Two-thousand sixteen saw releases of some pivotal, career-making hip-hop and rap albums (Frank Ocean’s Blonde, Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book and Kanye’s The Life of Pablo); however, the indie genre fell slightly off the map. Sure, we saw some releases from Local Natives, Two Door Cinema Club and Ra Ra Riot, but 2017 is the year the classic indie bands have a chance to take over all the “best albums” lists.
This year has been quite impressive so far, given the releases of the Flaming Lips’ Oczy Mlody and The xx’s highly-anticipated I See You. The xx’s album has been called an early favorite for best album of 2017 already by multiple outlets.
Here’s an exclusive preview of many more indie albums to get psyched for below (all release dates are to be announced, unless indicated otherwise).
Why we’re stoked: These guys haven’t graced us with new tunes since 2012. The Killers are a classic band with beloved classics (“Mr. Brightside,” anyone?). Their latest release of Battleborn didn’t get close to enough praise as 2008’s Day and Age and 2004’s Hot Fuss (feel old yet?). The Killers used to pump out records at least once a year in the mid-2000s. The band has been teasing a new album since they released a Sam’s Town-era single in October called “Peace of Mind.” It’s no “Somebody Told Me,” but the ballad feels like a time travel to The Killers’ old sound (Sam’s Town also turned 10 in 2016). If that gives us a good enough preview of what’s to come, we’ll be satisfied.
Why We’re Stoked: They’ve had a trend of three years between releases since their first studio album, Funeral (2004). Since Arcade Fire didn’t deliver in 2016, it’s time they pay up. The group’s third studio album “The Suburbs” won Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammy Awards, beating Eminem, Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum and Katy Perry. The band got a bit experimental with their latest album Reflektor (2013), on which we heard sounds of reggae, punk, and stuff you might find on a Bruce Springsteen record. That may or may not mean they’ll revert back to their original sound, or keep experimenting. According to Consequence of Sound, the band recorded in Paris last year and have plans for a spring release, but that could get pushed back if the album is not yet completed. Here’s a taste of what we could expect on their upcoming release:The Shins
(Heartworms: March 10)
Why we’re stoked: Yet another band who hasn’t released an album since 2012. These guys’ last release was Port of Morrow, and they’ve been on a hiatus since (they have a knack for waiting a few years between album releases). During that time, frontman James Mercer focused on his other band, Broken Bells, and they released another album in 2014. The Shins’ prominent tracks include “Simple Song” and “New Slang.” At least we can expect Heartworms in about a month! The band released two tracks within the past couple months. Although there are new members, they sound like the same old Shins (which isn’t a bad thing!). Here’s their most recent, “Name For You”:
Why We’re Stoked: Annie Clark, who goes by her stage name St. Vincent, released her fourth self-titled studio album in 2014, which was more spunky, edgy and sharper than her previous releases.This indie rocker badass has collaborated with David Byrne, and Kid Cudi sampled her song “The Stranger” in his track “Maniac” on his Man on the Moon II album. Clark’s soft, delicate voice came alive on St. Vincent, and it works well with her rockstar-esque guitar skills. She has never failed to release an album that was even near being borderline mediocre. To pair with her upcoming album release, Clark is releasing her own line of guitars (did we mention what a talented guitarist she is?). According to Clark, this album is primed to be her best. “I think it’ll be the deepest, boldest work I’ve ever done,” Clark told Guitar World. We aren’t even nervous about this one — we know it’ll knock our socks off.
Why we’re stoked: It’s been more than a weekend vacation for these vampires to produce a follow-up to 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City. When this iconic indie pop band from the late 2000s produces albums, they’re a progression from their previous work while still keeping their signature beachy sound. Modern Vampires of the City got great radio play with tracks such as “Dianne Young” and “Unbelievers.” Hopefully Vampire Weekend’s new album will feel nostalgic.
Other artists to look out for:
- Minus the Bear (VOIDS: March 3)
- LCD Soundsystem
- Modest Mouse
- Fleet Foxes
- Real Estate
- Grizzly bear
- Broken Social Scene
Arctic Monkeys are rumored to be releasing new music, too, but no sooner than mid-2017.