New year, new music. If you look at Billboard’s 40 Most Anticipated Albums for 2017, many familiar faces can be seen. From the typical Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Drake, to return albums from Depeche Mode, Zack de la Rocha, Puff Daddy and Limp Bizkit, 2017 will be having many radio stations booming with new music.
What about us here at WUOG? What will be flooding our airwaves while you’re being flooded by midterm exams and stress? Although ALL these albums might not be on our airwaves, here’s a taste of the variety 2017 has to bring in music (with a bit of my personal spices).
Gorillaz, TBD (Release Date TBD)
I must put this album out here. Although more mainstream, this animated band teased their fans in January with the release of “Hallelujah Money”, a single featuring London native Benjamin Clementine. Released on the eve of Inauguration Day, many fans were left intrigued by the always-experimental style of Gorillaz. However, there has been no connection of “Hallelujah Money” to the upcoming unnamed album that still has no set release date. With no tour dates listed for 2017 yet, the new album could be pure speculation, but many fans (including myself) will be on the lookout for any new rumors as the year progresses.
Stormzy, “Gang Signs & Prayer” (February 24)
British grime rapper Michael Omari, also known as Stormzy, has made a name for himself in recent years. The 23-year Londoner has yet to release a studio album, instead having released “168: The Mixtape” in 2013, the “Dreamers Disease” EP in 2014 and a handful of singles, including British Phonographic Industry silver-certified, “Know Me From”, which reached the Top 50 on the UK singles chart at #49 and #2 in the UK Indie chart. A track record like that without ever releasing a studio album builds both hype and potential for Stormzy’s freshman effort which will be released in late February.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, “Flying Microtonal Banana” (February 24)
Sounding like something straight out of a band name generator, many people would instantly feel turned off by such a bizarre name for a band. However, this seven-member psychedelic rock group from Melbourne, Australia has been hard at work for years, releasing a staggering nine albums since their forming in 2010. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you haven’t heard of KGLW, given that Pitchfork included the group in their “Overlooked Albums of 2016” list, defending KGLW’s album, “Nonagon Infinity”. Evan Minsker of Pitchfork writes, “A never-ending, unstoppable record isn’t that alluring of a prospect, but the Melbourne band’s latest effort distills their strengths into an uninterrupted adrenaline rush.” The band’s single, “Rattlesnake”, is a sample of the upcoming album. If you find yourself interested in this group, be ready for more music, as The Guardian reported in November of 2016 that KGLW plans to release five (yes…five!) new albums in 2017. Stu Mackenzie, frontman of KGLW, stated, “I figured I’m no good at chilling…if I’m going to be a musician and a creative person, I may as well be a productive creative person.”
Bliss N Eso, “Off the Grid” (March 10)
Staying in Australia and putting my own flavor into the mix, meet Aussie hip hop veterans, Bliss N Eso. The trio of MC Bliss, MC Eso (short for Esoterik) and DJ Izm have been in the scene since 2000. Since then, they have released five studio albums with the last two, “Running on Air” and “Circus in the Sky” reaching #1 on the Australian albums chart while also reaching ARIA (Australian Record Industry Association) platinum status in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Bliss N Eso have made collaborations with Australia’s best hip hop artists as well as respected American artists like Lee Fields (for the new album), Xzibit and Nas. While they’ll be big in Australia, you can also enjoy this group to expand your musical prowess.