At the beginning of 2012, could anyone have predicted that the year's biggest rock breakout would be Fun., a band with just a single album (and a couple of tours) to their credit? Probably not ... which is why making predictions about just what will hit over the next 12 months is an inexact science at best.
So rather than waste time attempting to forecast 2013, today we're going to highlight some of the rock albums we're most excited about this year: Big returns from established acts that, regardless of whether or not they actually sell, certainly have us waiting with bated breath. Some already have release dates attached, most are merely works in progress, but all will definitely help make the next year a memorable one. Here are our picks for the Most Anticipated Rock Albums of 2013.
They're reportedly working "full time" on the follow-up to the Grammy winning The Suburbs, and recently unveiled a new song, "Crucified Again." And as if anticipation wasn't already running high, this month came news that Arcade Fire are teaming with former LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy on a handful of songs. The album's reportedly due by the end of the year.
Atoms For Peace
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke's super side project (it features Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco) will drop their debut disc, Amok, on February 25, and, in anticipation, they've already begun transforming Los Angeles into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. If songs like "Default" and "What The Eyeballs Did" are proof, a claustrophobic good time will be had by all.
The Black Keys
The follow-up to their Grammy-nominated El Camino "is definitely happening" in 2013, and the Keys will begin recording in January, with plans of having the album done by spring. One question: Will Derrick T. Tuggle make an appearance this time?
Kings of Leon
The Followill clan has been busy getting married, having babies and launching side projects since the release of Come Around Sundown, but that hasn't stopped them from also beginning work on the next Kings album, which might see the light of day in 2013.
My Chemical Romance
They've already begun releasing songs from the so-called Conventional Weapons series — aka the album they scrapped before recording 2010's Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys — and guitarist Frank Iero previously said MCR had already begun work on a conventional follow up, writing and recording in the studio they built in Los Angeles. What will be the concept this time? We'll just have to wait and see.
Nine Inch Nails
After waving goodbye in 2009, Trent Reznor turned his attention to scoring films, even winning an Oscar for his work on "The Social Network," and making music with his wife in How to Destroy Angels. And, because of all that, most thought NIN was gone forever ... but, in recent months, we've learned otherwise, as Reznor told Rolling Stone that there was new Nails music "in the works," and the band might be hitting the road once again. Will we see new material next year?
After surviving two years of turmoil and turnover, Paramore will return on April 9 with their self-titled fourth album, and, from the sound of things, they've got something to prove: "Making this album was a rediscovering of ourselves," they recently wrote. "It was a process that allowed us to liberate ourselves as musicians, singers, and people." The liberation begins with first single "Now," which heads to radio this month.
They recharged with 2009's Backspacer and have reportedly been working on the follow up since April of 2011, when bassist Jeff Ament told Billboard that PJ were recording "a whole bunch of demos" which netted 25 songs. Of course, since then, they also paused to look back, commemorating their 20th anniversary. So will 2013 see them kick off their third decade with a new album? We hope so.
Queens of the Stone Age
It's been five years since the last Queens album, and it seems like they're making up for lost time with their latest, reportedly due this summer. They're once again recruited Dave Grohl to play drums on the disc, and frontman Josh Homme has reportedly buried the hatchet with former bassist Nick Oliveri, who's contributing vocals.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
We just found out that the YYYs will be releasing the follow-up to 2009's It's Blitz! in the spring, though we're not quite sure what they mean by "DNA upgrades" and "Spontaneous evolution." Only time will tell, though we're totally glad to have the Yeah Yeah Yeahs back in our lives.