2017’s shaping up to be quite a year for music. Take a look at the year ahead’s new albums from the likes of The Flaming Lips, Tinariwen, Arcade Fire, Run The Jewels, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Spoek Mathambo and more that you’ll want to hear
Check out: Best Albums of 2016
Despite recent attempts by extremists to ban music in Mali, the country’s bands keep producing some of the most exciting music in the world today.
Mali's trailblazing Tuareg nomads Tinariwen (above) return in March with a new album, Elwan, pushing their evocative ‘desert blues’ in new directions. It’s up there with their best work, sounding more varied, vibrant and textured than previous album Emmaar. It’s likely to be one of the albums of 2017.
Fellow countrymen Tamikrest also have a new album, Kadal, out in March, recorded in Bamako, while Mali’s excellent post-punkish Songhoy Blues, who produced one of 2015’s highlights (Music In Exile) are likely to be releasing a new album by the summer.
South African hip hop star Spoek Mathambo (pictured, below) will put out a new album in April, after a busy 2016 working with his pan-African collective Batuk with Aero Manyelo and singer Manteiga.
There’ll be more hip hop from Ghana’s King Ayisoba, who has 1000 Can Die out in March, his fifth album, featuring guest appearances from Jamaica’s Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Nigerian Afrobeat legend Orlando Julius.
Zimbabwe’s celebrated young band Mokoomba is also back with their long awaited new offering, Luyando, which means ‘love’ in Tonga.
February will see a new album from Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi (above), who rose to prominence after her recording Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free) became an anthem of the Arab Spring, earning her the tag ‘voice of the Tunisian revolution’ and an invitation to perform at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Her album, Ensen, is powerful and cinematic.
Also from Tunisia, Bargou 08 will put out Targ, an album that matches Moog synthesisers and soundscapes with rock textures and the rhythms of the Tunisian highlands.
Honduras’ Aurelio (above) will also be helping kick off the year with Darandi, a celebration of 30 years spent at the heart of Garifuna music, including a big set of his favourite songs from his career.
The Flaming Lips are back in January with Oczy Mlody, which frontman Wayne Coyne (pictured, top) has described as sounding like “Syd Barrett and A$AP Rocky… in a fairy tale world in the future.” The album, which includes the single The Castle, sounds spaced out and psychedelic, the band letting the sunshine in again after the dark, claustrophobic The Terror.
There’s plenty of good news for rock fans in 2017. Strand Of Oaks’ new album Hard Love is out in February. Their album Heal was one of the best of 2014, and this one looks to follow it in style.
Also in February, Ryan Adams puts out Prisoner, his first album since 2014, preceded by first single Do You Still Love Me?.
The Queens of the Stone Age were said to be back in the studio in 2016, with the results of Josh Homme and co’s work likely to be released in 2017.
There’s exciting news too that the reunion of influential Texan hardcore band At The Drive-In will mean not only a tour, a chance for fans who never caught their powerful live show the first time around, but also a reported plan to release new music for the first time since 2000’s Relationship Of Command album.
Likewise back after a lengthy absence, Jason Lytle’s reformed Grandaddy return with Last Place in March, the first new record from the band since 2006. Advance song A Lost Machine gives fans a taste of what to expect. Also on the indie front, The Shins will return with a new album, I Gleek On Your Grave.
Canada’s Arcade Fire are lined up for summer festival dates and live dates, and should also be returning with a new album by the summer, Will Butler suggesting it could be out in the first half of the year.
James Murphy, who produced Arcade Fire’s last album, Reflektor, is also expected to produce a new album with this NYC dance outfit LCD Soundsystem, reunited after their 2011 retirement.
There’s another welcome return in 2017 from New York City’s highly acclaimed hip hop supergroup Run The Jewels (above) with RTJ3, who’s mighty anti-Trump track Talk to Me, put out recently, has got fans exciting for the next instalment.
With big UK live dates lined up for the summer, there’s tentative hope that 2017 could see ‘The Third Coming’ of Manchester’s The Stone Roses, though, given their history, it’s probably best not to hold your breath. A couple of tracks have already been aired to the public though, including All For One and Beautiful Thing.
Scotland’s excellent and influential The Jesus and Mary Chain recently confirmed details of Damage And Joy, their first album since 1998’s Munki, out in March, with lead track Amputation showing they haven't lost their cool.
‘Britain’s angriest band, the acclaimed Sleaford Mods, will release their fourth album in 2017, which they’ve described as being more song-based, with singing alongside their shouty stream-of-consciousness rants.
Talking of Mods, original Mod, or ‘Modfather’, Paul Weller is in the studio recording a new album, scheduled for release in late 2017, when he’s also touring.
Damon Albarn’s cartoon world, Gorillaz, is also reported to be back with a new album in 2017, their fifth and the first since 2011. Expect guest stars, big beats and melodies, and more colourful artwork from comic book artist Jamie Hewlett.
Spiritualized celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic 1997 album Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space next year by releasing a brand new currently untitled album on the June 16 anniversary.
The xx (above) will return with I See You, which the band have described as “celebratory”, though given their low-key introspective style, what that means exactly is unclear.
Depeche Mode (below) follow their nomination for the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame with the release of new album, Spirit, in the Spring, along with plans for a global tour. The album was produced by Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford.
Elbow should be back in action, after frontman Guy Garvey’s detours into a solo career, and London grunge band Wolf Alice are expected to follow up their critically acclaimed album My Love Is Cool.
Take a look back at the Best Albums of 2016, including David Bowie, Elza Soares, A Tribe Called Quest and Aziza Brahim.