There’s no doubt that 2015 was a musically thrilling year. Adele demolished sales records, Kendrick Lamar dominated Grammy nominations and handfuls of really great albums were released.
Madonna, Neil Young, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones and Foo Fighters all brought their mega-shows to our city, and San Diego again proved an excellent host to big festivals with CRSSD and KAABOO.
Amazingly, 2016 is looking even better. Here’s how:
It won’t take long for things to get started in the New Year. David Bowie’s “Blackstar” (Columbia) is set to drop on Jan. 8 - the iconic pop star’s 69th birthday. Featuring a pair of tracks with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, it’s Bowie’s 25th album overall.
An unusually strong January will close with Savages’ “Adore Life” (Matador), Ty Segall’s “Emotional Mugger” (Drag City), and a self-titled release from new super group Nevermen, which consists of Faith No More’s Mike Patton, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, and Doseone of clouddead.
Before the first quarter of the year is over, new albums from Santigold, Polica, M. Ward, DIIV, De La Soul, Primal Scream, Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place, and Jeff Buckley are all scheduled.
And while exact dates aren’t set, 2016 should also see releases from the likes of Beyoncé, James Blake, Blink 182, PJ Harvey, HAIM, Lush, Frank Ocean, Radiohead, Spiritualized, The xx, and Run The Jewels, among others.
As diverse and exciting as its vinyl/digital counterparts, the next 12 months also will bring some great live music.
Didn’t get enough Kygo at CRSSD? Then make your way to Navy Pier on Jan. 23 for some more of the Norwegian DJ’s electro-tropical beats.
Rihanna is kicking off her massive “Anti World” tour at Viejas Arena on Feb. 26, and Goth kings The Cure will return once again to Sleep Train Amphitheatre on May 20.
Guitar-slinger Gary Clark Jr. is at House of Blues March 11, country legend Vince Gill at Copley Symphony Hall on March 24, and the Valley View Casino Center has both Justin Bieber and The Who among its already scheduled 2016 dates.
And that’s just barely scratching the surface. Is Guns ‘n’ Roses hitting the road this year? Will Pearl Jam reprise 2013’s three-an-a-half-hour masterpiece at SDSU? Who knows? But there are some great upcoming smaller shows, like Ty Segall, Talib Kweli & Hi Tek, Dr. Dog, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Quantic, Twin Shadow, and Thee Oh Sees to keep you busy while you wait.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to email@example.com.