Five new albums worth a listen in 2015 

click to enlarge The new solo record from the Animal Collective founder is “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper.” - COURTESY  PHOTO
  • The new solo record from the Animal Collective founder is “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper.”
My gosh _ did this year start with a surprising bang? Paul McCartney and Kanye West together in a heartbreaking lullaby? I never would have thought such a collaboration possible, but there it is. It’s also very good.

Vinyl releases should see reissues of long-lost albums, material from new bands, and, fingers crossed, new music from Radiohead, Joanna Newsom and many, many others. Not everything has been announced — so my hopes are tempered — but here are five records I’m looking forward to in the first quarter of 2015.

Panda Bear, “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper”; Jan. 13, Domino

This fourth solo release from the Animal Collective singer-drummer will be strange — as are all releases from the group. Coming off the mildly received and soothing “Tomboy”(I liked it), Panda Bear has turned up the noise with influences in 1980s hip-hop. Singles “Mr Noah” and “Boys Latin” showcase that sound. Plus, Domino does an excellent job; its vinyl releases come with a deluxe three-LP package and extensive artwork.

The Decemberists, “What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World”; Jan. 20, Capitol

Colin Meloy’s outfit’s first album in four years promises to be more of the same from the Portland-based folk group, the perfect winter band (so it’s only fitting for a mid-January release). Early singles “Make You Better” and “Lake Song” highlight the band’s trademark theatrics. Offered online, the album is available in different packages that include posters, autographs and shirts.

Sleater-Kinney, “No Cities to Love”; Jan 20, Sub Pop

It’s hard not to be excited about this band’s reunion. Ten years after the brilliant “The Woods,” Sleater-Kinney returns with all three members intact, including “Portlandia” star Carrie Brownstein. Early reviews are calling it the first great release of 2015; I can’t wait to hear it. Longtime fans will love a white vinyl deluxe edition.

D’Angelo, “Black Messiah”; Feb. 19, RCA

This surprise is excellent. Released suddenly on Dec. 15, it took the music world by storm, highlighted by the funky combo of “Really Love” and “Sugah Daddy.” D’Angelo’s first record in 14 years gets its vinyl release in late February.

Modest Mouse, “Strangers to Ourselves”; March 3, Epic

It’s been eight years since one of my favorite bands has issued a proper full length — 2009’s “No One’s First and You’re Next” was a 30-minute EP — but “Strangers to Ourselves” will break the wait. The single “Lampshades on Fire” showcases the band’s subversive lyrics with dancy instrumentals. Hopefully, the will be worth it.

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