Most Anticipated Music of 2017

I don’t love music like I used to.

I can’t tell you with certainty when I last listened to the same album for a solid week straight, let alone one or two months steady like I used to.[1]

I no longer find new bands and then go back through their influence tree to find each branched-off artist that inspired them.

Maybe the passion has just faded.

There was a time when music kept me going. Maybe now, I just rely on other things to get me through the day.

Now, hold up. Don’t get me wrong. I still love music. It’s just that I find myself listening to podcasts more and music less. I find myself writing stories more and lyrics less. I’m more likely to seek out an author signing than I am to see when a certain band is coming through my six hour driving radius.

More and more, music is serving as background noise while I’m doing other things when it used to stop me in my tracks on a daily basis. 

Here are the artists and albums that I hope will change that this year.

 

Brand New- The Devil & Dear God, Just Release An Album Already[3]

2016 was looking to be coming up All-Dane there for a minute: Jonathan Safran Foer had announced a new book, there were Star Wars AND Harry Potter spin-off movies with planned release dates, DJT’s presidency didn't seem like a real possibility, and in Spring 2016, Brand New’s record label, Procrastinate! Music Traitors, sent out a nice little press-release stating that BN would be returning with a new album that year.

Then, on September 26th, a different press release was posted on Brand New’s Twitter which stated, “At some point previous, we, Brand New, admitted our plans to release a record this year. These plans were authentic, but we are changing them... Brand New will not release a record in 2016.”

This announcement set in motion the tumbling snowball of disappointment that only gained in mass for the remaining days of 2016.

But now, we’re here in 2017, and while Brand New haven’t announced that they will actually release an album this year, there are encouraging signs that they just might.

Here’s hoping.

Release Date: TBA

 

Manchester Orchestra

On January 25th, MO posted on Instagram that they were beginning the mixing process for what is presumably their new album, their first release since the departure of keyboardist/second-drummer/back-up-vocalist/overall-massive-stage-presence-guy, Chris Freeman. 

Beyond that, there isn’t much else known about the follow-up to 2014’s Cope.  

What kind of album will we get here? Will it be heavy, like the layered-over-driven guitar sound of Cope? Or will it vary stylistically and dip into more personal territory like Simple Math?

Hopefully, it’s a balance between the two, something more akin to 2009’s Mean Everything to Nothing.

Regardless, I’m in.

Release Date: TBA

  

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The National

Since the release of 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me, the members of The National have kept busy, they released side projects[4], they scored movie soundtracks[5], and they even took on the task of releasing the 59 song Grateful Dead tribute album, Day of the Dead[6]. They accomplished all of this while still touring consistently.

In August of 2015, Consequence of Sound reported that the National were hard at work on their 7th album and that they currently had 30 songs in the works. Then in October, the band played a new song titled “Roman Candle” (later changed to “Checking Out”) at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

Lead singer, Matt Berninger, has mentioned in interviews that they are interested in experimenting with new sounds and breaking into fresh sonic territory on this new album rather than repeating what they’ve already done before. I’m excited for whatever that may be.

Release Date: TBA

 

Oh, hey, here are some albums that already came out this year:

 

Run the Jewels- 3

Sometimes I think I miss when hip-hop was rapping, here’s hoping Killer Mike will go platinum. (So please go buy this album on iTunes rather than just finding it for free online.)

Released: January 13th

 

Japandroids- Near to the Wild Heart of Life

Japandroids perfected their sound with 2012’s Celebration Rock. For its follow-up, that sound largely remains the same, albeit with some different instrumentation (synths, acoustics) along with some varying song structures. Still, I don’t think anyone is complaining. I know I’m not. I’m too busy shouting along to “No Known Drink or Drug.”

Released: January 28th

 

The Menzingers- After the Party

I stumbled upon the Menzingers when their album On the Impossible Past was released in 2012. I think I was looking for a band that sounded similar to the Gaslight Anthem. What I found instead was an album full of songs that I could sing along with endlessly without being embarrassed by their subpar lyrics.[7]

I really like the first single from this album, “Lookers,” and the reviews I've read indicate that this new album picks up perfectly where 2014's Rented World leaves off.

Released: February 3rd

Oh, look, here are some albums with actual release dates that haven’t been released yet. Now this preview is actually starting to look somewhat legitimate:

 

Del Paxton- All Day, Every Day, All Night

Sleeping Tapes played a basement show with Del Paxton in 2016. They were so kind and they smiled a lot during their performance. I like that. This new release will be Del Paxton’s first full-length album with Top Shelf Records. 

Release Date: March 3rd

 

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Minus the Bear- Voids

Back in the Alliswell days, we kept the Minus the Bear albums Menos el Oso, Highly Refined Pirates, and Planet of Ice on constant rotation in our van. I wasn’t as into their last two releases, but I will definitely be checking on their new album to see if they can help me recapture that feeling of sleeping on a bass cab in the back of a hot van somewhere between Jacksonville and Virginia Beach in 2008.

Release Date: March 3rd

 

Why?- Moh Lhean

I like listening to Why? because I never know what frontman Yoni Wolf will say next. Will it be some kind of weird metaphor about a basketball gym in Germany? Something about a star chart for clowns? Sure. Sometimes[8] I don’t what his lyrics mean, but that’s also part of the fun of listening to them. I do need to cut down on my caloric intake though.

Release Date: March 3rd

 

Conor Oberst- Salutations

Oberst’s 2016 album, Ruminations, was sparse and stripped down with many of the songs being just his voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar. I enjoyed that album since the light arrangements allowed Oberst’s lyrics and passionate vocals to shine through. Salutations will see Oberst revisiting many of the songs from Ruminations with a full backing band. I’m interested to see how they come out.

Release Date: March 17th

 

Julien Baker- Sprained Ankle (Reissue)/Funeral Pyre 7”

Baker’s debut, Sprained Ankle, was first released as an EP on bandcamp in 2014. Baker was just a student at Middle Tennessee State University at the time and has said that she didn’t intend much for the songs beyond just getting them out of her system. But then word began to spread leading 6131 Records to sign Baker and re-release her debut in 2015.

In the year that followed, the album continued to gain momentum, leading Baker to tour with acts like Ben Gibbard, the Decemberists, and Kevin Devine. Jesse Lacey even covered “Sprained Ankle” on several shows during Brand New’s 2016 Fall Tour.

Now, Baker has been picked up by indie-powerhouse label Matador Records with plans to re-release her debut album this spring. I’ve never been excited for a re-release before, let alone what is technically a re-release of a re-release, but I’m eager to see whatever extra songs may be tacked on or if there are any slight changes in the mixes. At the very least, I’ll be thrilled to get the vinyl.

Release Date: March 17th


Some of My Big Questions for Music in 2017:

Will We Get a New Bazan Album?

Outlook: Probably.

 

Will We Get To Hear a New Chance the Rapper & Childish Gambino Collaboration?

Outlook: Likely.

 

Will We Get a New Kendrick Album?!

Outlook: I Hope So For the Sake of All of Us.

 

Will Kanye Redeem Himself Following 2016?

Outlook: Good.

 

Will Arcade Fire Redeem Themselves Following Reflektor?

Outlook: Doubtful.



 

[1] Coloring Book would most likely be it, if not that, then The Life of Pablo, and if not that, then probably To Pimp a Butterfly, and if not that, then Trouble Will Find Me. It’s quite possible that this whole footnote negates my above point and that the fact that I can’t pinpoint when I last listened to the same album repeatedly just goes to show that I still love music as much as ever, but whatever, shut up, you don’t understand me like you used to.

[3] Editor’s Note: This is not the actual working title for the Long Island rock band’s as yet to be announced album.

[4] Please check out El Vy’s self-titled debut album.

[5] Brothers, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, scored the soundtrack for the movie Transpecos. Though really if we’re talking movie soundtracks, and we are, then I need to give props to Andy Hull and Robert McDowell (of the previously mentioned Manchester Orchestra) for their work on the Swiss Army Man soundtrack, because that soundtrack is wonderful. Sorry, Dessner Bros.

[6] Which then led to the even more impressive feat of getting me to listen to a couple of Grateful Dead songs.

[7] Sorry, Gaslight. I’ll still ride for the ’59 Sound and Blood Bank though.

[8] Most the time.