A whole load of brilliant music came out in 2016, so much that it almost made me wonder whether there were any musicians left to put out music in 2017. Thankfully, there’s a fantastic lineup of artists who have music lined up for release this year, and I want to share with you a few of the records I’m most excited for in the coming twelve months.
Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau – Self Titled (27th of January)
Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau are two of the most adventurous and prolific musicians in their respective genres. Both have explored an extremely wide variety of musical avenues and have been recording with Nonesuch records for many years, so it was only a matter of time before the two collaborated. You don’t often hear mandolin/piano duets, but after hearing the two singles released ahead of this record’s launch I have come to two conclusions:
- These guys are mad enough and in sync enough for this to work spectacularly well
- This combination of instruments needs to be used far more frequently
The album releases at the end of January and promises to be a lovingly crafted experience.
Godspeed by Morten Schantz (27th of January)
Another album dropping at the end of January, Godspeed is the latest album from the seemingly unstoppable Edition Records. Pianist, Morten Schantz, is joined on this new album by saxophonist, Marius Neset, and drummer, Anton Eger of Phronesis. The three singles from this record are all electrifying. Schantz’s performances are full of surprises and his writing brings together heavy synths with beautifully dusty acoustic piano, intricate and visceral drumming and saxophone playing that varies from grunt-filled post-bop solos to smooth, pop-influenced melodies.
This is likely to be an album that takes you by surprise.
Universal Favorite by Noam Pikelny (March)
Curse you, American spelling that forgets to use U’s!
Punch Brothers banjo extraordinaire, Noam Pikelny, is set to release a solo banjo record this year. Personally, I’m stoked to see Noam stretch his muscles, playing unaccompanied. Pikelny is a true virtuoso whose precise, technical ability never comes off as overly flashy or robotic. He’s one of those utterly extraordinary players whose ability serves the sole purpose of breaking down the barriers between musical creativity and the reality of performance. Noam has released one song so far, in the lead up to Universal Favorite‘s release, and upon hearing it, I was immediately struck by the beauty that came with the song’s inherent sense of solitude and isolation.
Don’t let this album pass you by, you’ll miss out on the feels.
Regina by Becca Stevens (April? February? Definitely 2017)
I can’t articulate enough, how excited I am about this record. Becca Stevens is shining light of originality among a crowded field of uninspiring singer-songwriters at the moment. Her work is both complex and accessible, and manages to strike a balance between innovation and familiarity. Above all, though, Stevens writes music that is beautiful, and from the clips and previews she’s shared through her Pledge Music campaign for this new album, she looks to be continuing further down that path of beauty and originality.
With a spate of awesome collaborators (Laura Mvula, Jacob Collier and Michael League, just to name a few) in tow, Regina is Stevens’ most ambitious project to date, and is possibly my most anticipated album of the year.
The Pledge campaign for Regina is almost over. Click here to check it out.
Newton Faulkner – TBA (Summer 2017)
With every new album, Newton Faulkner reinvents himself. In 2015, he did so yet again with his first full band album, Human Love. I adored that record, and have loved almost everything he’s put out since his debut album, Hand Built By Robots, in 2006. Faulkner is releasing his sixth album through Pledge Music because, as he says in the page’s intro video, “I’ve done everything else.”
We don’t know very much about the new album, other than a release window of summer 2017, and that he wants it to be a bridge between Hand Built By Robots, and his 2013, self-produced album, Studio Zoo. Personally, I love this idea, as these two albums are, in my opinion, Faulkner’s best work. The concept of Studio Zoo style songwriting, with grander, Hand Built By Robots style production, is a winning combination, as far as I’m concerned.
Why is the Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles album not on here?
Honestly, I’m not hugely interested, and I hadn’t heard any rumblings about a new record from them. I will check it out though 🙂