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The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017

on December 28, 2016, 12:00am
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real estateReal Estate – TBA

Release Date: TBA 

Why We’re Excited: Real Estate may have spent their time between albums cracking open their own beers, but let’s not forget they also spent 2015 and 2016 at work in the studio, too. When interviewed about his side project Ducktails, guitarist Matt Mondanile told FACT Magazine that Real Estate’s fourth album will likely be even more LA-sounding than before because of his recent move to California. Then he up and left the band, being replaced by Julian Lynch and leaving the identity of Real Estate somewhat in question. The band has unveiled their new lineup with 2016 live dates, trying out new material along the way. Our last big update from the group was in August when they were mixing the new release, giving reason to believe that the group’s fourth album should be announced shortly. –Nina Corcoran

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u2 songs of ascent The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017U2 – Songs of Experience

Release Date: TBA 

Why We’re Excited: U2 have been grasping at straws for relevance ever since the notoriously botched release of Songs of Innocence, which is remembered less as a surprisingly solid late-career album (it is) than as a plague on everyone’s iTunes account. But as Achtung Baby and All That You Can’t Leave Behind have reminded us before, the Irish rockers are masters of reinvention and tend to learn from their colossal mistakes. Sure, the inclusion of OneRepublic frontman and studio superstar Ryan Tedder as co-producer smacks of desperation, but desperation and brilliance share the same area code in the world of U2. And let’s be honest, it’s hard to call them desperate when they’ve written, according to The Edge, over 50 songs for the album with lyrics “stronger than War.” Besides, even if the album’s a total bust, we’ll at the very least get to see them perform The Joshua Tree this year — not to mention, at The Farm for Bonnaroo. –Collin Brennan

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grandaddy The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017Grandaddy – Last Place

Release Date: March 3rd on 30th Century Records

Why We’re Excited: It’s been a decade since Grandaddy last released an album, with only a small set of reunion dates in 2012 to speak of in terms of activity. And the news of the album didn’t take the form of some grand announcement, but rather a series of tweets from mastermind Jason Lytle that casually documented his work on what will be Grandaddy’s fifth album. Lytle has steadily been releasing music under his own name for the past 10 years, so the return to the Grandaddy project hopefully will speak to some inspired songwriting and a reason to get the band back together. The group’s track record is very strong, and it seems unlikely that Lytle would want to tarnish the best thing to ever come out of Modesto, California. If the early singles, including the excellent “Way We Won’t” are any indicator, we’re in for a return to form. –Philip Cosores

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Depeche ModeDepeche Mode – Spirit

Release Date: Spring

Why We’re Excited: Depeche Mode narrowly missed induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, but the progenitive ectro-pop outfit fortunately have better things to do than live off their vast credentials. Next year will see the release of Spirit, the band’s 14th studio effort and first since 2013’s Delta Machine. Details so far are scarce, but what little we do know sounds promising. James Ford of Simean Mobile Disco manned the album’s production, and frontman Dave Gahan told Rolling Stone that Ford’s input helped “guide” the band. That’s not very surprising given the sonic debt that Simean Mobile Disco owes the band, and it will be interesting to see what kind of inspiration Depeche Mode takes from one of their most prodigious followers. Snippets from the record that have so far been released sound reliably dark, complex, and catchy, so the band at the very least sounds like they’re in their comfort zone. –Ryan Bray

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phosphorescentthumb The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017Phosphorescent

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Matthew Houck, the man behind the Phosphorescent moniker, took a relatively easy path through 2015. He released a live album in February 2015, but wasn’t on the road much after that until a scattering of 2016 dates that felt designed for his band to shake off some rust. His Instagram has been filled with pictures of the band working in a makeshift living room studio apparently set up in Nashville. Some of the images include dueling drum kits, outdoor acoustic sessions, and imposing scores of cables. All this leads one to believe that the follow-up to 2013’s magnificent Muchacho is shaping up to be one of Phosphorescent’s most ornate albums to date and hopefully as lush and moving as ever. –Ben Kaye

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wolf paradeWolf Parade

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Six years out from releasing their last album, there was very little reason to suspect that Wolf Parade would be returning. Main songwriters Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug had each further developed their unique voices, the former culminating in the superb 2016 Operators LP, Blue Wave, the latter most recently with another album in collaboration with experimental Finnish rockers Siinai. But then the rumbling started, rumor that the long-gone group were up to something. And, lo and behold, Boeckner, Krug, Arlen Thompson, and Dante DeCaro dropped an EP in May, proof that not only were they ready to return, but that that return would be as thrilling as their sterling initial run. “The focus was to be creative together again. It wasn’t to learn how to play our old songs together,” Krug told Pitchfork, and that passion and intensity came through in the EP and subsequent live performances. There’s a loose, honest feeling to the whole reunion, a good sign for whenever that new album decides to drop. –Lior Phillips

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grizzly bearGrizzly Bear

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: In October, Grizzly Bear tweeted a promising bit of hope for 2017: “Album 90 percent done. Last update until you hear it.” Given the band hit the studio in June, their rate of recording suggests the album will come out sometime in the second, if not first, quarter of the year. It’s the indie rock giants’ first record since 2012’s Shields, a record of fierce guitar and even more dramatic swirls of percussion than previously heard from the band, especially on “Sleeping Ute” and “Half Gate”. If Ed Droste’s Instagram is any indication, this record could pack quite a political punch with a touch of piano balladry, too. –Nina Corcoran
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my morning jacket The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2017My Morning Jacket

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: In an interview with Rolling Stone, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James said he plans on recording the follow-up to 2015’s The Waterfall in the spring. Oddly enough, most of these new songs were written during the recording of The Waterfall, though he’s giving them space to grow and evolve. “You never know what’s actually gonna happen when you get down to recording,” he says. He has, however, described the new stuff as “propulsive” and rock & roll,” an approach that dovetails nicely with the band’s third album, It Still Moves, which they re-released in 2016. –Randall Colburn

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Spiritualized 2012Spiritualized – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Because patience is truly a virtue. In January of 2015, Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce revealed via Facebook he was enlisting the talents of Killing Joke’s YOUTH to produce his yet-to-be-titled eighth full-length studio album. At the time of the post, the duo had already started work at YOUTH’s London-based studio, embarking on a venture that was to be completed mid-2015 in Spain. Since those initial murmurs, virtually zero details surfaced of the ongoing project until a series of tweets revealed 2017 release intentions. The silence wasn’t totally unprecedented; while Spiritualized’s 2003 effort Amazing Grace was recorded in just three weeks, 2008’s follow-up, Songs in A&E, was delayed due to a lengthy illness. The last we heard, Pierce indicated this might be the final album of his career, increasing the weight that its release carries. –Derek Staples
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dirty projectors 2012Dirty Projectors

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: “I don’t know why you abandoned me,” Dave Longstreth begins on “Keep Your Name”, presumably the first new track from the upcoming album from Dirty Projectors. And, for the rest of the song, he sounds entirely alone, letting the sadness drip, shifting his voice into a downturned mourn, sampling the vocals from a love song that he sang with his now conspicuously absent bandmate/partner. “We don’t see eye to eye,” the sample loops. For fans only recently acquainted with the project, the lack of soaring harmonies and approachable, hook-y structures might be even more stunning than the raw emotion; but the shivering electronic percussion recalls The Getty Address, and the open-hearted insular solo vocals echo the The Glad Fact, Longstreth returning to the tools he’d used to create masterpieces long before he and Amber Coffman had struck upon the pop majesty of “Stillness Is the Move”. “Keep Your Name” also features a Dan Deacon sample and modular synths from former Battles frontman Tyondai Braxton, signalling more eccentric choices are in store. –Lior Phillips

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