20 Debut Albums to Look Forward to in 2017

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While 2016 will go down as the year we lost TOO many of our musical heroes, it was still a strong year for new music coming at us all over the spectrum. 2017 is lining up nicely itself with names like Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, The Shins, Spoon, Ryan Adams, Real Estate and many more expected to release new albums. But 2017 is going to be much more than just “name” artists. Today, we look at the next wave, whether new to the scene, artists stepping outside their bands for solo efforts, or an artists that’s been teasing us for years.

In today’s digital age, artists don’t have to subscribe to the rules of what an album is. They can release to the world any number of songs, whenever they like. But we are also living in the age of a vinyl renaissance, and there will always be something to be said for an artist that’s able to make a great, cohesive, full length album. We’ve asked our staff which debut, full length albums they are most looking forward to that are scheduled to release in 2017. Check out our 20 picks below, and leave us a comment with the debuts you are looking forward to (and should be on our radar):

Shy Girls – Salt 

Shy Girls - Salt

Photo credit: Jaclyn Campanaro

Release Date: January 17th via Hit City U.S.A

Shy Girls elicits emotion. Bedroom-pop artist, Dan Vidmar, is an ever-growing and ever-changing artist. Enticing us with soothing vocals from singles such as “Second Heartbeat” (2013), listeners feel a sense of comfort in the lyricism and instrumentals he puts forth. His debut album Salt is no exception. Reminiscent of Tom Krell (How To Dress Well) on his most recent album, Care, Vidmar expresses the significance and importance of love and the way it changes and grows within a relationship. Shy Girls has never been a stranger to the fragile nature of intimacy and throughout Salt the listener feels as if they are living through Vidmar’s heartbreak, sense of longing, growth, and self-discovery. The bitter-sweet take away that Vidmar gives us is a conceptual idea of love and the different routes that may branch from it; accompanied by soothing instrumentals and vocalizations that will follow you long after the album is done. /- Emily Hope Perlman

Syd – Fin

Syd - FinRelease Date: February 3rd via Columbia Records

As far as having just about everything one would love with the genre of experimental Soul and Hip-Hop, The Internet fits that bill as well as anyone has in recent years. Syd Tha Kid is prominent in almost every song The Internet has released, and has also contributed to the Odd Future collective (Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt). As much of the music community witnessed Soul music is alive and well in 2016. Childish Gambino chose to go a totally new route with his neo-funk project, Awaken My Love. Syd has the ability to match Gambino and go beyond with her solo project, Fin.     /- Bryceson Center

SZA – CTRL

SZA - CTRL

Photo via SZA Instagram

Release Date: February 3rd via Top Dawg Entertainment

After being featured on Rihanna’s track “Consideration” and previously releasing three EPs, SZA is finally ready to step out and releaser her official debut album, CTRL. With strong hooks, accompanied by sweet and powerful vocals, she has slowly grown into a sound of her own. While this album was self-announced to be her last, listeners will still be getting the same playful sound with a considerably darker undertone. Focused around control and honesty, this is expected to be, in a sense, one of her most transparent albums ever. As already seen in “Drew Barrymore”, the listener gets a stripped-down glimpse to her usually reverbed-drenched vocals, giving the audience an Erykah Badu-esque sound; a preview to one of the most anticipated soul albums of 2017. /- Emily Hope Perlman

 

Molly Burch – Please Be Mine 

Molly Burch 'Please Be Mine'

Photo: Dailey Toliver

Release Date: February 17th via Captured Tracks

Growing up in Los Angeles with a writer/producer father and a casting director mother, Molly Burch‘s childhood was filled with old Hollywood musicals and the sounds of Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Finding her own voice as an adolescent, Burch studied Jazz Vocal Performance at the University of North Carolina in Asheville before relocating to Austin, Texas to work on her debut album. With the Everly Brothers and Sam Cooke as her songwriting guides, Burch and her band recorded the basic tracks and vocals live in one room and in one day. The minimalist approach gives Burch’s stunning debut Please Be Mine an old time feel much like the music that she grew up listening to and was inspired by. Please Be Mine is retro country and soul at it’s finest, yet despite being one part Patsy, Molly’s jaw-dropping vocals can also feel one part Angel, Olsen that is; giving her album a place rightfully in 2017 or 1960. /- Mike Gerry

Tim Darcy – Saturday Night

Tim Darcy - Saturday NightRelease Date: February 17th via Jagjaguwar 

Originally from Arizona, with stops in Colorado and New Hampshire, Tim Darcy currently lives in Montreal where he went to school, and where his current buzz band Ought reside. Art-noise-post-punk band Ought has made plenty of fans and earned the buzz behind their two albums and two EPs released since the band formed in 2012. Lead singer and guitarist Tim Darcy’s commanding vocals with his trademark over-enunciations are plenty prevalent in Ought’s work, but on his debut solo record, Tim steps out from his band and really shows off the true poet he is. Lead single “Tall Glass of Water” could just as easily fit into the back catalog of Lou Reed as it could into early Strokes, making it feel like an instant classic in 2017. Saturday Night was recorded during a six month period that overlapped with the recording of Ought’s second album. Darcy gathered with friends to record in the storage room of a commercial studio in Toronto. The album is a look at how good it feels to make art, and how terrifying; growing and moving through life, while you just keep jumping in it. Don’t mistake Darcy’s debut to mean something toward the future of Ought, this just gives him Darcy another avenue for his voice to be heard, and perhaps we all should be listening. /- Mike Gerry

Peter Silberman – Impermanence

Peter Silberman - ImpermanenceRelease Date: February 24th via ANTI Records & Transgressive

If you haven’t heard of Peter Silberman, he’s better known for his work with The Antlers. Hospice is one of my personal favorite albums, and it’s exciting to see what emerges from the singer/songwriter’s debut full length album. Peter has already shared two beautiful singles from the album, “New York” and “Karuna”. Both songs are full of life, bringing the simplistic chords and striking vocals to a full colorful picture.                 /- Bryceson Center

 

Vagabon – Infinite Worlds 

Vagabon - Infinite Worlds

Photo Credit: Ebru Yildiz

Release Date: February 24th via Father/Daughter Records

Brooklyn-based Vagabon is the moniker of Laetitia Tamko, a Cameroon-born artist who moved to New York City just as she was starting high school. The multi-instrumentalist and producer has been recording as Vagabon since 2014 when she released her debut EP Persian Garden, an avant-garde lo-fi affair with mostly guitar and vocals. On Infinite Worlds though, you can expect much more with hypnotic electronic collages, acoustic ballads, and bursts of bright punk. Tamko played synths, keyboard, guitars, and drums; occasionally enlisting session studio musicians to help complete the work. Make no mistake, this Vagabon debut album is all Laetitia Tamko, a real chance to hear who she is, what she has experienced. and the remarkable voice that she is. With all that’s going on in the US today, sometimes it’s best to hear from someone with a fresh perspective, that comes from a different background, a different culture, all of which Laetitia has after she experienced the culture shock that is New York City. Just give a listen to the second single “Embers”, a driving punk anthem for entitled people who try to make others feel tiny. Vagabon is speaking up with her debut album, a strong glowing voice that is needed in 2017. /- Mike Gerry

Cameron Avery – Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Cameron Avery - Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Photo by Zach Michael

Release Date: March 10th via ANTI & Spinning Top

The year of under the radar solo album releases? Personally looking at my choices it is surely looking that way. Tame Impala has consistently been on rotation after their 2015 release of Currents. Cameron Avery started with the band as bassist in 2013, and is well respected in the music world. He’s also known as a founding member and drummer for the Australian psychedelic band, Pond. Avery is multi-instrumentalist, and an outstanding singer that was often overshadowed with his work in Tame Impala. The single that Avery has shared, “Wasted on Fidelity” showcases his velvety vocals, and balances astoundingly with the underlying strings that accompany his guitar strums. This release will be a treat for many. /- Bryceson Center

Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2 – Star Stuff

Chaz Bundick meets The Mattson 2 "Star Stuff" Release Date: March 31st via Company Records

Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi has had many side projects recently, and one can’t help get excited about Bundick’s latest project Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2. This collaboration was spurned by a chance encounter with the San Diego psych-jazz identical twin duo the Mattson 2. When Jonathan Mattson didn’t have a drum stool for a show in Oakland in late 2014, photographer friend Andrew Paynter had a friend near by who he thought could help. That friend, Chaz Bundick brought the equipment and stuck around to watch the show. That chance encounter sparked a friendship that soon became a collaboration over the following few months, recording with no set schedule, no set plan, no rules and no limits. While this is technically not a debut for these artists, this first time collaboration triggered lead single “Star Stuff” which shows a more guitar rock heavy version of Toro Y Moi’s ethereal psychedelics. With a 70’s groove, plenty of soul, Chaz’s melancholy vocals, and tight rhythmic drumming, it’s clear this new project with resonate heavily for existing Toro Y Moi, Mattson 2, and new fans alike. /- Mike Gerry

Hellbirds – Title TBD

Hellbirds - Hellbirds

Photo by Jorge Abundis from Hellbirds Facebook

Expected Release: Spring

One video that was a demo version of their song “Back From Black”, a NPR Tiny Desk Submission, was all it took for Hellbirds to get on our radar. Killer rhythms, building, big swirling guitars that strike deep featuring early 60’s guitar rock was enough to want to know more about the Brooklyn-based Hellbirds. The only early info we could find on the band was a 2014 re-recording of all of Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You and a mashup of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band meets Pet Sounds arranged and recorded by Hellbirds including members of Crocodiles, The Black Angels and other friends. Those two recordings are enough to make a statement in itself for who the Hellbirds intend to be. For the last few years, the band has been working on more of their own material and are currently in post-production for their debut album being mixed by David Groener, Jr. (They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Dylan, Fatboy Slim), set for release this spring. Lately, the band has been playing around Brooklyn more and more, working out the kinks in their new songs, while showing off exhilarating alt-guitar rock with a distinctive pop flavor. Said frontman Jasno Swarez: “In august 2015 we released a Rauschenberg style re-envisioning of Pet Sounds and Sgt Pepper’s as one new album called Pet Peppers. This spring we’ll be releasing our yet to be titled debut full length in which the studio takes were filmed against a green screen and later combined together to reveal all the parts that went into the process of recording the album in a visual presentation.” We can’t wait to see what’s in store with the Hellbirds debut. /- Mike Gerry

Diet Cig – Swear I’m Good At This

Diet Cig - Swear I’m Good At ThisRelease Date – April 7th via Frenchkiss Records

There’s no doubt that Diet Cig‘s debut album is one that many around the country are looking forward to. The New York pop punk duo have been making waves behind their 2015 debut EP Over Easy, touring the country the last few years including spots on festivals like Shaky Knees, Wrecking Ball, SXSW and more. Their live shows are not only infectious, but also full of raucous, an energetic party. Truthfully, it’s hard not to fall for Diet Cig. There’s something about a band waving the flag for being weird, being yourself, and not giving a fuck about being cool. Not only are Alex Luciano’s lyrics extremely vulnerable, but she is able to share her relatable struggles and fears, all while still being a total badass. With Noah Bowman’s thrashing drums, and Alex’s heavy riffs, the songs take on a certain pulsating punk power that is hard to deny. Diet Cig make it okay to be a hot mess that you may be, giving a powerful fuck you to any preconceived notions of what one is expected to be, and making the band an inspiring force that needs to be heard. Diet Cig are a voice for more than any one generation, they are a voice of 2017. Listen to the first single “Tummy Ache” below. /- Mike Gerry

Jeffrey Bützer and the Bicycle Eaters – Title TBD

Jeffrey Bützer and the Bicycle Eaters

Cover by artist and filmmaker, Chris Hefner

Expected Release Date: Spring

Atlanta-based Jeffrey Bützer has long been a mainstay in the local scene, around the southeast, and performing tours around China, Eastern Europe, and the US. He’s had a longstanding run of his annual sold-out performance of Vince Gauraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas in the Southeast, an annual tradition at The EARL in East Atlanta Village. Bützer has scored plays, created the soundtrack to films, released solo work, collaborations, and much more. Jeffrey Bützer is a composer that takes a cinematic approach that creates movements that can pull you right into the scenes he creates. He’s done a lot. The one thing he hasn’t done yet is release an official full length debut with his “main” band: Jeffrey Bützer and the Bicycle Eaters. This spring, the seven piece band (using instruments such as piano, accordion, and glockenspiel, guitar, xylophone, etc.) will drop their proper debut. While the details are still being worked out, Bützer gave us a little insight:

“We tracked it live at “Watermelon Compound”. It is the first full length by the entire band. We have released an instrumental 7″ and most of the band mates played on the last album. But this began with my 4 track recordings and we built on that. The French lyrics are written by my friend Lionel Fondeville in France, English lyrics by myself, and Cassi Costoulas wrote one song on the record. As far as themes, it is a collection of songs that are more concerned with mood than narrative. The album is inspired by films by Tarkovsky and magic realist writing. And a couple of abstract, pastoral love songs.” Bützer also said this is the first time lyrics he has written will be on an album. While we haven’t heard anything from the new album yet, if you are looking for something not only interesting, but compelling, you are sure to find that with Jeffrey Bützer and the Bicycle Eaters’s debut album.       /- Mike Gerry

Fake Flowers – Fantasy Violence

Fake Flowers 'Fantasy Violence'

Photo cred: Brittany Wages

Expected Release: Late April

Atlanta based Fake Flowers isn’t exactly new to the scene, releasing their debut EP Opaque Pop in 2014 and most recent EP Wonder Wave in March of 2015. Over the two EPs and singles released along the way, you can hear a band really growing and finding itself. While Opaque Pop was more jangle pop, Wonder Wave seemed to be the band growing into who it wants to be with a more dream pop/shoegaze sound. It’s with that fuzzed out shoegaze of Wonder Wave that has created such a buzz in their homes of Atlanta/Athens and around the Southeast. Tracks like “Don’t Cry, Kiddo (Spectacle Surrel)” and stand alone single “Synchronized Sinking” show just how far this band can rise up. This month the band introduced a new stand along single “Marie” as part of Dancing, Exhumed in the Night :: Spring 2017 Sampler by MARCHING BANANA RECORDS. The track shows more woozy dream pop with soaring harmonies that leave you in an alternative trance. Fake Flowers is a band that has shown loads of potential, and now that the band has really found itself, the once trio, is expanding into a quintet as they prep the release of their debut full length Fantasy Violence. The five piece lineup is expected to help the band recreate live what the band was able to do on the recording of the album. This should hopefully mean more lush, propulsive pop songs from the band that should be full of more psychedelia and fuzzy rock. We are expecting a dreamy debut full length from Fake Flowers. /- Mike Gerry

Cigarettes After Sex – Title TBD

Cigarettes After Sex

Photo Cred: Shervin Lainez

Expected Release: May 2017 via Partisan Records

Brooklyn-based ambient pop group Cigarettes After Sex are one of those viral success stories that have yet to even release a debut album. It seems that 2017 is the year that is about to change. Founded in El Paso, TX in 2008, the group was a collective with a number of different members/collaborators led by songwriter Greg Gonzalez. Inspired by the Trinity Session, Cocteau Twins, Red House Painters, Mazzy Star & the sound of early ’60s records, they recorded their first EP, I.,  live in early 2012 over the course of a single night in the stairway of a four story building. In 2015, they released the single “Affection”. The group has garnered tens of millions of views on YouTube since, touring with Rhye and Garbage, and selling out headlining shows across North America and Europe. The group of keyboardist Phillip Tubbs, bassist Randy Miller and drummer Jacob Tomsky, along with Greg Gonzalez announced their signing to Partisan Records in November with new single “K.”, which has already surpassed 1 million plays on Spotify. “K.” is probably their best single yet; the melancholic, androgynous pop noir still exists, it’s dark, sexy, the guitars sing, and the atmospheres they create can’t be denied. This is a debut album that we’ve all been looking forward to for a while, and with the title still a mystery, this could be a surprise release any day…if not we expect to finally get our hands on it in May. /- Mike Gerry

Pumarosa – Title TBD

PumarosaExpected Release Date: Before Summer

The East London five-piece Pumarosa, led by singer and guitarist, Isabel Munoz-Newsome, has been making waves the last few years with their “industrial spiritual” sound. The band’s aesthetic has been described as having songwriting similar to a PJ Harvey, or the more complex aspects of Patti Smith, but it’s in the electronics and heavy bass lines that have drawn comparison to The Knife and Cocteau Twins. It’s goth, with heavy grooves that will get you dancing. The buzz quickly started in 2015 when their debut single “Priestess” premiered by Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 show. “Priestess” is an epic 7 minute jam that is powerful and hypnotic with a strong bass line, swirling guitar, killer sax, and haunting vocals from Munoz-Newsome. Over the two years since the band formed, they have released a few singles and their debut self titled EP in 2016 including the latest single “Honey”, all while working on their craft through their live show, including a North American tour with Glass Animals. In between live gigs, Pumarosa have been back recording their debut LP, with eccentric producer Dan Carey (Kate Tempest, Bat For Lashes, TOY), who also worked with the band on the EP. While many were clamoring for the debut to be released in 2016, it seems 2017, just before summer, the world will finally hear what the band has in store for their full length debut that promises to catch on record, the live production that has been shown on stage. /- Mike Gerry

Trash Panda – Title TBD

Trash Panda band

Photo via Trash Panda website

Expected Release: June 2017

Atlanta-based trio Trash Panda seemingly came out of nowhere last October with their debut EP Off released with little to no press; yet behind the melancholy alt-pop single “Giuseppe”, the band went viral on Spotify alongside artists like The Weeknd, Kings of Leon and Danny Brown. With “Giuseppe” at well over half a million plays on Spotify, and over 93,000 monthly listeners, Trash Panda is one those success stories of the modern streaming age. A look further into the 6 song EP shows a band that is more than just a viral hit though. With Patrick Taylor’s pensive falsetto and witty lyrics, Trash Panda easily bounces from psychedelic fuzz fueled rock to soulful groovy pop. Now Trash Panda is set to capitalize on the success of their EP, as they are currently at work on their debut LP of 13 or more songs that will mix all of their influences including “a little bit of funk, blues rock and psychedelic undertones mixed with melodic rhythms.” /- Mike Gerry

Sevdaliza – Title TBD

SevdalizaRelease Date TBD

Incorporating minimal production, futuristic sounds, and powerful lyrics Sevdaliza is a forced to be reckoned with. The Iranian born musician wasn’t always about music. Leaving home at only sixteen on a basketball scholarship, and later on playing for their national team, she described her life as being thrown into a world that was “All about surviving”. After college, she discovered her love in finding things that bring joy to her life. The self-taught vocalist and musician soon after discovered her passion for music.   On November 17th Sevdaliza released the track Human off of her forthcoming debut album. As the listener is introduced to the waiting-room sounding music, they are immediately swept up by effortlessly swooping vocals and strange yet well-fitting samples that put the listener into a dream-like trance. Sevdaliza has embodied a sound that is surely her own and this release will certainly be one of the more interesting and unique albums that 2017 has to offer.   /- Emily Hope Perlman

The Artisanals – Literally, Anywhere

The Artisanals - Literally, AnywhereRelease Date TBD

They may not be huge names yet, but to fans around the southeast, The Artisanals are a brand new band just formed by an all star cast of musicians. Formed by Johnny Delaware (SUSTO) and Clay Houle (Great Peacock/Tedo Stone), now joined by Jordan Hicks and Steven Walker (both Brave Baby), the Charleston-based band is still in it’s infant stage, yet they’ve already created a huge buzz. It started with the announcement of the band in late November alongside a teaser video with a demo version of their song “A.I”. The teaser was a perfect introduction to the name The Artisanals with a sexy 70’s melodic groove. Next the band announced their first booked shows, opening for Band of Horses on Dec. 30 and NYE at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club. Johnny told the Charleston City Paper: “Think Ween without the heroin, or Petty on more marijuana than usual.” With a few shows under their belt, including their first show at The Royal American in Charleston, the band has headed to record for 21 days up in Iowa City at the Magic Barn with plans to release an EP in late spring/early summer. Their debut full length, Literally, Anywhere, is set to follow the EP later in 2017. For now, we will have to stick to a few videos from their shows (Clay and Johnny dueling guitars, more please!), and 3 demos the band has added to their Bandcamp page. You can hear the full demo version of “A.I” below, which is every bit as stellar as the teaser let on. That’s one heck of a start. It’s clear 2017 is going to very Artisanal! /- Mike Gerry

Birdtalker – Title TBD

BirdtalkerExpected release date: Late 2017

Nashville-based folk outfit Birdtalker rose onto the scene in 2016 with their debut single “Heavy” and debut EP Just This, released in August. This is one of those bands that went viral on Spotify, announcing the band as one to watch, and surely to listen to with the 2016 numbers coming in at over 1.8 million listeners streaming 30.9 years of Birdtalker’s music in just 2016. Gaudy numbers for sure. “Heavy” itself has gotten over 6 million streams. On the surface, listening to “Heavy”, the band may strike you as the next big “indie folk” band, with big drum beats and harmony driven sing alongs. Looking deeper though, there’s more there than just “the next Lumineers”. Made up of friends Zack and Dani Green, Andy Hubright, Brian Seligman, and Jesse Baker. Zack and Dani started the project just after getting married and randomly writing a song together. Soon, friends gained wind of what the couple were doing and asked to join the band, bringing in their own influences. Sure most of their music is harmony driven melodies that shows the couple wrapping their vocals effortlessly together, but listening to other tracks on the EP, you get a sense of some honest songwriting in the vein of The Lone Bellow and more. On the single “Just This” the band shows off a smooth indie rock groove that strays further from the basic “indie folk”. Their latest single “My Lover”, released in December, has moments that can remind you of The Civil Wars at their best, proving that Birdtalker has the chops to be something much deeper and honest. Birdtalker certainly has a lot to live up, but there’s no doubt the tools are there to capitalize on their early success. The band has plans to hit the studio soon to track their debut full length, which they expect to release before 2017 shuts down. /- Mike Gerry

Robin Pecknold – Putting Babies to Sleep / Living My Truth

Robin Pecknold

Photo by Sean Pecknold

Release Date Unknown

Not only does it seem we will get a new Fleet Foxes record in 2017, but it looks as though frontman Robin Pecknold may even release his debut solo album. Robin Pecknold has not only been teasing the Fleet Foxes LP3 (expected title Ylajali) on Instagram, but also has talked of LP4 while also teasing that a solo album is pretty much written. Could we really get both a FF record and solo from Robin in 2017? Well this is far from confirmed, and as Robin stated on his IG his solo venture will be “so casual” and that he’s “not trying to stir the pot with that at all.” So who knows if or when exactly his solo venture will drop. In announcing his solo album via IG, he seems to allude to the name of the solo album: “FF record kind of crazy / vast so working on “putting babies to sleep / living my truth” palliative solo album on off days.” Either way, after Robin debuted some solo songs while opening for Joanna Newsom last year, and now the teases of an album, it’s hard not to include Robin Pecknold on this list and hope that all of this really does come to fruition in 2017. /- Mike Gerry

FF record kind of crazy / vast so working on “putting babies to sleep / living my truth” palliative solo album on off days

A video posted by Robin Noel Pecknold (@robinpecknold) on

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Mike Gerry

Head music fiend at OpenEars Music

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