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45 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016

U2, Metallica, Radiohead and more

45 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016 illustration

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From this month's return of David Bowie to the much-delayed return of Frank Ocean, 2016 promises to be full of big albums and big names. Here are the 45 records we're most eager to blast on our stereos this year.

Frank Ocean

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Singer Frank Ocean performs All Tomorrow's Parties Festival - Day 1 at Pier 36 on September 21, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty

Frank Ocean

Album: Boys Don't Cry
Release Date: TBA
The follow-up to Frank Ocean's 2012 Grammy-winning R&B smash Channel Orange even has Adele impatient. "I'm just fucking waiting for Frank fucking Ocean to come out with his album," she told Rolling Stone this year. "It's taking so fucking long." In the works since early 2013, the concept album reportedly features collaborations with Hit-Boy, Tyler the Creator, Rodney Jerkins, Pharrell and Danger Mouse. Last year, Ocean announced, "I got two versions. I got twoooo versions. #ISSUE1 #ALBUM3 #JULY2015 #BOYSDONTCRY," and posted a photo with a stack of Boys Don't Cry magazines. July came and went, and Adele got nothing.

Tool

NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 10: Photo of Maynard James KEENAN and TOOL; Maynard James Keenan performing live on stage (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)

Paul Bergen/Getty

Tool

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Tool is free! It's been practically a decade since the release of the hard-art-rock titans' last studio album, 10,000 Days. Though they hit the road nationally a few times in those 10 ensuing years, as it turned out, they spent a good chunk of the time wrapped up in a lawsuit with an insurance company. With the lawsuit settled and the ensuing creativity-drain gone, Maynard James Keenan and company are back at it. This month, they'll hit the road with Primus, and guitarist Adam Jones told Rolling Stone last year that they've made major progress on a new album, due out this year. "Things are really flowing and going really well, and I'm just blown away at the stuff that's coming together," he said. "I'm excited and can't wait for it to be done."

Radiohead

COLOGNE, GERMANY - OCTOBER 15: Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs on stage at the Lanxess-Arena on October 15, 2012 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Peter Wafzig/Redferns via Getty Images)

Peter Wafzig/Getty

Radiohead

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Radiohead fans were given an unexpected Christmas gift with the surprise release of the band's unreleased Bond theme, "Spectre," the band's first taste of new music in four years. While the band has not confirmed a new album's title or release date, drummer Phil Selway told Drowned in Sound last January that the band began working on new material in September of 2014. Johnny Greenwood later confirmed that the band had "done a couple months of recording" that "have gone really well," noting that they've changed their method of making a new album again. In early December, Thom Yorke debuted a new song called "Silent Spring" at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Bruno Mars

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Bruno Mars performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Bruno Mars

Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Bruno Mars

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Beyond working on "All I Ask" off Adele's blockbuster 25, Bruno Mars has been focused on creating his third album, the follow-up to 2012's double platinum Unorthodox Jukebox. Despite the wait in between albums, Mars has never really exactly left the spotlight, playing the Super Bowl Half Time show and appearing on 2015's biggest single, Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk," which spent 14 weeks at Number One.

Nine Inch Nails

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 29: Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails performs at Zenith de Paris on May 29, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images)

David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns/Getty

Nine Inch Nails

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
It all started with a rare tweet from Trent Reznor's official account: "New NIN coming in 2016. Other stuff, too." This follows the positive reception of Nine Inch Nails' otherwise understated, synth-heavy 2013 album Hesitation Marks – as well as its corresponding art book, Cargo in the Blood, released last December. "It's not an album I'm trying to finish in a month," Reznor told Rolling Stone last June, "It's more just feeling around in the dark and seeing what sounds interesting. It's nice to do that every few years to try and reinvent and discover and try to learn about yourself and what feels exciting to you as an artist."

David Bowie

NEWPORT, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of "The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004" at Seaclose Park, on June 13, 2004 in Newport, UK. The third annual rock festival takes place during the Isle of Wight Festival which runs from June 4-19. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)

Jo Hale/Getty

David Bowie

Album:
Release Date: January 8th
You probably didn't get tickets to Lazarus, the New York Theatre Workshop musical which David Bowie co-wrote with Enda Walsh. (That is unless you could scrape up about $800 for scalpers; otherwise, tickets sold out for the entire run within minutes.) Luckily for the rest of us, there's his 25th studio album, (pronounced "Blackstar"). The early singles — the title track, and, yes, "Lazarus," — have somber brass and textured production that hint at spacey, jazz-inflected, mid-to-late-1970s Bowie. "The goal," producer Tony Visconti told Rolling Stone this past November, "in many, many ways, was to avoid rock & roll."

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Rappers Macklemore (L) and Ryan Lewis perform onstage during the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Lucian Grainge at The Beverly Hilton on January 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)

Lester Cohen/WireImage/Getty

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Maybe Macklemore and Ryan Lewis recognized they were facing an uphill battle or backlash going into the sequel to the duo's enormously successful debut The Heist. "Downtown," the yet-untitled follow-up LP's lead single, was a long-overdue celebration of hip-hop's early days, corralling hip-hop originators Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Caz, and Melle Mel. The song didn't perform on the Billboard charts for very long, but its reverence was hard to see cynically. Still, it's tough to imagine The Heist's yet-unnamed follow-up will see the same level of success as its prequel, without a "Thrift Shop" lighting the way. Still, a newly-clean-and-sober Macklemore has promised to take on the influence of Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles in an ambitious attempt to break the sophomore slump.

Sia

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Recording artist Sia performs onstage at A+E Networks "Shining A Light" concert at The Shrine Auditorium on November 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for A+E Networks)

Christopher Polk/Getty

Sia

Album: This Is Acting
Release Date: January 29th
This Is Acting, Sia's seventh album, pays tribute to the bewigged Australian's other gig – writing songs for the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé and other chart-toppers. Acting will consist entirely of songs that have been rejected by bigger names, and the match between song and intended target will, at times, be apparent on first listen. "One of them is a Shakira reject, which there's no doubt when you hear it. You'll know that it was a Shakira reject because I sound like Shakira," she told Rolling Stone in December. "Alive," the album's lead single, was intended for Adele and written alongside the British belter and the hotly tipped Canadian troubadour Tobias Jesso Jr. "I chose the people that we worked with and I choose those people because they're so incredibly talented and they check their egos at the door too and allow me to be the artist. Then when I want to bring another artist, I try to check my ego at the door and be of service to them and allow them to be the artist."  

Beck

Kevork Djansezian/Getty

Beck

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
A few months after Morning Phase's surprise win for Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammys, Beck released the hugely catchy single "Dreams." Produced by Greg Kurstin, who was a member of Beck's backing band ages before he was helming chart-topping hits by Adele and Kelly Clarkson, "Dreams" was Beck's biggest radio hit in more than a decade, reaching Number Two on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart and Number 23 on Rolling Stone's list of the best songs of 2015. "I was really trying to make something that would be good to play live," Beck said in a radio interview last summer. However, six months after the single's release, there are still scant details about the album's title or release date. 

Elton John

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 15: Elton John performs during the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 15, 2014 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Douglas Mason/Getty Images)

Douglas Mason/Getty

Elton John

Album: Wonderful Crazy Night
Release Date: February 5th
At 68, Elton John is still devoted to writing new songs with longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin. And Wonderful Crazy Night, which reunites him with longtime sidemen Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson, is his rowdiest and most upbeat album in decades. Mercury/Capitol, who released his downtempo 2013 album The Diving Board, will issue the album in February, although John says the label wasn't thrilled with the rocking new record and would rather him just settle down and record a Christmas album or Motown covers. "I want this record to feel joyous from beginning to end," John told Rolling Stone in November.

Ed Sheeran

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 20: Recording artist Ed Sheeran performs onstage during the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 20, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)

Denise Truscello/Getty

Ed Sheeran

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
In a pop landscape driven mostly by EDM and hip-hop, Ed Sheeran made being an acoustic guitar-wielding singer-songwriter cool again thanks to tender ballads written for himself, Taylor Swift, One Direction and Justin Bieber. This year, he's planning on releasing his as-yet-untitled third album and quit social media in early December to focus on his music. Back in September, Sheeran confirmed to Rolling Stone that he was hard at work on his fourth album as well and would soon travel to Africa to look for new sounds. "I know a load of Ghanaian musicians in London, and they've always told me to go over there," Sheeran said. "I feel like I'd go there and be revitalized."

Haim

Andy Sheppard/Getty

Haim

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The Haim sisters have experienced a roller-coaster ride since their 2013 debut, Days Are Gone — including collaborations with Calvin Harris and M83, a show on Beats 1 and an opening slot on Taylor Swift's 1989 Tour. In October, they told Beats 1's Zane Lowe that their long-in-the-works second album was almost finished. "Essentially the oven has been pre-heated and the oven door is open. … Fish fingers in the tray," they quipped. While their signature harmonies will likely remain intact, there are a lot of wild cards at play: "We're always writing and figuring out new vibes and trying to get our inner Kanyes out," Alana Haim told Rolling Stone in 2014.

Charli XCX

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 10: Charlotte Emma Aitchison aka Charli XCX attends the Sonos And Pandora Present "An Evening With Charli XCX" event at Sonos Studio on June 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Sonos)

Joe Scarnici/Getty

Charli XCX

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Charli XCX kept busy in 2015, guesting on tracks like the Ty Dolla $ign single "Drop That Kitty," launching a fashion line, and releasing a documentary about pop and feminism. Later in the year, she focused on music, canceling her fall 2015 tour with Bleachers to work on her follow-up to 2014's Sucker. In September, she offered a few details about the still-untitled album to the U.K. newspaper The Mirror: "It's definitely the most electronic pop sound I've done," she said. "I've been really inspired by Paris Hilton, small dogs and a glitter, luxe lifestyle." In October she bore out that prediction when she released the dark, pounding "Vroom Vroom," produced by future-shocked electro artist Sophie.

Chance the Rapper

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 13: Chance The Rapper performs during the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 13, 2014 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Josh Brasted/WireImage)

Josh Brasted/Getty

Chance the Rapper

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Will 2016 be the year the critically acclaimed MC finally puts his name on a commercially available debut? "That's a good question," Chance said when Rolling Stone asked him last July if such a release was forthcoming. "Let's say I don't know." Chance kept busy in 2015, working with the jazz-rap collective Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment on their wide-ranging and highly regarded release Surf. Chance also premiered two new tracks during high-profile TV slots: He introduced "Angels" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and performed "Somewhere in Paradise" on Saturday Night Live. It's not clear yet whether those cuts are part of a larger project to surface this year. As Chance says: "I can do whatever I want. I don't have to do a fucking thing!"

My Morning Jacket

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Jim James of My Morning Jacket performs onstage during the 2015 Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall's Island on June 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic for Governors Ball Music Festival)

Taylor Hill/Getty

My Morning Jacket

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
My Morning Jacket just released their seventh album The Waterfall last May, but they're already looking forward to the eighth. At the time of The Waterfall's release, the band revealed that they had produced over 24 songs, and that they would release the remaining material in 2016 – though their latest tour has made finalizing the next LP a bit difficult. "It's this pile that I'm always mixing up, if I have a week or two off, I'm at home playing with the pile, or working on a solo record, or working on Jacket stuff or trying other stuff," MMJ's Jim James told Rolling Stone. "We'll definitely record more to make another record. There's some things that we did for the last record that will end up getting used, I think, that I really like a lot. There's only half the story there for the next record."

M.I.A.

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 06: M.I.A. performs at Zenith de Paris on July 6, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images)

David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns/Getty

M.I.A.

Album: Matahdatah
Release Date: TBA
We heard several new tracks from brilliant global-punk-dance provocateur M.I.A. in 2015, at least a few of which seem likely to resurface on her fifth studio album, due sometime this year. In July, she dropped a long-form video called "Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border" that included the new song, "Swords." Then in November, the video for "Borders," which M.I.A. dedicated to her uncle, a Tamil migrant, directly addressed the global refugee crisis. "The concept for this LP is 'broader than a border' and Matahdatah is the journal of Matangi." M.I.A. said in a statement, referring to her 2013 album. "Sometimes I move vertical and sometimes I move horizontal."

Gwen Stefani

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Gwen Stefani debuts her newest single "Used To Love You" during her performance presented by MasterCard exclusively for its cardholders at Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center on October 17, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MasterCard)

Christopher Polk/Getty

Gwen Stefani

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Beyond the glare of tabloid cameras and The Voice, tireless businesswoman and artist Gwen Stefani has, in fact, had some time to make some actual music. Stefani reportedly started work on her third solo studio album, the follow-up to 2006's The Sweet Escape, in 2014, but scrapped most of it. Instead, we got the first single, the nakedly personal ode to ex-husband Gavin Rossdale, "I Used to Love You." Stefani told Beats 1's Zane Lowe that the song arose as part of an unusually prolific, post-writer's-block period. "I think I have enough for probably two albums," she told him. "I have to write a few more songs, because I feel like, might as well keep going while it's there." It's not all torch songs and ballads, though, she told him. A new single, a "really happy song," is likely due out next — it's called "Misery." Go figure.

Missy

Rob Loud/Getty

Missy Elliott

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Missy Elliott bounded back into the pop spotlight in 2015, appearing with Katy Perry at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, guesting on a track on Janet Jackson's new album and, most excitingly, collaborating with Pharrell on her gangbusters new single, "WTF (Where They From)." Elliott claims nerves kept her on the sidelines. "I felt like, 'How do I fit in?'" she told i-D in November. "I'm battling. But then I never fit in! The whole time, I've never fit in!" As for a new album, longtime collaborator Timbaland has been saying it's ready to go for more than a year. "It's on her," Tim said back in 2014. "She got the first single, it's just a matter of when she wants to do it. We got the hollow-tip bullet in the gun. We have the game-changer right there."

Soundgarden

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 08: Kim Thayil, Chris Cornell, Matt Chamberlain, and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden perform at Aaron's Amphitheatre on August 8, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Chris McKay/Getty Images)

Chris McKay/Getty

Soundgarden

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Soundgarden always vowed that if they'd ever reunite after their 1997 breakup, it would be to resume the band's creative path and not just play the hits. The band stayed true to that promise with 2012's thorny, hard-rocking King Animal. And though they've taken a break from playing live in the last few months as frontman Chris Cornell toured for his solo album Higher Truth, it appears that the band's 7th full-length is somewhere on the horizon. "We're already working on material for a new album," Cornell told Rolling Stone in August.

The Band Perry

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 29: Neil Perry, Kimberly Perry and Reid Perry of The Band Perry perform onstage during the UK leg of the band's Pioneer 2013 World tour at The Institute on November 29, 2013 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)

Ollie Millington/Redferns/Getty

The Band Perry

Album: Heart + Beat
Release Date: Early 2016
The Band Perry's self-titled 2010 debut and 2013 follow-up Pioneer spun off a series of rootsy hits that topped the country charts. But the band appears to be putting aside the mandolins and eying a Taylor Swift-like turn towards pop crossover with their third album Heart + Beat. The sunny lead single "Live Forever" was produced by Lady Gaga collaborator RedOne and faced a chilly reception from country radio. The band has even been in the studio with Pharrell Williams. "We're trying to have a little more romance about this new album," newlywed Kimberly Perry told Rolling Stone last March.

Charlie Puth

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17: Musician Charlie Puth performs onstage during the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/BMA2015/Getty Images for dcp)

Kevin Winter/Getty

Charlie Puth

Album: Nine Track Mind
Release Date: January 29th
Singer Charlie Puth came out of nowhere in 2015 with one of the biggest singles of the year, singing the chorus to Wiz Khalifa's Paul Walker tribute "See You Again." The track hit a billion views on YouTube in less than a year, spent 12 weeks at Number One and is currently up for three Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe. Puth will launch his 2016 with his solo debut, Nine Track Mind, which will include guest appearances from Meghan Trainor ("Marvin Gaye") and Selena Gomez ("We Don't Talk Anymore"). "[Listeners] should expect a soulful vibe," Puth recently promised in an interview with Vulture.

Loretta Lynn

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 11: Loretta Lynn performs during the 2011 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on June 11, 2011 in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/WireImage)

Erika Goldring/Getty

Loretta Lynn

Album: Full Circle
Release Date: March 4th
Full Circle is the 83-year-old country legend's first album since 2003, when Jack White produced the gorgeous Van Lear Rose. This time around, Lynn recorded at Johnny Cash's Cash Cabin Studio in Tennessee with John Carter Cash and her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell co-producing. "I recorded 93 songs, and I'm going to record some more, too," Lynn told Billboard in December. The 13 tracks selected for Full Circle include new takes on Lynn's hit "Fist City" and the first song she ever wrote, "Whispering Sea," as well as duets with Elvis Costello and Willie Nelson. "When this album comes out, I want to work it just like I've done always," Lynn said. "And I can't wait." 

The 1975

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Adam Hann and Matthew Healy of The 1975 perform on stage at The Corn Exchange on November 17, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns)

Roberto Ricciuti/Getty

The 1975

Album: I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
Release Date: February 26th
Judging by advance singles "Love Me" and "Ugh!" Manchester rockers the 1975 have mined funky Eighties hitmakers like Peter Gabriel, Terence Trent D'Arby and Prince for their second studio album. "[The Eighties were] a time where technology came into play vastly," the band told iHeartRadio. "It was a forward-thinking time, and trying to capture the ethos of that time without being over-referential, in like a pastiche, is something that we wanted to do." The album will be supported by a North American tour that begins April 18th in Los Angeles.

Mavis Staples

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 20: Mavis Staples performs at "Here But I'm Gone: A 70th Birthday Tribute to Curtis Mayfield" concert at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on July 20, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Mike Coppola/Getty

Mavis Staples

Album: Livin' on a High Note
Release Date: February 19th
Legendary singer Mavis Staples will release a new album in February, following up a pair of Jeff Tweedy-produced Americana albums, 2010's You Are Not Alone and 2013's One True Vine. Staples has remained relatively quiet about her upcoming album but the LP will feature the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer singing songs written exclusively for her by artists like Justin Vernon, Nick Cave, John Batiste, Aloe Blacc, Ben Harper, Neko Case and more. Also in February: the HBO premiere of the documentary film Mavis! which takes a look at her life.

PJ Harvey

Maria Mochnacz

PJ Harvey

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Last winter, PJ Harvey set up shop at London's Somerset House for "Recording in Progress," a four-week art installation during which she and collaborators set about writing and recording her ninth studio album while viewers watched through one-way glass. "I hope people will see the attention and the labor and the care that goes into making a recording," she said in a statement. "I hope people will see the interactions between everyone involved." In October, the shape-shifting British singer debuted 10 new songs at London's Royal Festival Hall. (Longtime collaborator John Parish and former Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds member James Johnston sat in.) A teaser posted online in December would indicate that at least some of the album, which does not yet have a title or release date, will be much more sonically abrasive than the 2007's gauzy White Chalk and 2011's Let England Shake.  

The Strokes

J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty

The Strokes

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Julian Casablancas spent almost as much time in 2015 promising new material from the Strokes as he did hyping his new music with the Voidz. "It's the first time we've been exclusively writing since [2013's] Comedown Machine," the Strokes vocalist told Noisey last April. "We're planning on recording stuff. I still think we could do cool things and I'll do that." In September, during a Strokes show at the Landmark Festival in D.C., Casablancas reportedly announced from the stage that the band planned to return to the studio.

Vampire Weekend

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 02: Musician Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performs at Crossroads KC on June 2, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Squires/WireImage)

Jason Squires/Getty

Vampire Weekend

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
"In some ways [our first three albums were] like kind of one massive period of obsessing, making music, touring, all those things," Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig told the No Effects Podcast last May. "I think now for the first time in a long time I kinda feel like, a little bit more relaxed. Like, 'Yeah, we'll definitely make a fourth album.'" Details are still scant, but the indie rock foursome's leader revealed that he wants their fourth album to "feel like a new era." He also said that discarded songs from the Modern Vampires sessions are among the tracks being considered for the as-yet-untitled project.

Deftones

Getty

Deftones

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Almost 30 years into their careers and following near breakups and the death of original bassist Chi Cheng, alt-metal heroes the Deftones are in the midst of a creative renaissance. Their last two albums, 2010's Diamond Eyes and 2012's Koi No Yokan, rank among their finest hours, and the band shows no signs of letting up when it comes to pushing the boundaries of its already expansive sound. In May, singer Chino Moreno described the group's forthcoming eighth album to NME as "out of the box" and full of "keyboards and a lot of cool, spacey low frequencies." He also added that Morrissey was serving as a key influence on the songs. "I've been on this crazy Morrissey tip recently – totally obsessing over his solo records – so I brought a lot of that to the table," he said. "On those early solo records, he uses this awesome, Elvis-y delay on his vocal that I've been ripping off a ton." As of November, the album – which reportedly includes a cameo from Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell – was being mixed, with a spring release expected.

Santigold

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: Singer Santi White of Santigold performs during DKNY Celebrates Dao-Yi Chow & Maxwell Osbourne's Debut DKNY Collection at Irving Plaza on September 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images For DKNY)

Denise Truscello/Getty

Santigold

Album: 99¢
Release Date: February 26th
We already got a taste of one of 2016's first big releases, Santigold's 99¢, from the album's first single, "Can't Get Enough of Myself," a giddy tune driven by a unique and uncharacterizable global pop beat. "The record cover is a picture of me basically in a bag, shrink-wrapped, with a bunch of items, random clutter from my life …  and there's a 99-cent sticker on it," Santigold said of the album title. "Everything is a product at this point, including people and relationships, and everything's about marketing products. So, I'm a product. And also, everything is undervalued, so I thought 99 cents is a good price for me and my life and all my hard work."

Run the Jewels

Mark Horton/WireImage/Getty

Run the Jewels

Album: RTJ3
Release Date: TBA
The dynamic duo of Killer Mike and El-P spent 2015 in victory lap mode, hitting festivals from coast to coast, and releasing Meow the Jewels, a novelty record for charity in which their acclaimed 2014 album Run the Jewels 2 was drenched in cat noises. Of course for the politically charged team, a "victory lap" also entails interviewing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and recording a record for the Rumble Kings soundtrack. Not much is known about the group's forthcoming album, though, as El-P suggested in his Colbert performance last September, it may take a while: "We'll get to it once we finish up with all this other shit," El-P added. "So, it should take til 2029."

Animal Collective

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Animal Collective

Album: Painting With
Release Date: February 19th
The day before Thanksgiving, those traveling through the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in Baltimore may have been lucky enough to get the first taste of Animal Collective's upcoming album, Painting With, which was debuted via the airport's PA system. According to Avey Tare's cousin, Matt Baetz, the album was "heard best in the bathrooms, some observation areas, pre-security and the big lounge after security." In a recent interview in Rolling Stone, the band promised to cut down on their signature reverb and embrace a much poppier sound, much more like 2007's Strawberry Jam – or, the Beatles at their druggiest peak. Lead single "FloridaDa" retains all the bubbly idiosyncrasy of the avant-pop trio. Due Feburary 19th, the album features cameos by The Velvet Underground's John Cale and saxophonist Colin Stetson, as well as some "metal rods from the Poltergeist soundtrack." 

Smashing Pumpkins

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 05: Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins performs on stage at KOKO on December 5, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images)

Burak Cingi/Redferns/Getty

Smashing Pumpkins

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
After spending 2015 touring with Marilyn Manson, which Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan insisted was not a nostalgia tour, the alt-rocker promised a "very exciting" and "very futuristic" record – and called statements that this might be the end of the band's catalog "clickbait." "I've basically said the Smashing Pumpkins dies when I die," he told Rolling Stone. His newest album, originally titled Day For Night, is a follow-up to 2012's Oceania and 2014's Monuments to an Elegy, all a part of the 44-track Teargarden by Kaleidyscope song cycle. The title was changed because, as Corgan wrote, "in order to rewrite everything, or write anew, I had to think that maybe my initial conception of what DAY FOR NIGHT would stand for (which was some kind of end) was misguided. So let’s say this'll be more of a farewell to MONUMENTS funerary."

Savages

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 23, 2015: Jehnny Beth, singer with Savages, an all-female English post-punk band performing on stage during the FYF music festival, at L.A. Memorial Sports Arena & Exposition Park in Los Angeles, CA August 23, 2015. (Photo by Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Francine Orr/Getty

Savages

Album: Adore Life
Release Date: January 22nd
When Savages began work on their second LP, the U.K. post-punks took on a new challenge: love songs, which singer Jehnny Beth was inspired to write after being showered with good vibes from crowds around the world. Adore Life is just as visceral as Savages' debut. "If there were beautiful lyrics, we wanted it to be contradicted by something nasty or aggressive," bassist Ayse Hassan says.

Swans

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 27: Christoph Hahn and Michael Gira of Swans performs on stage at Electric Brixton on May 27, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images)

Joseph Okpako/Getty

Swans

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
It's hard to imagine Michael Gira, head of the long-running, heavy noise purveyors Swans, ever going silent. And indeed he won't – last year, he announced that Swans, as a project, would continue. He is, however, disbanding the current, fully fleshed-out, eardrum-melting, six-member lineup that will be marking their final road hurrah this year. 2016 should also see the final studio album from this group, an effort financed through the crowd-funding of The Gate, a live album and concert DVD. Gira promises something lofty, as he wrote in an extended note to fans on his website last year. He hopes the album will be "the best, most fully realized, most sonically diverse and nuanced, most urgently performed and best produced album yet associated with the name [he] picked at random from a list on a scrap of paper at a kitchen table in New York City's East Village a century ago."

Charles Bradley

QUEBEC CITY, QC - JULY 13: Charles Bradley performs during Festival D'ete De Quebec on July 13, 2015 in Quebec City, Canada. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images,)

Scott Legato/Getty

Charles Bradley

Album: Changes
Release Date: April 1st
The ageless, limitless "Screaming Eagle of Soul" swoops back with Changes, an album named after Charles Bradley's affected rework of Black Sabbath's 1972 piano ballad, originally released as a Record Store Day single in 2013. "I think about the lyrics very closely when I sing 'Changes' and get emotional," he said in a press release. "It makes me think of my mother and the changes in my life since she passed away." An emotional music video features Bradley just letting his eyes express his sorrow. "We only did that once," noted director Eric Feigenbaum. "By the end of the take, everybody in the room was holding back tears."

Lake Street Dive

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02: (L-R) Mike 'McDuck' Olson, Mike Calabrese, Rachael Price, and Bridget Kearney of the band Lake Street Dive perform at the 2014 Ally Coalition's Talent Show at New World Stages on December 2, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)

Mike Pont/Getty

Lake Street Dive

Album: Side Pony
Release Date: February 19th
This Brooklyn-via-Boston quartet has wowed festival audiences with their feather-light blend of jazz and rock, a winking sense of humor, and the cucumber-cool vocals of Rachael Price. In late 2015 they signed with Nonesuch and recorded Side Pony with Chris Stapleton producer Dave Cobb at the Sound Emporium in Nashville. A snippet of the title track suggests that the band’s wit and musicianship remains high.  “We want to make an album that we’re all just in love with,” Price told Paste in 2015. “We have a producer who’s really kicking our ass.”

Sunflower Bean

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Julia Cumming , Jacob Faber, Nick Kivlen of Sunflower Bean perform onstage at The Corn Exchange on May 15, 2015 in Brighton, United Kingdom (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)

Ollie Millington/Getty

Sunflower Bean

Album: Human Ceremony
Release Date: February 5th
This Brooklyn trio has garnered plenty of buzz since their heavier-than-heavy 2015 EP, Show Me Your Seven Secrets, and are getting ready to release their official debut. Judging by the leadoff single "Wall Watcher" – about "existing in a lonely world," bassist Julia Cumming told The Fader – the band has dialed down the fuzzy psychedelia and dialed up the tempos. Human Ceremony, recorded in just seven days, is propelled by Cumming's ethereal voice and a rhythm section that has only gotten tighter and faster after dozens of live shows last year, opening for the likes of Wolf Alice and Best Coast. When Sunflower Bean formed in 2013 they were teenagers who celebrated their EP release in a family-friendly fashion: "We put streamers everywhere and served baked goods," Cumming told Rolling Stone.

Tim Hecker

Tracy Van Oosten

Tim Hecker

Album: TBA
Release Date: TBA
The critically adored master of gushing, ecstatic "power ambient" is returning for his eighth album — and his first for the esteemed indie label 4AD. Though details are slim, he's hitting New York and Los Angeles in April and then appearing at North Carolina's Moogfest in May alongside contemporaries like Oneohtrix Point Never and Ben Frost.

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