Sifting through the rumour mill...

2018 is only a week old but already the release schedule is looking completely packed.

The rumour mill is going into overdrive, with virtually every artist who didn't release last year being connected to some sort of surprise drop in the upcoming 12 months.

Now, we're not ones to go in for speculation, but we can't help being excited by some of these suggestions...

So, a few Clash writers got together to recommend some of their picks for 2018. Some of it is hope, some of it is concrete, but all of it - fingers crossed - will be golden...

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Arctic Monkeys

The news of Arctic Monkeys recording a new album is one of the worst kept secrets around. Perhaps that’s due to them returning to Sheffield, a city where your mam’s shopping is front page news, so a globe-smashing new album didn’t stand a snowball’s chance.

With more accidental leaks than the Titanic this new album has been some time coming, with Arctic Monkeys’ previous record ‘AM’ coming all the way back in 2013.

But then, absence makes the heart grow fonder – they’ve yet to make a bad album, and with their hiatus officially over Arctic Monkeys No. 6 could yet break more records. - Robin Murray

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CHVRCHES

Last month CHVRCHES frontwoman Lauren Mayberry slipped out some information on their much-anticipated third album—key words included ‘pop’ ‘weird’ and ‘aggressive’. Without any teaser tracks or even an album title to go on, we can still only imagine what this record is going to sound like.

What we do know is that Greg Kurstin, the producer behind the Adele and Sia megahits ‘Hello’ and ‘Chandelier’ is onboard, so one could expect it to follow the direction of CHVRCHES´ previous album ‘Every Open Eye’ – poppier, and poppier still.

Is this the album that the Scottish synth pop trio will go all out mainstream? Or will that weird aggression Mayberry spoke of blissfully combine the darkness of their debut 'The Bones Of What You Believe' with that pop slickness of ‘Every Open Eye’? We will have to wait to find out... - Charis McGowan

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My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine are not exactly celebrated for their prolific output, and even an allusion to a new LP on the horizon is always a momentous occasion. After years of teasing a new album, 2013’s ‘mbv’ became one of the most long-awaited albums in decades. It didn’t disappoint: better than ever anticipated, all the hallmarks were there; it was like they’d never been away. Subsequently, it was one of the strongest releases of that year.

It’s no surprise, then, that recent news of a new My Bloody Valentine full-length is causing a stir. In September last year, a festival bio for Kevin Sheilds claimed that a new album would arrive in 2018. In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Shields was asked if the band would indeed release a new album this year. “Oh, we one hundred percent will,” he said. Shields revealed that the band had been working on the album, but kept postponing the recording due to commitments involving the new analog remasters of ‘Loveless’ and ‘Isn’t Anything’.

Describing the scope of the album, Shields didn’t give much away, explaining that it’ll likely be a mini-album due to initial plans for an EP. If past developments are anything to go by, the album won’t compromise their trademark to make way for current trends. It’s highly unlikely, of course, given the strength of ‘mbv’s conviction. We expect more of the band’s shimmering world of introspection and guitar pedals, to be enjoyed at maximum volume. - Hayley Scott

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Earl Sweatshirt

Listeners have been made to wait patiently for new music from the enigmatic Earl, whose last album 'I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside' arrived way back in 2015. Earl has not revealed much in terms of new music since then, but he piqued media interest recently with a tweet alluding to new material to come this year, which led to the natural assumption that it will be in the form of an album but any other details remain scarce.

It will be interesting to see whether the new music will follow the same pensive mood as his last album or capture Earl in a slightly different state of mind. - Nathan Fisher

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Vampire Weekend

Unbelievably it's been near five years since Vampire Weekend dropped their Grammy award-winning 'Modern Vampires of the City'. A lot has happened since then. Founding member/producer Rostam Batmanglij amicably bowed out the band, frontman Ezra Koenig created the questionable anime 'Neo Yokio', and the world generally turned to shit.

Information on their long-awaited release is still relatively short, but Koenig has promised an album 'a lil more springtime' than their previous effort and has declared that 'guitar's not dead'. If their stellar past work and studious nature is anything to go by, LP4 should be a knockout. – Sam Walker-Smart

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Frank Ocean

While Frank Ocean never released an album in 2017, he delivered a masterclass in standing out from the crowd - cutting through the excess with a series of singles, a surprising guest-feature on Calvin Harris’ ‘Slide’ and a handful of polarising live shows, each of which made headlines around the globe.

Despite a four year wait between his debut ‘Channel Orange’ and 2016 albums ‘Endless’ and ‘Blonde’, it doesn’t seem like Frank is planning another disappearing act. Two recent tumblr posts have hinted that a follow up to ‘Blonde’ will drop this year. The first, in November reads, “WELL I MADE THE ALBUM BEFORE 30. I JUST AIN’T PUT THAT BITCH OUT. - QUOTES FROM AN INTERVIEW I HAVENT GIVEN YET HAHA.” Even more cryptic was a photograph, posted just after New Years, of someone wearing a cap emblazoned with “If you liked 2017. You’ll love…2018.”

It’s unlikely that we’ll get anything more forthcoming than that, but it seems as though we’ll get to experience Frank Ocean’s fifth full-length in the next 12 months. – Grant Brydon

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Kanye West

Two weeks after the release of ‘The Life Of Pablo’, in February 2016, Kanye West announced that his ninth solo album would be named ‘Turbo Grafx 16’ after the 90’s games console. We’re coming up to two years now since the news, and while we’d be surprised if he sticks to the title (given his track record: ’So Help Me God’, ‘SWISH’, ‘Good Ass Job’ anyone?) there have been plenty of whispers about ‘Ye getting back into the studio over the past 12 months.

In May last year he was reported to be working in the mountains of rural Wyoming, where he received visits from Pusha T, and leakers managed to get their hands on tracks with Migos, Young Thug and Travis Scott. In November it was revealed that Kanye had filed for trademarks for a mysterious project called YEEZY SOUND, which seemed like it could be a vessel for sharing music direct to fans, and while promoting his debut album ‘No Dope On Sundays’ - which was executive produced by Kanye - CyHi The Prynce revealed that Yeezy is back behind the boards making beats for the whole G.O.O.D Music camp.

We can only pray to Yeezus that all of this activity will lead to a new album in 2018 (and hopefully we’ll finally get that new Teyana Taylor album, produced by Kanye, while he’s at it!) – Grant Brydon

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J Hus

Having released our Album Of The Year in 2017 with ‘Common Sense’, East London’s J Hus could be excused for having a little time off. After all, last year culminated in that already much-mythologised Brixton Academy show, when the rapper arrived onstage riding inside an enormous mechanized version of his trademark bucket-hat.

But he’s not about to stop there. J Hus has been posting pictures from the studio, vowing to make the coming 12 months even greater than what’s been done before. Could he be working on a new mixtape, much like introductory tape ‘The 15th Day’, or is it something more developed? Time will tell. - Robin Murray

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Cardi B

It’s hard to believe that Bronx-born social media personality and reality TV star, Cardi B, only started making music two years ago when she hopped on Shaggy’s ‘Boom Boom (Remix)’. With a completely unfiltered and infectious personality that spills out into her music, Cardi has quickly become one of hip-hop’s most beloved artists.

There’s been no finer example of her enchanting spirit than her interview with Jimmy Fallon on ‘The Tonight Show’ before Christmas: the veteran host was barely able to keep his composure as Cardi responded to questions with sound effects and expressions as much as she utilised her vocabulary.

Now, having made history in 2017 - ‘Bodak Yellow’ was the first song by a solo female rapper to top US Billboard since Lauryn Hill’s ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’ in 1998, and last month she became the first female rapper to get her first three Billboard entries into the top ten - she’s released her 21 Savage-assisted follow up single ‘Bartier Cardi’, and is expected to drop her highly anticipated debut album early this year. - Grant Brydon

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Manic Street Preachers

Welsh heroes Manic Street Preachers can hardly be accused of lacking a work ethic. In spite of previous album ‘Futurology’ arriving back in 2014 the band have toured almost constantly, recorded the theme for the Wales International Football Team’s European Championship adventures, and guitarist James Dean Bradfield dabbled in film scores.

New album ‘Resistance Is Futile’ arrives on April 6th, and it’s billed as a return to that classic, widescreen, ‘Everything Must Go’ style sound. Nicky Wire’s lyrics will no doubt contain the usual depth and glamorous swagger, with the trio naming the record’s themes as “memory and loss; forgotten history; confused reality and art as a hiding place and inspiration.” - Robin Murray

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The 1975

By now, it doesn’t seem a matter of if The 1975 will release a new album, so much as when. Singer Matty Healy has been teasing the release on his Instagram, with the title mooted as ‘Music For Cars’. Mind you, we’ve also been promised new EP ‘What A Shame’ for some time now, so which will come first?

Whichever way the releases fall, at least it’s an easier title to request in a record shop than ‘I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It’. - Robin Murray

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Friendly Fires

Few, if anyone, expected Friendly Fires to return. The term ‘breaking up’ has been de-valued more than ever – we’re looking at you, James Murphy! – but this time a hiatus really did feel like forever.

Except not quite. St Albans’ finest resumed activities last year, with Ed McFarlane leading Friendly Fires back into the studio to work on their third record. So what will it sound like? The world has changed remarkably since 2011’s second LP ‘Pala’, but anything that re-captured the energy of indie-disco bangers like ‘Paris’ would be fine by us… - Robin Murray

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