Lists, Music, The Revue, Year-End Lists — January 5, 2017 at 5:00 am

51 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017

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Choosing our Most Anticipated Albums of 2017 is an extremely difficult exercise. We considered listing 100, but that was unmanageable; 25 would have been too few. So, we settled on 51 albums, many of which have been confirmed and others are simply wishful thinking.

Alice Glass (TBA)

  • After a messy departure from Crystal Castles and former bandmate Ethan Kahl, Alice Glass has released the odd single here and there. Could an album come this year that will cement her status as electronica’s queen? We certainly hope so.

Arcade Fire (TBA)

  • Canada’s preeminent indie-rock champions, Arcade Fire, have tour dates lined up this year and were rumored to be in Paris for most of 2016. We should expect a Reflektor-like release – i.e., an unexpected drop with plenty of clues beforehand.

Austra – Future Politics (January 20th)

  • What better soundtrack for uncertain times than the brooding synthwave of Austra? Katie Stelmanis holds nothing back vocally on the lead single from Future Politics. We’re betting the rest of the album will have us singing along with her at the top of our lungs.

Beck (TBA)

  • Seems like every year we predict a Beck album, and every year we wait. He’s delivered two singles over the past 18 months, so maybe, just maybe the highly-anticipated 13th LP will come this year?

Bobby Uzoma – Holy Grails (January)

  • It’s been nearly a year since Bobby Uzoma dropped his single “Holy Grails”, so it’s good to know that his liquid-hot vocals will dripping over delicious electro-soul on an EP very soon.

Bonobo – Migration (January 13th)

  • Simon Green, the creative genius behind Bonobo, would have made a fantastic therapist. He can guide you through every emotion with music that elevates the senses. His forthcoming sixth album, Migration, should transport listeners to new heights.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Tourist (February 24th)

  • For more than a decade, Alec Ounsworth has made Clap Your Hands Say Yeah into an indie powerhouse. Despite the success, he did a living room tour last year! The initial singles from his new album, Tourist, are euphoric yet intimate, showcasing Ounsworth’s evolving genius.

Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound (January 27th)

  • We are all grateful the three-year wait for a new Cloud Nothings album is nearly over. On their fourth LP, Life Without Sound, founder and frontman Dylan Baldi has added a new guitarist (their former touring band member Chris Brown). How will this addition enhance an already full sound? We’ll find out in a few short weeks.

Dan Auerbach (details to come)

  • The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach is not known for letting grass grow under his feet. The ever-busy musician/producer will deliver a new solo album this year, something he first did back in 2009. What makes this one unique is its Nashville theme: legendary artist John Prine is a co-writer while musicians who worked with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash lend support. This star-studded affair should be a doozy!

Diet Cig (TBA)

  • All we currently have from Brooklyn’s Diet Cig is a couple of singles and a fantastic EP, Over Easy. That, plus the uncontainable energy of their live shows, has us begging for more. They recorded a new album in 2016, and it should find its way into our ears very soon.

The Districts (TBA)

  • While we were aware that one of our favorite bands The Districts were writing new material, they shared two surprise singles last fall in support of the Standing Rock Medic and Healing Council. The new songs hinted at an even more throwback approach to their classic indie rock. We cannot to discover what they have been concocting.

Elbow – Little Fictions (February 3rd)

  • For their seventh album, indie stalwarts Elbow have gone symphonic – sort of. They’re joined by members of Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra and choir, which should add a grand layer to their already full sound. The years since their 2014 LP, The Takeoff and Landing of Everything, have been full of change. Longtime drummer Richard Jupp departed and Guy Garvey got married. The latter should bode well for their sweeping, anthemic sound.

Fleet Foxes – Ylajali (spring?)

  • When a band achieves near superstardom after just two albums, they usually produce a third and then a fourth record quickly to capitalize on their popularity. This wasn’t the case for Fleet Foxes, who opted to quietly take a break. Frontman and mastermind Robin Pecknold went back to school to get his university degree and recorded a few songs. Well, they are finally back with Pecknold confirming a new album is on the way this year. Now it’s just a matter of when.

French for Rabbits – (spring/fall in NZ)

  • Over a year ago, New Zealand group French for Rabbits were one of our hidden gems. After a successful tour through Europe, they’ve quietly become an international favorite with their dazzling blend of indie-folk and dream-pop. They’ve finished recording their sophomore album and are putting the final touches. Now we’re just waiting for when the album will drop. Here’s hoping it will be the first quarter of 2017.

Futurebirds (TBA)

  • This is more a shot in the dark, as there is no indication that Athens, Georgia’s indie-rock / southern-rock group Futurebirds are recording a new album. We are just working on the premise that since 2009 they have released two EPs and three LPs. Since Hotel Parties was released in 2015, it only makes sense that one of the industry’s hardest-working bands will release something this year (hopefully we didn’t jinx them).

Grandaddy – Last Place (March 3rd)

  • Fans have waited more than a decade for new music from California indie rockers Grandaddy. Needless to say, the first single from the forthcoming Last Place LP proves the wait has been worthwhile. “Way We Won’t” finds the five members in top form. They’ll tour Europe in spring with (hopefully) a full North American tour to follow.

Grizzly Bear (TBA)

  • Four albums, four unquestionable successes. Can Grizzly Bear make it five for five? Given the quartet’s tendency for perfectionism and a Trump presidency, we are anticipating the New York band to give us a protest record to remember.

Japandroids – Near to the Heart of Life (January 27th)

  • Japandroids are one of Canada’s most acclaimed duos, yet super-stardom still eludes Brian King and David Prowse. Maybe album number four, Near to the Heart of Life, will make them household names. Well, given their propensity for making cathartic garage-rock and post-punk, they will likely remain indie darlings. No problem with us!

Jenn Grant – Paradise (March 3rd)

  • For well over a decade, Jenn Grant has evolved into one of Canada’s most beloved artists. Her indie folk combined with her warm, personal stories made her a must-see act for millions of fans. For her fifth album, Paradise, she might be taking us on a whole different trip. The lead single, “Galaxies”, was more widescreen, cinematic, and just breathtaking. If this is the direction of Grant’s new album, we cannot wait to be taken to new sonicspheres.

Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now (February 10th)

  • The last couple of Jesca Hoop releases have been atypical for the songwriter. Her two latest releases were collaborations with Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and a record revisiting some of her older work, but stripped down, called Undress. In 2017, Hoop will release Memories Are Now, and judging from the first single, “The Lost Sky”, it has potential to be yet another breathtaking record.

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Damage & Joy (March 24th)

  • The Jesus & Mary Chain, legends of shoegaze, make their triumphant return this year. The timing is fitting since it’s been exactly a decade since they reunited (to perform at Coachella) and nearly 20 years since their last studio album. We wish they hadn’t taken so long to deliver new material, but we certainly aren’t complaining.

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizzard – Flying Microtonal Banana (February 20th) plus more

  • If you thought Melbourne’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizzard were a little bizarre with their zany psychedelic rock, you haven’t seen anything yet. They have not one album scheduled for this year but five. Five albums!!! Not even Ty Segall is that ambitious. Each LP promises to be something new and different and, of course, wild. The first in the series is Flying Microtonal Banana, which… just hear the first single below.

Kiirstin Marilyn – Worldly Affairs (TBA)

  • Following the success of her EP Ghosts, Kiirstin Marilyn has teamed up with fellow songwriter Justin Ardolino. The results of this collaboration are due to appear as an album later this year. Kiirstin creates music that matters, so expect songs that resonate with society’s struggles, including a single from the album “She” which is scheduled for release in the next few weeks.

Lowell (TBA)

  • In 2014, Elizabeth Lowell Boland – or simply Lowell – released We Loved Her Dearly, which was fierce, synth-pop record that had us equating her potential to that of Grimes and Purity Ring. She released an EP last year, and she signaled during her fall shows that a new full-length was on the way. Details are scant otherwise, so here’s hoping she delivers another gem this year.

Mac DeMarco (TBA)

  • The jester of indie rock is about to unleash more jangly goodness on the world this year. Mac DeMarco shared a couple of weeks ago that his third album has been completed. What it will be called, when it will be released, and what it sounds like remain a mystery. We expect, however, the Canadian master to unveil everything soon and in a very special way.

Monsters of Folk (TBA)

  • Not many know that Monsters of Folk – the super-group comprised of Conor Oberst, M. Ward, Jim James, Mike Mogis, and Will Johnson – originally formed in 2004. It was more of a loose collaboration, as the artists would jam and write songs together. Finally in 2009, they released their self-titled debut, which was critically acclaimed for their reinterpretation of folk music. Fans have since been anxiously waiting for a second record, and late in 2016 Jim James confirmed that new music was on the way. That is the extent to what we know, so keep your fingers crossed that an LP is coming.

My Morning Jacket (TBA)

  • Similarly, Jim James stated that his main group, My Morning Jacket, will be releasing their eighth studio album. It is anticipated the LP will consist of songs remaining from The Waterfall sessions, during which the band recorded 24 songs and possibly more. Will the band embrace their southern rock roots or continue their progression to being a nebulous, genre-defying band? Only time will tell.

Nadia Reid – Preservation (March 3rd)

  • From her incredible voice to remarkable storytelling, Nadia Reid has been winning fans over outside her native New Zealand. Her sophomore album, Preservation, could make her an international star. From getting a sneak peek at a handful of new songs, the LP promises to be heavier, a little bit harder, and still incredibly captivating. Only a couple of more months before all the song are unveiled.

The National (spring/summer)

  • We definitely know that The National will be releasing a new album this year, as Brassland – the label Aaron and Bryce Dessner co-founded with Alec Hanley Bemis – teased some listening sessions. What it sounds like we have no clue, but we can expect the New York City indie rock gods to make the brooding beautiful once again.

Nicole Atkins – Goodnight Rhonda Lee (Spring)

  • Nicole Atkins has one of the most powerful voices out there. This spring she will release Goodnight Rhonda Lee, a record she crowdsourced via PledgeMusic. I had the opportunity to check out Atkins performing songs from this record last year and let’s just say it made me at least ten times more excited about this release than I was before.  It also doesn’t hurt that former members of White Denim, Austin Jenkins and Josh Block (who also backed Leon Bridges’ LP) lend a hand on the record. Oh yeah, and there’s this amazing single, “A Little Crazy” ~~Rich

Nikki Lane – Highway Queen (February 17th)

  • The best way to describe Nikki Lane is that she’s always a festival favorite. Her Americana / country-folk is made with soul, and her songwriting ranges from the introspective to the pure fantasy. While she has a solid backing, she stands to be one of the year’s biggest breakout artists when Highway Queen arrives next month. She could explode in 2017 much like Margo Price did a year ago.

Phosphorescent (TBA)

  • In 2013, Matthew Houck and friends – a.k.a. Phosphorescent – delivered an album that could only be characterized as majestic. Muchacho is one of the decade’s seminal records. While little news has trickled about a new Phosphorescent record, there have been some murmurs that Houck, etc. have been writing and in the studio. We’re hoping this news is true because it’s been four years since that memorable record.

Pond (TBA)

  • While Tame Impala grabs most of the headlines (and deservedly so), Australia’s other great psychedelic-rock/pop group Pond have carved out a nice niche for themselves. They’ve remained relatively quiet since releasing the cosmic Man, It Feels Like Space Again, but in the fall of 2016 they unexpectedly dropped “30000 MEGATONS” in response to a Trump Presidency. At the time, they stated they were going to share the song with the rest of the album, which hopefully will be this year!

Porcelain Raft – Microclimate (February 3rd)

  • There are only a few artists in the world who can simultaneously steal our breaths, take us to unforeseen places, and have us shake our hips. Mauro Remiddi’s project, Porcelain Raft, is one of those rare breeds. “Distant Shore”, the first single from his new album, Microclimate, defines Remiddi’s genius and his ability to make us do and feel things we never expected.

Ron Gallo – Heavy Meta (February 3rd)

  • We are anticipating Ron Gallo‘s second album to be the first “Fuck yeah!” record of the year. The now Nashville-based artist and his bandmates make unrelenting, uncompromising rock ‘n roll. We could have named Gallo an artist to watch in 2017, but we are extremely antsy for this record. EXTREMELY!

Ryan Adams – Prisoner (February 17th)

  • Most who have followed Ryan Adams‘ career would agree that when pain is channeled into his music the songs are usually incredibly memorable. His first two songs from Prisoner brilliantly wield together desperation, longing, anger, and heartbreak. The pain is clear in his vocals and lyrics, an urgency and rawness not heard since Love Is Hell. This should make album number sixteen an unforgettable experience.

Sarah Bethe Nelson – Oh, Evolution (February 24th)

  • We fell in love with Sarah Bethe Nelson in 2015 with her stunning debut, Fast-Moving Clouds. Initial hints of the San Francisco-based bartender and singer-songwriter’s second album suggest a return to the ’70s-inspired psychedelic-pop of her first record. However, we’ve learned early on that Nelson is full of surprises. Heck, she was not only one of our favorite surprises of 2015 but had one of our favorite albums.

Sharpless (TBA)

  • Sharpless is without a doubt one of the most fun live shows anyone could attend. The shows are fueled by music that is a fury of energy, projections and some really rad dance moves. In 2016, Sharpless’ Jack Greenleaf tweeted that a new Sharpless record was going well. Hopefully that sees a release in 2017, and we get to dance along with Montana and Jack to some new tunes very soon.

Son Volt – Notes of Blue (February 17th)

  • Leave it to one of the original Americana bands to truly examine the roots of their sound. Son Volt dug their heels into dustier terrain on their 2013 release, Honky Tonk; now they’re exploring the blues from a Mississippi Delta perspective on Notes of Blue. Many bands in their second decade seem content to rest on their laurels; fortunately for Son Volt fans, that’s not how Jay Farrar operates.

Sondre Lerche – Pleasure (spring?)

  • Norwegian artist Sondre Lerche plans to make 2017 his year of pleasure. That’s what the now New York City-based singer is calling his eighth studio album. While we’re not sure what to expect on Pleasure, the first single (“I’m Always Watching You Too”) has us more than a little excited – for both the album and for the upcoming tour.

Spiritualized (more details to come)

  • This year marks the 20th anniversary of Spiritualized‘s career-defining work, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. So what can we expect from the mastermind, Jason Pierce, aka J. Spaceman? It’s been rumored that this could be the group’s last album. Stay tuned for details as they become available. We don’t know when the album will arrive, but we’re already ready for it.

Spoon – TBA (March)

  • It seems like a decade ago when we were savoring every note of Spoon‘s 2014 masterpiece, They Want My Soul. It’s a good thing that LP had so many gems, because we’ve had no new Spoon tunes since. That’s due to change when the band releases their ninth album later this year. They’ll be returning to their former label (Matador), so who knows what other tricks Britt Daniel might have up his sleeve?

St. Vincent (March)

  • If we had to proclaim 2017 will be the year of just one artist, Annie Clark would be our choice. She composed the soundtrack for Kirsten Stewart’s (of Twilight fame) short film, Come Swim, which will be showcased at the Sundance Film Festival in two weeks. Then in March, her yet-to-be-titled sixth album as St. Vincent will arrive. Clark promises the record will be the “deepest, boldest work” she’s ever done. If this is the case, we’re ready to be blown to high heavens.

Strand of Oaks – Hard Love (February 17th)

  • If anyone knows about hard love, it’s Strand of Oaks frontman Tim Showalter. Life has put him through the ringer many times, yet he always emerges stronger and wiser. A series of painful events (including a near-death experience) influenced his 2014 album, Heal, so expect more autobiographical fare on the follow-up. If the “Radio Kids” lead single is any indication, we’re in for plenty of the fist-shaking catharsis that Showalter always delivers.

Temples – Volcano (March 3rd)

  • Temples cemented their place in indie music history  with their 2014 debut album, Sun Structures. Their spin on ’60s psychedelic rock was fresh and anthemic. It was pomp and pageantry brilliantly merged into one joyful experience. Now comes the hard part: can they continue to blow us away with their sophomore album, Volcano? The first single, “Certainty”, most certainly did.

Tennis – Mutually Detrimental (March 10th)

  • While Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore have firmly established themselves as one of indie’s most recognizable artists with their project Tennis, it still feels like they are extremely underappreciated. It might be because their indie-pop music echoes the ’60s and ’70s and lacks the extraneous production of Top-40 music. But for us, their throwback sound is exhilarating. Hopefully the rest of the world embraces the duo’s new album, Mutually Detrimental, when it arrives in two months.

Ty Segall Band (TBA)

  • Everyone knows Ty Segall will a) release at least one album; b) produce at least one album; c) do a mini-tour somewhere; and d) release something unexpected. Regarding the latter, we’re hoping the rumors that he is reuniting the Ty Segall Band are true. That means gifted artists and musicians Mikal Cronin, Charlie Moothart and Emily Rose Epstein will return to the fold to give us some gnarly psychedelic/garage rock.

Vagabon – Infinite Worlds (February 24th)

  • Lætitia Tamko has been a force in the New York/Brooklyn scene for quite a while now. Finally having a release date for her debut LP as Vagabon can be met with nothing but anticipation.  Her songwriting is incredible, and her ability to create different feelings with her music make it obvious why Vagabon has undeniable potential.  Even listening to the two singles already released, “Fear & Force” and “The Embers“, you can hear exactly why we can’t wait to hear the rest of this record.

Valerie June – The Order of Time (January 27th)

  • When it comes to original voices in Americana, Valerie June always stands out. Her third album, the 2013 LP Pushin’ Against a Stone, wowed fans and critics alike, proving the notion that it takes five years to become an overnight success. The Order of Time finds the Tennessee native still blending her influences (blues, country, gospel, and jazz), with help this time from Norah Jones. What a winning combination!

Wolf Parade (TBA)

  • Last year, Wolf Parade made us scream with delight when they announced their reunion. Then they shared a pretty cool EP that has reminiscing about their glory days. Now their fourth full-length album is on the horizon with co-founder Dan Boeckner teasing short videos of their recording sessions. When the LP does arrive, we won’t be asking for any presents at Christmas or Hanukkah because the perfect gift will have already arrived.

The xx – I See You (January 13th)

  • Next week we will finally have our hands on the third album from British indie electro-pop darlings The xx. They’ve had the Midas touch with their two previous releases: they scored a Mercury Prize for their 2009 debut and dodged the dreaded sophomore slump with its 2012 follow-up, Coexist. Having new music (and a worldwide tour) from them will surely make this year better.

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