New Year, New Sounds – The Most Anticipated Releases in 2016

It’s 2016, peeps! The Olympics are coming to Rio, a new president will be elected in the United States, and Juno will finally arrive at Jupiter, amongst many other big things set to occur this new year. As the Earth starts making yet another loop around the Sun, the mainstream rock artists of the world planning new releases in 2016 will also be making their loops around fans and media alike. Whether it be recent big-hitters, long-time rockers, or comeback kings, there’s plenty to be excited about in 2016 if you’re in the mainstream.


From the get-go, there’s a few big names making a splash in January. The legendary David Bowie, who had been largely forgotten by today’s generation before the unprecedented success of 2013’s This New Day, is capitalizing on his new-found fame in the modern spotlight with his radically different Blackstar. An interesting art rock effort, the album had been described by Andy Gill of The Independent as “the most extreme album of his entire career“, and it shows with the album’s title track and “Lazurus“, both eccentric and sharply deviant from the traditional Bowie sound. Blackstar is penned for a January 8 release.

Panic! at the Disco are back on the scene, after months and months of anticipation for their fifth studio album, Death of a Bachelor, throughout 2015, after the album’s lead single, “Hallelujah“, was released as early as April. Inspired by lead singer and writer Brendon Urie’s earliest memories of getting into music, Death of a Bachelor is just as explosive and unhinged as you’d expect from the band, and more recent releases from the album, such as “Victorious” and “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” prove exactly that. The album comes out on January 15. Bloc Party’s Hymns, which releases two weeks later on January 29, is poised to be a more calm and collective record than the band’s previous efforts. With an appropriate name, Hymns is aiming at a more spiritual and downbeat experience, with “The Good News” and “The Love Within” serving as windows into the band’s new-found chill side.


Another legendary British artist, Elton John, is planning to add yet another album to his discography with Wonderful Crazy Night, penned for a February 5 release. Expect yet another fun record from Elton, if “Looking Up” is anything to go by. Another thing to expect is the long-overdue return of Wolfmother to the spotlight, with their new album Victorious landing on February 19. The band, who have gone through various changes and even a rather awkward breakup/hiatus in 2013, have not been in the mainstream spotlight since 2009’s Cosmic Egg, nearly seven years ago. Backed by producer Brendan O’Brien of Pearl Jam and AC/DC fame, the title track is already being nominated by fans as one of the band’s best yet.

Pop rockers The 1975, after achieving worldwide success with their self-titled debut album in 2013, plan to release their long-awaited follow up on February 26, annoyingly titled I Like it When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. Now that’s a mouthful. Stylistically different from The 1975’s previous work, it will present a rather polarizing sound, with the discords of “Love Me” and the thumping, popping progression of “UGH!“, representing an interesting change in the band’s musical direction.


Past all the named-and-dated releases coming in the first few months of the year, there are plenty of artists still planning big surprises and new sounds in 2016. Trent Renzor, the lead singer and songwriter of the ethereal Nine Inch Nails, stated in a short and simple tweet, “New NIN coming in 2016. Other stuff, too.”

90’s rock heroes Red Hot Chilli Peppers have almost put the icing on the cake with their hotly-anticipated upcoming eleventh studio album. It’ll be their first album in five years; their last effort, 2011’s I’m With You, was an immense success for the band, and it is hoped that the new album will keep the band’s momentum going, having curbed the five-year gap with a lengthy tour and an appearance at Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. Punk rock legends The Offspring are putting the icing on their new cake too, with a new album that the band plan to release in 2016. Interestingly, however, the band are not signed on to release this album with any label yet; they had recently thrown up the rights to their albums earlier in 2015 for a starting price of $35 million.


OneRepublic, the lofty alternative rock band that saw a stratospheric launch with 2013’s Native, have been working on the follow-up for the past two years. Hyped by guitarist Drew Brown as allegedly the best album they’ve ever done, the band are waiting on a window to release their new album, which will be sometime in early 2016. The dreamy electronic rock act The xx are in the final stages of recording their third studio album; a follow-up to 2012’s Coexist. The album also follows Jamie xx’s very own solo album, In Colour, which was released in May 2015, to a favorable reception.

Bink-182 are also in the studio constructing their seventh studio album, their first in five years. However, their efforts have been rather strained recently, with the departure of founding member Tom DeLonge in 2015. Drummer Travis Barker says otherwise though, claiming that the band are apparently “knocking out a song a day”, in a recent interview with Rhythm.


In addition to artists planning 2016 releases, there are also other artists currently in the earlier stages of recording new material, such as Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s Gorillaz, who are currently at play in the studio. Albarn described the direction of the new album in an interview with Rolling Stone

“I’m in the very early days on a new Gorillaz record. So far, it’s really fast, and it’s got quite a lot of energy. I’ve been stuck on piano, somewhere off Broadway, for years now. I want to go somewhere completely opposite of that.”

Nirvana-age rockers Pearl Jam are apparently also working on a new album, according to statements made by bassist Jeff Ament back in August 2015 that the band would start recording a new album after the band’s Latin America tour in November 2015. While there hasn’t been any official word on a new album, it’d be assumed that it’ll be a while before we hear new material from the band.

Who we’ll more likely hear new material from instead could be the one-and-only Sigur Rós, who are currently working with grammy award-winning producer John Congleton, in a studio in New York. The band are planning yet another European tour in mid-2016 as an artistic exercise, calling back to the days when songs and albums were written on the road, taking the experiences of the tour, and incorporating them into the music; a concept used by a handful of modern musicians, inducing Foster the People, for their ambitious 2013 album, Supermodel.

From this vantage point, looking towards the next 365 days in music, it already seems like it’s gonna be a wild ride! However, even taking into account all the albums officially pinned onto the calendar, albums about to be finished, and those only started, there’s always the added mystery of those popular artists who record new albums in secret; being created behind the doors, with music fans and followers having no clue whatsoever. Whether it be recent big-hitters, long-time rockers, or comeback kings, there will sure to be some huge surprises from artists not mentioned in this article, or any article like this, who could land one smasher of an album, anytime, anywhere in 2016.

Happy new year to all the readers and followers of Altwire and music fans alike!
May 2016 be the best year yet for you, and the people closest to you!

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