1. Mastodon, “TBA”Mastodon is easily one of my favorite bands, and they have consistently put out brilliant albums that range from progressive rock opuses to weird takes on angry surf rock. The band is reuniting with producer Brendan O’Brien, who worked on said prog rock opus “Crack The Skye” (which in my time as a student I wrote a lengthy thesis on), and the band themselves have said they are going back to the concept album way of framing a record. Nothing has been released as of yet, and a lot of people have become skeptical of the band’s ability to focus lately (the collective members are involved in five other projects at the time of this writing), but I have faith in Mastodon to deliver something special.
2. Run The Jewels, “RTJ3”In what can only be described as (in their own words) “a Christmas [effing] Miracle,” Killer Mike and El-P surprise-dropped the free digital version of RTJ3 on Christmas Day on their website. So go and grab that and then come back and we’ll talk about it. Back? OK. Upon first listen, I was a little underwhelmed. But after bumping it in the car for a few days, I can say that starting the new year off with RTJ3 will make it hard for Kanye and Jay-Z (who also have albums slated for release in 2017) to keep up. Plus, it has a Danny Brown feature, and I love me some Danny Brown.
3. Queens of the Stone Age, “TBA”OK, time to get real for a second. QOTSA’s last album, “Like Clockwork,” may be the greatest rock album of all time. I said it. It’s out there. Come fight me. In interviews from around its release, frontman Joshua Homme said that they thought about making “Like Clockwork” a double album, but decided to trim it down and let the songs breathe a bit. Fans have been waiting patiently to hear the second half of this supposed double album for a long time, and this year we may finally have a chance to hear those tracks. QOTSA is an enigma of rock music, at times soft and gentle, at times more raucous than some of the craziest metal that I listen to. This will be one to watch, and in the meantime, familiarize yourself with the band’s absolutely brilliant back catalog.
4. Gorillaz, “TBA”After releasing a series of cryptic images on Instagram earlier this year, Damon Albarn will finally return with the first new Gorillaz material in six years (if you include “The Fall,” which most people don’t seem to know exists). Confession time. When I was in high school, I hated Gorillaz. Didn’t see the appeal at all, until a dear friend showed me “Demon Days Live at the Manchester Opera House.” And then it all clicked, and I was obsessed. Though I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Plastic Beach,” I am still very excited to see what multi-instrumentalist wonderboy Damon Albarn brings to the table with this new record.
5. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Damage and Joy”After the year that we have had, the world needs a new Jesus and Mary Chain album. Always somehow depressing and uplifting, this will be the first JaMC in almost a decade, and features the return of quintessential siblings Jim and William Reid. The single they released a week or so ago sounds like their classic take on alternative rock (back when that genre tag actually meant something), and after seeing them on their return tour a year or so ago, I am very excited about the possibilities this new record provides. Seems they are on the top of their game again.
Other notables with albums coming out this year (hopefully): Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Neutral Milk Hotel, Beck, Ryan Adams, Bjork, Missy Elliot, Black Hippy, Pissed Jeans and a whole lot more!Cooper Stapleton