Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.

Last week, I looked toward the new year by jotting down some New Year’s Music Resolutions for 2012. This week, I thought it would be fitting to list some of my most anticipated releases of 2012. I have more details for some of these and less for others, but all been officially announced. There are a ton of great releases on the horizon, but these are my most anticipated.

The Shins, Port of Morrow (03/12)

It’s been awhile since I’ve cared or thought about The Shins, but truthfully, they’ve got a special place in my heart (even if Zach Braff and Natalie Portman were the ones to introduce me to them). I recently got a chance to see The Shins live, and the excitement they brought to the stage got me excited to hear more from their first record in five years.

mewithoutYou (TBA)

I had never been more than passing listener of mewithoutYou, but their take on indie folk rock in their previous album, It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! quickly became one of my favorite albums of 2009. I am really anticipating more spoken word ramblings from frontman Aaron Weiss and the band’s quirky theological underpinning.

Lana Del Rey, Born 2 Die (01/31/12)

Lizzie Grant’s rise to fame was one of the biggest stories of 2011 — something like the other side of the Rebecca Black coin. Despite all the controversy, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to hearing more from her debut full-length album and seeing if the music lives up to the hype.

Five Iron Frenzy (TBA)

The idiosyncratic Christian ska band’s breakup has been well documented by the band and others. When asked about a reunion, Reese Roper himself said, “If we do get back together, I think you should make us all eat a handful of mayonnaise.” Yet within hours of launching their Kickstarter campaign, we have a new FIF album on the way. Do I still like Christian ska as I did in eighth grade? Probably not. Am I excited nonetheless? You bet.

Janelle Monae (TBA)

Monae put out one of my favorites albums of recent years, the huge afro-pop concept album, The ArchAndroid. After considering every one of the album’s eighteen tracks as my favorite at some point or another, I am now ready to see what Janelle Monae has up her sleeve next. After hinting at possibly even releasing two studio albums in 2012, I can’t help but foresee this year being another big year for the young artist.

Derek Webb (TBA)

While a studio album has been officially announced, not much else is known about the new project from Derek Webb. Last year, Webb released the beautiful instrumental worship album Feedback, but has taken drastic style changes with every studio album he puts out. All I really know for sure is this: It will be something new and something controversial — just what I’d expect from everyone’s favorite CCM outcast.

What albums are you looking forward to this year?


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