In nearly every respect, 2016 has been a rather unpleasant year so far. Thankfully, we always have tons of amazing music to distract us from humanity’s descent into swivel-eyed madness, and the next few months are positively brimming with exciting new releases, including brand new records from some of the biggest bands of all time. We’re excited and so should you be. Here are ten of the albums yet to be released that we fully expect to be dribbling and shrieking about as Old Father Time marches forward…
Heart - Beautiful Broken (July 8)
Diehard Heart fans are already frothing at the mouth at the prospect of the band’s latest album. Comprised of re-imagined versions of old but overlooked gems from the Wilson sisters’ vast catalogue, with a handful of new tunes thrown in, Beautiful Broken features string arrangements from Stones/Elton John collaborator Paul Buckmaster and a guest appearance from Metallica’s James Hetfield on the title track (which, oddly, was originally a bonus track on Heart’s 2012 album Fanatic). “This is classic Heart!” says Nancy Wilson. Splendid.
Jeff Beck - Loud Hailer (July 15)
Crikey… Jeff Beck is not in a good mood. The legendary guitarist’s 11th studio album sees him taking on, amongst other unsavoury modern phenomena, “the plasticity of reality shows”. With song titles like Thugs Club and Scared For The Children, this collaboration with singer Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg (both members of London band Bones) promises to be an edgy affair. It also sees Beck veer away from what he describes as “guitar nerd” records, toward a more vocal-driven approach. Intriguing.
The Cadillac Three - Bury Me In My Boots (Aug 5)
Few bands currently enjoy a more formidable reputation as a live act than The Cadillac Three, and the band’s new album looks certain to propel them ever further up the modern rock ladder. “14 songs of badass shit”, according to frontman Jaren Johnston, Bury Me In My Boots was produced by the band themselves and will feature such boozy, swaggering anthems as first single Drunk Like You, Graffiti and Soundtrack To A Six-Pack. It’s enough make a cowboy thirsty.
The Pineapple Thief - Your Wilderness (Aug 12)
Bruce Soord’s gently proggy crew are on a roll right now. The follow-up to 2014’s widely lauded Magnolia is another absorbing chapter in Soord’s meandering journey from nerdy bedroom project to widescreen rock nirvana, albeit with plenty of the heartstring-tugging elegance and grace that have long typified the band’s music thrown in for good measure. You can check out beautiful but melancholy first single, No Man’s Land, online now. If the rest of the album is this good, Your Wilderness could well be the band’s biggest success yet.
ZZ Top - Greatest Hits Live (Aug 12)
Not content with delighting and/or confusing mud-encrusted punters at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, classic rock’s premier beard-wearers will release this thunderous celebration of their latest round-the-world excursion in August, with everything from early gems like La Grange through to giant hits from the mighty Eliminator and recent Jeff Beck collaboration Sixteen Tons represented. It will be “a definitive chronicle of the band hangin’ together for four plus deluxe decades, getting down to do what we get to do,” according to Billy Gibbons. And who are we to argue?
Whiskey Myers - Mud (TBC)
These Texas southern rockers have been heading onwards and upwards for the last eight years and their fourth studio effort – currently available for pre-order on Pledge Music - seems likely to cement their status as one of the finest bands of their kind. Expect plenty of red dirt rambunctiousness and a further blurring of the lines between country, southern rock and balls-out blues. Check out preview track Lightning Bugs And Rain for a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come.
Meat Loaf - Braver Than We Are (Sept 16)
Despite his recent onstage collapse in Edmonton, Canada, the incomparable Mr. Loaf shows no signs of taking his foot off the accelerator. His 13th studio album is shaping up be to a stormer, with Jim Steinman firmly in the songwriting seat and song titles like Loving You’s A Dirty Job (But Someone’s Gotta Do It) and Going All The Way Is Just The Start. Somewhat bizarrely, Steinman has co-written a song with Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters Of Mercy, which could well be the best thing that’s ever happened. Expect hugeness and zero subtlety. Hurrah.
Crobot - Welcome To Fat City (Sept 23)
One of the most promising nuts-out hard rock bands to emerge over the last few years, Crobot made plenty of friends with their first album for Nuclear Blast Records, Something Supernatural, in 2014. We’ve heard the new album and while it’s undoubtedly a case of “more of the same”, it’s also bigger, ballsier and more unapologetically heavy than either of Crobot’s previous records, with more marauding riffs per square-inch than anyone could reasonably demand. It seems that Fat City is definitely a town worth visiting.
The Rolling Stones - TBA (TBC)
When the Stones announced that their first album since 2005’s (really rather great) A Bigger Bang was to be “blues-inspired”, most of us scratched our heads and thought “Isn’t that what you’ve been doing for 50 years?” Either way, the idea of Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ron getting back to basics and, by all accounts, bashing out an entire album in two days is more than exciting enough to keep fans in a state of feverish anticipation. Expect covers of songs by Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter alongside some choice new Jagger/Richards cuts. Good times.
Blues Pills - Lady In Gold (Sept 30)
Sweden has more brilliant young rock bands than most countries, and Blues Pills are undoubtedly one of the best. While the band’s first two albums hovered over the line between stoner metal and psychedelic rock, Lady In Gold sees them surging into more traditional, classic rock territory, with occasional shades of blissful AOR euphoria adding to a growing sense that the Örebro quartet are well on their way to becoming very big indeed. Singer Elin Larsson remains their not-so-secret weapon: a bona fide rock goddess in the making.
Metallica - TBA (TBC)
Whether you’ve loved everything they’ve ever done or you’ve spent the last 20 years watching their musical progress through your fingers, a new Metallica album is always a massive deal. All that can be guaranteed at this point is that the biggest heavy metal band of all time will dominate online bickering for months after their tenth studio opus is unveiled this autumn. “Less frenetic” and “more diverse” than 2008’s opinion-dividing Death Magnetic, according to drummer Lars Ulrich, it will doubtless be a colossal success. We just hope that (a) the turgid Lords Of Summer isn’t on it and (b) that the production is half-decent. It’s the little things, isn’t it?