We wrote an article earlier in the year listing the album's we were excited about hearing this year and all things considered we’ve been pretty lucky. James Blake delivered with his third album The Colour In Anything, Kanye’s The Life Of Pablo has consumed most of the year, Miike Snow’s album iii was an excellent return and Majid Jordan’s OVO debut was smooth as anything. Heck, we didn’t even put Radiohead on the list but they came out of nowhere to drop A Moon Shaped Pool and embark on a world tour. We’ve been given a lot this year. So much so that everything that comes from now on is pretty much a bonus.
With that in mind here are 10 releases that would lift us into musical heaven if they were to see the light of day in 2016.
2016 and Frank’s still got two versions. If you’re still waiting on this one as if it’s going to drop any day now then you need psychological help although there is some hope. It’s been a disappointing ride since he failed to release the album last July but plenty of sources have assured us it’s still coming. He co-wrote two songs on the latest James Blake record and Blake has said that Ocean’s new music is “better” than his last album. His producer Malay further told Pitchfork that people are going to be “pleasantly surprised” by it. At this stage nothing would surprise us more than Frank dropping the album this year so go ahead Frank - surprise us all.
Apart from The Love Below, one half of Outkast’s double album, Andre 3000 hasn’t really released a solo album. Since Outkast stopped recording we haven’t really had an absence of 3000, but we’ve had to experience him more as a feature artist than in his own right. He featured on Frank’s Pink Matter, brought the vibes to Beyonce’s Party and grooved his way through Future’s Benz Friendz. Earlier this year he told Billboard he’d, "like to put out some kind of music project, but we’ll see." He was then photographed in the studio with D’Angelo, Jack White and Jarobi from A Tribe Called Quest. He could be working on anything but fingers and toes that he’s got something cooking for himself.
Going into 2016 Mura Masa was without a doubt the most exciting new producer. While nothing’s changed, his output this year has been minimal to say the least. The only thing we’ve heard from him is his gorgeous single What If I Go? plus a remix for Foals that surfaced today. So what do we know about the album? Well, nothing actually. He’s been touring Europe and the US and no doubt dropping some new tunes but he’s been pretty quiet in terms of giving away info about the record. “I keep getting told by people around me that nobody buys albums any more, but i want my fanbase to be a community that collects my work,” he tweeted the other day, adding, “so i'm making it worth it by putting in WORK.” That means it’s coming but hopefully sooner rather than later.
Kiiara is another young talent who went into this year as a hyped name. She’s proved the hype right by nabbing a top 10 single here with Gold and widening her fanbase with her low kii savage EP. At six songs long, it was a pretty hearty EP but we’re ready for the real deal now. She’s been working with producer Lil Aaron on dark, woozy tunes and if you look at his production and writing credits you can get a pretty good idea of what to expect. He’s worked with We Did It rapper Pollari and given Seattle future-pop artist EMI a leg-up with the excellent Sip It Up. Kiiara hasn’t announced that an album is even coming so we’re probably putting a little bit of pressure on her here but just before Christmas would be great, thanks.
“This album could change the sound of pop music,” Charli said earlier this year and if you’re going to say things like that then you better expect people to be on you to release the damn thing like a pack of hungry dogs. To be fair, Charli did release a great SOPHIE-produced EP Vroom Vroom earlier this year and started her own record label so she’s been busy but surely she’s eyeing the album now. It’s said to be her most “pop” album to date and features production by SOPHIE as well as BloodPop (Justin Bieber’s Sorry) and Stargate (Tinashe, Fifth Harmony). Back in January, she told us that she was going to finish recording the album in the last week of the month so surely now it’s under lock and key.
When the Craig David renaissance started last year news emerged that he was working with Diplo, Kaytranada and Big Narstie for his album. Now, we don’t have the album but a lot of that material has already surfaced. He teamed-up with Katy B for the Major Lazer-produced Who Am I, featured on Kaytranada’s album on Got It Good and had Big Narstie jump on his solo return When The Bassline Drops. He’s got a new single out One More Time which reaches back to those jungle vibes that he dipped into early in his career but as far as who he is working with we really have no idea. He’s apparently made more than just one song with Kaytranada which could potentially end up on the album but nothing is official yet.
Childish Gambino And Chance The Rapper
Childish Gambino featured on Chance The Rapper’s Favourite Song and Chance featured on Gambino’s The Worst Guys but apparently the pair have made a whole tape together. We heard that this was coming back in 2014 but Chance brought it back up again this year while promoting his new mixtape Coloring Book. During a Reddit AMA he replied to a question about whether it still exists by simply replying “yes”. That’s really all we need. We’ll sit and wait patiently now.
It’s been three years since Danny Brown’s last album Old and while that is a while, it feels like he’s back in the spotlight. He toured on the Groovin The Moo bill this year and also features on The Avalanches new album Wildflower. In April, he revealed that his forthcoming album was almost finished but he’s taken a break from it because he’s ahead of schedule. He then stuck a dagger in all our hearts saying, “it ain’t coming anytime soon”. This is the rap world, however, and they have a tendency to give themselves much shorter schedules that anyone else. “Anytime soon” could mean no time in the next week.
We popped Gorillaz in our albums we’re pumped for list earlier this year and when we did that Damon Albarn said it was going to be “really fast” with “quite a lot of energy”. Almost six months has passed since then and all we can really add to that is Albarn has been pictured in the studio with French composer Jean Michel-Jarre, producer Twilite Tone, and singer-songwriter Liam Bailey. It’s not a huge reveal but it’s at least something to cling onto for now. Apparently, Massive Attack also were spotted with Albarn in the studio although it’s unknown if they were working on Gorillaz material together.
Justin Vernon and co were just in the country for their Vivid Cercle shows and while they didn’t play any new music that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Vernon has his own festival Eaux Claires which Bon Iver will be playing in August and he’s sent out a tweet letting everyone know that it’s a set made of “ALL new music”. A set is long particularly when you’re a headliner - an hour, maybe an hour and a half. That means that surely he’s going to be debuting enough new music to make up an album. What we don’t know is whether he’s going to drop that album before or after the shows. Whatever happens, at least we’ll have shitty YouTube vids to hang onto.
- Words and images by the interns' Sam Murphy & Bianca Bosso