10 Albums We Can’t Wait To Hear
From Kanye West to New Order – here’s the new music we’ll have on repeat this autumn
Exterior of a record Store in New York, 1958 akg-images/ Mondadori Portfolio
Fashion has spring/ summer and autumn/ winter. For the music industry, the buzzwords are just spring and autumn – with, on occasion, a little give from either side. These are the periods of the year when pop music’s big beasts emerge from their luxuriously appointed lairs, bearing new albums for our delectation – albums that record labels view as guaranteed bankers (after all, someone needs to pay for those Christmas bonuses).
This autumn may – but just as likely may not – finally see a new album from the most lucrative banker of all. Team Adele is giving nothing away, and why would it? Stealth releases, Beyoncé-style, signal to a star’s fans (and rivals) that he or she lives by a different set of rules. When Adele’s long-awaited follow up to 21 does appear, we can expect an element of surprise, probably involving the huge commercial clout of Apple Music. Not that superstardom always means quality: Beyoncé’s last, initially an iTunes-only album, was more notable for its without-warning, overnight release than for the hits – or lack of them – it contained.
The speed with which an album can now be released – a bit of coding, a Twitter tease and you’re good to go – has changed the musical landscape forever, playing havoc with promo plans, while giving pop a much-needed sense of shock value again. But it’s worth remembering that pop music also excels at a different sort of stealth: albums by newcomers, niche artists and relative unknowns that sneak up on us and spread by word of mouth. So do, by all means, keep an eagle eye on those bankers.
Remember, as the list below demonstrates, that big doesn’t almost mean best. Grimes, James Blake and John Grant may all be critically acclaimed, but their sales figures are microscopic – more’s the pity – when compared to the multi-platinum artists they rub shoulders with in our autumn preview. And BØRNS is so box-fresh that he hasn’t even attained cult status yet. Yet all four are making music of real daring and originality. Dig a little deeper and you can strike pure gold.
Release date: January 2016
The reclusive Londoner, whose last album, Overgrown, won the Mercury Prize, is still ploughing an experimental, dubstep-soul furrow, to judge by his recent headline slot at the Latitude Festival — the boho love-in held each July in the Suffolk countryside. His new album, currently titled Radio Silence, is expected to feature contributions from Mr Kanye West and Bon Iver. Originally slotted for an autumn release, it now looks more likely to appear in January.
Release date: 16 October 2015
Based in Los Angeles – where he lives in a treehouse – but hailing from Michigan, Mr Garrett Borns’ songs blend falsetto, soul vocals and euphoric electro-pop, with unpredictability — think Bee Gees meets Scritti Politti. His song “10,000 Emerald Pools” exploded online after a Twitter shout-out from Ms Taylor Swift, although its helium-voiced bubble gum-pop melody tormented as many as it enthralled. Expect more of the same with his eagerly anticipated debut album, Dopamine.
Release date: 25 September 2015
Every Open Eye, the Glasgow electro-pop three-piece’s second album is already sounding like their breakthrough moment. And, in Ms Lauren Mayberry, they have a front-woman of blazing star wattage. Her lyrics are full of shards and her vocals icily, enigmatically detached.
Release date: autumn 2015
The Canadian rapper’s not-an-album-just-a-mix-tape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, is the only one million-selling album in the US so far this year, so heaven knows how Views From The 6, his fourth album proper, will sell. Beyoncé and Willow Smith are among his rumoured collaborators. This one is going to be huge.
Release date: 9 October 2015
A US-indie-royalty side project featuring Mr Matt Berninger, lead singer of The National, and Menomena/ Ramona Falls’ Mr Brent Knopf, EL VY laid down a tantalising marker last month with Return To The Moon: the title track from their debut album. Pacy, wistful, 1980s-indebted electro-funk, it quickly became the alternative song of the summer.
Release date: 2 October 2015
The former lead singer of Denver rock band, The Czars, scooped up rave reviews and end-of-year-list top spots for his previous solo albums, The Queen of Denmark and Pale Green Ghosts. Grey Tickles, Black Pressure should follow suit. Similarly fraught and heartbreaking, its songs are alternately self-lacerating, humorous, hushed and hollering.
Release date: October 2015 (?)
The electro-R&B singer, Ms Claire Boucher, recorded her last album in a blacked-out Montréal apartment — not eating or sleeping for three weeks — so it is no surprise that her new album (mooted for October) has had such a long gestation. Fiercely uncompromising, she recently announced that one of her new alter egos is called “Screechy Bat”. We can’t say we weren’t warned.
Release date: 25 September 2015
The dance-rock veterans return this month with their 10th studio album, Music Complete – their first without their bassist, Mr Peter Hook. Mr Brandon Flowers, La Roux, Mr Iggy Pop, The Chemical Brothers’ Mr Tom Rowlands and sometime Madonna producer Mr Stuart Price are all on board. There's no doubt that this should be one heck of a party.
Release date: winter 2015
How will we rate R8, the rumoured title of Rihanna’s long-delayed new album, her eighth in her 10-year career? More to the point, when will we rate it? Two huge singles this year (“FourFiveSeconds” and “Bitch Better Have My Money”), the odd teaser track and then... silence. And conjecture. And clothes-rending impatience. Which, of course, is exactly how she wants us.
Release date: autumn 2015
Rihanna’s “FourFiveSeconds” collaborator Mr Kanye West is also proving hard to pin down. His new album was initially titled, So Help Me Good, but then renamed Swish. The controversial rapper knows he has to raise his game with acclaimed releases this year from Kendrick Lamar and Drake, among others. If anyone can do it, Kanye can. In his own sweet time though, of course.