These are the ones that are definitely going to stick for me.
Biggest surprises: Pedro the Lion, Pile, and SASAMI. I thought Pedro the Lion was going to be an ok reunion album but instead it’s a band operating at its peak. Pile I’d never listened to before but the new album might be the most interesting album of the year - definitely an AOTY contender at this point. It’s a must for anyone who likes Tropical Fuck Storm, QOTSA, Hot Snakes, and even Mars Volta. I have no idea why the SASAMI album isn’t getting more attention, the whole thing is fantastic - catchy, melodic, and atmospheric with a light shoegaze touch. There aren’t any filler moments, it’s great start to finish.
Biggest disappointments: Silversun Pickups and Titus Andronicus. I actually like the Silversun Pickups album, but at the same time it’s not what I was hoping from them at all and some of the lyrics are a bit jarring. It’s well written alt-rock but it’s missing the urgency of their early stuff. I need more time with Titus Andronicus - so far it seems as if there are a couple good songs (Tumult Around the World is the standout), a couple bad ones (My Body and Me is excruciating), and a bunch that isn’t sticking. It doesn’t feel anywhere close to the level of TMLT, The Monitor, or TAoG, or even Local Business.
Excited for: Billy Corgan solo album, the new Pumpkins album if it comes out this year, the new Strange Ranger, and Tropical Fuck Storm. I guess Sleater-Kinney too but I’ve tempered my expectations after hearing they’re singing about phones.
Overall it feels kind of like a disappointing year so far, at least on the heavy side.