Music

The 15 Albums You Need To Hear in 2015

Album sales this year were dominated by the male solo artist, with Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Paolo Nutini claiming three out of the top four spots. But there was so much more going on beneath the surface, as Royal Blood brought rock storming back into the charts, Jungle brought back the groove and Future Islands exploded from nowhere after a mesmerising TV performance.

We did well on the whole with our predictions last year, although we're still waiting on a good few of them to deliver - don't rush or anything people - but here's our 15 albums to look forward to in 2015; it should be a vintage year.

(Images: Rex)

  • The 15 Albums You Need To Hear in 2015

    Mark Ronson - Uptown Special

    So we finally have a new Get Lucky, as an X Factor performance spurred Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk into an early release and immediate top spot on the charts. Which leaves the way clear for Ronson's forthcoming album, due in January and promising more back-to-real-humans funk dance goodness - a welcome change from the tired EDM format. If the rest of it has songs half as strong, with production half as tight, it could be the unavoidable soundtrack to the rest of the year.

    Mark Ronson Facebook

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    Kwabs - TBC

    We featured the London-based singer Kwabs twice on The ShortListen last year and his star has continued to rise since, being named on the BBC Sound of 2015 list. It's fully deserved, as his luxurious, soulful vocals and some seriously strong tracks make us think that his album should be very good indeed. Expect it towards the end of the summer, just in time for the Mercury nominations.

    Kwabs Facebook

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    Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Chasing Yesterday

    Having thoroughly won the battle of the brothers - on a side note, it will be very interesting to where Liam goes next after the break up of Beady Eye - expect Noel to spread his wings with the Birds next year. While the first track taken from it, In The Heat Of The Moment, suggests that we won't be hearing anything too radically different in terms of style, he seems at his most musically-confident and relaxed in years. The first album was great; this one, due in March, could be even better.

    Noel Gallagher Facebook

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    The Wombats - TBC

    The Liverpool marsupials don't like to rush things, and their third album is due early next year, four years after their excellent second record This Modern Glitch, which saw them survive the cull of the indie bands with considerable ease. They've always been a live tour de force with an impeccable knack for a hooky pop song; if they get this right - and they have another tune as good as Moving To New York - it could their Parklife moment.

    The Wombats Facebook

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    Kendrick Lamar - TBC

    There's confirmed new albums due from Lupe Fiasco, Joey Bada$$ and Ludacris, but the big one should be Kendrick Lamar's new offering. i, The first new track since 2012's good kid, m.A.A.d city was ecstatically received everywhere, and there are rumours that he's going lyrically deep - addressing themes of black righteousness and social commentary. With all that's happening in America at the moment, this could be the perfect time for a Marvin Gaye style classic record - and Kendrick could be the man to provide it.

    Kendrick Lamar Facebook

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    Låpsley - TBC

    It's a gamble, but we think that if there's one artist who could rival Lorde next year, it's Southport 18-year-old Holly Fletcher, aka Låpsley. All the signs are there: she's signed to XL, home of Adele and the rest; Radio 1 are fully on board and she's in the BBC Sound of 2015 list - yet her debut EP is only coming out in January. However, it's such a strong, distinctive piece of work - minimal, yet big, cool yet commercial - that you can see an album coming together relatively quickly. She could be huge before we know it.

    Låpsley Facebook

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    Muse - TBC

    The news that Muse would be headlining Download next year was met with howls from some fans of the famous rock festival, yet - once they think about it - this could be the best thing to happen to the rock world in a long while. Firstly, there's no way Muse would book the show without their new album being a proper rock affair, secondly, Muse are at their best when they keep it simple and rock out and thirdly, while they could have sleepwalked through another Reading and Leeds headline, this will need them to be on their A-game. Everyone's a winner - another Knights of Cydonia in there somewhere please lads.

    Muse Facebook

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    Public Service Broadcasting - The Race For Space

    Things don't get much more quintessentially British than Public Service Broadcasting. A two-piece who specialise in barnstorming instrumentals overlaced with samples from old public information films and archive footage, their forthcoming new album focuses on the biggest, best and most inspirational source material possible: the space race. Expect nothing less than a euphoric musical journey; you'll be over the moon with it.

    Public Service Broadcasting Facebook

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    Coldplay - A Head Full Of Dreams

    When Coldplay played the Royal Albert Hall in July - a one-off pair of shows to celebrate the release of the excellent, understated, Ghost Stories - it seemed that would be the last we'd hear of them for a long while. So it was surprising when Chris Martin announced on Radio 1 last week that they had another new record on the way already. He's said it will be "colourful and uplifting" so expect something along the lines of Mylo Xyloto, a Glastonbury headline slot to unveil it, and an enormous world tour to follow.

    Coldplay Facebook

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    Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night

    A new release from old Bob is always worth investigating and, perhaps, this one more than most. The first new music from Dylan in three years takes the form of a 10 track collection of Frank Sinatra reinterpretations. The man himself won't call it a covers album - "I don’t see myself as covering these songs in any way. They’ve been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What [my band and I] are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day." He's called it a "privilege" and something he's wanted to do for a long time - if he's excited, then we should be too.

    Bob Dylan Facebook

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    Rae Morris - Unguarded

    Another BBC Sound of 2015 tip and another artist we've been championing on The ShortListen, next year should finally see the release of Rae Morris' debut album. She's been releasing songs for over two years now, but it seems like the time is right, with her tracks becoming stronger and stronger up to the latest, great Kate Bush-esque track Under The Shadows. Expect her to take her place alongside Ellie Goulding, Foxes and Florence (but a bit more interesting than all of them) in the Brit A-listers once this record is out.

    Rae Morris Facebook

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    Giorgio Moroder - 74 is the new 24

    A musical legend who was brought back into the limelight by dint of his cameo on Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, the Italian producer and songwriter hasn't released a full scale studio album in 23 years. Which makes the announcement of his new record so exciting. There are confirmed features from Britney Spears, Sia, Kylie Minogue, Charli XCX, Mikky Ekko and Foxes; if he can somehow produce something as good as Together In Electric Dreams then we'll be very happy indeed. He recently Facebooked the message. "are you ready to bring back disco?" Yes, yes we are.

    Giorgio Moroder Facebook

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    Charli XCX - Sucker

    For the most anticipated pop record of 2015, look no further than Charli XCX. She sprung to fame - after a few years as a cool, underground artist - with her feature on Iggy Azalea's all-conquering Fancy and then followed it up with the unstoppable Boom Clap. There's a punk edge to her material which suggests it won't be straight-down-the-line stuff, but expect massive hooks and masses of attitude.

    Charli XCX Facebook

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    Frank Turner - TBC

    After the release of his side project Möngöl Hörde's debut album in 2014 - a return to his hardcore roots - Frank Turner readies himself for his sixth solo studio album, due next year. In June, he said, "I'm writing quite upbeat songs at the moment, by my standards anyway - they're still about the long dark night of the soul." Last week, he announced that legendary producer Butch Walker was on board, so we can expect some big songs and a big sound. Always consistent and always excellent, it should be a highlight in the year's releases.

    Frank Turner Facebook

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    The XX - TBC

    The XX revealed in May this year that they were working on their third album - the followup to 2012's Coexist, so we can surely look forward to it in 2015. They're again working with Rodaidh McDonald, so we shouldn't expect too much of a departure from their previous sound - but if it ain't broke, why fix it? Expect more great, downbeat tunes, advert soundtracks all over the place, and that familiar 'X' logo on flyposters everywhere you walk.

    The XX Facebook