Spring music preview: Ariana Grande at MSG, Stevie Wonder at Barclays and more

Thanks, Beyonce.

Ever since Queen Bey released her eponymous album in the middle of the night at the end of 2013, it’s been impossible to look ahead at a season of music without wondering what you’ll miss. Will it be another Christmas season surprise, like 2014’s D’Angelo record? Maybe a collaboration between two of the biggest names in dance music, like Diplo and Skrillex, dropped in the middle of a 24-hour DJ set?

In short: Here’s what to look forward to from here to Memorial Day. Maybe.





Action Bronson, “Mr. Wonderful”

(March 24) The Queens emcee is known for his love of (and skill with) food, but his rhymes may make 2015 a breakthrough year.


Laura Marling, “Short Movie”

(March 24) The British folk singer/songwriter latest is her fifth album. She’s 25. So what’s your excuse?


The Prodigy, “The Day is My Enemy”

(March 31) : The British dance music legends return for their first album in six years, and to remind listeners that dance music used to be semi-dangerous.


Death Cab for Cutie, “Kintsugi”

(March 31) The first album since founding member Chris Walla’s departure, the collection’s title refers to the art of repairing cracks with gold or silver.


Ludacris, “Ludaversal”

(March 31) The long-awaited, long-delayed album features guest appearances by Miguel, Wiz Khalifa and, according to rumors, M.I.A.


Matt and Kim, “New Glow”

(April 7) Expect the indie dance duo to release a set of tunes perfect for spinning in a field during the summer music festival of your choice.


The Mountain Goats, “Beat the Champ”

(April 7) A year after lead singer John Darnielle’s novel was nominated for a National Book Award, the band returns to music with songs about professional wrestling.


Dwight Yoakam, “Second Hand Heart”

(April 14) The renaissance performer (he’s acted in everything from “Sling Blade” to “Wedding Crashers”) returns to his roots with the follow-up to his critically-adored 2012 album “3 Pears.”


Alabama Shakes, “Sound & Color”

(April 21) The roots rock band’s debut album was a surprise hit in 2012, going gold on the power of singer and guitarist Brittany Howard.


Passion Pit, “Kindred”

(April 21) The indie dance group already has a full and varied schedule for the spring, including an appearance in Brooklyn in May and festival dates in Napa Valley and El Paso.


Blur, “The Magic Whip”

(April 28) The return for one of Brit-pop’s leading lights comes after a well-received run of festival appearances in 2013.


Raekwon, “Fly International Luxurious Art”

(April 28) The Wu-Tang Clan member has been prolific in the century’s second decade: “F.I.L.A.” is his second full length in addition to several mix tapes and verses for the Wu’s “A Better Tomorrow.”


Mumford and Sons, “Wilder Mind”

(May 4) Early word is that the group has ditched its banjos for this release, so … rock and roll?


My Morning Jacket, “The Waterfall”

(May 4) The last two MMJ albums received Grammy nominations; the most recent of those hit the top of the Billboard Independent Albums chart.


Best Coast, “California Nights”

(May 5) Expect more songs perfect for upcoming beach trips from the L.A. duo.


Steve Aoki, “Neon Future II”

(May 12) Aoki’s last album had a guest appearance by author and futurist Ray Kurzweil. Also, he throws full cakes on his fans at shows. The high and the low, together in one producer.


Kanye West, “So Help Me God”

(Whenever Yeezus damn well pleases): You’ll probably hear about this one.





March 18 and 22, King’s Theatre and March 25, 28 and April 1, New York City Center: Step aside, T-Swift: Between five shows in two weeks and her ongoing MoMA exhibit, Bjork is putting a strong claim on New York Tourism Ambassador.


Ariana Grande

March 20-21, Madison Square Garden: Considering her guest-heavy songs, is it out of line to hope for a guest appearance or two?


The Decemberists

April 6, Beacon Theater: The band’s latest album, “What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World” is lively enough that it should translate to live performance beautifully.


Chet Faker

April 4, 7 and 8, Terminal 5: The latest in a long line of great new Australian artists. See him now, brag about it later.


The Mountain Goats

April 9, Webster Hall and April 11-12, City Winery: So if the album’s about professional wrestling, will the Goats come to the stage with entrance music?


Stevie Wonder

April 12, Barclays Center – Wonder brings his “Songs of the Key of Life Performance” back to New York after receiving raves last fall.


Manic Street Preachers

April 23, Webster Hall – The remaining trio of members revisit its classic “The Holy Bible” twenty years after the (presumed, still unsolved) death of Preachers main lyricist Richey Edwards.



April 28, Bowery Ballroom/April 29, Music Hall of Williamsburg – The show sold out months in advance on the strength of a grand total of one song: 2014’s inescapable smash “Tuesday.”


Iggy Azalea

May 7, Barclays Center and Azealia Banks, May 11, Irving Plaza – Best case scenario: They crash each other’s concerts and continue their Twitter feud in person.


The Who

May 26, Barclays Center and May 30, Forest Hills Stadium – Two legendary acts for the price of one: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts open the night.


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