It’s June 1st, the 182nd day of the year, the halfway point of 2016, and a major release day for albums (namely Blink-182…do you see the irony). To start Q3 off right, here’s my updated list of most-anticipated albums of the year, in alphabetical order.
AFI – Conveniently announced TODAY, AFI will release an album this year to continue an impressive string of good-to-great albums.
AJ McLean/Backstreet Boys – I honestly expected both of these albums to be out by now. With work apparently still being done on both, I’m assuming we’ll only see one of these records released this year: either the man-band’s 5th post-hiatus record or McLean’s second solo record. I’d be pleased with either.
Artifex Pereo – This new, wildly talented post-hardcore-meets-prog band from Louisville, Kentucky released one of my favorite albums of 2014, Time in Place. It was possibly the best debut of that year, next to Dirty Loops’ Loopified, and we have no reason not to expect another group of beautifully crafted, intellectually challenging numbers on PASSENGERS, due September 9th.
Brand New – I’m not a fan of lead single “I Am a Nightmare,” but the world over should be interested in the FACT that we’ll be getting the first Brand New album since 2009.
Butch Walker – Multiple friends of mine have already heard Stay Gold, and apparently we should all be prepared for this Nashville-tinged to rank highly on our year-end lists. Butch is back!
The Dear Hunter – Recorded in secret at the same time as last year’s Act IV, Act V will be the final “rock record” of The Dear Hunter’s concept series. Lead single “Gloria” has got me excited, but then again, the lead single for Act IV was better than almost anything else on it. Hopefully the songs here will be top-notch.
Eisley – Although the sister band has reduced to simple a project for Sherri Bemis-DuPree, a new album from Eisley will be a pleasant treat regardless. Will Yip is producing the album as we speak.
Every Time I Die – Low Teens. Whatever that means. We’ll find out September 23rd, but until then, we can go back and enjoy the discography of this wild and crazy hardcore (and other things) band that seems to get better with almost every record. Their discography is one for the records, with Low Teens destined to be another success–especially with rumors of vocalist Keith Buckley’s most inspired and personal lyrics to date.
From Indian Lakes – I’m not a huge fan of FIL’s recorded works, but I’m a massive fan of their live show, so I’ll always be excited to see what’s next. Triple Crown Records has stated that we can expect a new album in 2016.
House of Heroes – Out today, Colors is somewhat a return to form for the experimental-turned-pop rockers. The huge harmonies and proggy dynamics are back. I’ve spent a month with this record and can say it is indeed very good.
Maxwell – The best of modern R&B tends to fall on the side of neo-soul, and neo-soul has few champions like Maxwell. The versatile, visionary vocalist released the first album of a supposed trilogy back in 2009. The wait was long, but the second album is out today: blackSUMMERS’night. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait until 2023 for blacksummers’NIGHT.
Norma Jean – Although the band has basically emptied itself of all original members, the world’s first notable Christian metalcore might be releasing its third masterpiece in a row. Norma Jean has also never released a bad album, so don’t bet on that happening now. Expect Polar Similar on September 9th.
Now, Now – Little is known about this album except that it’s coming. If it’s anywhere near as good as Threads, it’ll be great.
Okkervil River – It’s easy to throw around superlatives, but 2013’s The Silver Gymnasium legitimately stands as one of my all-time favorite records. I couldn’t be more excited for what’s next when Away arrives September 9th.
Paramore – The band is back in the studio with Justin Meldal-Johnson, recording at least a portion of the follow-up to 2013’s incredible s/t record. If everything goes according to plan, we could be seeing a Q4 release.
Ryan Adams – After releasing his version of 1989, Adams announced in an interview alongside Taylor Swift that he has a 2xLP that’s just about ready to go. Coming off of an incredible self-titled record, Adams is raring for another golden release.
The Shins – Also announced today, the next Shins album is almost finished. This band is basically legendary at this point, so what they do will always be fascinating.
Touché Amoré – Due September 16th, Stage Four has a lot going for it: the growing potential of one of the hardcore scene’s brightest young talents, the heartbreaking life events during which these songs were written, and a guest spot from Julien Baker.
Usher – The album is titled Flawed, and a surprise release could be hitting us any week now. Two singles were recently released.
Will Hoge – Insider information tells me that country music’s best secret is planning to follow-up last year’s Small Town Dreams as soon as possible. Since that was one of my favorite albums last year, let’s sure hope so.
Wolves at the Gate – I got to see a song from this still untitled album performed live and it was one of the most stunning things I’ve ever heard at a concert. Magical. Get ready.
Yellowcard – To end on a bittersweet note, Yellowcard are officially calling it quits. Honestly, though, there’s not really a better way to go out than to give fans one final album, giving fans the foreknowledge that this will be the swan song. The self-titled album is slated for September 30th.