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22 of The Most Anticipated Albums of 2017

Music Lists 2017
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22 of The Most Anticipated Albums of 2017

After a full month of year-end lists and recaps from 2016, Paste staffers, writers, and interns are eagerly awaiting what music will wow us this year. And almost a full month into 2017, we’re already calling our personal best albums, as well as hypothesizing which artists might release new LPs. More than 50 different musicians received votes, and these are 22 of the albums we’re most excited about in 2017.

1. Father John Misty, Pure Comedy
Release date: April 7
The man behind Paste’s favorite album of 2015 has announced his next album. Father John Misty, whose I Love You Honeybear delivered a surprising dose of romantic sincerity in the midst of its earthly cynicism, announced his grand return this week. Pure Comedy is Josh Tillman’s third album under the Father John Misty moniker and is said to, “navigate[s] themes of progress, technology, fame, the environment, politics, aging, social media, human nature, human connection and his own role in it.” Expectations are high on this one. —Hilary Saunders

2. LCD Soundsystem, TBA
Release date: TBA
Honestly, no one here at Paste cares that barely anything about this album has been confirmed. Just the though of a new LCD Soundsystem record garnered the second-most number of votes among staff, writers, and interns. The New York-based dance-rock band’s frontman, James Murphy, recently wrote on the group’s Facebook page that they’re, “still working on it, but it’ll be done soon. winter tends to mess with my voice, so finishing the thing drags out.” The mysterious new album will be the first LP since 2010’s This is Happening and last year’s 2016 Coachella reunion performance. —Hilary Saunders

3. Japandroids, Near to the Wild Heart of Life
Release date: January 27, 2017
Canadian two-piece Japandroids, composed of Brian King (guitar, lead vocals) and David Prowse (drums, backing vocals), may just be the most genuine rock band in existence. The duo mines much of the same nostalgic territory as The Gaslight Anthem—girls, substance use, hometown woes—but stops short of donning retro-rock drag, opting instead to push their sound into full-blown barroom anthem terrain. Lead single “No Known Drink or Drug” kicks off as a dead-ringer for Celebration Rock’s transcendent “The House That Heaven Built” before looping back to the band’s comfort zone: overly earnest professions of love and a “Sha na na na/ Sha na na na na” chant. If the formula works, why ditch it? —Steve Foxe

4. Ryan Adams, Prisoner
Release date: February 17
Ryan Adams had been teasing a new album for a while before he announced the arrival of his 16th studio album, Prisoner. Back in July, I witnessed an acoustic performance of what would become the album’s second single, “To Be Without You,” at the Capitol Theatre in upstate New York. While singing about his emotions is nothing new for the artist, there was a honesty to the acoustic performance that sent chills down my spine. The follow-up to 1989, but his first new music since 2014’s self-titled LP, the album is a particularly personal one for Adams, addressing difficult subjects like finding yourself again after losing someone you love. He has also shared “Do You Still Love Me?” and “Doomsday,” which was appropriately released the day before the inauguration, but is, of course, about love. And if these three songs properly foreshadow what’s to come, we’re in for a powerful, intimate record that we’ll rock until doomsday and beyond. —Brittany Joyce

5. The Shins, Heartworms
Release date: March 10
The Shins, or at least this contemporary iteration of James Mercer’s indie rock project that defined the 2000s, released a new single back around Halloween of 2016. That song, “Dead Alive,” came as a bit of a surprise, but also without much additional information about other new music. Luckily, Mercer and company released a new lyric video for the poppy single “Name for You” alongside a complete album announcement at the beginning of the month: The Shins’ fifth album, and first in almost five years, is due out in the early spring. —Hilary Saunders

6. The National, TBA
Release Date: TBA
The follow-up to 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me has witnessed a slew of descriptions since its soft announcement last spring, none of which are particularly consistent. Matt Berninger called it “weird, mathy-, electronic-y” in August before reassuring that it will retain The National’s brooding darkness last fall. Aaron Dessner noted that “we’re not afraid to write hooks now.” The only concrete fact is that Berninger is co-writing the lyrics with his wife and occasional collaborator, Carin Besser, on the hardships of marriage. Creative processes are weird, and barring a surprise EDM left hook, there’s little reason to expect the next unnamed LP—recorded in Dessner’s new upstate New York studio—won’t seethe, twist and revel in desperate epiphanies like the rest of The National catalogue. —Sean Edgar

7. My Morning Jacket, TBA
Release date: TBA
Although we don’t know exactly what may or may not transpire here, a new My Morning Jacket album still ranks high on Paste’s collective wish list. Frontman Jim James released his second solo album Eternally Even last year, but also hinted at new MMJ tunes in an interview with Rolling Stone during that same press cycle. What we do know, however, is that the songs on this tentatively forthcoming release were written during the same period as those from band’s seventh’s LP, The Waterfall. —Hilary Saunders

8. St. Vincent, TBA
Release date: TBA
With the increase in attention that St. Vincent started to receive after the release of her self-titled album in 2014, Annie Clark began to diversify. After stepping back from the tour-record, rinse-repeat cycle she found herself in, she sought out to fulfill some of her other interests, which includes her directing debut, the horror film XX. She also designed a signature guitar with Ernie Ball. In a recent interview, though, Clark revealed that we can expect the next St. Vincent album to arrive this spring, and that it will bring about a “real sea change” in her sound. We’ll be eagerly waiting to hear what exactly that entails. —Carter Gray Shelter

9. HAIM, TBA
Release date: TBA
Days Are Gone, HAIM’s 2013 debut, shot sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim (and their publicity-shy drummer, Dash Hutton) to international fame, including tour dates opening for Taylor Swift, a Grammy nod and even a track on the penultimate Hunger Games soundtrack. Their sophomore effort, as yet untitled, sees them re-teaming with Days Are Gone producer Ariel Rechtshaid, as well as former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij, for a pared-down production approach more in tune with their rollicking live shows. The band debuted two new songs in concert, including the single-worthy “Nothing’s Wrong,” indicating that HAIM’s successful blend of soulful pop sensibilities and overlapping harmonies will be back in full force, just in time for summer jam season. —Steve Foxe

10. Lorde, TBA
Release date: TBA
Lorde may be younger than a lot of us, but she feels like a parent or mentor. Still, she’s significantly grown since 2013’s Pure Heroine’s, contributing to (and curating) 2014’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack and collaborating with Disclosure on the hypnotic “Magnets.” Everyone’s wishes came true in November, when she teased her upcoming album on Twitter. This go around, she’s focusing on “what comes next,” giving listeners an opportunity to reflect on their late teenage years with a little less self-hatred and a lot of poignant lyrics. —Sarra Sedghi

11. The xx, I See You
Release Date: January 13
It’s been five years since the last xx album: five years too many, if we’re being honest. We were blessed in 2015 with a Jamie xx solo album, In Colour, but for those of us craving the subtle gloomy moodiness of Romy, Oliver and Jamie together, it wasn’t enough. Luckily, I See You was released a few short weeks ago and it’s all we could have hoped for. In comparison to the group’s previous work, it’s slower in the vain of 2012’s Coexist but shines more on vocals than the 2009 xx. I See You is a dreamy, introspective polished LP that will certainly push The xx back into the spotlight this year. —Annie Black

12. Beck, TBA
Release date: TBA
To say that Beck’s been something of a new-album tease would be an understatement. After the resounding success of 2014’s Grammy-winning Morning Phase, the alt-rock god released two singles (the exuberant “Dreams” and the loopy “Wow”), plus the news of a follow-up record. The still-untitled release was initially scheduled for 2015, then 2016 and now this year, with Beck blaming its delay on the fact that he was touring and doing “a million little things.” But it’s okay — if the pop experimentalist’s alleged inspiration for the record is true (that it’s influenced by The Strokes after Beck performed with them in Hyde Park in 2015), then chances are it’ll have us drawling “woooow” all over again. —Rachel Brodsky

13. Spoon, Hot Thoughts
Release date: March 17, 2017
When Spoon dropped their last album They Want My Soul over three years ago, Paste asked frontman Britt Daniel how the 20 year-strong band rekindled the creative energy behind each album. He didn’t hesitate. You are the kindling. The eponymous first single from their latest LP, which drops on March 17, starts flickering on the opening strings of Hot Thoughts and quickly ignites into a full-blown pop-psychedelia dance jam. We’re excited to hear about Spoon’s SXSW three-night residency in support of the album release since Paste is also heading to Austin in March. —Emily Ray

14. Cloud Nothings, Life Without Sound
Release date: January 27
Following up their widely acclaimed 2014 release, Here and Nowhere Else, post-hardcore greats Cloud Nothings are due to put out their fourth record, Life Without Sound this very week. The quartet, which is led by Cleveland native Dylan Baldi, have already put out a couple of tastes of the record—the contemplative “Enter Entirely,” the dulcet “Internal World” and the frustrated “Modern Act.” If these tracks have one commonality, it’s the sonic shift from the band’s onetime penchant for loud, furious riffing and strained vocals. Instead, they opt to tone things down and place a fresh focus on crisp melody arrangements. It’s a new road for the frenetic foursome, but it’s one they navigate with panache. —Rachel Brodsky

15. The Feelies, In Between
Release date: February 24
Haledon jangle-rock torchbearers The Feelies have never been all that interested in fame, though they certainly are deserving of it. (Everyone from the novelist Rick Moody to alt-rock icons R.E.M. have voiced their admiration.) But instead of blowing up in the wake of their successful 1980 debut, Crazy Rhythms, the Glenn Mercer-led troupe have settled into their role as the ultimate indie-rock cult act, performing every so often around their New Jersey hometown and attracting even more followers when they released 2011’s reunion record Here Before. Now, six years on, they’re coming back with a follow-up disc titled In Between, and they’ve already announced supporting shows at Rough Trade Records in New York, set to happen in May. Yet another reason to get excited for spring. —Rachel Brodksy

16. Jens Lekman, Life Will See You Now
Release date: February 17
Jens Lekman’s last album 2012’s I Know What Love Isn’t was a soul-crushing breakup record. But, the Swedish songwriter’s forthcoming album is said to move away from those these themes. Life Will See You Now is the artist’s existential life crisis record, but conveys such befuddlement through optimistic musical developments like disco beats and steel pan samples. —Hilary Saunders

17. Granddaddy, Last Place
Release Date: March 3
Despite the fact that Grandaddy was formed when I was just an infant, the band has such a timeless quality in their sound that when I first heard their song “A.M. 180” I was certain Grandaddy was an up-and-coming group that would soon be all over the music sites and blogs. Obviously, I was wrong. After a six year split, the band reformed in 2012 and now, five years later, are releasing their first LP since 2006’s The Fambly Cat. Last Place will be released in March and if the single “Evermore” is any indication, it will be a fuzzy nod to ‘80s dream pop. —Annie Black

18. Alison Krauss – Windy City
Release date: February 17
Any album by the most-decorated country & bluegrass artist of all time is always something of an event and a guaranteed top-seller. But that alone does not make a record worth beating the drum for. Respect must be paid to Ms. Krauss for her adherence to a throwback sound that is equal parts modern gloss and ‘70s grit. And for her excellent song choices here, which pulls from the vast history of country music to include classics by Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Brenda Lee, and Glen Campbell. —Robert Ham

19. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Damage & Joy
Release date: March 24
The thrill of the first new album in nearly 20 years from William and Jim Reid’s long-running U.K. pop group comes from the fact that it could sound like anything at all. The band has tried its hand at everything from feedback-drenched twee to acid house-inspired bangers to pure garage-psych. All we have to go by so far is one single (“Amputation”) that finds the duo getting minimalist and groovy. Where they go from there is anyone’s guess, but goodness knows we’re going to follow them. —Robert Ham

20. Temples, Volcano
Release Date: March 3
The first Temples album sounded like it could have been released in the midst of the psychedelic era, and we’re hoping Volcano is similar. One of the first leaked/live tracks said to be on the upcoming release, “Strange or be Forgotten,” is a floating, quixotic track, a mix between Tame Impala’s Currents and MGMT’s Congratulations, if both of those albums had been produced by David Byrne. —Annie Black

21. Sky Ferreira, Masochism
Release Date: Summer
Sky Ferreira has done her damnedest to twist the DNA of confectionary pop over the course of her musical career, spanning one good EP and one great long play. Her tracks may feature reverb-drenched ‘80s percussion, buoyant guitars and lyrics of love and loss, but that accessibility denies a dark and cerebral core. Her nude torso and effusively unhappy expression on the cover of 2013’s Night Time, My Time—shot by filmmaker Gaspar Noe—fronted a vulnerability that defined standout tracks “I Blame Myself” and “Ain’t Your Right.” The title of upcoming album Masochism hints at a deeper dive into that interiority—Ferreira has stated that it refers to her treatment of herself and artistic evolution, not political or social commentary. The inclination may be to label her as a model/actress dabbling with A-list producers, but she’s more than proven her artistry at challenging audiences and mainstream radio with accessible music as weighty as it is delicious. —Sean Edgar

22. Grizzly Bear, TBA
Release date: TBA
It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Grizzly Bear. After their 2012 album Shields and the subsequent tour, the Brooklyn indie rock quartet seemed to sort of disappear. Members embarked on various side projects, including scoring HBO’s High Maintenance. But 2016 saw the band spring back to life. News arrived that they’d be heading to the studio to record a new album and they performed a brief set at a Bernie Sanders rally in April. In October they announced that they were “90% done” and said that would be the last update until we hear it. Sounds close enough to a forthcoming album for us. —Carter Gray Shelter

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