So in lots of ways, there seems to be a solid consensus that 2016 was a flop: political chaos, economic turmoil, and the contribution of some music greats came to a final sad close. But do not fear, a new year is here with lots to be hopeful and positive about. Well, music-wise at the least. Here are ten artists you can look forward to hearing from in 2017.
After smash-hit 2013 album Pure Heroine we can finally expect Lorde’s much-anticipated follow-up this year. Despite the long gap between releases, the youthful New Zealander reared her head with work on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 soundtrack in 2014, collaborated with Disclosure on Magnets and sang Life on Mars for a David Bowie tribute at the 2016 Brit awards. There’s no telling when, what it’s called or what it entails (the Kiwi’s been making a hobby of teasing her fans) but we can expect her next album soon and we can hope to hear more of the ethereal sounds and distinctive vocals that made Tennis Court and Royals so addictive.
The kings of indie are expected to release their fifth album this year after slogging away at it in their Las Vegas studio. It’s been a long wait since 2012’s Battle Born, during which a number of the band members have pursued their own solo projects, including Brandon Flowers hitting the charts with The Desired Effect in 2015, and they all celebrated the ten year anniversary of album Sam’s Town in 2016. It’s anyone’s guess whether number five will see a return to the Hot Fuss magic that made them the rock icons we know today or see them branch out into something new, but it will certainly be one to watch.
The London trio’s (which includes producer Jamie xx) melting pot of pop-indie and bassy electronic sounds have reverberated across festival audiences, live gigs and TV soundtracks galore since their formation in 2005. After the success of Coexist and self-titled album The xx we can now imminently expect their third studio album I See You. We’ve already been teased with single On Hold, released late last year, and Say Something Loving lulled us out out of our hangovers on 2nd January, leaving high expectations for the full complement of tunes later this month.
The indie-folk band’s hypnotic harmonies and refined lyrics saw the Fleet Foxes rise to prominence with EP Sun Giant and self-titled album Fleet Foxes in 2008 (singles Mykonos and White Winter Hymnal still sound like bliss). Since, they released Helplessness Blues in 2011, narrowly missing out on a Grammy for Best Folk Album, but otherwise have been on hiatus. Word is they are now working on their next instalment. There’s no confirmation on it making it out this year but here’s hoping.
Part of this trio’s appeal is that their electronic music spans multiple genres including reggae, reggaeton and dancehall, as well as house, incorporating the vocals of a whole range of artists from Pharrell Williams and Sean Paul to Ellie Goulding, and Ariana Grande. After a fourth album being in the pipeline since 2015, it is set to finally surface this year under the title Music is the Weapon, with new collaborations rumoured to be with Belgian singer Selah Sue. Sounds like fun.
Frontman Guy Garvey announced last year that the band would be releasing their seventh studio album, to be entitled Little Fictions. After the consistent success of their previous six, peaking with uplifting 2008 track One Day Like This from award-winning The Seldom Seen Kid, and topping the UK charts with The Take Off and Landing of Everything in 2014, it seems justified to expect nothing less than the same quality music from the British alt-rockers.
The Australian model-cum-pop-rock star made waves with track Fancy from debut 2014 album The New Classic. One of the few non-American female rappers to crack the genre, it’s now up for grabs whether she can maintain her groundbreaking success with second album Digital Distortion. Lead single Team hasn’t quite reached the same heights as Fancy but watch this space for the rest of the tracks.
With a host of awards under their belt since their formation in 2010, the alternative-rock Londoners have already been the soundtrack teaser to Trainspotting 2, cementing the credibility of their grungy-folk sound and setting high expectations for their forthcoming second album. They won NME’s Best Live Band award and Giant Peach from debut album My Love is Cool won Best Track for 2016. Let’s see what they can do in 2017.
Coldplay seemed to be just about everywhere in 2016 (with Chris Martin always wearing that same outfit…are we missing something?), with multiple awards for latest Head Full of Dreams album and closing Glastonbury among the highlights. And their dominance as one of the top performing artists doesn’t look set to diminish in 2017, with their new EP Kaleidoscope out now. Ok, it’s not a full album, but if 2016 is anything to go by, we simply can’t ignore it.
This most down-to-earth of artists has been one hell of a success story. The auburn-locked Brit first caught the attention of the likes of Elton John with his independent release No. 5 Collaborations Project back in 2011, and, since, he has been lauded with awards for his lyric and musical mastery, performed stunning track The A Team’with the man himself and broken the US touring with Ms Swift. Oh, and who can forget him zorbing through Glastonbury in his Bridget Jones Baby cameo. Classic. After topping the charts with albums + (2011) and x (2014), now comes (you guessed it) ÷ and having drip-fed his fans clues to its release, Sheeran has now put out two of its tracks, Shape of You and Castle on the Hill. If these are anything to go by, this singer-songwriter hasn’t run out of steam just yet.
There’s also fresh material rumoured from Irish rockers U2, the humble Queens of the Stone Age, Canadian indie band Arcade Fire, Icelandic post-rock group Sigur Ros, veterans LCD Soundsystem, much-loved animated band The Gorillaz, moody Manc Liam Gallagher and oh-so-laidback The Shins; hiphop master Jay Z, an increasingly political Eminem and Run the Jewels; poptastic Katy Perry, new kid on the block Dua Lipa, synth-pop Sky Ferreira and Charli XCX. Also, some old-time favourites will be returning to our airwaves: Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Blondie, Depeche Mode, Beck, Deep Purple, Brian Eno, and none other than Marilyn Manson. What do we think, it’s only up from here, right? Bring on 2017.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 9th January 2017.