There’s no doubt that 2016 was a rough year for music. It provided a solid crop of amazing albums, but with the seemingly non-stop loss of greats like Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, George Michael, Sharon Jones, Phife Dog and others, it’s now time to start looking forward.
Fortunately, there are plenty of highlights to be had in the upcoming year.
Run the Jewels - “Run the Jewels 3"
Rappers Killer Mike and El-P surprised everyone on Christmas by offering a digital copy of their highly-anticipated third album for free on their website. The link is still up, but physical copies drop on the 13th. Politically charged and featuring razor-sharp production, this one renders all end-of-year lists incomplete. They play at The Observatory North Park Jan. 30.
Bonobo - “Migration”
CRSSD Festival vet Simon Green (aka Bonobo) returns with his sixth album of technically savvy musical tapestries and lush soundscapes.
The Flaming Lips - “Oczy Mlody”
Released on bandleader Wayne Coyne’s birthday, the Grammy-winning rock pranksters drop their 15th album and first since partnering with Miley Cyrus on 23 experimental tracks last year.
Tycho - “Epoch”
Released digitally last September, the electronic composer and CRSSD Fest vet finally gets around to putting physical copies out. The album is nominated for a 2017 Grammy. Tycho will be at Coachella in April. Check out the recently announced Coachella lineup here.
Other January releases to watch for include albums from AFI (who play Feb. 20 at The Observatory North Park), Kid Koala, Foxygen, Japandroids (who will be at Music Box on March 11), Ty Segall, Train, Bell Biv DeVoe, and Cloud Nothings.
Thievery Corporation - “The Temple of I & I”
Inspired by all forms of Jamaican music and recorded on the island’s Geejam Studios, the long-running production duo of Eric Hilton and Rob Garza went method to bring fans their 10th studio album.
Ryan Adams - “Prisoner”
Surprisingly optimistic, this record was written while Adams was going through a divorce with actress/singer Mandy Moore. The singer/songwriter/producer’s 16th studio album follows his remake of Taylor Swift’s “1989" in 2015.
Other February releases include albums from Elbow, Big Sean, LeAnn Rimes, Surfer Blood, Jens Lekman, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Oddisee (who is scheduled to perform on May 5 at Music Box, and Old 97’s (who play on March 31 at Belly Up).
Temples - “Volcano”
The Brit psych rockers spent much of last year working on the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2014 debut, “Sun Structures,” and it’s almost here. The band has already released a video for lead single, “Certainty” and play March 5 at Belly Up.
Nelly Furtado - “The Ride”
Produced by Grammy-winner John Congleton (R. Kelly, Bono, The Roots), “The Ride” is Furtado’s first album since 2012’s “The Spirit Indestructible."
Other March releases include albums from Tennis (who play Feb. 22 at The Irenic), Grandaddy, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Julia Holter, Why?, British Sea Power, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and Laura Marling.
Other releases to watch for in 2017
Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, The Killers, LCD Soundsystem, Major Lazer, Lupe Fiasco, Christina Aguilera, Blondie, GZA, Kanye West, The Shins (who play on March 6 and 7 at The Observatory North Park), TLC, Modest Mouse, The Offspring, Wyclef Jean, Kelly Clarkson, St. Vincent, and T.I.