Despite there being a sizeable chunk of great music released so far this year, January to June has felt a bit like the inevitable hangover in the wake of the absolute behemoth that was 2016. Last year it felt as though the album cycles of pretty much all the biggest artists on the planet magically synced, leaving this year a little underwhelming so far. Thankfully, the second half of this year has plenty to offer in terms of massive releases to look forward to.
THE BIG 5
1. ARCADE FIRE – EVERYTHING NOW – JULY 28
Anyone unsure why a new Arcade Fire album is exciting has likely never listened to them before. With four 9/10 studio albums released so far in their career, Arcade Fire are a band with a decent claim to be the best of the 21st century. Everything Now will be their first album since 2013 and it will be intriguing to see to what extent they continue with the synthetic dance rhythms of Reflektor.
2. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE – VILLAINS – AUGUST 25
Another band that might be the best of this century is QOTSA, who will release the followup to 2013’s …Like Clockwork at the end of August. The lead single is decent but a little too tidy, possibly because of surprise producer, and man responsible for the atrocity that is ‘Uptown Funk’, Mark Ronson. Still, Josh Homme doesn’t let us down and if this new one is anywhere near as good as …Like Clockwork or last year’s collaboration with Iggy Pop, then we are set for another outstanding record.
3. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM – AMERICAN DREAM – SEPTEMBER 1
Finally it has a release date. After over a year of phenomenal live performances, James Murphy will return with the LCD Soundsystem reunion album. There is a lot of pressure on American Dream because its very existence poses a threat to the band’s holy trinity of albums. If it’s not up to scratch, James will be exposed as a pretender who got bored and cashed in on his own legacy. But, if the songs are all as brilliant as the first two singles, it will easily be the best album of 2017, and LCD will be remembered as one of the greatest bands of all time.
4. THE NATIONAL – SLEEP WELL BEAST – SEPTEMBER 8
English Literature students and BBC Radio 6-listening Pitchfork-reading Suburban parents will rejoice when The National return on September 8th. You should too because frontman Matt Berninger is a lyrical genius and the Dessner twins always conjure up wonderful instrumentation to create fantastic songs. The last four The National albums are all solid gold, and based on its sinister lead single, Sleep Well Beast will be too.
5. ENTER SHIKARI – THE SPARK – SEPTEMBER 22
The torchbearers of exciting modern British rock music are due to return with their fifth album by the end of the year. The Mindsweep is their finest moment so far, allowing them move into arenas, where they will be in November when they embark on another massive UK tour. Common sense suggests that the album will be released by the time that tour comes around because otherwise they will have little chance of filling those giant venues. Recent single ‘Supercharge’ probably doesn’t give us any indication of what the album will sound like, because with Shikari you never know what to expect other than that they will make you want to roundhouse kick a Tory MP into the fiery heart of the sun.
Update: The album is called The Spark and it’s out on September 22nd. ‘Live Outside’ is a song that takes a bit of getting used to. It’s undeniably catchy, but the escapist lyrics seem at odds with Shikari’s self-proclaimed “confront and attack” manifesto.
FOO FIGHTERS – Concrete and Gold – September 15
After a forgettable last album, surprise single ‘Run’ felt like a wonderful kick in the dick with its irresistible bounding drums and Grohl’s screaming. Hopefully this song is not a stylistic outlier on the new record.
FALL OUT BOY – M A N I A
Based on their single featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks, the new Fall Out Boy album could give Linkin Park’s One More Light a run for its money as the worst and most LOL of the year. We reviewed the single ‘Young and Menace’ when it was released: https://laserfalconmusic.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/fall-out-boy-young-and-menace-single-review/
Update: The album got delayed until January 2018. Bummer.
PROPHETS OF RAGE – Prophets of Rage – September 15
Original music from a Rage Against the Machine Karaoke band isn’t a particularly exciting prospect, but ‘Unfuck the World’ is alright and they’re good live, so it could be decent.
THE KILLERS – Wonderful Wonderful – September 22
Hopefully the album is better than its atrocious title. I would comment on the quality of the lead single but I haven’t heard it because I don’t really care.
WOLF ALICE – Visions of a Life – September 29
‘Yuk Foo’ is a real curveball because it’s far more aggressive than expected. I thought a first single from their much anticipated sophomore album would be a soaring anthem ready for daytime radio like ‘Bros’. Instead, we got a gnarly as fuck, explicit two minute punk song that sounds like Bikini Kill. ‘Yuk Foo’ has shit-ton of personality that was lacking at times on My Love Is Cool and we should all be excited for what Wolf Alice will bring on the followup.
LIAM GALLAGHER – As You Were – October 6
Liam Gallagher’s new single ‘Wall of Ass’ is meant to be the the first taste of the album supposed to launch his solo career. However, I do not think that this album will be released. Liam is a man who loves to appear relevant by needlessly talking shit in interviews about people more successful than him in the modern era. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before he inevitably slags off Stormzy, which will lead to him being bottled off stage at Reading & Leeds by the hardcore grime fans of Kensington. Gallagher will follow this up with a poorly timed remark about national treasure David Attenborough, whom he will call “an old tree nonce”. Days later, Attenborough will pass away, making Liam Gallagher public enemy number one of the British people. The album will be delayed before it is ultimately cancelled, and all of Beady Eye’s music will be pulled from streaming services – although no one will notice this. With Liam reviled across the nation, an Oasis reunion will be even less desired than the next movie in Sony’s Dark Universe franchise. The world will be a better place.
DEATH FROM ABOVE (1979)
They’ve returned to put Royal Blood back in their place. On ‘Freeze Me’, DFA adjust their sound for a wider audience just like they did on ‘Trainwreck 1979’ before the last album – this time with even better results. The band have said that, unlike the gap between their first two albums, “it will not be 10 years” until the next.
Update: An album is confirmed for September 8th. Mark it on the calendar.
You got this Weezer! We believe in you! This is your last chance to have a run of three good albums in a row – don’t fuck it up.
Update: It’s not The Black Album as expected – that will likely come in 2018. Weezer’s eleventh sounds like it may have a heavy sonic kinship with last year’s magnificent return to form, but will the quality be as high? Look out for it on October 27th.
ZACK DE LA ROCHA
Zack de le Rocha has crushed a few guest spots on Run the Jewels songs, so it makes perfect sense that genius producer El-P is the producer of Zack’s forthcoming solo album. ZDLR + El-P = the stuff of dreams.
Every Open Eye was disappointing overall, but if their third album has any songs as good as ‘Clearest Blue’ or ‘Leave A Trace’ then it’s happy days. They’ve been in the studio for a while now so expect at least an announcement by the end of 2017.
It’s been way too long since we last heard from one of the most exciting bands in British rock music.
AM still sucks.