Pull Me Down," an easy-listening love ballad that grooves between loungey R&B and singer-songwriter angst, while Pharrell, Diplo, and Ryan Hemsworth get credits elsewhere.
Worth Noting: Ekko’s work with Active Child on "Subtle" is definitely his best work outside of "Stay." Here’s hoping there’s more of that collabo to come. P.P.
Listen: "Pull Me Down"

51. Duck Sauce


Quack (Casablanca)
Release Date: TBA
The Skinny: It’s pretty amazing that A-Trak and Armand Van Helden’s house-drenched super-duo has continued to make waves in festival mosh pits on the strength of a string of singles alone. Sure, "Barbara Streisand" was nominated for a Grammy, but Quack will be their first full-length release since the group’s inception back in 2010. Based on "It’s You" and "Radio Stereo" (released a few months ago), expect the album to carry more of the pair’s signature old-school club-kid nostalgia reworked for pop millenials.
Worth Noting: Armand Van Helden’s first single, "Witch Doktor," reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Dance chart when it was released in 1994. P.P.
Listen: "Radio Stereo"