2016 is here, and there’s more new music on the way than we know what to do with. And even though some of the most anticipated albums don’t actually have release dates (or sometimes, even titles), that won’t stop us from looking ahead anyway. Here are the 35 albums we’re most excited to hear in 2016, with release dates when we have them.
David Bowie – ★ (January 8)
We’ve already heard Bowie’s latest, and it’s worth all the attention it’s been getting. From the bizarre video for the album’s title track, to new single “Lazarus” — which appears in a Michael C. Hall-starring musical of the same name — the new Bowie’s sax sounds are as soulful and sexy as ever. And don’t worry, he’s still a weirdo.
Chairlift – Moth (January 22)
Everything we’ve heard from Moth, the upcoming release from Brooklyn-via-Boulder duo Chairlift, has been straight fire. The swirling subby synths on “Ch-Ching” and the frenetic rush of “Romeo” have more energy than most of what we’ve heard from them in the past, and hint at this being their best work yet.
Skilled Mechanics – Skilled Mechanics (January 22)
Skilled Mechanics, the new project from Tricky, has the trip-hop pioneer teaming up with DJ Milo and Luke Harris on this collaboration-heavy self-titled debut. The Skilled Mechanics name comes from an espionage documentary Tricky watched, which referred to operators who started revolutions and toppled governments as “skilled mechanics.” The record features the likes of Oh Land, Ivy 艾菲, Francesca Belmonte, and Xdare. If the rest of the record is half as good as “Beijing to Berlin,” we’re in for a treat.
KING – We Are KING (January 22)
We first heard about this LA-based trio back in 2011 from a Questlove tweet, after Prince discovered theband on YouTube and took them out on tour. Their debut EP, which dates from that era, was pleasant, but made little noise. Five years later, their debut We Are KING is here, and we finally get to hear twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother and their friend Anita Bias flesh out their sound over the course of a full album.
Nevermen – Nevermen (January 29)
Don’t call it a sideproject, don’t call it a supergroup; this project from Mike Patton (Faith No More), Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio) and Adam Drucker (Doseone) is being billed as a “leaderless trio…a years-in-the-making partnership in which these men shared all duties.” Expect it to sound nothing they’ve made on their own.
Sia – This Is Acting (January 29)
The seventh full-length from one of pop’s most enigmatic songwriters and performers. Sia says the album is full of songs she originally wrote for other people, hence the title This Is Acting. She’s extremely comfortable wearing other people’s hats, as well as having others wear hers, so if the new LP is more of the same, that’s a good thing.
Wet – Don’t You (January 29)
This record has been delayed since the fall, and Wet’s brand of smoothed-out synth pop seems best suited for summer than winter. But the music is often so pretty that the setting doesn’t matter; it creates its own atmosphere.
DIIV – Is The Is Are (February 5)
Shoegaze squires DIIV have made more news of late for its members’ fashion careers, 4chan trolling, and drug use than the actual music, so we’re happy to be back to talking about the tunes. Their brand of guitar rock delicately toes the line between scuzzy and soothing, and the first offerings from Is The Is Are stay on course.
School of Seven Bells – SVIIB (February 12)
The story of love and loss that is School of Seven Bells is one of the more heartbreaking tales in music, as well as one of the most beautiful. Their last LP, Ghostory, was their first without Claudia Dehaza, and after the tragic death of Benjamin Curtis, this posthumous release will be their last. Alejandra Dehaza, Claudia’s twin and Curtis’ lover, calls it “A love letter from start to finish.”
Animal Collective – Painting With (February 19)
The most polarizing band of Hipster Runoff’s heyday is back with a new LP, and we’re fascinated to hear what they’ve come up with—we’ve seen them lean closer to pop with each subsequent release, and are curious if the trend will continue.
Deep Sea Diver – Secrets (February 19)
Deep Sea Diver’s Jessica Dobson is a guitar goddess, lending her palpable chops to the likes of Beck and The Shins. But this project is her baby — her last LP, History Speaks, let her flex her songwriting skills across an entire album, and we’re hoping for more of the same on Secrets.
Loretta Lynn – Full Circle (March 4)
Full Circle marks the return of the queen of country — it’s her first new studio album in 12 years. Thematically, it spans the length of her legendary career, even starting with a re-imagining of “Whispering Sea,” the first song she ever wrote.
Violent Femmes – We Can Do Anything (March 4)
The Femmes are back with their first record in 15 years, boldly declaring that We Can Do Anything. Hopefully they won’t have to wait as long for a hit as they had to for “Blister In the Sun.”
TBA 2016 Releases:
Blood Orange – [TBA] Chromatics – Dear Tommy Death Grips – Bottomless Pit Deftones – [TBA] DJ Premier – Last Session @ 320 Drake – Views From The 6 Frank Ocean – Boys Don’t Cry Gorillaz – [TBA] GZA – Dark Matter James Blake – Radio Silence Kanye West – SWISH LCD Soundsystem – [TBA] Lupe Fiasco – Drogas Lupe Fiasco – Skulls Lupe Fiasco – Roy M.I.A. – Matahdatah M83 – [TBA] PJ Harvey – [TBA] Radiohead – [TBA] Rihanna – Anti Santigold – 99¢ Sky Ferreira – Masochism