From Madlib & Four Tet’s hook-up to Dodie’s debut, Michael Sumsion looks ahead to the great new music due to be unleashed in the new year.
2020 was a tense, anxious and challenging year. Covid has exerted an influence upon the cycle of new music releases, yet we’ve still been inundated with a plethora of challenging and interesting sounds across a multiplicity of genres. Casting a glance forward in 2021, with a stock-taking of 2020’s aural pleasures done, a vaccine to be rolled out and the world tentatively creeping towards normality, it’s time to explore the most anticipated LPs of the next twelve months.
Madlib & Four Tet: Sound Ancestors (January)
As one of modern music’s maverick producers, Madlib’s eagerly anticipated collaboration with English electronica doyen Four Tet promises to become one of 2021’s signature records. A couple of years in the making and hailed as a masterpiece of digital psychedelia in thrall to Serge Gainsbourg and Can, Sound Ancestors is built from the latter’s shaping and remoulding of the former’s mercurial sketches, beats and loops.
Billie Eilish: ‘TBC’
Eilish’s smash hit debut, When We All Fall Asleep…, bagged five Grammys and a slew of rave reviews in 2019. In 2020, the eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter has kept herself busy with the Therefore I Am, My Future and No Time To Die singles and writing a great deal more. Whilst there have been no confirmed release dates in the offing, she has been readying a batch of new material in the studio with her brother Finneas and a new album is said to be imminent.
Arlo Parks: Collapsed In Sunbeams (January)
The precocious West Londoner’s follow-up to 2019’s Super Sad Generation – a startling collection of EPs which cemented her status as the breakthrough star of that year – promises to garner a wider audience for her candid, poetic narratives about wellness, despair and same-sex love.
Dodie: Build A Problem (March)
The twenty-five-year-old singer-songwriter from Epping has been steadily building up a fanbase on her YouTube channel since 2011 and she courted effusive notices in 2020 with her Cool Girl single. Her hotly tipped debut album promises melancholy, folk-tinged confessional pop radiating a worldly- wise maturity beyond her years.
Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails over the Country Club (TBC)
Originally slated for 2020 and postponed due to Covid-related vinyl manufacturing delays, the American balladeer’s seventh, Jack Antonoff-produced album is due in the new year; if the taster, Let Me Love You Like a Woman, is anything to go by, it will be another masterwork of American myth, moody piano, poetic imagery, wistful atmospherics and elegant torch song.
Tindersticks: Distractions (February)
At the start of December, the chamber-pop veterans’ follow-up to 2019’s acclaimed No Treasure but Hope was trailed by a suitably brooding, and dare I say funky, cover of Television Personalities’ You’ll Have To Scream Louder. Details of the new long-player’s contents have been thin on the ground, but I for one am hoping this mesmeric single presages a long-coveted Tindersticks covers album.