New year, new music: the acts to watch in 2018

Among many other acts preparing new work, we welcome back the always interesting David Byrne, the always unpredictable Kanye West, the always amusing John Prine, and the always danceable Jennifer Lopez.

Michael Zorn/Invision/AP
Bruce Springsteen performs at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival in April 2017 in Asbury Park, N.J.

Each year at the Monitor, we seek out and bring the very best in popular entertainment to your attention. As a music reviewer, I admit that there is so much quality stuff out there that my filter can’t catch it all. Take Nicole Atkins, who simultaneously channels Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline, yet sounds completely modern. Give yourself an extra holiday treat and check out her stunning 2017 album, “Goodnight Rhonda Lee.” 

Let’s take a look ahead at what’s on tap for 2018. So many veterans of the airwaves are readying new work: Bruce Springsteen has promised his first new music in six years, a solo effort he describes as “influenced by Southern California pop music of the ’70s.” Newly minted Broadway star Sara Bareilles has said she’s also working on a new album. Star of stage and screen and this year’s Super Bowl halftime performer Justin Timberlake has been working with mega-platinum producer Timbaland. Christina Aguilera is readying her first new music in six years with Kendrick Lamar’s producer Thundercat. 

Some major band reunions will result in albums in 2018, among them Kim Deal’s 1990s Boston “it band” the Breeders and Irish cult quartet My Bloody Valentine. En Vogue will be releasing “Electric Café” in March. Simple Minds is back with “Walk Between Worlds” in February. Other veteran bands are promising new albums: Modest Mouse, Vampire Weekend, My Morning Jacket, Franz Ferdinand, Guided by Voices, and Manic Street Preachers. And we welcome back the always interesting David Byrne, the always unpredictable Kanye West, the always amusing John Prine, and the always danceable Jennifer Lopez. Country rebel Kacey Musgraves, southern soul man Anderson East, golden-voiced Brandi Carlile, funky jazzman Jamie Cullum, and Swedish harmony angels First Aid Kit all have new product in the pipeline. Newish buzz talent to watch for this year: American band Aces, Brit band the Big Moon, and international popsters Anteros.

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