Christmas is over, the twiglets are all finished and the last drop of coca-cola at the bottom of the bottle went flat a few days back.
But these needn’t be grim times. Sure, January tends to be a little quiet, but this year the release schedule is absolutely chockfull of amazing records.
Perhaps labels have been burned by the fluctuations of 2016, perhaps streaming has altered the pattern of the annual release schedule – whatever, January 2017 is looking like a pretty musical month…
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Wiley - 'Godfather'
Initially intended to drop sometime last year, Wiley’s anticipated ‘Godfather LP’ will instead see him exploding into 2017. It was almost never going to happen. Last Summer he decided he wasn’t going to complete the record, Tweeting that a release was, “Pointless I reckon”.
But after a couple of false starts, the unpredictable East Londoner came through with a bunch of singles, the Darq E Freaker-produced ‘Can’t Go Wrong’, Devlin-assisted ‘Holy Grime’ and Skepta-featured ‘U Were Always, Pt. 2’, that suggest the fate of the record - and it’s eventual release - is pretty secure. After such a monumental year for Grime, it’s only right that 2017 commences with some words from the Godfather. Grant Brydon
Kehlani - 'SweetSexySavage'
Having already garnered a diehard fanbase and with a Grammy-nominated mixtape ‘You Should Be Here’ already under her belt, it’s easy to forget that Oakland R&B singer Kehlani is still yet to release a debut album. While a large part of 2016 saw thew songstress dealing with her own emotional turmoil, she didn’t leave fans without new music - sharing a bunch of singles, plus ‘Suicide Squad’ soundtrack contribution ‘Gangsta’ and collabs with the likes of Zayn Malik, Little Simz and Post Malone.
Now as we arrive in 2017 Kehlani finds herself in a better place, ready to eschew two-dimensional female stereotypes and show the world what it means to be a ‘SweetSexySavage’. Grant Brydon
The xx – ‘I See You’
The band’s first album in over four years, ‘I See You’ arrives with no small degree of anticipation. The xx played a string of celebratory shows on the continent to close 2016, while this year brings with it an epic Brixton Academy stand. The album will stand and fall on the music, however, and thankfully what we’ve heard thus far is pretty imposing – from the bold intimacy to ‘On Hold’ to the club-ready inflections of ‘Say Something Loving’. Robin Murray
SOHN – ‘Rennen’
Nothing if not agile – he’s worked with everyone from BANKS to Jodie Abacus – SOHN tends to save his most potent, most delicious ideas for his solo work. Shifting location to Los Angeles, ‘Rennen’ is the result. Personal, politicised, and bustling with innovation, it’s a gem amidst the January gloom. Robin Murray
Bonobo – ‘Migration’
If 2013’s ‘Black Sands’ proved to be Si Green’s breakout moment, then follow up ‘The North Borders’ underlined just how ambitious the Bonobo project could be. ‘Migration’ arrives with no small degree of expectation, then, but there is every sign that the producer is about to deliver a classic. New cut ‘Kerala’ is stunning, a moving depiction of hazy, gauzy electronics with digital soul. Robin Murray
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – ‘Modern Ruin’
Brexit, Trump, the rise of the alt-right – if ever Frank Carter’s intense brand of hardcore punk rang true it’s now. 2017 needs an explosive document, and the Rattlesnakes could provide just that – a solid punch to the system, a wail of discontent from someone who first painted Britain grey almost a decade ago. Robin Murray
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