james debate
james debate

Friday 12 February 2016

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2016 Hot List. We hope you enjoyed last week's entry covering the essential television in 2016. This week we will be having a look at the most exciting new music due for release in the coming year.

best anticipated new music 2016 albums hot list

A very fine year for music fans of the indie persuasion in 2015, with big breakthroughs for the likes of Chvrches, Grimes, and a solid debut for Jamie xx of The xx fame. Plenty of the big guns came out too, with the newest solo album of The Killers' Brandon Flowers, Adele, and a largely forgettable effort from Coldplay. Elsewhere the Jay-Z/Daft Punk backed music service Tidal came and already went with barely a whimper, while Apple introduced their own Spotify rival streaming service, notable mostly for not being as good a service as Spotify.

At the start of 2016, the music industry is abuzz about one thing and one thing only, the tragic passing of David Bowie and the shockwaves it has sent through the music landscape for the year so far. But once the dust settles, there are some exciting new projects on the horizon, including some major big-name comebacks. So here's our list of the top albums to keep an eye on in 2016, starting with number 15:

15. Patawawa (New band)

patawawa new debut album 2016 best most anticipated musicDerbyshire-based neo-disco outfit Patawawa are the latest in 1970s/80s revival to be making waves in the indie scene. Their style is very much in the mould of a Years and Years or Broken Bells, so fans would do well to check them out. The band has been getting some seriously hot tips for 2016.

Red and White is the track that has most been doing the rounds on the internet so far, and indeed it is a supremely catchy piece of pop music, but we would also direct your attention to the breezy Strange, a top track indeed.

The buzz has been building for this one, and having now featured on many pundits' hot for 2016 lists the speculation is that a full length untitled debut album is due in the next 12 months, supposedly in time for the fall.

Release Date: TBA 2016

14. The Killers

the killers new fifth album 2016 best most anticipated musicEveryone knows The Killers. Their hits include such classics as Mr. Brightside, All These Things I've Done, and Human, among many others. But despite their prominence in modern pop music, there are some who would say that their star has been on the wane in recent years, and have not released an album now since 2012.

At the same time, frontman Brandon Flowers is fresh from his successful sophomore solo album in 2015, prompting speculation as to whether the group would even return at all, or if he would spend more time pursuing his own career.

The band will hope to set this right in 2016 with their fifth studio album now confirmed to be in production, and a release date tentatively set for late 2016. Despite the mediocrity of their last album, Battleborn, this is news that should excite fans everywhere. Flowers remains one of the most creative songwriters in the business, and despite his efforts is always at his best when contrasted by the more grounded notes of his band.

We're looking forward to this one. So why so low down the list? Considering there hasn't even been a hint of new material in a single or at any live concert, we are skeptical that this will really see the light of day in 2016. Fingers crossed.

Release Date: Winter 2016

13. "Moth" by Chairlift

chairlift moth best most anticipated album 2016Next we have the return of Chairlift, that purveyor of glowing synthpop from Brooklyn, NY, known for singles like Bruises and I Belong in Your Arms.

This year they return with new album Moth. As one would expect it's full of shiny, immensely enjoyable pop with whip-smart lyrics, but taken in a more discordant direction, certainly an interesting new sound. Crying in Public has been the stand out from the early previews, if the rest of the album is as good as this track then we could be in for a treat.

We won't have to wait long to see whether it's any good, as the album launches at the start of 2016. Reviews might already be in by the time this post goes live.

Release Date: January 2016

12. "Painting With" by Animal Collective

animal collective painting with album best most anticipated new music 2016
Another year, another entry in the Hot List from either Panda Bear or in this case, his band Animal Collective. Masterful purveyors of the weird and wonderful in music, there can be no denying that they rank among the most original song writers in music today. You're not always sure what to expect with them. sometimes it doesn't work, but when it does, it's often genius.

In the past they have been known for singles Fireworks, My Girls, and Winter's Love, while Panda Bear on his own has such songs as Boys Latin and Comfy in Nautica to his name. FloriDada, the lead single from new album Painting With, is... well it's not a classic. We'll wait to hear more from the album before making conclusions, have the band run out of ideas? We shall see.

In the mean time the album drops in February this year.

Release Date: February 2016

11. "Milk Bath" by Petite Meller (New band)

petite meller baby love best most anticipated new debut albums 2016Here's a girl who's tipped for big things indeed. Petite Meller is being hailed as the next Lady Gaga, and as it turns out the comparison is not entirely without merit.

In reality, Meller fashions herself as a mix between the extravagant theatricality and solid-gold pop hooks of Lady Gaga, with the more sultry art-rock of a Lana del Rey. Key single Baby Love is just a ready made radio hit right out of the box, while Backpack demonstrates some of her more subversive qualities.

After a series of singles and EPs, debut album Milk Bath is due for release in 2016, supposedly around the summer time. Superstardom most likely awaits.

Release Date: Summer 2016

10. Cash+David (New band)

cash+david best new debut albums 2016 most anticipatedAnother hotly tipped newcomer for us to pore over. Cash+David is not strictly speaking a new band, having been through the hype machine for the better part of two years with a series of single and EP releases. Now in 2016, their as yet untitled debut album is finally set to be released.

Cash+David specialise in soulful electropop, and with Funn and Bones in particular they already have a couple of fairly excellent songs to their name. It was speculated that 2015 would see the release of their first studio album, but that never materialised, giving us instead just another EP in Triptych.

Many pundits are expecting big things for this duo, and with a full album supposedly imminent, 2016 could be the year that they get their breakthrough. Expect to hear a lot about this one when it drops.

Release Date: TBA 2016

9. "Hymns" by Bloc Party

bloc party hymns album best most anticipated new music 2016"Highly anticipated Bloc Party album" is a phrase that seems a bit quaint these days. Once upon a time the London-based indie rockers could count themselves among the most promising acts in music, with two very strong albums and a series of great singles to their credit.

Things started to change as the band's creative output slowed and frontman Kele Okereke in particular veered off into radically different genres, not to mention his own solo career. The three albums since then have been very short on memorable songs. Still there is hope with every new album may mark a comeback. This year they release their latest, Hymns.

Lead single The Love Within is a great example of where Bloc Party have gone wrong in recent years. A good idea, with a truly great hook in the chorus, ruined by overproduction and ridiculously tasteless electronic sound effects over the verses. It's a sad waste, one hopes that the rest of the album shows better judgement.

The album launches in January, and may even be out by the time this post is complete.

Release Date: January 2016

8. Frances (New band)

frances best new most anticipated album debut 2016 musicOne of the names most commonly being thrown around in the predictions for success in 2016, Frances has featured on many pundits' previews for the year.

A mononym for Sophie Frances Cooke, Frances is a classically trained singer/songwriter from Berkshire, specialising in delicate, multi-instrumental pop. The key song to check out is Borrowed Time, which if a sign of things to come bodes very well indeed.

Frances has recently been signed up by Sam Smith's management company, indicating great expectation among the industry cognoscenti. A full as yet untitled debut album is tipped for release sometime this year, Amazon reckons the summer, we reckon they made that up. Nevertheless this is one to keep an eye on.

Release Date: Summer 2016

7. The xx

the xx new album best most anticipated music 2016London's Mercury Prize winning three-piece outfit The xx are back in the studio, with an as yet untitled third studio album due for release in the latter half of 2016.

This comes fresh off the back of frontman Jamie xx's award winning solo debut last year, with hits such as Loud Places and Stranger in a Room. The xx themselves have a solid track record of excellent music including Islands and VCR.

Very little else is known about this new album except that it has been in production for a little over a year now. The band has a fairly well established sound that we don't expect them to stray far from, though if Jamie xx's solo album is anything to go by, they clearly have the capacity to mix things up creatively. Whatever happens, no doubt this will be one of the big releases of 2016.

Release Date: Autumn 2016

6. "Leave me Alone" by Hinds (New band)

hinds leave me alone music best new most anticipated debut album 2016Another of the super-hyped bands of 2016, Madrid quartet Hinds combine the fuzzy garage-pop of the Strokes and the Black Lips with a growling Janis Joplin intensity.

Garden makes for a breezy sunny-days-in-California infused lead single, while the gleeful San Diego and Bamboo are also well worth listening to. The tracks we've heard so far are extremely promising.

The debut album Leave me Alone is due early in 2016, so we won't have to wait long to see if Hinds can live up to the billing, but many are tipping them to be one of the breakthrough acts of the year.

Release Date: January 2016

5. "Chaleur Humaine" by Christine and the Queens (New band)

christine and the queens chaleur humaine debut album best new anticipated music 2016But after all that, here is our top pick from the new bands to make their debut in 2016. Ok you caught us. Christine and the Queens are not strictly a new band, and debut album Chaleur Humaine technically released back in 2014. However it was only released in a select few European countries, and released in the band's native French.

In 2016 the rest of the world will finally hear Christine and the Queens as their striking debut album sees a full release, translated into English, released simultaneously in the UK and US, along with the rest of the world.

This is very good news indeed. The reviews from over on the continent for this album have been strong, and the first few singles we've heard are pretty special, from the glowing, ethereal No Harm is Done, to the dark and soulful Jonathan. The new translated versions of the songs sound gorgeous, and there's a great deal of excitement about what they can accomplish.

The English version of Chaleur Humaine will be released in late February, and it could be a big one.

Release Date: February 2016

4. "Everything You've Come to Expect" by The Last Shadow Puppets

the last shadow puppets sophomore album everything youve come to expect best most anticipated new music 2016Now for some very special news for those who, like The Ephemeric, were huge fans of The Last Shadow Puppets and their debut album The Age of Understatement, released some eight years ago in 2008. A follow up is long overdue.

For those who don't know, TLSP is the supergroup side project of Alex Turner, better known as the frontman of The Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of The Rascals, and produced by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco.

That first album was something of a cult classic, with great tunes including Standing Next to Me and My Mistakes Were Made for You. The hook was to take Turner's distinctive voice and mix it with some golden late 1960s/70s retro musical style. The album itself is full of classic influences from The Beatles to Bowie (and a cover of Bowie's song In the Heat of the Morning even features on the album as a single). That Turner's primary band The Arctic Monkeys has seemingly shifted more to adopt this retro style in recent years just goes to show how strong was the acclaim.

The long awaited follow up Everything You've Come to Expect releases this Spring. The first single released, Bad Habits, is well, disappointing in all honesty. It seems to ditch the classic style that made the debut such a success and adopt something more closely resembling the punky early Arctic Monkeys material, and not one of their better songs either. One can only hope that the rest of the album is an improvement.

Release Date: April 2016

3. Gorillaz

gorillaz phase 4 new album details announced 2015 best new anticipated music
Damon Albarn is undoubtedly music royalty for his work he has done solo and with Blur, but it's arguably his side project Gorillaz which has garnered the most widespread success.

This time last year Gorillaz announced their return, and their plans for a new album, now expected to be released in 2016. "Phase 4" of the Gorillaz project as it were. Beyond this, details are thin at the moment (read: non-existent), but if it's half as good as the group's previous album Plastic Beach then we're in for a treat.

Gorillaz of course are known for their eclectic mix of styles, from hip hop to dance, and plenty more besides. Best known for tracks like 19-2000Feel Good Inc, and On Melancholy Hill. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, and we await with real interest to see what crazy machinations Albarn and co come up with this time.

Release Date: TBA 2016

2. "Blackstar" by David Bowie

bowie blackstar final album death lazarus genius legend 2016 best new anticipated musicA new album from legendary artist and worldwide superstar David Bowie was always going to be one of the musical headlines of the year, but his untimely death has given it a whole new, tragic lease of life.

Blackstar is number 1 all over the world, including Bowie's first ever number 1 album in the United States. And looks likely to be among the most listened to records of 2016.

So is it any good? Blackstar will undoubtedly go down as one of the weirdest pieces of work in a career that is already famous for pushing the envelope artistically. Part art-rock, part experimental jazz, Blackstar follows classic Bowie style by being like absolutely nothing the man has ever done before.

Ten minute odyssey and title track Blackstar is more like an art installation than a song, but elsewhere there is more radio-friendly fare. Most notably in Lazarus a song which has gained much greater prominence in the wake of his death, appearing now to clearly be a quite literal goodbye note from Bowie. Wherever music takes us in 2016, there is no doubt that the spirit of Bowie will hang over everything.

Release Date: January 2016

1. M83

M83 seventh album 2016 most anticipated best new musicBut The Ephemeric's most hotly anticipated album for 2016 is the as yet untitled seventh studio album from M83, recently confirmed to be complete and due for release in 2016.

The french art-rock band's last album Hurry up We're Dreaming stands as one of the best albums of the decade, a surreal, mesmerising journey with music to match.

Long time fans will remember hits like Kim & Jessie, Midnight City, and Wait. Since we last heard from them, Gonzalez/M83 have taken a much acclaimed turn into film scores, including the soundtrack for Oblivion and You and the Night. They have produced songs for big names including The Killers (The Killers' best song in years) and Haim. Everything they touch turns to gold, but still a new album has been a long time coming, with their own output limited to the odd song here and there like I Need You.

There is no doubt that frontman Anthony Gonzalez is one of the very finest artists and producers in music today. The thought that a new album is due this year is very exciting for music lovers everywhere.

Release Date: TBA 2016

So there you have it folks: 2016 in music. Tune in next week for the essential new videogames of the year!

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