Up here in the frozen north, March is a weird month. The days get longer and the sun is usually a bit brighter, but the fact remains that it’s still bitter god damn cold pretty much every day. Waking up and seeing a gorgeous sunny day means less than nothing, because there’s still snow and ice clinging to every surface, sucking up heat and keeping the temperature well below freezing. But, even if the weather is still miserable, the world keeps spinning and music keeps coming out. So, here the seven albums I’m most hype for this coming March.
Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin
Ghostpoet is a relatively underground UK rapper/musician/something who has a very distinct sound and style. His voice is deep and heavily accented, often slurring words together, and his production is often dreamy and ethereal. His album from 2011, Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam, is one of my favorites. Ghostpoet is a truly unique voice in contemporary music, and I’m excited to see what Shedding Skin brings.
Ratking – 700 Fill
Ratking, the alt/experimental hip-hop group from NYC, released So It Goes (their debut album) in 2014. I haven’t given it a close enough listen to really tear it apart, but Ratking seems to have a pretty interesting style and sound. It’s abrasive (like most experimental hip-hop), but there’s a lot of good shit going on from track to track and it’s obviously made with a lot of thought. Like I said – I haven’t listened to enough Ratking to know how much I like their music, but I like what they have going on and I’m looking forward to hearing what they do next.
Madonna – Rebel Heart
Don’t hate. Madonna has been around for ages and still puts out some damn good pop that’s both accessible and subtly boundary-pushing. Normally I wouldn’t care beyond a passing fascination, but one of the singles from this album (“Iconic”, ft. Mike Tyson and Chance the Rapper) really caught my attention when it came out a few weeks ago and upped my hype from “nonexistent” to “pretty existent”.
Heems – Eat, Pray, Thug
Ex-Das Racist MC Himanshu Suri, aka Heems, has his debut solo album coming out. Das Racist was always an interesting group for their bizarre lyricism and experimental sound, usually deeply polarizing listeners, but I’ll always have respect for artists and musicians who are out there to break rules and subvert expectations. So, with that in mind, I’ll definitely be checking out what Heems does with this release, and I have a feeling that it could be pretty interesting.
Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves
Modest Mouse is returning from their long hiatus to drop a new record this month, and the indie community is drooling with anticipation. I haven’t listened closely to their work in a while now, because I’ve been distracted by other, newer, more challenging releases, but Modest Mouse is an important and unique part of modern US music that I won’t ever try to deny. I have my doubts about this comeback record – the successful comeback of a 90s or mid-2000s group is a very rare thing – but that won’t stop me from picking this up and giving it a shot.
Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful
One of the most interesting and entertaining voices in rap today, Action Bronson’s debut major-label album Mr. Wonderful is fast approaching. We’ve been drip-fed tracks from this album over the past few months, and I’m hungry to sit down and get the full Bronson treatment. I expect songs about Asian women and songs about food and maybe songs about Asian women and food. Jokes aside, I feel like Bronson is a major talent who could really explode, and I want this album to be his big break. Plus, his show Fuck, That’s Delicious is great.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
A post-rock legend, GY!BE has been making challenging and hypnotic music since the mid-90s. They continue to be hugely influential and have a massive cult following. GY!BE’s debut album F#A#∞ was the soundtrack to my junior year of high school, so I have a pretty deep personal attachment to their music, and I’m seriously excited to listen to this alone in my room with the lights off (which is the best way to experience their music).
Bonus: Death Grips – The Powers That B/Jenny Death
Oh man. Oh man, oh man, oh man. If you’re a Death Grips fan like me, the past few months have been pretty traumatic and equally exciting. Death Grips makes some of the smartest and most challenging music that I’ve ever heard, and I devour everything that they touch. Even though the first half of The Powers That B (Niggas on the Moon, released last June) was probably my least favorite of their releases, it’s still good. The lead single from Jenny Death (part two of TPTB), “Inanimate Sensation”, has become one of my favorite releases from the group, and gives me hope that Jenny Death could be a phenomenal album. However, with only rumors and theories and no official statement from the band, everyone’s in the dark as to when Jenny Death will, if ever, drop.
Anyway, those are the seven albums that I’m most looking forward to in the next month. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a few Drakes or Beyoncés who surprise-drop an album (actually, Skrillex and Diplo just did exactly that with their Jack Ü collab), but looking at what’s been announced and scheduled, these seven really grabbed me. What are yours? What did I miss? Why am I wrong? Leave your thoughts in the comments!