MUSIC REVIEWS: 2013’s Most Promising Releases

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Last week, we brought you the best albums of 2012. This time, we’re celebrating 2013 by highlighting some of the year’s most promising albums.

U2, untitled

Making this list for the second year in a row is U2’s 13th album. Initially titled “Songs of Ascent,” the album was once thought to include some unused tracks from the recording sessions that spawned “No Line on the Horizon.” That was back in 2009. Three years later, the album has a new working title — “10 Reasons to Exist” — and potentially a new sound, thanks to the inclusion of producer Danger Mouse. U2 manager Paul McGuinness recently told the Irish Independent that fans could “certainly expect a new record in 2013,” a sign that these perfectionists may have entered the final stages of their new release.

The Black Keys, untitled

Although currently living in Nashville, the Black Keys will head back to the Midwest this winter. The plan? To record an album in isolation. “It will be just the two of us in a studio in North Michigan during the winter; it’s going to be awesome,” drummer Patrick Carney recently told the BBC.

My Bloody Valentine, untitled

Mastered last month, My Bloody Valentine’s first release since 1991 will resurrect the band’s shoegazing sound for the 21st century. Kevin Shields recorded most of the instruments himself, although the album also features the entire lineup from the band’s magnum opus, “Loveless.”

Paramore, self-titled

Billed as “a rediscovering of ourselves as a band and as friends,” Paramore’s fourth album will introduce the band as a slimmed-down trio, following the departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro in 2010. The band’s blend of furious alt-rock and uplifting pop hasn’t changed, though, as evidenced by the lead single “Now.”

Phoenix, untitled

Phoenix will release the follow-up to its Grammy-winning breakthrough album, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” in April. Recording sessions recently wrapped up in Paris, and the band’s label boss has described the resulting music as “revolutionary.” Frontman Thomas Mars was more specific, saying the album will turn its back on the more pop-oriented sound of “Wolfgang.” “It sounds like the TGV; it’s a fast French train,” he told MTV. “It’s very experimental.”

Arcade Fire, untitled

LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy will produce several songs on Arcade Fire’s next release. Markus Dravs, who recently produced Mumford & Sons’ “Babel,” has also been working with the band. Arcade Fire’s members have been tight-lipped when it comes to track titles and possible release dates, but a recent show in Montreal was full of new songs, which one attendee described as “fun, dance-y and groovy.”

Pearl Jam, untitled

Due out during the second half of the year, Pearl Jam’s 10th album will be a more collaborative effort. “We really work together as a unit these days,” frontman Eddie Vedder recently told Rolling Stone. Pearl Jam has always attached a good deal of symbolism to the number 10, which served as the title of their debut album, leading fans to expect a batch of new songs that hark back to the group’s grungy beginnings.

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