It’s nowhere near as easy as it used to be to predict the best albums of the upcoming year -- mostly because it’s nowhere near as easy to predict which albums will come out at all. A record release was, at one time, an entire micro-industry unto itself, and once the process was started, it was pretty difficult to slow down. But now, with labels calling far fewer of the shots and the increased ability to create an entire 14-track opus from the comfort of just one’s underpants, an album can materialize out of nothing.

At the same time, though, we’ve also got far more intimate means of communication with musicians, providing enough scattered clues to put together what we believe 2015 could look like. We know some will happen for sure (there is no way the Decemberists and Noel Gallagher won’t release their new albums this year), but we mostly remain hopeful for others based on hints and timing (Garbage and James Blake). Most, however, sure seem like safe bets to hear in 2015. Check out the gallery above to see what albums we're most excited to spin.

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