We’re only a few weeks into this year and already there are hundreds of albums to get excited about. We thought we’d whittle it down to 20 albums that we’re waiting on with baited breath. Some we know are definitely coming, others we’re just hoping for. Actually to be Frank with you, there’s only one album in the latter category.
Before we move onto the ones that may happen if the stars all align (hey Frank and RiRi) let’s start with the ones we know are going to happen. Last year Damon Albarn confirmed that there was new Gorillaz music on the way telling Rolling Stone last year "So far, it's really fast, and it's got quite a lot of energy." That doesn’t give much/anything away but it does at least confirm that there is material in the works and that’s all we need. We’ve already done some guessing about who could feature on the album and if at least just a handful of these are true, we’re in for something mighty good.
This one is definitely coming this year we have a date and everything - 5th February. The French producer hasn’t dropped anything since the effortlessly funky By Your Side in 2012 and as such, Still Waters will only be his second album. So far he’s served up Back For More, Get Lost and 2GoodForMe, all impossibly smooth numbers that are a sign of good things to come. He’s got French vocalist Irfane on vocals who you may recognise from Hudson Mohawke’s 2015 slammer Very First Breath which means all the elements are there to create a tailend-of-summer soundtrack.
Miss Demeanour hasn’t released a record since 2005’s The Cookbook and to be honest we’ve never been hungrier. She stole the spotlight from Katy Perry at last year’s Super Bowl half time show, went quiet for a while and then hit us with W.T.F. It was a Pharrell produced jam that proved that she’d lost none of that ridiculousness and fire that made her an icon back in the day. The video further showed that she can rock a tracksuit better than anyone in the Biz which may mean nothing to a lot of you but it confirms classic Missy is back. It looks like Timbaland may be throwing beats down on the record and given his most recent work with newcomer Tink, he’s back on his game.
It’s not often that an artist gets to go into their debut album with a Grammy nomination but that’s exactly what Kehlani is doing. She nabbed a nom for her mixtape You Should Be Here, and then straight after came in hot with new single Did I which showed there was fire in the belly. Apart from Did I, there’s actually not much we know about the album we know right now but she has been spotted hanging with Drake and she appeared on Pusha T’s latest record so expect it to have some stellar guests. Last year, Taylor Swift cosigned her track Alive and when she saw the tweet she was “painting and shrooming.” Kehlani’s one of the realest doing it right now and we desperately need that album.
Where in the world is Danny Brown? He broke through to the mainstream in 2013 with his bonkers record Old and toured the world extensively but he’s since gone a little quiet. In April 2015 he told fans on Twitter that he had taken a break from making it because he was “so ahead of schedule,” but surely he’s back to work now. Producer A-Trak told Complex at the end of last year that “Danny Brown is gonna crush everybody in hip-hop [in 2016]. “He will send everybody back to school. Danny Brown will make people take out their little composition notebooks and start working again,” he said. Or Notebooks are out and out finest pens are prepped, hit us Danny Brown.
Metronomy finished up their Love Letters world tour in September 2015 and have since been keeping mum about the new album. Love Letters was one of their most quaint, small-scale albums to date but Joseph Metronomy promised DIY Mag last year that it would be “a confident dance record” and that it would be out in 2016. In case you missed the memo, that’s this year! “Being groovy on this record is the name of the game,” he further said about the album, also telling The Independent that he wants it to be a pop record, which is convenient because we’ve got our dancing shoes out, polished and ready to go. Ready when you are Joe.
2016 is make or break for Craig David. In 2015, he returned all guns blazing with an unbelievable freestyle over Justin Bieber’s Where Are U Now, having people dustin off Born To Do It and going in deep. All year long he just continued to bring back what we originally loved about him fusing garage with uber-smooth R&B and taking it to the dancefloor. Single When The Bassline Drops proved that David’s serious about the comeback and have you seen the people he’s working with? Diplo, Kaytranada, Big Narstie, GoldLink. Now that’s a lineup.
Club Cheval are a French producer supergroup consisting of Myd, Sam Tiba, Panteros666 and Canblaster, who last year hit with one of the finest dance records of the year, Discipline. They’re effortlessly blending aggressive deep house with dirty R&B with a sound that’s both commercial and very cool. A live video of Discipline suggests that all four of them are extremely talented musicians and poised for one of the finest electronic live shows you’ll see this year. It’s hard to imagine you’re year will go by without hitting the dancefloor at least once to a Club Cheval show.
UK duo Royal Blood basically obliterated every stage they played this year including their mainstage set at Splendour In The Grass and now they’ve entered “hibernation” to work on their second album. There’s not much info about it yet but they played a new song Hook Line And Sinker at Reading and Leeds Festival last year and by all reports it was expectedly massive. They have said that they "don't need to reinvent the wheel," on this second record so chances are if you enjoyed your debut you’re going to love this one as well.
Miike Snow are another one of those rare, generous bands who have graced us with a release date curing all our fear that we won’t see an album from them this year. 4th March the album will be out and judging by the latest single Genghis Kahn it’s going to be another masterclass in ear worm indie-pop. Don’t let the triple j spins mess with your memory. These guys, Bloodshy and Avant are the producers behind Britney Spears Toxic, so they know their way around a pop song and III will most likely be deliciously melodic and anthemic. Also, Charli XCX sings on the album which is a bonus.
2015 was a very good year for Major Lazer. Lean On became the most streamed song ever and took them from party starters to genuine heavy-hitter within the pop world. With a massive Coachella set already lineup-up, Diplo and co will no doubt be keen to continue the momentum with another album. Diplo has already confirmed that said album is coming so you can all relax - you’ll get a new party anthem this year. It looks as if it will be a sequal to last year’s Peace Is The Mission, meaning that peace is once again the mission which is odd given they destroy every stage they set foot to. He’s already teased that there will be a single coming out featuring The Weeknd around Coachella which is in April meaning there is not very long to wait.
Illy has rose to the top of the Australian hip-hop scene with his last album Cinematic and 2016 looks to be the year that he reclaims the throne. Last year’s teaser single Swear Jar was a good sign - fusing together humour and cheek with the “fuck you” attitude that people respect Illy so much for. He worked on the song with producer Rahki who had a hand in Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and he’s expected to have worked on a few more songs on the album meaning you can expect some top notch beats. He’s heading out on tour in February and March which probably means he’ll be testing out a few new tunes.
It kind of doesn’t feel like the xx have been gone that long thanks to Jamie xx’s 2015 solo album In Colour. The brilliant record saw him team up with Olly and Romy making us somewhat forget that the last the xx record Coexist came out in 2012. The trio went into the studio at the end of last year to work on the record and the band nodded when asked if there was going to be new music in 2016. There are not many clues as to what the record will sound like but back in 2014 when they first entered the studio they said it was “completely different,” saying, they’re "just trying everything, trying to find new ways of working, new sounds."
Canadian duo Majid Jordan first popped up on Drake’s Hold On We’re Coming Home and have since been responsible for some of the most silken R&B tunes of the last year or so. At the beginning of February they will finally release their debut self-titled album via Drake’s collective October’s Very Own and it’s shaping up to be a sizzler. Four tracks have dropped from it so far Learn From Each Other, My Love, Something About You and King City, each bringing an after-dark richness to the table. By the looks of it, Drake is the only feature on the album but the pair should deliver more than enough on their own.
While Fidlar and Dune Rats satisfied all your punk needs in 2015, Cali-rockers Plague Vendor are returning in 2016 to steal the show. Their 2014 debut Free To Eat was an exuberant, raucous display of potential but having toured extensively the band should have some newfound experience up their sleeves to unleash on album number two. The new album is called Bloodsweat and it’s due out on 25th March. Album taster Jezebel is a minimal but focussed track, showing a heightened maturity to the band which should make for an anxious album that explodes just when you feel the tension creaping in.
Brighton electronic artist Bonobo performed some stunning shows in Australia after the release of his fifth album The North Border in 2013, seemingly winning a bunch more fans even this far into his career. With Four Tet and Jamie xx releasing albums last year and unlikely to do so this year, Bonobo should fill a void for those that love swelling, atmospheric electronica with plenty of heart. He tweeted at the end of last year that there is an album coming in 2016 so you can hold him to it.
This is one we weren’t expecting to be writing about only a month ago. It seemed after their 2012 farewell at Madison Square Garden’s that James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem was done for good but alas, it was not to be. LCD Soundsystem are returning in 2016 to headline Coachella followed by a bunch of other festivals (Splendour In The Grass is looking likely) but that’s not where it stops for the band. Murphy has said that the band also plan to release new music. He posted a lengthy note following the Coachella announcement promising an album. “The only thing we can do now is get back into the studio and finish this record, and make it as fucking good as we can possibly make it," he wrote. Given how brilliant their last album This Is Happening was, “as good as we can possibly make it,” sounds pretty damn good to us.
Cool Accidents was on Frank Ocean’s case for most of 2015 and while we can confirm he’s still a missing person in our books we’re not giving up. He promised us two versions of his nowhere-to-be-seen album Boys Don’t Cry for July of last year and we’re still yet to see a version. Not even a song. Not even a press picture. Not even a “sorry I misused your trust and made it hard to ever put faith in an artist again.” It’s fine Frank, take your time. The longer you take the larger our expectations grow. At this rate you better have Elvis Presley on the goddamn album. And no we won’t settle for Lisa-Marie.
Kanye was very much like Frank only a month ago. He’d promised and promised and delivered little but two seasons of Adidas clothing and a new baby. But on 11th February he’ll finally deliver his much teased Swish. Last year’s singles Only One, FourFiveSeconds and All Day had us very confused but a return to G.O.O.D Fridays has also signalled a return to form. FACTS was a bit of a Drake rip but Real Friends and No More Parties In LA are phenomenal signalling a return to the bar-destroying rapping that defined Kanye pre-Graduation.
Over a year ago James Blake announced that the title of his third album would be Radio Silence and since then there’s been literally, radio silence. He’s actually performed the title track a few times live this year but in terms of recorded material there’s been nothing and people are starting to wonder where he is. Even Chance The Rapper who once moved into a house with Blake tweeted last week wondering where he is. In July last year he teased that Kanye West and Bon Iver would feature on the album but that’s about all we know at this stage. Expect for 2016 to be a big year for Blake - even if that’s just because everyone spends the year chasing him.
- Words by the interns' Sam Murphy