February 18, 2017
There are tons of albums slated to be released in 2017. We give you some of our most anticipated albums of the year.
Lane Claffee, Music Writer
Perfume Genius – (TBA)
In 2014, Mike Hadreas, also known as Perfume Genius, released his haunting, ethereal album Too Bright, which was produced by John Parish, and Portishead’s Adrian Utley. An album that spoke on dark subjects such as violence against the LGBT community and body dysmorphia, Too Bright was both anthemic, like on “Queen,” and at times, terrifying, like on “My Body,” which evokes a similar sense of dread to David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Though the album has not been officially named, Hadreas has tweeted recently about news of the new album coming “very soon.” Hadreas said of the forthcoming album in a Red Bull music interview in 2015, “Right now I think it’s going to be long, experimental, improvisational songs with a full band and guest singers.”
Thundercat – DRUNK (February)
Though Thundercat has a long history of collaborating with artists ranging from Suicidal Tendencies to Flying Lotus, perhaps the most commercial success he’s received is from his work on Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 masterpiece To Pimp A Butterfly, which won him a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. On his new single, “Show You The Way,” off of his forthcoming album DRUNK, Thundercat teams up with Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and creates one of the smoothest, most yacht-rock singles of 2017 yet…which is used as positively as the term “yacht-rock” could be.
Slowdive – (TBA)
With bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and Ride releasing new studio albums after roughly 20 years, 2017 is seeing a resurgence of the some of the biggest names related to the shoegaze genre. Slowdive, having not released new music in over 22 years, also broke silence with their dreamy single, “Star Roving.” Not as electronic as their last studio album, 1995’s Pygmalion, 2017 will more than likely see another adaptive, astral record from one of the most influential names in shoegaze.
Mac Demarco – This Old Dog (May)
Mac Demarco recently released two surprise singles, being the longing, nostalgic track “My Old Man,” and the title-track to his upcoming album “This Old Dog.” With the album set to release on May 5th, both of these songs are oddly unique when compared to Demarco’s other albums; aside from their stripped-down, internal tone, they mostly use only acoustic guitars and synthesizers. Demarco is also the only musician on the entire album according to a recent Pitchfork interview, “Yeah, it’s all me,” he says, “Everything is still sloppy. It’s definitely me playing.” Using these songs as examples, expect a relatively minimalist record from Demarco.
King Krule – (TBA)
Archy Marshall has adopted several monikers over the course of his musical career, ranging from Zoo Kid to his own name, but his 2013 album 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, released on his 19th birthday, seems to be his most successful work yet. After that release, Marshall eponymously released a trip-hop album titled A New Place 2 Drown, a project that was relatively different from his work as King Krule. In October 2016, Marshall performed an untitled new song at Beach Goth, as King Krule, and has recently hinted at a 2017 follow-up to 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, according to Pitchfork.
Father John Misty – Pure Comedy (April)
Recently, I had heard someone argue that Father John Misty was the “Randy Newman of our generation.” Anyone who has listened to Newman past “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” knows that is an incredibly tall order to fill. As opposed to the romanticism of his 2015 full-length I Love You, Honeybear, each single released from Pure Comedy seems to paint Joshua Tillman, or at least his character Misty, as a sardonic political satirist. Perhaps with this new album in mind, the comparison to Newman may not be too farfetched after all.
Grizzly Bear – (TBA)
After 2013’s Shields, psychedelic indie group Grizzly Bear seemed to more-or-less disappear in terms of putting out music together, instead focusing on solo endeavors. Some of these solo projects include Daniel Rossen releasing his own material, and Christopher Bear scoring HBO’s High Maintenance. After a period of silence, Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear tweeted “Album is 90% done. Last update until you hear it.” As they’ve been in the studio since June 2016, this album is certainly a highly anticipated release after a quiet four years for Grizzly Bear.
Shirley Griffith, Music Writer
The Jesus & Mary Chain – Damage and Joy (March)
The Jesus & Mary Chain are absolute legends, having influenced everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Sonic Youth (AKA all the good shit). Their gritty, sexy, discordant pop is an opiate straight to the heart. The songs can be untethered and grip you, scattering reality with fuzz and sneering drone, or they can be sweet and moody, apologetic toward both their own extreme beauty and grinding ugliness. Spotify has a single up from the new album called “Amputation” and it is as splendid as the retro alphabet soup album artwork. Damage and Joy is out on March 24, mark your calendars.
Ryan Adams – Prisoner (February)
I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with Ryan Adams and I really thought I had shook him off after a slight fervent obsession. For instance, I’m no longer listening to III/IV so much that my roommate has to hide the CD. I no longer care about what a shame it was that Whiskeytown didn’t work out, and I haven’t even put on “Love Is Hell” this winter even though listening to “Avalanche” is glorious in January. Having heard “Do You Still Love Me,” I felt like he was trying to reconcile, personally, with my own spurned and angry heart. Listening to the new songs on Prisoner, including honeyed-harmonica “Doomsday” has softened me.
Chromatics – Dear Tommy
Chromatics are the sleek, soft feel of crushed deep velvet against the back of your hand. They are the peculiar heavy/light weight of a martini glass held by the stem. Since 2014, Chromatics has teased a new album that will come out “before Valentine’s Day” yet they neglected to specify which year. Their dreamy, ethereal single, “Just Like You” was released February 12, 2015, and here we are, in 2017. They Frank Ocean’d us. Nonetheless, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 2017 Chromatics.
Oddisee – The Iceberg (February)
I’m really excited to hear from Oddisee this year. The soulful Sudanese-American rapper has released “Like Really” and “Things” as politically-charged singles off upcoming album The Iceberg (expected February 24) and announced a 2017 world tour including a stop at King’s in Raleigh on April 21. The prolific and intellectual Oddisee no doubt has a lot to say regarding the state of our nation, and discusses them fiercely without sacrificing flow to the production. Danceable, relatable, powerful; I’ll take all the Oddisee songs I can get.
Austra – Future Politics (January)
I stumbled onto 2011’s Beat And The Pulse recently and fell hard for the industrial electronic pop of Austra. They’ve just put out an album January 20 and although I haven’t given the album 100% of my attention, I will vouch that “Future Politics,” “Utopia” and “Beyond A Mortal” are incredible. Surround yourself in the warm, synth hues of the album. Also, the artwork and visuals on the released music videos are highly worth checking out.
Chastity Belt – TBA
Chastity Belt is one of the coolest bands ever and I will jump on a couch Tom Cruise-style and shout about it. Their promo pics are dorky early ‘90s inspired group portraits, complete with washed denim mom jeans and scrunchies. Their lyrics are biting and hilarious and full of feminist banter and, perhaps best of all, the band started as a joke in their college Battle of the Bands before going on to open for Courtney Barnett and Death Cab for Cutie. Although they’ve not released an album title or release date, lead singer Julia Shapiro says the upcoming album has a more emotional tone. 2015’s Time To Go Home was one of my Top 10 albums and I’ve been looking forward to hearing new stuff ever since.
Real Estate – In Mind (May)
I love the band, Real Estate. They are equal parts graceful and expansive swirled together with endearing and peculiar accents. Every album is effortlessly buoyant yet leaves a lingering impression long after the tracks have ended. Their lineup has shifted recently to include bedroom popper Julian Lynch, and marks their first album ever without founding guitarist, Matt Mondanile (I forgive you Matt, but please keep making Ducktails albums). Luckily, the single “Darling” retains that signature Real Estate rolling, ease of sound that you come to expect with their music, and I’m enthusiastic to see this new lineup’s direction. In Mind is set for release on March 17.
Tei Shi – Crawl Space (March)
Tei Shi’s songs are layered with textured melodies with sweet, graceful vocals sprinkled throughout. From listening to her previous 2013 and 2015 EPs, to experiencing her newly released track, she’s slipped into a sleek and comfortable, truly artistically voiced vibe. The new album was recorded over a year and a half which gives good heed that the album is pieced together steadily and I’m looking forward to watching Tei Shi grow throughout the year. Debut album, Crawl Space, is out soon, on March 31.
Alvvays – TBA
The sweet Canadian indie darlings, Alvvays, are coming back with the follow-up from 2014’s breakout self-titled album! The thought of new Alvvays tunes makes me want to eat cake and celebrate in a roller rink thanks to their laid-back and retro, fuzzy sound. I held dear their 2014 album, as did a lot of people, and read that they’ve finished recording the new album using the same tape machine as on their debut. They’ve released two new tracks, “Dreams” and “Not My Baby” which employ that same demure but intoxicating pop they seem to perfect. I’m predicting a 2017 chock full of cherry red lipstick, oversized plastic sunglasses, and understated distortion over brightly colored melodies. (Here’s a link for the two released songs, they’re live but still sound great.
Porcelain Raft – Microclimate
What can I say except to turn off the lights and dance around your house in the muted headlights of passing cars to the magic of Porcelain Raft. 2012’s Strange Weekend was a damn near perfect album and I’ve been a fan of Porcelain Raft (even the name is a beautiful image) ever since. It’s hard to not get captivated in the acid drip dreamy toxicity of Mauro Remiddi’s smooth voice over a savage and seductive light show of synth and bass.
*Honorable Mentions: Molly Burch (February 17), Vagabon (February 24), Allison Crutchfield (January 27), and Shadowgraphs (April 7 album is called Venomous Blossoms).
Cameron Lee, Founder
The Shins – Heartworms (March)
Not since the 2012’s Port of Marrow has James Mercer and The Shins released a full studio album. Having hit a near pinnacle in the indie-rock music world, Mercer decided to leave the group and continue working with Brian Burton (Dangermouse) and Broken Bells. In early January, the group announced the release of Heartworms due out on March 10 and have released three new songs, “Name for You,” “Dead Alive,” and “Mildenhall” leading up to the 5th studio album.
Spoon – Hot Thoughts (March)
2014’s acclaimed album They Want My Soul released on Loma Vista Recordings (not Durham’s Merge Records), gave longtime fans a Spoon-ful of their vintage sound. With Britt Daniel’s gingerly dopey voice mixed with their spacey synths, the Austin rockers have reinvented their own style without really reinventing it. Spoon is an authentic band that makes endearing music; their art rock approach to their sound bleeds through. The title track “Hot Thoughts” released in January with its poppy ‘80s psychedelic vibes has us curious to see where this album will be sonically.
Cold War Kids – L.A Divine (April)
The voice and songwriting of Cold War Kids’ frontman, Nathan Willet, can at times be epic, much like Brandon Flowers, Chris Martin, or Marcus Mumford. Unfortunately, his recipe for writing heroic love tales can sometimes be monotonous much like the aforementioned singer-songwriters. That is what’s exciting and scary about the forthcoming album L.A Divine from California rockers, Cold War Kids. Having personally witnessed a sub-par performance at Hangout Fest in 2015, I started to wonder if they were ready for their massive breakout or if they were carefully holding back. Either way, the band has written some universally adored songs like “First,” “Hang Me Up To Dry,” “Miracle Mile,” and “All This Could Be Yours.” This could be a career defining album for the band, no pressure.
Future Islands – The Far Field (April)
It’s been a couple years since Samuel T. Herring and Future Islands broke out into the indie mainstream. His side-stepping peacock-like dancing and the sheer emotion in his voice spewed out into televisions, computers and mobile devices internationally in 2014 on David Letterman. The album Singles garnered great reviews and was well received on the music festival circuit. It wasn’t long ago that Future Islands played small clubs in the Southeast, like Charlotte’s own The Milestone as documented in Noisey’s 2010 web series on up-and-coming bands. Their enchantingly haunting synth sounds mixed with Herring’s roaring opera-like voice has them headlining festivals this year with fans clamoring for more music.
Gorillaz – (TBA)
Since April of 2016, the virtual indie-pop band, Gorillaz has teased a new album with videos and artwork. The group, masterminded by Blur frontman and producer Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, the album would be their fifth since 2011’s forgettable, The Fall. No guarantee that the album will be released this year, but the recent release of their first song in six years, “Hallelujah Money,” is a good sign. The Gorillaz are starting to reach Frank Ocean Blonde-like status as excruciating album releases are concerned. Let’s hope it’s an epic work.
Joey Bada$$ – AABA (TBA)
It’s hard to believe that Joey Bada$$ is only 22 years old. Having been influenced at an early age by hip-hop legends like Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, MF Doom, Tupac, Black Thought, and Andre 3000, Joey Bada$$ is the east coast’s answer to Kendrick Lamar. He pays homage to the golden era of rap while offering shrewd and karmic words rare for someone his age. His most recent album, B4.DA.$$ is an ode to New York hip-hop and propelled him to young legend status in the rap game (remember he’s only 22.) His latest singles, “Victory,” and the anti-Trump barrage, “Land of the Free,” are both impressive displays of his naturally vintage flow.
The Killers – (TBA)
For Nevada native, Brandon Flowers, it seems like his career is taking the path of Lionel Ritchie more so than Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger. His latest run of festivals and shows are Vegas-like productions with his glimmering sequin jackets, central casting looks, and over-dramatic theatrical gestures. In November, Flowers confirmed in a KROQ interview there would be new album coming in 2017. It would be The Killers 5th studio album and first since 2012’s, Battle Born. His latest solo album, The Desired Effect proves he can still write pretty remarkable songs.
Sylvan Esso – What Now (April)
What started as a random collaboration in Milwaukee of all places, turned into something quite special for Durham based indie-pop duo, Sylvan Esso. Amelia Meath, one-time member of the acapella folk band, Mountain Man asked Nick Sanborn, producer (Made of Oak) and former member of North Carolina’s Megafaun, to remix a song called “Play it Right.” What happened next was pure pop-synth magic. The duo released their self-titled debut album in May of 2014, and the world fell in love with the pulsating bass notes, tranquilizing synths, and creamy “Coffee” vocals of Meath. The new album What Now is out on April 28 and the group just announced a national tour capped by their very own North Carolina festival at Shakori Hills in September. Two new songs have been released from the forthcoming album, “Radio,” “Kick Jump Twist,” and “Die Young.”
Zack de la Rocha – (TBA)
If there was ever a time we needed a social commentary album from Rage Against the Machine frontman, Zack de la Rocha, it would be now. The world of media and microwave journalism have been feeding the masses and, with the outcome of last year’s election, it seems to be the perfect backdrop for the poignant and educated anger rap music of lyricist and activist, Zack de la Rocha. Monstrous collaborations with Run The Jewels, “Close Your Eyes” and “Kill Your Masters,” plus a solo track “Digging for Windows” produced by RTJ’s El-P has the world primed for new music. El-P recently confirmed in a tweet: “the ZDR the album is happening. 2017” and “thats all the info i’m authorized to give out.” Let’s hope so.
In this article
- 2017 albums
- Cameron Lee
- Chastity Belt
- Father John Misty
- future islands
- Grizzly Bear
- joey bada$$
- king krule
- lane claffee
- mac demarco
- most anticipated
- north carolina
- Perfume Genius
- Porcelain Raft
- real estate
- shirley griffith
- sylvan esso
- The Jesus & Mary Chain
- the killers
- Zack De La Rocha