15 confirmed album releases we're looking forward to from indie and alternative artists this year.
Happy New Year! After we exhausted our end of year lists and recommendations in December, it was soon time to look forward to new music in the year ahead.
Simply put, 2020 was an excellent year for music releases. It all began in January when electro-pop artist Georgia released her 2020 Mercury Music nominated debut Seeking Thrills and there were a host of great releases thereafter, culminating in Paul McCartney's brilliant McCartney III, released just days before Christmas.
It was Fontaines D.C's second album A Hero's Death which stole our hearts, however, and we awarded it the title of our favourite of 2020. The post-punk album from the Dublin band was one we simply couldn't get enough of.
With some big album releases expected for 2021, let's hope this year can replicate and even better 2020 for its musical output!
Here are a few albums to whet the appetite and keep us sane over the coming months as we attempt to forget the madness going on around us.
Albums with confirmed release dates
Shame - Drunk Tank Pink (15 January)
Kicking things off are shame, the South London post-punkers who release their highly anticipated second album in January. It will come three years after debut Songs of Praise, an album which received five-star reviews from NME and featured as Rough Trade's 2018 album of the year. Their post-punk contemporaries IDLES and Fontaines D.C. have just had unbelievable years, now 2021 is shaping up to be their year.
Goat Girl - On All Fours (29 January)
South London post-punkers Goat Girl will release their second album On All Fours later this month following the critical success of their self-titled 2018 debut.
The new record is produced by Dan Carey (Kate Tempest, Franz Ferdinand) and has been described by their label Rough Trade as one which uses "sci-fi synthesisers, off-beat chord progressions, analogue drum machines, diverse vocal styles and distinct, gritty guitars". Single 'Sad Cowboy' is an addictive listen and enough to get us very excited for the new record!
Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams (29 January)
There's been a lot of buzz surrounding 20-year-old indie-pop/r&b singer Arlo Parks since she was shortlisted on BBC's Sound of 2020. She's been featured heavily on 6Music, Radio 1 and our writer Matt Bull even included her in his favourite black artists from the world of indie and alternative article back in October.
Her debut Collapsed in Sunbeams, which will contain a number of already released singles such as 'Black Dog', 'Caroline' and 'Green Eyes', arrives later this month.
Black Country, New Road - For the First Time (5 February)
Here's something a bit different we are looking forward to; the six-track debut by London band by Black Country, New Road who merge post-rock soundscapes with jazz-inflected post-punk.
The seven-piece band released the single 'Science Fair' in October; an anxious listen, taking the listener on a journey through a number of unexpected turns. The project is said to capture the band's "energy, ferocity and explosive charge". It won't be for everyone, but their debut is bound to be a captivating listen.
Foo Fighters - Medicine at Midnight (5 February)
Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicine at Midnight is Foo Fighters tenth (yes, tenth...now I feel really old) studio album and comes just over three years after 2017's Concrete and Gold.
Dave Grohl and boys dropped groove-filled 'Shame Shame' in November and followed this up with the heavier 'No Son of Mine' on New Year's Day. They may split opinion, but their big rock sounds are still a massive appeal to many!
Slowthai - TYRON (5 February)
Northampton rapper Slowthai is one of the most exciting characters in the British music scene at the moment. His 2019 debut Nothing Great About Britain certainly turned a few heads with its in your face, politically outspoken grime and punk aggro.
Will his new album TYRON match up to his Mercury Prize-nominated debut? One thing's for sure, it won't be a dull affair!
London Grammer - Californian Soil (12 February)
Following the release of singles 'Baby It's You' and 'Californian Soil', London Grammar are back again with their third studio album. Known for their powerful and emotional indie-pop sound, the anticipation is high for the release of the Nottingham band's new record.
The Hold Steady - Open Door Policy (19 February)
The Hold Steady are possibly one of the most marmite bands of the past twenty years. There's an army who love their brand of energetic post-punk narrative-based heartland rock, then there's those who just can't take to frontman Craig Finn's (ahem) unique singing style (trust me, as a fan, I've tried to convert many people...).
Their last album - 2019's Thrashing Thru the Passion - saw original member Franz Nicolay return on keyboard duty. He had an immediate impact as the band returned to form after a disappointing couple of albums. For that reason, let's hope Open Door Policy can continue where their last left off. The haters will always hate, but the fans are here to stay!
Mogwai - As the Love Continues (19 February)
This indie cult Glasgow band never fail to disappoint. You can always trust that their emotionally powerful, dark post-rock will be of the highest quality. Like the abovementioned Foo Fighters, this is their tenth studio album - though this is firmly where the similarities end!
'Dry Fantasy' was released back in October and, again, proved why we should be getting excited by them 24 years after their debut Young Team.
The Snuts - W.L. (19 March)
Yes! It's finally been announced. 2021 is going to be a massive year for this Scottish indie band who follow up a number of singles and EPs with their debut album. W.L. was recorded in London with Beck and M83 producer Tony Hoffer and has been described by singer Jack Cochrane as being "a record about being true, loving and resilient".
We're expecting groove in abundance and a stylish brand of indie rock full of bangers and blues.
Glasvegas - Godspeed (2 April)
Seven years in the making, Glasvegas will return in April with their self-produced fourth album Godspeed. The Glaswegian band made their name in the last 2000s, with their self-titled debut going down as one of the most iconic of the decade for its gritty tales, wall of sound and James Allan's heavily accented crooning vocals.
Last year they dropped two singles, 'Keep Me A Space' and 'My Body is a Glasshouse (A Thousand Stones Ago', both pulling on our heartstrings and getting us excited for their new record.
Confirmed but dates unknown
Bleachers - (title unknown)
In November and December, I simply couldn't get enough of Bleachers new song 'Chinatown' with Bruce Springsteen. I loved it so much I named it my second favourite track of 2020 and have even received a few messages from people thanking me for introducing them to it!
The track was released on 16 November with another single '45' and an announcement of a new album for sometime in 2021. If it's anywhere near the quality of these two singles, we could be in for one of the albums of the year.
Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails over the Country Club
Lana Del Rey was due to release her new album back in September 2020, though this was inevitably delayed to the Spring due to production delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new record follows the success of the Jack Antonoff produced Norman F***ing Rockwell, though the New York-born singer has admitted that it'll be "super different" to her past effort and "folksy".
On 16 October, she released 'Let Me Love You Like A Woman', a slower piano ballad in her customary grand style. Everything she does has a touch of class and Chemtrails Over the Country Club will undoubtedly be no different.
Royal Blood (title unknown)
In September 2020, the Brighton rock duo Royal Blood returned after a three-year absence with 'Trouble's Coming'. It was a funky, dance-rock track which signalled a new sound described by the band as "disco meets AC/DC". Like so many others, the band had to halt production midway through their third album and even forced the band into producing an album different from the one they initially prepared for.
Speaking about the album to NME in September, frontman Mike Kerr said: "there are a lot more additional elements and luxurious production...it's also a self-produced record". With the finishing touches undoubtedly being put on it, it shall be interesting to hear the new direction the band have gone in!
The Lathums (title unknown)
On New Year's Eve, The Lathums released a statement contemplating the year they'd just had, before announcing their debut album was finished and would be released sometime in 2021. It was brilliant news to end the year on for fans of British indie.
In case you haven't been following the hype, the Wigan band produce jangly indie songs which draw comparisons to Manchester favourites The Smiths and Courteeners. Over the past couple of years, the band have built a strong reputation for their brilliant live performances, catching the attention of Blossoms, DMA's and Paul Weller, who all asked the band if they'd support them on their post-lockdown tour dates.
EPs Fight On (March 2020) and Ghosts (October 2020) furthered that buzz and 2021 is due to be their biggest year yet.
In our next album preview blog, we take a look at a few rumoured album releases so keep an eye on that one on this site and on our social media channels! In the meantime, you can enjoy our January preview playlist below.
What albums are you looking forward to most in 2021? Let us know @BFloodlights.