Most Anticipated Albums Of 2016 (part 1)

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Think this list is awesome? Part 2 is even better!

A Will Away

Not to be brash, but A Will Away should be slightly frightened by the amount of pressure that alternative fans have already burdened the band with. Expectations for the band’s debut full-length have been set at an almost insurmountable level as their five-song release Bliss was arguably one of the best EPs to ever come out of the alternative scene. As if that was not enough, the band must live up to their new label’s flawless and legendary discography that has produced multiple “scene classics” such as Brand New’s Deja Entendu, and Firework’s Gospel. With all of this taken into consideration, A Will Away seem to be hitting their stride and are in a perfect position to capitalize on one of the year’s most anticipated and eagerly awaited records. Look for the band to continue to cultivate and further experiment with their twinge and twang Midwestern-emo sound they unleashed in 2015.  – Colin

Animal Collective

Animal Collective has had a massive hand in shaping the landscape of modern indie/electronic music. Their mission to merge unruly indie rock with an artful exploration of sound and rhythm has made them a crucial act for years. It’s now been quite some time since the band has released anything under their ‘collective’ moniker, and longer still since they have given fans something truly original. If Animal Collective manages to not repeat themselves and retread familiar territory, we could be in for something special this year. – Nick

Arms Aloft

Arms Aloft should be your favourite punk band. These guys write some of the most honest, heartbreaking and downright bleak songs you’ve ever heard, all the while making you punch the air and sing along with a stupid grin on your face. Scheduled for an October release, this album should make everyone’s end-of-year list and comes out just in time for Arms Aloft’s annual pilgrimage to their spiritual home, that wonderful and ridiculous time of year that can only be Fest. – Conor

Balance & Composure

There’s some mild indication that Balance and Composure are working on a new album, which is more than good enough for me The Things We Think We’re Missing was released almost three years ago and, despite how awesome it still is, I would love to hear how those three years have influenced their writing. – Dylan


After a well-earned break after the outstanding Colourmeinkindness, Basement is back and coming out strong. With members living on two different continents and three strong singles, the album is set to feature songs that stay true to the style of their previous work while still growing in new directions. – Alex

Bon Iver

Justin Vernon is one of those performers who is able to leap across the gaps between people, or rather a magnetic persona who brings unlike sects of society together by the force of his music. Bon Iver, his solo project, has had an emotional impact on all sorts of people, even the most cynical, with powerfully raw and untethered emotional songs that sound a bit like all of us. On his more recent self-titled album, he expanded his atmosphere to include experimental and electronic sounds. Vernon’s work here and with his other group, Volcano Choir, shows no signs of easing up or pulling back. New songs from this gentle, brooding everyman are most welcome. – Nick

Born Without Bones

As an eternal optimist and wishful thinker, I included the Born Without Bones on last year’s anticipated list, knowing full well that we probably would not get the Massachusetts’ rockers third full-length in 2015. My motivations were simple. As “BWB” is one of my favorite bands, I believe the only thing the group needs to obtain a massive following is a bit of exposure, and I am more than willing to promote the band at any opportunity I get to make that a reality. In 2010, musician Scott Ayotte released “Say Hello” under the title Born Without Bones. All in all, the album was a proper, clean, and glossy alternative rock album characterized by a clash between youthful naivety and ambition against greed, guilt, and sabotaged relationships. Three years later and with the help of a full band (including bassist James Creighton, ex-Therefore, I Am), Born Without Bones released Baby a passionate, brute, and raw album building off of where Say Hello finished. With the band’s third full-length now confirmed, it will be intriguing to see if the band tries to combine and neatly wrap up the sounds and themes of their first two LPs, or if they plan to transition into a new sound with a fresh beginning. Either way, look for the album to be the band’s hardest hitting and jam packed release to date. – Colin

Bright Eyes

Now hear me out. I don’t have any solid evidence of a new Bright Eyes album, but I have my theories. Oberst seems to have settled down, but he also just made his most politically-charged record to date in last year’s shockingly good Desaparecidos LP, Payola. During interviews about that record, Oberst seems to bring up 2011’s very underrated so-called last Bright Eyes album, The People’s Key. He defended his least critically successful album, citing positive audience feedback to People’s Key songs on his most recent tour. A return to his moniker (and collaboration with Mike Mogis) seems like a natural choice. And besides, he already plays Bright Eyes songs on tour, just calling it Bright Eyes would elevate him to festival sub-headliner status, so why not? Here’s hoping. – Riley

Captain, We’re Sinking

Every time a Barnett brother releases an album, it’s my album of the year (vocalist Bobby Barnett’s brother Greg plays in The Menzingers). After a solo album Little Wounds released by Barnett, the band has begun writing and demoing for a new record, including some songs from the solo record. The band’s brand of emotional, heavy hitting punk songs make them a favorite among fans, and this album will surely be no exception. – Alex


I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Converge is the most influential -core band to have come around. They have a dedicated following and have put out nothing short of amazing releases for the past 23 years. I have a feeling they are hiding a new release this year. For both veterans and newcomers of the hardcore scene, pucker up and try to prepare yourself. – Sean


Crying’s music is like being stuck inside an indie rock Gameboy game. It’s ADD 8-bit indie and I can’t get enough of it. For their last release they combined two EPs into a full length of sorts and it was some of the best 8-bit music I’ve ever heard. There is just something unique and fun about hearing video game effects intelligently used to create rock songs. They are now working on a new release for 2016 and I am excited to see where they take it next. – Hendo


Daughter will break your heart from the opening note of new record Not To Disappear, released on January 15th. This London-trio have honed their craft in the most impressive way, selling out venues all over the world on their way. If music that digs deep into your very core and tears your heart out slowly and tenderly, looking you in the eyes the whole time it does so, then Daughter are for you. – Conor


My heart popped out of my chest and fell onto the floor when I heard there was a new Deftones record being released in early 2016. This is one band that can energize me, put me into a trance and one that can be in the background with a group of friends. They have morphed their sound plenty of times over the years but their mix of sludgy rock/punk matched with Chino’s fantastic voice makes for them being another iconic band ready to pop out another album. – Sean

Diet Cig

There is something special about Diet Cig. This 2-piece rock band from New Paltz, NY put out 2 sweeeeeeet EPs in 2015 (my favorite EPs of the year). The first of which was recorded on Halloween imbuing them with some dark magic. These EPs seamlessly expanded on their own unique style and somehow they were there first two releases ever! 2016 seems to be the year they will drop their debut LP on our heads and I’m out here staring at the sky waiting for it to hit me in the face. Their angry, angtsy, in your face, happy, dancey, sad, explosive songs are a rainbow of emotions and feeling. Every single track is catchy and cleverly written, but even more than that these songs just feel honest and real. Alex Luciano’s vocals reach out and grab you. I am almost certain that this band is going to explode after the release of this next album. They are just that cool. – Hendo


Calling myself a fan of Dreamcatcher would be a bit of an understatement. I’ve been following them since the band’s inception and I’m constantly amazed by how much they progress with each release. Gun, a single released in November, furthers the intensely emotional nature of front-woman Chelsea Tyler’s lyrics and hones in on the somber atmosphere created by guitarist Bryan Czap’s melodies. With the band going into the studio next week to start tracking, I’m biting my nails in anticipation of what is definitely going to be an amazing debut. – Dylan

Explosions In The Sky

The now legendary romantic post-rock outfit Explosions of the Sky are set to release their first album of original material (not recorded for a soundtrack) in five years. The band hit a peak in 2003 with The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, the sensually epic record that granted new urgency to backseat make out sessions everywhere, then sustained it with the more artful and edifying All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone. Since then the band has done little to expand on what made them so special, instead falling short as they try and recapture the magic of those records. If Explosions can pull together songs that simultaneously maintain their identity and push the boundaries of what instrumental post-rock can do we could very well have another classic on our hands. 

Every Time I Die

My favorite band of all time is entering the studio in March to put out what will be their eighth full length album. This band blends feel good anthems with blood splattering chaos all encompassed into 2,000% energy. Their live show is only getting better and better, and it helped that I got to perform two songs with them live last time they stormed through Iowa thanks to luck circumstance. I’m stoked to hear what they have brewing in their pot of alcoholic visions of what punk should sound like. – Sean


Now, you may recall my write-up for this band’s excellent OwlPAtDan EP, which landed in my top 5 non-LPs of 2015. There, I mentioned that Fluffer already has an album in the can for the new year. It’s coming, and – like their other material – it’s like nothing i’ve ever heard. The LP’s sonic palette is seemingly never-ending, and they have yet to make something with this level of replay value. The future is now, and Fluffer have their hands on music’s crystal ball. – Riley


Gainesville’s Frameworks are the most exciting screamo band around at the moment. No one else does things this hard or this fast or this weird, and these guys are about to have an insane 2016. With an EP, Time Spent, due out on February 5th on Topshelf Records and a follow up to 2014’s incredible Loom coming out later in the year, 2016 is set to be the year that Frameworks really showcase just how fucking good they are. The as-yet-unnamed record will absolutely be a contender for Album Of The Year. No question. – Conoer


I once stated that I would marry the first girl that saw a Glassjaw show with me. While I never (and still have yet to) marry anyone, I hold the memories of seeing this amazing act twice with my best friend deep in my heartstrings of memories. Daryl Palumbo is one of the most interesting frontman in the world, inspiring a plethora of vocalists to rise arms and start singing/screaming their hearts out. It has been over a decade since the last full length from this band and 2016 seems to be the year of icons rising back to steal the stage. (P.S. love you Ali) – Sean

I Love Your Lifestyle

Sweden’s I Love Your Lifestyle are absolute masters of emo. Debut album, We Go Way Back is another being released by Dog Knights Productions (keep a really close eyes on these guys this year) and will absolutely delight fans of bands like Algernon Cadwallader and Marietta. If you’re looking for noodly, twiddly emo that fills your heart with joy and makes you wanna jump around your room, look no further than I Love Your Lifestyle. – Conor

Into It. Over It.

Evan Weiss’s second album with Triple Crown is another adventure. After attempting to write a record with only finger picking on Intersections, the band is now working with John Vanderslice for Standards and recording their record in full analog. Based on the first single, “No EQ,” it seems to be paying off quite well. – Alex

Iron Chic

Do you like drunken sing-alongs with your friends?  How about variations of punk “oh”s ,“woah”s, or any variation of the two?  One of the best things about Iron Chic is their penchant for writing songs that keep an upbeat pace with lyrics that instantly become memorable.  I don’t mean that in a sense that they are simple, but that they are simply easy to love and get stuck in your head in the best ways.  Look for that to continue in 2016 with a new release. – Dan

James Blake

James Blake is an experimental artist who has proven himself time and again as one of the new great musical minds to watch. He floored the world with his self titled-release, featuring immensely soulful vocals and instrumentation coupled with his signature glitchy electronic swagger. His follow-up, Overgrown, saw the singer/producer exploring more organic and gloomier territory. His long-awaited third lp (said to feature the likes of Kanye West and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon) will not be one to miss. – Nick


The ratio of music released to influence on music for Japandroids is pretty lop-sided. 2012’s fantastic 8-song 30-minute Celebration Rock had fans begging for new music back in late 2013, but the wait continues. The Canadian punk-poppers have made it known that they like playing shows more than they like writing music; however, they’ve been off the road for awhile now. Let’s pray there’s a new one from the mighty Japandroids in 2016. – Riley

The Japanese House

Simply one of the best and most innovative projects in music, The Japanese House – A.K.A. Amber Bain – is responsible for my favorite song of 2015: the marvelously dreamy “Still.” After releasing two fantastic EPs in 2015, the London native and her band are expected to put out a record in 2016. If it is anything like her previous work, it will be an AOTY contender and will sky-rocket her to big-font festival status in no time. – Riley

Joyce Manor

Joyce Manor upped their already impeccable game with 2014’s Never Hungover Again and 2016 will hopefully see another record from these guys. Writing beautiful pop songs with one foot staunchly in the punk foothold, Joyce Manor are a delight to listen to and the world would be a better place if 2016 brings a new record. – Conor

Kanye West

Love him or hate him, SWISH is practically guaranteed to become one of the most discussed albums of the year. Kanye’s consistent presence within pop culture conversation and music accolades make this an easy bet for one key reason – Mr. West’s notorious level of involvement in every aspect of each Kanye West-branded production. Long-time fans are likely in for a surprise, given the unique departure of each album in his back catalogue from it’s predecessor. The anticipation for 2016’s manifestation of Kanye is best surmised by a line from recent track “No More Parties in L.A.” – I know some fans who thought I wouldn’t rap like this again/But the writer’s block is over, emcees cancel your plans” – Tommy


I bang on about this band all the fucking time and for good reason, they are just impeccable. Leatherneck (who used to be named Bohica) come from Cheshire, England and make basically better music than you think we’d ever deserve. Their latest Monochrome/Derailed release sounded exactly like how I wanted Hyperview to sound like but with more dynamics than I realised could be snuck into angular emo punk. Now they’re in the studio for a new EP and honestly, I could fucking bin every upcoming emo/punk release and just look forward to this. I’ve no doubt it’ll be amazing. – Findlay


Alright, The Blackest Beautiful was a dope fucking album that was ridden with a few production issues. Regardless, letlive. released one of the greatest post-hardcore albums with Fake History and I know this band has the drive, talent and will to make another record with that much of an impact. Don’t sleep on what this band has done or will continue to do in the upcoming years. While a bit aged, they pack each song with a youthful amount of energy that bursts through every track, part and detail of the song. – Sean


Mansions’ third full-length Doom Loop was the capstone record in a trilogy of albums that saw Christopher Browder grow up right before our ears. Though the themes discussed on each album overlapped a bit, each record marked a more experienced musician willing to go beyond his own comfort level for the sake of his art. No longer were the lyrics just stories; they were pieces of poetry that addressed complex issues, feelings, and emotions in a thought provoking and self-reflective way. That aspect of Mansions will continue to evolve and in a dynamic way, but I would not be shocked if the musical arrangement and style of Mansions’ fourth LP is more diverse and experimental than previous material. Doom Loop was quite the accomplishment; it was well received by die-hard fans, brought in new fans, got rightful acknowledgement across the web, and helped them open for bands such as La Dispute, Pianos Become the Teeth, and even a one-off show for Fall Out Boy in their hometown. I am excited to see what the band’s next record will help them achieve. – Colin


New York’s Mitski is special. Watching her live is a transformative experience, she manages to somehow connect with every single person in the room on an unbelievable level. You leave the show feeling as if you just spent half an hour in the company of one of your oldest friends, someone who knows you better than anyone. A tireless performer and a wonderful artist, her record will be certain to not only force its way into people’s lives, but to change them, too. No one around does things quite like Mitski and we should all feel very grateful we’re around to witness it. – Conor


The long rumored “supergroup” of Mike Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk, Mr. Bungle…), Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio), and rapper Doseone will finally release their first self-titled record this year. Mike Patton’s involvement is alone reason enough to pay attention to this avant-garde, rock/hip-hop project, but as it turns out the two singles that have been released are infectious in their toe-tapping oddity, and signal a truly original direction for this new group of old favorites. – Nick

Norma Jean

Norma Jean are currently recording their album right now so chances are we should get this by the summer. This is the second album with the new lineup and the first with no original members after the still unofficial departure of Chris Day. 2013’s Wrongdoers was an amazing amalgamation of everything that made Norma Jean good in the first place. The southern mathcore riffs, the off the wall drumming, the sheer recklessness of song structure, and the brutal packaging of it all. If that album is anything to go by this should be one of the best Norma Jean albums ever. – Tom

Pianos Become The Teeth

When Pianos Become the Teeth put out Keep You in 2014, a lot of fans were shocked by the change in tone. I, however, was finally won over and now regret having missed so many years of such awesome music. We got a taste of new music in 2015 with their Record Store Day release of Close, which featured two b-sides, but they spent the rest of the year touring. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine they’re spending the first part of 2016 writing and recording a follow up to such a critically acclaimed work as Keep You, especially considering they don’t have any tour dates announced right now. – Dylan


What can I even say about this upcoming Pinegrove album on Run For Cover? Evan (songwriter of Pinegrove) and I come from the same NJ music scene. A little over a year ago, I saw him perform in a basement and was absolutely amazed. Ever since then, I’ve listened and relistened to every single song he’s written. His music combines country (yes country), emo/indie rock, and American folk rock in a way that has never been done before, and even better, he executes this new style to perfection. How often can you say that? Almost never. This is the kind of band that other bands will soon work to imitate. That is not even to get into the deep introspective lyrics. Pinegrove spent a long time in NJ basements releasing only demos and EPs because they were not about to rush anything. They wanted their debut album to be perfect. I am almost certain that it will be. 2 songs off the album have already been released and if they are any indication, we have an AOTY contender on our hands. – Hendo


The aptly titled LP 3 was the best pure rock and roll record of 2014. “Separate Songs” “Tiny Prayers” and “It’s Not” are tracks that found ways to seep into my memory even though the songs lacked a traditional repeating chorus. This is a testament to the bands no frills, no gimmicks attitude that is ripe with incredible instrumentation and song writing not just on LP 3, but throughout their entire discography. As one of the best live acts in any genre, take it from me to tell you that I have yet to attend a show with someone who was not completely blown away by this band (especially if they had not listened to them previously). LP 4 should see the band continue to push its sound and create rock and roll songs that translate on recordings as well as on stage. This band deserves to be touring with the likes of the Foo Fighters and The Gaslight Anthem, I’m hoping it happens for Restorations in 2016. – Colin


After signing to Bad Timing in 2015 and reissuing their EP Sorry, Not Sorry through the label, the band is gearing up to release their debut full length early this year. I’ve seen them four times in January alone so it’s obvious I like them, but their brand of fun, fast-paced power pop is sure to appeal to many. – Alex

Signals Midwest

If you’ve been a fan of Signals Midwest over the last six months or so, then you may have caught the band performing a few new songs off their forthcoming album at a show. If you’re unfamiliar with Signals Midwest, then you should know that the band’s defining attribute is Max Stern – whose uniquely deep voice projects over aggressive chords. The result is a blend of bold and energetic punk music. Although this description accurately portrays their first two albums, a song released in the fall of 2015 “West Side Summer” could indicate the band moving towards a more thought out sound, exchanging loudness for melodic cohesion. Because three years have passed since the band released new music, listeners would expect some growth in any band’s sound, but the maturation displayed on West Side Summer is significant, substantial, and beyond expectations in an astonishing way. If each song on the band’s upcoming third album displays the type of sophisticated, lively and jovial nature of West Side Summer, then consider Signals Midwest the next group from the Midwest to gain national recognition. – Colin

Slingshot Dakota

Given historically lengthy album cycles (5 years and 4 years, respectively), the anticipation for long-time fans has most definitely reached a boiling point. Now married, the duo’s energetic blend of positivity-drenched harmonies and pulsing choruses is more accessible than ever, never failing to wow even the most skeptical of first-time crowds thinking “..okay, but a TWO-PIECE??” Following up 2012’s Dark Hearts, Break thankfully drops on 3/11 courtesy of Topshelf Records to hold us over for another four-ish years. – Tommy


During Sundials’ set at this past Fest, Harris Mendell took time to express gratitude for the response their music receives despite the gaps of time between releases.  He also expressed a desire to hit the studio this year and have some new music to release in 2016.  The growth since Sundials’ earliest material, to When I Couldn’t Breathe, to Kick, has been wonderful.  A continuation of this development of a sound that is often described as “college radio/rock” and punk, along with the addition of another guitarist that can only help provide a fuller sound, surely make this something that everyone should keep an ear to the ground for this year. – Dan


Now Now gained quite the cult following after releasing the subdued and immersive full-length Threads four years ago. As an integral component of the three-piece, indie-rock outfit, Jess Abbott’s side project ‘Tancred’ has been an enjoyable alternative while anxious fans await the moment another Now Now album sees the light of day. Tancred’s two releases have been light-hearted and markedly less gritty than Now Now. While stylistically different, the pair of LPs have showcased Abbott’s beautifully cunning voice featured atop captivating hooks. This year, Tancred looks to breakout of her shell by trading in pop friendly acoustic hooks for what will be an angry, moody, and emotional third full-length. Frustratingly, Abbott’s solo work has not received an amount of adoration equal to Now Now. But with a push from new label Polyvinyl Records and songs that are sure resonate with listeners’ inner-angst, I would not be surprised if at the end of 2016, we’re considering Out of the Garden as one of the year’s most renowned and celebrated records. – Colin


It is difficult to predict what the new Tortoise album will be – and this is perhaps an instance in which predictions and expectations are best extinguished at the source. The quietly chaotic godfathers of post-rock are releasing their 7th studio album this month, expanding on a riveting and surprisingly consistent career of over two decades. These multi-instrumentalists have proven time and time again that they are capable of creating an array of artful and engaging music. We’ll just have to wait and see what form The Catastrophist takes. – Nick


A recent San Diego Reader post, which included quotes from Brian Warren, indicated that Warren’s Weatherbox was working on a new full-length to coincide with a tour for this March.   However, there are no direct quotes discussing the matter, and Warren posted the link to this post on twitter while adding “Some half-truths about the Box and my Satan.”  It is unknown which specific parts were half-truths, but new material to follow up 2014’s excellent Flies in All Directions would certainly be welcomed, as Warren has continually proven to be an extremely fascinating musician and songwriter for over ten years now. – Dan

Stay tuned for part 2 out next week!