List: Ben’s 10 Most Hyped Records of 2016

  1. Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing [April 1]

Since Frankie Cosmos’ breakthrough release Zentropy in 2014, the Bandcamp-born songwriter has quickly ascended the indie-pop blogosphere hype train. Cosmos (the stage name of New Yorker Greta Kline) writes pop songs catchy and innocent enough to garner numerous comparisons to twee heroes K Records, a label that she has no shame admitting was highly influential to her. Late last year Frankie Cosmos released the Fit Me In EP, a four track, eight minute collection on which there isn’t *gasp* a single guitar to be found. The exclusively electronic instrumentation worked well, but based on the three singles we’ve received thus far (one of them, “On the Lips,” being a song she’s already released demos of on Bandcamp), Next Thing will find Kline once again picking up the guitar and serenading us with infectious confession after confession.

  1. The Hotelier – Goodness [May 27]

Pop-punk is a musical territory that I don’t frequently venture deep into. Of course, there are some classic Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy songs that I can enjoy (I’m only human), but it’s never long before I start feeling way more like a teenager than I’d like to (disclaimer: I am a teenager). The Hotelier’s 2014 LP Home, Like Noplace Is There, however, proved an exception to this rule in the biggest of ways. There’s not a single line on this nine song album that isn’t infinitely scream-worthy, making the record one of the longest, saddest, but also most fun singalongs to come out in recent memory. Home, Like Noplace Is There is a lyrical masterpiece, further complimented by the intense, well-produced guitar work that pervades the LP. If The Hotelier have hung on to any of the magic they captured on that 2014 release, Goodness will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable albums of 2016.

  1. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial [May 20]

Will Toledo is, if nothing else, prepped to be one of the most prolific artists of our generation. Much like Frankie Cosmos up in that #10 spot, Toledo has been releasing confessional music on Bandcamp under the name Car Seat Headrest for over five years, and recently labels started taking notice. Last year Toledo signed with indie legends Matador and released Teens of Style, a collection of re-recorded material that helped garner Car Seat Headrest the attention he had been so long deserving of. This time around, however, the material is all newly written, and the album was recorded in a studio with the help of producer Steve Fisk. Teens of Denial seems to be a pivotal point in the quickly skyrocketing career of Toledo, and I’m excited to see the direction he is pursuing with this release.

  1. ANOHNI – HOPELESSNESS [May 6]

I don’t give a fuck who you are – if you’re coming out with an album co-produced by Hudson Mohawke or Oneohtrix Point Never, that’s a release I’ll be eagerly awaiting. Now, an album featuring co-production from both? Be still, my heart. We haven’t even reached the most exciting part of this album, however: the fact that HOPELESSNESS is the solo debut of ANOHNI (formerly Antony) of Antony and the Johnsons. In my eyes (and to my ears, based on the two singles we’ve received thus far) there’s no way that this LP won’t be one of the strongest releases of 2016. Anohni has been an outspoken environmentalist and general political commentator in the past, leading me to assume that HOPELESSNESS will be a politically charged record through and through. I’m especially excited to hear “Obama,” which I can only assume will be the soundtrack our president deserves as he exits the White House.

 

  1. Frank Ocean – Boys Don’t Cry [Release Date TBA]

The inclusion of this “album” on the list might seem counterintuitive; after all, its purpose is to count down the top ten “albums” being “released” “this” “year” that I’m most excited for. As of now, there’s little real reason to believe that Frank Ocean will be doing anything this year, let alone releasing his much anticipated follow-up to 2012’s instant-classic Channel Orange. That being said, there are two main reasons I chose to include this album (or lack thereof) on the list. Firstly, Ocean had a surprise feature on Kanye’s fantastic The Life of Pablo, which is more recorded material than we’ve heard from him in some time. Secondly, no matter how improbable it seems that this thing will ever see a real release, the hype it too fucking high to not include it.

  1. Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow [May 13]

In 2014, Philadelphian shoegazer punks Nothing released one of my favorite records from that year, the punishing but simultaneously gorgeous Guilty of Everything. The band presented a fresh and heavy take on shoegaze, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting their sophomore release since falling in love with their debut. It was over a month ago that the group released the record’s first single “Vertigo Flowers,” and the song’s poppiness left me pleasantly surprised and craving more. They still employ the lush guitar sounds found on their first record, but from a songwriting standpoint Tired of Tomorrow is shaping up to be quite a development in the band’s sound.

  1. Parquet Courts – Human Performance [April 8]

If I were to be basing this list solely on the strength of singles released, Parquet Courts’ forthcoming LP Human Performance would probably be holding the number one spot. With each of the three songs that we’ve heard thus far (“Dust,” “Berlin Got Blurry,” “Outside”), I’ve grown more and more confident that this album will be a constantly maturing band’s strongest work yet. “Dust” finds the band locking into a hypnotic groove for the song’s four minute duration, complete with synth – an instrument that will hopefully be featured prominently on this new record.

  1. Death Grips – Bottomless Pit [Release Date TBA]

I like to consider myself perpetually noided, and because of this I really have no choice but to be hyped out of my fucking mind for any new Death Grips release. The Sacramento trio have yet to let us down (at least as far as album releases go), and there’s no reason to believe that Bottomless Pit will be any different. Their sixth full-length release (seventh depending on what you decide to include) doesn’t have a release date yet, and at this point most fans of the group have accepted that trying to predict their future actions is entirely futile. It appears, however, that this album will be here in the near future, seeing as they recently shared the tracklist and album cover. Musically there’s not much we can predict beyond a hyper-aggressive blend of hip-hop, punk, electronic, and noise – and that’s exactly how I like it.

 

  1. Paul Institute – TBA

Easter can fuck off as far as I’m concerned – the only resurrection we should be paying attention to this week is that of English singer/producer Jai Paul, a singular talent that I strongly suspected we might never hear from again. As of now, we’ve still barely heard from him at all; two official singles and one collection of supposed demos is the only material out there by this mysterious Londoner. The fact that he is holding my number two spot with such little material should tell you something about how much potential I believe Paul has. He’s an immensely talented singer, but I think the most exciting aspect of his work thus far is his production style. Incorporating scores of unique samples, his work is simultaneously sleek and futuristic while also feeling incredibly human and soulful. Hopefully in due time we will have more work to absorb and analyze, considering the fact that Jai and his brother A.K. (a great producer in his own right) have launched what appears to be a record label called Paul Institute. They’ve been vague about what exactly we can expect to be released in the near future, but – seeing as we’ve already received one official single from A.K. – one would think more work will follow shortly.

 

  1. LCD Soundsystem – TBA

I believe in LCD Soundsystem. As of late, it has been fashionable to oppose the LCD reunion, or at least be a vocal skeptic of it. In my eyes, everyone who falls in this camp is either trying to hang on to the last drop of indie cred dripping from their circle-jerked dick or simply isn’t fully educated about what exactly is going on with the band. Personally, I have faith that this reunion is a hugely positive thing not only for existing LCD fans, but fans to come. This optimism is largely based on the fact that the legendary group is releasing a new album to begin with. I think that in itself proves that they know the stakes of this reunion, and James Murphy has spoke recently about how the band fully realizes how much is resting on the quality of this forthcoming record.

Written by Ben Weinstein

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