The start of a new year is the perfect time to put one of my more neurotic passions to the test: list-making and planning. From Lorde’s highly-anticipated sequel to her 2013 debut “Pure Heroine” and Ed Sheeran’s “÷”, to Oscar and the Wolf’s new work and the follow-up to HAIM’s 2013 hit album “Days Are Gone” – these are the artists to listen to in the new year.
// SOHN – “Rennen”
January 13, 2017
SOHN’s sophomore effort “Rennen” promises to be darker, more stripped-down and subtle compared to his 2014 debut “Tremors”. As becomes crystal clear from listening to the first single from the album, “Conrad“, SOHN has relocated his focus to the vocals and melodies on this tracks.
// The xx – “I See You”
January 13, 2017
Traditionally marked with the minimalistic X on the album cover, British indie pop threesome The xx have just released their third album, “This Is You”. Still as atmospheric and hypnotic as the previous albums, but more experimental and daring, it promises to be yet another great album.
// Elbow – “Little Fictions”
February 3, 2017
Can we all take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this album cover? Both the album visuals and the title, “Little Fictions”, promise yet another set of stories told by master musical story-tellers Elbow. The first single from the album “All Disco” sounds promising enough.
// Ed Sheeran – “Divide”
March 3, 2017
Last week singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran released two new singles, “Shape of You” and “Caste on the Hill“, which both almost immediately broke records and online streaming lists. After 2011’s “+” and 2014’s “X”, it’s now nearly time for the third record named after yet another mathematical symbol, “÷”. If the entire album is like the two new singles, it has been worth the wait.
// Blaudzun – “Jupiter (Part II)”
March 3, 2017
Blaudzun, with its beautiful lyrical imagery and multi-instrumentalist sounds, is one of my favorite artists originating in the Netherlands. Last year, frontman Johannes Sigmond announced the album trilogy titled “Jupiter” of which the second part is set to release early this year.
// Royal Blood – TBA
Back in 2014, Royal Blood’s debut album became my absolute favorite album of that year (although it was a tight race with The Black Keys’ “Turning Blue”) and now its sequel is well underway. The duo teased the release with a trailer and claimed the new album sounds “sexy” and “confident”, assuring us that they haven’t “turned into Keane”. Allright then.
// HAIM – TBA
The Haim sisters surprised friend and foe with their 2013 debut “Days Are Gone”, a feisty, fearless and powerful album. Their sound is a combination of R&B, rock and Motown – a strange mixture of youthful playfulness and grown-up confidence. Este, Danielle and Alana have teased us enough about their new record, and this Summer it’s finally time for some new sounds.
// London Grammar – TBA
English trio London Grammar has been completely radio-silent for a while after the enormous success of their 2013 debut album “If You Wait”. Critics and listeners alike were impressed by Hannah Reid’s unique and atmospheric vocals and the band’s hypnotizing sounds. After touring through Europe and a little hiatus, London Grammar is all set to release their sophomore effort. New single “Rooting for You” is a glimpse into, what seems, another great album.
// Lorde – TBA
In a recent Facebook page in celebration of her 20th birthday, New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde announced her new album will be released “very soon”. Back in 2013, she released her highly-praised debut album “Pure Heroine”, featuring hits like “Royals” and “Team” and in 2014 Lorde compiled the official soundtrack of the final “The Hunger Games” films. Then Disclosure co-released “Magnets” and the waiting for Lorde’s second album begun. This time, the release seems to be closer than ever.
// Depeche Mode – “Spirit”
I blame my sister for this entry, because she has been listening to 80s music non-stop and it really brought me back to listening to Depeche Mode again. Their 14th (!) studio album, is set to be released early this year. For this record, Depeche Mode has teamed up with producer James Ford, who has previously worked with Arctic Monkeys, The Last Shadow Puppets, HAIM, Foals and Florence + The Machine, and Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn for all the album’s visuals.
// Sigur Rós – TBA
During the Summer of 2016, Iceland’s greatest export product Sigur Rós released their first new music since 2013’s album “Kveikur”. This has got our hopes up for an entire album full of new magical and haunting tracks in 2017.
// Beck – TBA
Last year Beck really caught my attention headlining Best Kept Secret and I have been discovering his music ever since. The multi-facetted singer-songwriter is set to release a more poppy album this year, two years after the highly praised “Morning Phase”, and has supposedly been inspired by both The Beatles and Prince.
// Oscar and the Wolf – TBA
Casually announced on Facebook, frontman Max Colombie is definitely planning on releasing his sophomore record. Ever since Oscar and the Wolf released “Entity” back in 2014, the Belgian triphop foursome has been non-stop traveling throughout Europe. From Pinkpop and Werchter to Down The Rabbit Hole and Lowlands, no festival ground is safe for the sounds of “Princess“, “Strange Entity” and the freshly-released single “The Game“.
// Arcade Fire – TBA
My neurotic passion for planning and list-making is no secret and has the tendency to flare up whenever a music festival announces new artists. Naturally, when Best Kept Secret announced Arcade Fire as their headliners together with Radiohead, I embarked on a journey through the discography. Just in time for their headlining slot this Summer, Arcade Fire is set to drop a new album.
// St. Vincent – TBA
Way back in 2011, St. Vincent stormed the music world with the album “Strange Mercy”. She brings a strange and challenging mixture of pop, rock and jazz and all eyes are turned towards her latest release, which should arrive sometime this year.