We’ve outlined some of the heavy albums due in 2017, but what about more songwriterly and leftfield music on the way? From bruised balladeering to solo projects to veterans bands reforming, we’ll be hearing new guitar music from...
Ryan Adams, Prisoner
Recently divorced from Mandy Moore, Adams has already unveiled a typically heartbreak single, “To Be Without You,” saying, “It broke my soul in a zillion pieces writing this. This record mattered more to me than any record before it and my life depended on making it. I would have died inside if I hadn't. I was broken.” With other tracks called “Breakdown,” “Doomsday” and “Haunted House,” don’t expect laughs. Adams cites AC/DC’s Fly on the Wall as an inspiration but, sonically, Adams’ jangling guitarwork is to the fore. Prisoner will have you sobbing into your latte in February.
Ed O’Brien, TBA
O’Brien will be the fourth Radiohead member to release solo material, after Thom Yorke, Philip Selway and Jonny Greenwood. It’s inspired by the time the guitarist and his family relocated to Brazil, “and life was reduced to its simple parts. For me, it was music and my family. And I would go each day, walk up the hill to this beautiful little hut next to this lake, and I started writing.”
Samba influences are in there, but it will have a twist. “There’s an element of that joy of music. But, like a lot of Brazilian music, there’s a dark heart.” O’Brien is long-serving Radiohead’s backing vocalist and ‘arpeggio and guitar FX’ man, so don’t expect trad samba. He’s previously played with Asian Dub Foundation, Neil Finn and Johnny Marr says Ed’s “one of my best friends,” so other guitar guests may abound?
Sheryl Crow, Be Myself
After her flirtation with country, Crow is returning to her natural habitat. Not very “alt”, granted, but Crow does retain some cool cachet. Be Myself was cut with her ‘90s collaborators Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake – the team on “My Favorite Mistake” and “Everyday Is a Winding Road” – and she says, “I wanted to revisit that sound and that feeling. It was a complete blast and the most effortless thing I've ever done.” Be Myself is due in April.
She's also working on an all-star record for late 2017 with Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Kris Kristofferson and many others. On this, Crow duets with Keith Richards on the Rolling Stones 1994 tune “The Worst” and Johnny Cash’s estate has allowed her to cut a virtual duet with the Man in Black on “Redemption Day.”
The Killers, TBA
Brandon Flowers confirmed late 2016 that the Las Vegas foursome’s fifth album will be released in summer 2017. Hit maker Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic, Taylor Swift et al) is on the project as a co-writer and said last year, “It sounds 100 per cent like them and nothing like me,” and Jacknife Lee (U.2., R.E.M.) is the latest producer onboard. Flowers has promised “a more powerful rock vibe,” adding, “we definitely need to do something a little different. We need to turn it on its head a little bit. The wheels are turning.”
At The Drive-In, TBA
Reunited onstage in 2012, and with new track “Governed by Contagions” the band’s first since 2000 out now, ATDI will have a heavy-duty 2017. Cynics might say it’s kinda just branding – leaders Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitars) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vox) have an album recorded under their Antemasque name to still surface – but for post-hardcore acolytes, new ATDI is still worth moshing for. No album title or date yet, but ATDI tour from March.
2013’s Days Are Gone début was massive, and the Cali sisters have since collaborated with an eclectic bunch from Calvin Harris and Major Lazer, via Lorde and M83, to Tame Impala. And they’re besties with Taylor Swift. However, guitarist/singer Danielle Haim recently explained the second album is just them... for now: “We needed just it be the three of us in the beginning. We just wanted to get back in the zone.” Ex-Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij is helping, though, and Haim teased new songs “Nothing’s Wrong” and “Give Me Just a Little of Your Love” last summer. Este Haim insists, “You don’t even know what’s coming for you. I’m warning you. You. Don’t. Even. Know.” She’s right! We don’t!
The Shins, Heartworm
This says a lot about the current music industry. The Shins first album for five years has been completed since last summer, but has been delayed until March 2017 to maximise exposure for a 2017 Coachella slot. “This whole new culture of festivals has taken over basically,” says leader James Mercer. The Shins’ lineup was shuffled for 2012’s Billboard #2 Port of Morrow, so the “band” is now basically Mercer and some other dudes. (Reality? It was ever thus.) Still, with Heartworm only the third album in 10 years, expectations for the latest set of Mercer’s kaleidoscopic indie is sky high.
Spoon, Hot Thoughts
Cult heroes Spoon are now nine albums in, and March sees them returning to the Matador label with Hot Thoughts. Frontman Britt Daniel confirmed in 2016 that producer Dave Fridman (Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips) has helmed “multidimensional jams” that boast “oddball studio effects” and adds, “I feel like we are on to something, we’re covering some new ground.” Brooding new cut “I Ain’t the One” debuted in December on TV’s Shameless.
My Morning Jacket, TBA
In an interview with Rolling Stone, MMJ’s Jim James said he plans on recording the follow-up to 2015’s The Waterfall in the spring. Some of the “new” songs were actually written during the recording of The Waterfall, but there are others forthcoming too: James says “You never know what’s actually gonna happen when you get down to recording.” He describes the new songs, however, as “propulsive” and “rock & roll.” Here’s hoping he’s strapping on his Flying V again?
Dan Auerbach, TBA
After producing and playing mucho guitar on The Pretenders’ Alone, Auerbach has been back at his Nashville studio, Easy Eye Sound, finishing his second solo album. Although it’s hardly “solo”.
Veteran contributors include bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash), drummer Gene Chrisman and pianist Bobby Wood (Dusty Springfield, Elvis Presley). Songs include “Malibu Man,” a tribute to friend Rick Rubin, and “Shine on Me,” featuring rhythm guitar from Mark Knopfler. Most of the album was cut live. “These guys tell me they're genuinely thrilled to be here because we're making records like they used to,” says Auerbach.
Liam Gallagher, TBA
When not Tweet-bitching about elder brother Noel, Gallagher-the-younger has been finishing his first solo album for summer ‘17 release. “I’m doing a solo record, with gritted teeth because I’d rather be in a band,” he’s said. No word on the musicians – Liam’s own guitar playing is rudimentary – but that won’t be the point, anyway. He promises: “Good songs, good vocals, rock n’ roll, stuff you won’t have to think too much about. No long guitar solos, no drum solos, no mad wizardy keyboard, just bang-in-your-face. It’s good.”
Noel Gallagher, TBA
Ignoring Tweet-baits from younger brother Liam, Gallagher-the-elder has been been working on his third. At Christmas, he told the BBC, he’d “have everything finished – mastered, artwork, videos, the lot – done by the time I go to Glastonbury in June.” Co-producer David Holmes says, “People are going to be surprised,” but Noel insists it’s not “dance”. “For some reason they all associate David [Holmes] with electronic music. To be honest, I was hoping we might do something electronic, but it’s turning out to be a rock’n’roll record, which is fine with me.”
Paul Weller, A Kind Revolution
The prolific Brit is finalising his 13th solo record for spring 2017, featuring a host of guest contributors, including singer Boy George and Robert Wyatt (trumpet and vox). Regular guitar-spar Steve Cradock appears a bit, and Weller tells Uncut, “there’s a funky blues tune called ‘The Satellite Kids’ with Josh McClory from The Strypes playing lead guitar. He’s on two or three tracks, actually.” Weller’s also worked on a soundtrack to boxing drama movie Jawbone (released March), and says he’s already working on his next album.
Shoegaze pioneers Ride are working on their first new album in 20 years, which the band’s Andy Bell describes as “equal parts Motörhead And William Basinski.” Post Oasis, in which he played bass, Bell is back on guitar – Instagrams from the studio see him with his Gibson Trini Lopez – with tunes both new and culled from soundcheck jams during their 2015 reunion tour. “At times, it’s quite trashy and poppy and other times it’s quite ambient and psychedelic,” says Bell. Summer release.
Jesus & Mary Chain, Damage & Joy
Thirty-plus years since Psychocandy and 19 since the last Mary Chain album, Damage & Joy sticks to the manifesto. Lead single “Amputation” is relatively restrained and polished, but the noise-pop template seems never-changing – simplistic fuzz riffs, feedback, more than one lyrical reference to “rock’n’roll.” Out March 24.
Sources: BBC, Rolling Stone, Billboard, NME, Uncut, Stereogum, Pitchfork, Q, Mojo, artists’ official Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, official blogs and official websites.