It seems like just a few days ago we released our Favourite Albums of 2016, but I guess we’re a few weeks into the new year now, so we’re looking ahead and offering some of our most anticipated albums of 2017.
They may not be here yet, but we’re patiently waiting and getting Rrampt for their release dates. It’s going to be tough to out-music the year of 2016, but judging from this list, I’m feeling pretty damn good about this coming year.
I don’t do resolutions, but I do resolve to listen to each of these albums this year.
Lief Vollebekk – Twin Solitude
Donovan Woods turned me onto this Montreal singer-songwriter during our interview this past year, and I couldn’t stop listening to his album North Americana. His album Twin Solitude is coming Feb 24 and he’s released two singles: ‘Elegy‘ on YouTube and ‘Into the Ether‘ on Spotify. I recommend you stop what you’re doing right now and listen to both of these songs right now. In regards to the video below, you may find me mimicking his moves this summer when I head to watch the sunsets at Sauble Beach. I’m tempted.
Ryan Adams – Prisoner
I’ve been so used to getting a new Ryan Adams album every year that last year felt a little bare. Luckily, he’s ready to Deliver Prisoner this spring, which from the first few singles, seems to deal with his break from longtime girlfriend Mandy Moore. I love the song ‘To Be Without You‘. I think this might be Ryan Adams at his best musically, even though he may be at his worst emotionally. That’s the way art works I guess.
At the Drive In
My younger brothers got me into this band when I was a teen, and when they split, I was blessed with Sparta and Mars Volta. Sparta’s Porcelain was actually my first album on vinyl and Mars Volta blew me away at my second Bonnaroo experience. Now they’re back and I’m sure my bros are stoked about it, as am I.
If you’ve listened to Mt Zoomer and Apologies to Queen Mary enough, you’re gonna be pretty excited to hear these guys have reunited for a new album. I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t really get into Expo 86 as much as I should have, but I’ll leave that one for another time. I’ve been hearing some new music in 2016, notably Car Seat Headrest, that seems to be influenced by these guys (though no one seems to agree with me on this). Album release date is still TBA.
It’s been six years since Helplessness Blues, so who knows what kind of sound is going to appear on the new album dropping this year, but they’ve hinted that it’s less folky, which is a shame since these guys were excellent in that genre and helped pioneer that folk-rock revival sound. Who knows how Josh Tillman’s success will influence this reunion, as well. This one will be a gamble.
Morgan Barrie – North
Barrie’s first album will drop this year. He’ll release it on March 24 with Radio 2 darling Matt Epp. Rrampt has an advanced copy of this folk-rock effort, titled North, and it’s been spinning on our record player A LOT. Zombies is a catchy burner with a strong message that was entered in CBC’s Searchlight. We’re hoping for some follow up videos in 2017 once the album drops officially.
Matthew Houck has crafted some of the most beautiful and simple songs over the years, songs I keep coming back to like Los Angeles and Wolves. And then he’s got fan favourites like Song for Zula, and Ride On Right On. He is a producer, so he takes his time with his own albums and makes sure they are written, played and produced well. I finally go to see him live this past summer, but he didn’t give any hints away of new material. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the album to drop.
Barnett made a stellar album in 2015 with a collection of cool and lyrically brilliant songs. I even love her song titles, my favourite being ‘No One Really Cares that You’re Not Going to the Party‘. She came out of Melbourne’s thriving rock scene and not only Aussies are waiting for her follow up album, the whole world was captured by her sound. If anyone embodies Kurt these days, I’d say it’s her. She’s said the new album is more sombre than her first one, so we may hear more tunes like Depreston about ruminating over house shopping.
My Morning Jacket
Quite a few of the songs for the new album were actually written during the making of their last album, but Jim James let them sit on the shelf awhile, possibly to work on his 2016 solo album, Eternally Even. It was a great effort with gems like Here in Spirit, but it’s MMJ’s follow up to 2015’s The Waterfall that I’m eagerly awaiting. 2016 was the first year in many that I didn’t get to see an MMJ show, so I need something to keep me going this year.
Strand of Oaks – Hard Love
I came to Strand of Oaks’ 2014 album HEAL two years late. I just discovered him this past year, but it was an important find for me. I needed this album. It was personal, gutsy, and hard-driving. I paid attention to his lyrics, with short powerful lines like ‘comfort doesn’t mean you’re better off’. If the first single ‘Radio Kids’ is any indication, then this album will be an important one for me this year too.
Spoon – Hot Thoughts
Possibly the most consistent band out there in terms quality albums that never seem to disappoint. Hot Thoughts drops on March 17. My favourite album is still Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, and 2014’s They Want My Soul had many resemblances it, but I have a feeling they’re going to do something a little different on this one, judging from the new single they just released yesterday. Get ready to dance.
When I first heard the lyrics ‘Blake’s got a new face’ I was interested in Vampire Weekend. That first album grabbed my attention with its fresh sound, and then Contra kind of lost me, and then Modern Vampires of the City was fantastic. Is there a better song than Hannah Hunt? C’mon. It’s been almost four years since that album (time flies!), and I’m super excited to see what these guys (minus Rostam Batmanglij) have in store for 2017.
If you don’t know these fun-loving cartoon characters that go by the names of 2D, Murdoc, Noodle, and Russel, then I’m sure you’ve at least heard tunes such as Clint Eastwood or Feel Good Inc. The brainchild of Damon Albarn of Blur, every album is bursting with fun electronic hip hop. They’ve deviated quite a bit from their previous sound and video style for the first single, Hallelujah Money.
It’s been four effing years since Trouble Will Find Me knocked me out with its smoldering sound and deeply honest lyrics. It’s close to being my most listened album over the last four years. I can’t get enough of it. If this new effort is anywhere close to as good, I’ll be happy. Here is a tune they’ve been playing live that has promised to be on the new album.
I stumbled upon a video last spring called Something by a young songwriter named Julien Baker. I was impressed by her mature lyrics and emotional capacity. She writes beautiful songs about being young and dealing with all the shit you have to go through, but she does it in a way that resonates with a thirty-something dude somehow. She’s accomplished on the piano and haunting on the guitar. She became a regular on the festival circuit this past year, including Newport, and Toronto’s TURF. Here’s a new single that, hopefully, is a sign there’s a new album coming this year.
The War on Drugs
This is purely a suggestion on my part. I know there have been rumours as of late. Could we see a follow up to Lost in a Dream this year???