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The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016

on December 28, 2015, 12:00am
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Artwork by Cap Blackard

By now, you are probably sick of recapping 2015. But looking back at the year, one thing that sticks out is how many of Consequence of Sound’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2015 didn’t actually come out. Some, like Rihanna’s Anti and Kanye West’s Swish, could be dropping at any moment. Others, like ChromaticsDear Tommy and Frank Ocean’s next album, seem just as far away now as they did this time last year. And still others, like the long-anticipated return of The Wrens, seem destined to keep us waiting forever.

Will this year’s crop of 50 Most Anticipated Albums see more hits and fewer misses? Who knows, but if we get a majority of the 50 albums listed below, we will be in for quite the docket of heavy hitters in 2016.
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David BowieDavid Bowie –

Release Date: January 8th via Columbia/RCA Company

Why We’re Excited: David Bowie is back in full effect. His reemergence with 2013’s The Next Day picked up where his 1970s experimentation left off and quickly earned a high-ranking place within the Bowie pantheon. Now we have ★, an even more unconventional record, steeped in jazz and eerie production. From what we’ve heard of the record so far, including the stunning 10-minute-long title track, ★ appears to be cut from the same cloth as Bowie’s other most creatively fertile era: Outside. While ★ might not be the long-awaited sequel to his “non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-cycle,” what we’ve heard so far is all the noir and genre-fusion dynamism of Outside with the cyberpunk traded for Aleister Crowley and Stanley Kubrick. ★ promises to showcase Bowie fully unrestrained and following his creative whims into truly alien territory. It might serve to be the most “Bowie” Bowie record of all time. –Cap Blackard

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Hinds - Leave Me Alone albumHinds – Leave Me Alone

Release Date: January 8th via Mom+Pop Records

Why We’re Excited: The “lo-fi garage rock” label gets thrown around so much that it gets exhausting. But groups like Hinds are a great reminder of why it’s become such an autonomous genre over the last half-decade. The Madrid band’s hollow arrangements create vivid images of burnout days and wild nights. There’s a nonchalantness with their music that makes it so inviting. It’s like sitting in on your friend’s band practice, and your friend’s band is actually great. So far we’ve only gotten glimpses of their clashing harmonies and eluding sneer. Now we’ll get to indulge in it unashamedly with their debut, Leave Me Alone. –Dusty Henry

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ChairliftSingleChairlift – Moth

Release Date: January 20th via Columbia Records

Why We’re Excited: Coming out in January, Chairlift’s long-awaited third album has the potential to be the first great record of 2016. In the four years since the vibrant ‘80s pop of their breakout album, Something, songwriter Caroline Polachek kept busy, releasing an experimental pop solo record under the name Ramona Lisa, guest starring on tracks with contemporaries like Blood Orange, and having a writing credit on “No Angel” from Beyoncé’s self-titled 2013 album. Both singles released from Moth, “Ch-Ching” and “Romeo” consistently showed the duo’s strengths at crafting bright and energetic songs with swooning vocals that capture the rush of falling in love. In an interview with Pitchfork, Polachek described the record as a tribute to New York, contrasting the futuristic and horrifying aspects of the city within their dance-focused songs. At the very least, the record should provide a joyful soundtrack for late winter gloom. –David Sackllah

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eleanor friedberger new view albumEleanor Friedberger – New View

Release Date: January 20th via Frenchkiss Records

Why We’re Excited: There’s no telling how long we should expect to wait — if at all — for new material from indie-pop duo Fiery Furnaces, on hiatus since 2011, but luckily we haven’t ever had to wait long for something from one half in the meantime. Co-bandleader Eleanor Friedberger will release her third solo album (each released since her band went on pause), New View, next month, which is preceded by the single “He Didn’t Mention His Mother”: a textbook example of her more traditionally structured and melody-focused songs, which once again sounds like it would not be out of place on a list of the year’s best. –Steven Arroyo

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savages adore life new album The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Savages – Adore Life

Release Date: January 22nd via Matador Records

Why We’re Excited: When Savages stormed into our hearts and minds in 2013 with their debut, Silence Yourself, it was stunning how fully formed the young band was, so confident was their sound and so complete their selfhood. The cohesion of their identity awed listeners and critics, but it also raised the question: where will Savages go from here? Thankfully, the answer – their second album, Adore Life – is just weeks away. Some things have stayed the same: close collaborator Johnny Hostile stays on as a producer, and the band have picked a commanding imperative for the album title. But some are thrillingly different, like how Savages road-tested and fine-tuned Adore Life through a three-week residency at various New York venues last January (the crowd-centric music video for first single “The Answer” is probably a nod to that experience). The result is an album fueled by a furious lust for life. “It’s aggressive,” Beth said of the record. “Words of hope in a world of doom.” If 2015 has showed us anything, it’s the fact that the world is bleak, and so Savages are necessary. –Karen Gwee

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ben kaye wet 5 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Wet – Don’t You

Release Date: January 29th via Columbia Records

Why We’re Excited:  Fans of Wet have been waiting nearly three years for the CoSigned trio to drop a full-length LP. Finally, followers will get what they’ve been wishing for with the impending release of the band’s major label debut. With just one EP in 2013, the previously Brooklyn-based Western Massachusetts outfit endeared listeners with their R&B-tinged synthpop on tracks like “You’re the Best” and “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl”. That latter track resurfaces on Don’t You, but has been reworked to reflect the band’s lusher atmospheres. Minimalism still plays a role in Wet’s sound, but so does intricate layering.

The undeniably lovely “Dead Water” was the first track to introduce their expanding sound, followed by the achingly beautiful “Weak”. Loss is still as much of a theme as ever, as evident on “It’s All in Vain”. It turns out all that time between EP and LP has given the band time to let their music become fully formed so that, as frontwoman Kelly Zutrau put it, they could “feel good about these songs and not finish until they were perfect.” We’ll see how perfect they can make it when Don’t You drops in late January. –Ben Kaye

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sviib The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016School of Seven Bells – SVIIB

Release Date: February 12th via Vagrant Records

Why We’re Excited: School of Seven Bells co-founder Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) tragically passed away in 2013 after being diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. Though it comes as only a slight silver lining on a massive storm cloud, Alejandra Deheza announced that she would release one last album under the band’s name, fusing material Curtis had recorded prior to his death with her own new recordings. SVIIB will be the first School of Seven Bells album since 2012’s Ghostory, a divisive record that dripped dream pop gloss over a haunting narrative. Lead SVIIB single “Open Your Eyes” sounds inherently driven by Curtis’ passing — Deheza’s chopped, florid vocals piece together what sounds like the phrase “moving on,” and all the talk about waking up feels extra desperate and tragic. Deheza told Noisey that she only included tracks on which she and Curtis worked together, and the resulting album surely carries all the weight and depth of her loss, working through her pain and without her other half. But she also insists that the album has a joyous side, celebrating his life. Surely, SVIIB will be an immensely cathartic and emotionally powerful album. –Adam Kivel

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animal collective painting with new album avey The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Animal Collective – Painting With

Release Date: February 19th via Domino

Unless you were one of the fortunate few to be traveling through Baltimore Washington International Airport on Thanksgiving weekend, odds are you have yet to hear Painting With, the new album from Animal Collective. Lead single “FloriDada” has been made available to the non-airport masses, and its rapid, joyous tempo, bolstered as always by infectious harmonies, is a promising indication of what listeners can expect from Animal Collective’s first full-length album since 2012’s Centipede Hz. While sometime member Deakin is once again in absentia, Collective regulars Panda Bear, Avey Tare, and Geologist have welcomed musicians like John Cale and Colin Stetson to help fill the gap. Inspired by Cubism, Dadaism, and various other art modes, and featuring what Tare describes as “really short songs: no B.S.,” Painting With should be the latest opus from one of music’s most original forces. –Zack Ruskin

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Santigold-99-Cents-560x560Santigold – 99¢

Release Date: February 26th via Atlantic Records 

Why We’re Excited: It’s been three whole years with only a handful of singles and soundtrack contributions, so it’s about time Santigold (aka Santi White) got back in the groove and gave us an album. 99¢ rolls out in late February, and from what we’ve heard so far, the thing sound likes like a funky, starry, bassy comeback (thanks in no small part to kicky contributions from TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, Sam Dew, Hit-Boy, Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, and a fiesta of other folks). According to White last November, the album’s a meditation on how we negotiate our own realities, all the while playing with those realities through personality development and identity. So, an album that is simultaneously self-aware and subwoofer thumping? If the crunchy-good first singles, “Who Be Lovin’ Me” and “Can’t Get Enough of Myself”, are any indicator, we are down with some elevated me time. –Blake Goble

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The-1975-CoverThe 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It

Release Date: February 26th via Vagrant Records

Why We’re Excited: Everything we know about The 1975’s forthcoming album hints at nigh-unprecedented levels of excess, from the verbosity of the title (I Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It) to the neon-drenched music video for lead single “Love Me”. Right now, “Love Me” is our best indication of what the follow-up to The 1975’s self-titled debut will actually sound like, and there’s plenty to get excited about if you overlook the blatant ripping off of David Bowie’s “Fame”. This brave new version of the band comes across like a fever dream of the 1980s — especially singer Matt Healy, who seems to have ditched nuance for something more flamboyant and potentially more interesting. Is 2016 the year of The 1975? That sentence isn’t easy to read, and neither is the band itself. In a few weeks, we’ll see if they aspire to save pop music or merely join its rank and file. –Collin Brennan

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