New year, new music. We are still discovering the best release of last year that we didn’t know existed until our peers published their annual best-of posts, but that doesn’t mean we have forgotten about all the new material the lies on the horizon. We have only scratched the surface as far as what bands have new material in the work, but we already have nearly two dozen releases we cannot wait to own. What follows is a list of the artists and albums we believe will define the sound of the 2016, and we think if you give any one a chance you will find something to love. Who knows? You might even find the next band that will change your life.
SideOneDummy may be the only label to appear twice on this list, but it’s an accomplishment their roster has more than earned. Pup, Canada’s answer to everything American rock is not, have criss-crossed the globe several times over since the 2014 release of their debut album. The world has been chomping at the bit for new music for quite sometime, and it seems the group is gearing up to share what they have been working on sometime this spring. Our hope is that there will be more anthems on par with “Reservoir,” but at this point we are willing to follow the band anywhere. All we ask is that a tour immediately follows the album’s release so that we may mosh with all our friends to what will surely be the soundtrack to summer 2016.
It Lies Within – Paramount (1/8)
Michigan’s It Lies Within have been through hell and back since inception, but every time people count them out they come back with a new record that commands the attention of any genre fan open to new ideas. Their latest, Paramount, is no exception. The band’s signature aggression is as present as ever, but its met with forward-thinking guitar work and globally focused lyricism that cuts through the ego-boosting noise currently polluting far too much much of the modern heavy music scene.
Frameworks – Time Spent (2/5)
We cannot think of the last time Topshelf Records let us down, but we know for certain it’s not the latest release from Frameworks. The band’s upcoming 2-song EP serves as an introduction into what could be the future sound of the group, with elements of industrial noise and synth being injected into their trademark noise. Some artists would struggle to leave a lasting impact on listeners with only two tracks, but the material on Time Spent is so interesting we have no doubt you’ll still be talking about it weeks, if not months after release. If this is indeed where Frameworks hope to focus their efforts moving forward they have more than earned our unwavering support.
YG – Still Krazy (TBA)
“Twist My Fingaz” and “I Wanna Benz” were the only two tracks released by YG in the last year, but they were also two of the best hip-hop tracks to hit radio in 2015. The Compton raised rapper has been busy working on the follow-up to My Krazy Life for months on end, but all signs point to the album finally seeing the light of day sometime in early 2016. Rumors claims DJ Mustard may contribute to the record, but unlike YG’s debut we expect a wide array of production talent working behind the boards.
Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost (TBA Spring)
Run For Cover is a label that can do no wrong, but their greatest offering in 2016 (based on what we know they have planned) will no doubt be the third studio album from Philadelphia natives Modern Baseball. The group spent the fall recording the album, and when Spin spent time with the group in the studio the publication claimed the material was more expansive and anthemic than anything that has previously been released. We hope this is true, and we have no reason to doubt the band, especially after the wonderful evolution showcased on The Perfect Cast EP in late 2015.
The world needs more Gojira. Three and a half years have already passed since ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ hit stores, and that is three and a half years too long. There are numerous talented death metal bands in the world, but none of them can compete with our love of Gojira, and we think any true genre fan will probably feel the same. Every release in the band’s catalog has been littered with envelope pushing ideas and lush guitar work that has helped to inspire an entirely new generation of musicians, and we expect something even better might be on the horizon.
ROAM – Backbone (1/22)
We are tired of people claiming to reinvent or bring meaning back to pop punk, so we’re choosing to call Hopeless Record signees ROAM pop rock’s much needed saviors. The band is everything 5 Seconds Of Summer are not, offering heartfelt anthems capable of inspiring a generation to move their feet and chase their dreams with songs they themselves wrote, but they could easily capture the same audience if given the chance. They are also tough enough to roll with Warped Tour regulars, boasting the intermittent heaviness of New Found Glory alongside the motivation lyricism of Set Your Goals.
Pierce The Veil (TBA)
There are few bands in the alternative rock world with a bigger global reach than Pierce The Veil, and it doesn’t take more than a simple Twitter search to understand how anxious their fans are for new music. The band has infamously teased the release of their fourth release for over a year, but a recently released 2016 preview from Fearless Records has now confirmed the release might actually be closer than fans think. If the material is even half as good as “The Divine Zero” we will be happy.
Lionheart – Love Don’t Live Here (1/22)
As long as bands like Lionheart exist we can sleep knowing hardcore music is alive and well. Four extremely long years have passed since the band released their last album, but now they are back with an LP dropping through their own label, LHHC Records, that does not disappoint. The album’s title is a nod to a Motown song of the same name, which plays well with the band’s refusal to abide by the so-called rules of hardcore far too many bands continue to cling to in 2016. Lionheart, like all true fans of the genre, understand hardcore is more a state of mind than anything, and they make that clear on this insanely good release.
Empty Houses (TBA)
Detroit’s Empty Houses quietly entered the music scene in 2015 with a short EP released through Bandcamp that quickly got alternative music snobs and throwback pop fans talking. It was the kind of magical moment that happens all too rarely in our oversaturated media landscape. The album had no major promotion and few reviews, but for whatever reason it resonated with listeners all year long. We have it on good authority that the band has another release prepped for 2016, and we have our fingers crossed this one is longer than four tracks. If you grew up with your parents’ Motown collection playing on repeat this is one group not to miss in the new year.
Pusha T – King Push (TBA)
Have you heard ‘King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude’? If not, finish reading this article and immediately head to your local record store to purchase a copy of Pusha T’s late 2015 release. Yes, Pusha T just released a 10-song album ahead of an already announced 2016 full length, but that is just the way the angsty half of Clips likes to roll. Pusha has never been one to shy from controversy or saying what needs to be said, and he more than proved with that fact with the material on ‘Darkest Before Dawn.’ Knowing that album is essentially everything that was not good enough for ‘King Push’ proper leaves us foaming at mouth. Yes, we are so excited for this release the mere thought of it transforms us into rabid animals.
Avion Roe (TBA)
The future of Epitaph Records ability to continue their foothold on the world of alternative rock rests on the shoulders of Dallas natives Avion Roe. If this were any other band we would be concerned, but having watched the group build their career brick-by-brick with a fiercely DIY mindset since day one we have the utmost faith in their ability to win over rock fans around the globe. The group is a blend of everything that is popular today in alternative rock, but mixed with just a dash of mid-2000s influence that helps add an additional layer of emotional resonance to every track. Their four-song 2015 EP has been on repeat at HQ for weeks, and we cannot wait to have something new to enjoy (hopefully) early in the new year.
Georgia’s Microwave is perhaps the young band to beat in 2016. With SideOneDummy backing their every move, the band is set to finally release a follow-up their amazing full length album Stovall, which has been the talk of alternative music circles since its initial release in late 2014. Add to all this the fact the bandore than proved their ability to live on the road throughout 2015 and you have a recipe for indie punk success that knows no bounds.
Good Charlotte (Late Spring/Summer)
We never expected to be talking about Good Charlotte again, especially after hearing a whole lot of promise on The Madden Bros. solo record, but here we are at the start of 2016 feeling like our high school selves all over again. A recent profile in Rolling Stone covering 5 Seconds Of Summer revealed it was the contributions the Madden Brothers (Joel and Benji) made to that group’s first two records album that initialy inspired them to return to their punk roots, which means we now have a reason to love 5 Seconds Of Summer. GC dropped “Makeshift Love” back in November to prove they still know how to rock, but since then they have kept quiet as far as talk of new music is concerned. We suspect the group will have something ready by summer, but don’t hold your breath just yet.
Candy Hearts (TBA)
Nearly two years have crawled by in the wake of Candy Hearts’ All The Ways I Let You Down, and the world of female lead punk has been aching for the band’s return ever since. An acoustic EP released during summer 2015 was more than enough to keep us interested in the band’s unique take on rock’s angsty stepchild, but 2016 should see the band return with a proper third LP. If such a release never arrives, we may spend the year heartbroken, but we have a good feeling new material will surface sooner than later.
Drake – Views From The 6 (“Very soon”)
The world has been waiting for Views From The 6 since it was announced in the fall of 2014. Drake said it would arrive in 2015, but sometimes greatness takes time, and it’s not like Drizzy has left fans waiting in the interim. His biggest distraction from completing his long-awaited new LP has been working on other music projects, from his beef with Meek Mill that resulted in a Grammy nomination for “Back To Back,” to his chart-topping collaborative release with DS2 mastermind Future, and he’s more or less delivered quality material throughout. Drake always saves the best material for his albums, but considering everything we heard in the last year it’s hard to imagine what might still be on deck.
If there is one rock band we hope remains a band long enough that we can one day to our children (who do not yet exist) to see it’s California’s hard rock kings, Deftones. The band has been working on a follow-up to 2012’s Koi No Yokan since 2014, but numerous production delays has forced the release of the record into the first half of 2016. There is still no date set in stone, but we imagine the album will almost certainly be out by summer, which means a single should surface before the last of the winter snow begins to melt. Having already waited basically four years, what’s a bit longer?
There will be some who claim there is no Blink-182 without Tom Delonge, but we are trying to approach the Mark, Matt (Skiba), and Travis show with an open mind. Hoppus and Barker proved with their short-lived +44 project that they can pen powerful pop punk anthems without the aide of their longtime Blink brother, and Skiba is certainly no stranger to the band’s world of music. There is a possibility this new version of Blink falls flat, but there is equally good chance this unique trio delivers something truly special that no other act can imitate. Here’s hoping the latter comes true.
Explosions In The Sky (TBA)
Five years have passed since Austin’s Explosions In The Sky released a proper album, but they have contributed a number of enthralling soundtracks to the world of independent film in the interim (Prince Avalanche, Lone Survivor, Manglehorn). It’s hard to know where the world’s leading post rock group will go next, but there are throngs of listeners around the world waiting with bated breath to find out. If the only reason you know this band is because you loved Friday Night Lights we highly recommend using the time you have now to familiarize yourself with the rest of their catalog.
Speaking with HoustonPress back in November, WhiteChapel guitarist Alex Wade perked out interest about the band’s future when he said to expect the unexpected with the group’s upcoming 2016 release. He teases a complete turn in term of sound, even alluding to the possibility of clean vocals appearing on the record, and we haven’t been able to stop trying to imagine what that might sound like ever since. We haven’t heard as much as a second of this new record, but we already wish to know every detail about its inspiration and production.
Bob Seger – I Knew You When (TBA)
2016 marks Bob Seger’s 50th year in music. Go ahead and let that sink in for a minute. Crazy, right? In all that time Seger has released more hit songs than we can begin to count, and he’s certainly not letting a milestone like this pass by without sharing some new(ish) material with the world. I Knew You When will reportedly feature unreleased material, as well as updated takes on old songs. Seger will also tour next year, and we cannot urge you to see him enough.
Sum 41 (TBA)
There was a time not that long ago when it seemed like the world would never see Sum 41 again, but an outpouring of support for frontman Deryck Whibley as he fought for sobriety reigniting the vocalist’s creative passion. Whibley found healing through venting his songwriting, and as a result he committed himself to the studio to vent whatever demons were dragging him down. The rest of the band followed Deryck’s lead and soon the group was working on their most aggressive release since Chuck. We don’t know when we’ll hear the finished product, but we know that time cannot come soon enough.
Moose Blood (Summer)
We caught Moose Blood for the first time during Warped Tour 2015, and the impression they left on us has been the topic of numerous conversation ever since. The UK born band has been compared to everyone from Brand New to Mallory Knox, and their debut album I’ll Keep You in Mind, From Time to Time is already considered a classic. We believe the band will continue to carve their own path with an ever-evolving sound that challenges the alternative norm, which is something that cannot be said about most leading rock bands today. No Sleep has yet to tease any material from this release, but we really don’t need to hear anything to know we want this album in our personal record collection as soon as possible.
James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.