The Most Anticipated Releases of 2019

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Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast didn’t put an album out in 2018, but it sure felt like she did. Few artists in recent memory have maintained such a buzz in headlines, on the live circuit, and in online communities—without an accompanying record—as Michelle Zauner did last year. And for good reason. The music video for “Boyish” was incredible, the set she put on during her summer tour was genuinely unmatched, and she dropped the soundtrack for an upcoming video game called Sable that’s simply gorgeous. Soft Sounds From Another Planet (2017) was a stunner when it came out, and it’s proven itself to be a record that exponentially appreciates value as time goes on. It’s exciting to think about what’s coming next. – Eli Enis

Jelani Sei

Jelani Sei are the funky, soulful, alt rocking act that you need to know. Their music truly creates an environment and an experience all their own, allowing you to close your eyes and drift away as it envelops you. The band often backs up their sound with strong messaging, making their songs hit even closer to home. This is certainly an anticipated release for many as Jelain Sei’s buzz continues to build and they certainly have the chops to deliver on expectations. – Scott Fugger

Photo by Joey Tobin

Just Friends

There’s no other way to put it, Just Friend’s 2018 LP, Nothing But Love, blew me away. The multiple vocalists, full horn section, occasionally rapped verses, or the straight out jam of a slow dance “I Wanna Love You”, there is nothing this band can’t do, and as they forge their way in this new party brass/punk genre they’ve created, I’m just happy to be along for the ride. In these dark times, we can’t forget how to dance. – Henderson Cole

Long Neck

I’ll fondly remember Long Neck’s Tiny Engines debut Will This Do? as the first great record of 2018, the perfect way to kick off a tumultuous and increasingly strange year. It’s a wonderfully fresh album, a mix of essential pop/rock (“Mine/Yours” and “Elizabeth”) and skygazing, existential tunes that truly feel like classics (“Hive Collapse” and “Milky Way”). In these songs, frontwoman Lily Mastrodimos gives us something to shout along to, even as things seem to perpetually crumble (take the sweet catharsis of singing “I sat and watched the sunset/and I just fucking lost it” in a speeding car or a dark, snug room). Long Neck plans to keep the momentum going in 2019, and I’m betting on something just as vibrant and crushing will come. – Jordan Walsh

Photo by Dana Lovasz


There are only a few noodly/sparkly emo bands that are still writing songs that are interesting and creative in a way that gets me excited for every release. Macseal are one of those. Coming out of the NY state scene, with multiple members occasionally playing with Oso Oso, they come from a good emo pedigree. (Also Ryan from Macseal writes for our site so we know they’re good peeps). Their multiple vocalists allows them a greater variety of songwriting moves. They signed to 6131 Records in 2018 and released an excellent 4 song EP. I expect the debut LP will be coming in 2019, and I expect big things.  – Henderson Cole

The Maine

It’s The Maine’s world, and we’re just living in it. At least that’s how it seems each time a new album cycle begins. The Arizona natives have always had a knack for cultivating an entire life around their records. From color schemes, to specific energies, to independent narratives, to aesthetic personas —the group succeeds in freshly reinventing themselves with their newest art. The Maine have never put out record that isn’t unblemished, so the anticipation for their 2019 LP is hinged on excitement rather than edge. It’s more about getting prepared for The Maine’s newest world than wondering if an already-rock-solid group could get any more solid. – Hope Ankley

Mo Troper

On his last album, Exposure & Response, Mo Troper sings, “All these important songs are finger-paintings on a fridge/Crocodile teardrops in a bucket of artifice,” like his lungs are about to give out. The kind of mordant, slight nudge to the audience that not many people can pull off. But most people aren’t Mo Troper, whose ability to call people out on their bullshit is rivaled only by his gift for melody. With his arrangements growing larger and more ambitious, it will be interesting to hear what direction he takes things on his next LP. – Michael Brooks

Photo by Liam Rush

Mover Shaker

Big energy coming from Mover Shaker and we are HERE FOR IT. Their last release hit the shelves in December of 2016, and we’re pumped to have our faces melted with new bops on their upcoming U.S. tour with Mom Jeans & others this spring. It’s time for their great tracks and progressive politics to take center stage. – Ellie Hart

Origami Angel

This year, Origami Angel has plans for a third EP, and their first LP. So far, each of their releases have been extremely well received, and while they a remain a dynamic duo, their number of listeners continue to grow substantially. Gami surprises me with every new track, and upon hearing the demos from their new releases, I am quite literally stunned. – Jordi Perbtani

Photo by @brettballachino

Oso Oso

Fifteen years ago, Oso Oso’s sophomore album the yunahon mixtape would’ve been a game-changer, launching the band into pop-punk superstardom. While it hasn’t done that, it has earned the band a loyal fan base and a signing with Triple Crown Records—as well as the coveted top spot as The Alternative’s AOTY in 2017 list. So of course we’re highly anticipating the band’s 3rd LP, due out later this year. I’m not sure what it’ll sound like, but based on the quality of their last two and their Triple Crown Records double single gb of / subside, I’m sure it’ll be a contender for our #1 this year, too.  – Zac Djamos

Palomino Blond

South Florida is a haven for indie music, and Palomino Blond is the next to carry the torch. The band fuses together the best of pop-punk and emo-tinged performances, lending to one of the most dynamic live shows in the scene. Their record will, without a doubt, expand their audience from the peninsula to a wider stage. – Amanda Starling

Photo by Hayden Sitomer


Peaer’s deadpan self-titled record is a distinct document of understated discontent, a patient indie-rock record that unfurls into a surprising beauty. It’s the kind of record you lean back in your bed and listen to on a meh kind of day, tapping your foot along to the steadily moving shrug of these songs. Songwriter Peter Katz has a way of writing lyrics that engage all the senses, lyrics that go from hyper-focused (“been hocking pink spit, been popping big zits / so fucking out of it”) to intimate experiences characterized as grand movements of time and space (“all at once all of my planets have now turned to dust”). The band’s second Tiny Engines LP is sure to provide a similarly comforting, rewarding experience for the meh-est of days.- Jordan Walsh

Photo Fire

Rising on the radar in Tampa Bay are Photo Fire, who bring together the sort of indie sensibility and early-2000’s emo vibe that sits comfortably between Keane and early Foxing. The band is recording a follow-up this spring to their 2018 debut, Over & Over/Frame by Frame. – Amanda Starling

Photo by Joey Tobin

Prince Daddy & The Hyena

Given their current status as one of the most notable bands in DIY, it’s hard to believe the last Prince Daddy & the Hyena release was almost three years ago. We’re all looking forward to sick riffs and emotionally crippling lyrics on LP2, which is being recorded in the next few weeks and hopefully released by the end of the summer. – Ellie Hart


When I got the chance to finally see PUP, it was towards the end of night two of a three-day festival. The second they started their first song, my exhaustion was replaced with the need to be in the middle of their fast-moving crowd. They’re a band that packs a punch, just listen to any track from their last two releases. Their new single, “Kids,” is a clear indicator that they’re continuing with the high-energy sound and sing-along-worthy lyrics they’re known for. – Lindsy  Carrasquillo

Photo By Chelsea Pineda


Ratboys have always dished out catchy and matter-of-fact songs. Their most recent release GL included one of my favorite songs by them, “After School.” It encapsulates the bleak, unsure nature of hanging out with friends after school, and I’m all for it. I’m hopeful to hear a new release from them this year. The band plays with purpose, and is composed of incredibly talented musicians, which makes their music enjoyable at the most basic level. The band’s singer and guitarist, Julia Steiner, writes some of my favorite lyrics as well, so I’m hoping to hear another full-length from them this year.- Ryan Bartlett

Remo Drive

On Remo Drive’s Instagram they announced that they began recording a second LP. After the overwhelming celebration of their first official LP, Greatest Hits, there is pressure on Remo Drive to deliver on this next one. Their midwest emo sound and bubblegum-esque lyrics/licks are what many people loved about Greatest Hits. Last year’s EP, Pop Music, fell a bit short artistically and ran a little too close to pop side of their sound, as the title suggests. I hope to see Remo Drive emphasize their harder-hitting tracks and progress into a dirtier and more aggressive sound on this next LP. – Sarah Knoll

Run the Jewels

If you don’t already know, Run the Jewels aka RTJ are a hiphop duo made up of legendary NYC MC and producer El P and phenomenal lyricist Atlanta’s Killer Mike. Together they have already hit us with 3 absolutely mind rattling LPs, each combining their platinum flows with El P’s energized production. They have never been afraid to get political, and their new album which was written entirely during the Trump reign, should pack a major punch. – Henderson Cole

(Sandy) Alex G

The Philadelphia wunderkind is on track to drop his eighth full-length this year, at least according to the two-year cycle Domino Records has had him on since 2015. The Philly artist dabbled in full-band collaboration and alt-country on 2017’s Rocket, a stark yet appropriate change-up from the muggy psych-pop he sunk into on 2015’s Beach Music. Each of his records is loosely draped in the attributes of a specific style (folk, 70’s psych, dystopian pop, to name a few), so there’s no guessing which outfit he’s planning to pull out of his vast musical wardrobe. – Eli

School Boy Q

This might be a #HotTake, but I’m even more excited for new School Boy Q than I was for new Kendrick. The two partners and collaborators each bring their own unique abilities and emotional tones to the rap game, but I really enjoy Q’s flow and delivery and his verses always carry an emotional weight. Q has shown he’s more than a sidekick and I hope that on this new record, he levels up his game even more so. – Henderson Cole

photo by Tommy Calderon

Slingshot Dakota

I’m calling it now: 2019 Album of the Year. When keys and drum duo Carly Commando and Tom Patterson teased new songs on their EP, Broken, it was a divine sign that their new record would be as emotionally earth-shattering and gorgeous as their past ones. Their next LP will definitely set the bar on making irresistible pop, but not without mesmerizing, wrenching impact. No one writes and performs like Slingshot Dakota, and 2019 will be their year to reign. – Amanda Starling

Strange Ranger

Strange Ranger have become one of my all time favorite rock bands over the past couple years. Their stream of consciousness vocals, winding guitars, and willingness to experiment position them in a place to really change the game with their new record. – Henderson Cole


The first time I saw SWMRS I was met with the powerhouse fusion of pop-rock and rabid, garage-punk led by a rinsed, pink hair, Cole Becker, decked out in a dress. That seems to hint at the essence of who SWMRS is and represents in the ever-changing music scene. The unconventional, rousing, socially and politically voiced, “I-don’t-give-fuck-about-your-societal-standards” attitude is what gives breadth to the group and builds hype for their highly-anticipated sophomore release, Berkeley’s On Fire. We’re in desperate need of SWMR’s return in the strange climate our generation is wading in. I’m eager to witness their developed sound, socially-conscious documentation of the past few years, and overall improvement of what SWMRS, as a an artist, symbolizes going forward. And the tunes. Definitely the explosive tunes. – Hope Ankley

Photo by @elliottmarx

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend was and still continues to be a staple in indie-rock and pop, even though it’s been nearly six years since their last release, Modern Vampires in the City (2013). That album had really nice dynamics and flow throughout. Having pop tracks like “Diane Young” and “Unbelievers” accompanied with some softer tracks with interesting percussion such as “Hudson.” In the six years since they’ve all written together as I band, I would hope to see some change and adjustment to the new sounds and bands that have arrived since 2013. Also, just to see them really push the envelope on what they can make as experienced musicians and songwriters. – Sarah Knoll

Wild Pink

Since they formed in 2015, not a year has gone by that Wild Pink haven’t released something. And with the announcement of their new EP, 5 Songs, 2019 can be added to that run. Frontman John Ross has been writing the band’s third record—a double album about the American West— since before last year’s Yolk in the Fur even came out. That might seem overly ambitious for a young band, but they’ve already explored a myriad of sounds, from the mellow rock ‘n’ roll of their self-titled album, to Yolk in the Fur’s synthy blend of heartland rock and languid dream pop. The band sounds at home playing both styles, so there’s no reason to believe 5 Songs and the inevitable LP3 won’t be just as good. – Zac Djamos

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