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New year’s music: A guide to upcoming releases

Some of the most highly anticipated releases of 2015 seem to have a morbid slant.

On Jan. 9, Panda Bear, a founding member of the experimental pop group Animal Collective (and one-time Daft Punk collaborator), released “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper,” his fourth solo album. Although the name suggests doom and gloom, the singles and album artwork feature playful phosphorescence and colorful washes of synthesized melody.

Subject matter aside, Panda Bear’s new album doesn’t have a whole lot in common with Death Grips—one of the most controversial (and noisy) bands in recent memory, known for breaching record contracts, hanging out with Robert Pattinson and writing songs like “You Might Think He Loves You For Your Money But I Know What He Really Loves You For It’s Your Brand New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat.”

Although they announced their disbandment in July 2014 (with the words “we are now at our best and so Death Grips is over” scrawled on a napkin), the group recently promised via social media that “Jenny Death,” the second half of a double album entitled “The Powers That B,” would be released in 2015. They dropped a 14-track instrumental mixtape entitled “Fashion Week” without warning on Jan. 4.

There looks to be a strong list of debut material coming in 2015 as well—for instance, Future Brown. Named after a fictional (and non-existent) shade of brown, this cerebral collective features J-Cush, the head of an NYC-based record label; Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda, who also both comprise an LA-based group known as Nguzunguzu; and Fatima al-Qadiri, an art-pop provocateur and Kuwaiti refugee whose 2014 album, “Asiatisch,” was among the year’s best. Future Brown’s self-titled debut will be released on Warp Records in February.

But on the other end of the spectrum, lo-fi is making a strong presence in 2015. Both prolific and psychadelic, Of Montreal is set to release “Aureate Gloom” in March, and indie folksters Mount Eerie (previously known as The Microphones) will release “Sauna” in February. Noise-rockers Viet Cong just dropped their self-titled debut on the 20th.

Imagine Dragons has promised a new album for the new year, but I think you’re best looking elsewhere. Similarly, Modest Mouse is slated to release “Strangers to Ourselves,” their first album in seven years, on March 3, but if milquetoast lead single “Lampshades on Fire” is anything to go by, it’s not worth getting worked up over.

What is worth getting worked up over?

A musician who will treat you right: Drake. “Views From The 6,” the follow-up to 2014’s magnum opus “Nothing Was The Same,” is rumored to be set for an early 2015 release. If you were lucky enough to snag tickets to Coachella, do yourself a favor and see the greatest man alive, live in concert. You can thank me later.
-Christopher Good

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