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Hits on the horizon: Most anticipated albums of early 2021
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Hits on the horizon: Most anticipated albums of early 2021

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Among the highlights of 2020 were surprise album releases from Taylor Swift, Eminem and Childish Gambino.

We can’t predict those, but we can say what’s scheduled for the first quarter of 2021, and that slate includes new material from major stars like Foo Fighters, Florida Georgia Line and Sia, as well as such indie faves as Cloud Nothings, The Hold Steady and Julien Baker.

Last year, release dates were bumped all over the place as artists tried to navigate the pandemic. This year should be a little less volatile.

Here’s the first look. Keep an eye out for releases from Adele, Cardi B, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Lorde, Rihanna, St. Vincent, Travis Scott and more.

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Drake, “Certified Lover Boy”: The Canadian rap star’s sixth album and follow-up to 2018’s “Scorpion” was bumped from summer 2020 to some time in January.

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A Day to Remember, “You’re Welcome”: The Ocala, Florida, metalcore band moves to Fueled by Ramen for its seventh album and first in five years. “We took what we envision modern music to be and made a hybrid of who we were, who we are, and who we want to be,” said frontman Jeremy McKinnonTeenage Fanclub, “Endless Arcade”: The Scottish power-pop band’s 10th album is the first since the 2018 departure of co-founder Gerard Love and marks the debut of Euros Childs, from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.Pat Metheny, “Road To The Sun”: A collection of two new works for classical guitar, one featuring Jason Vieaux and one a six-movement cycle with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.Arab Strap, “As Days Get Dark”: “It’s about hopelessness and darkness...but in a fun way,” frontman Aidan Moffat said of the Scottish indie/slowcore band’s first album in 16 years.

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Foo Fighters, “Medicine At Midnight”: The 10th album from Dave Grohl and company, finished in early 2020, promises to be a party record that clocks in at nine songs in 37 minutes.Femi Kuti & Made Kuti, “Legacy+”: The son and grandson of Fela Kuti continue in his spirit with this package that combines Femi’s album “Stop the Hate” and Made’s album “For(e)ward.”John Carpenter, “Lost Themes III: Alive After Death”: The first album of non-soundtrack music from the electronic composer/director in nearly five years finds him working again with son and synth player Cody Carpenter and guitarist Daniel Davies.slowthai, “TYRON”: The UK rapper’s follow-up to his Mercury Prize-nominated 2019 debut, “Nothing Great About Britain,” features help from James Blake, A$AP Rocky, Denzel Curry and more.

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Evanescence, “The Bitter Truth”: The follow-up to 2017’s “Synthesis,” which featured orchestral arrangements of previous songs, is the gothic metal band’s first album of original material since the 2011 self-titled album. Here's one of the tracks, "Use My Voice":

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Steve Hackett, “Under A Mediterranean Sky”: The new acoustic album from the former Genesis guitarist was inspired by his recent travels in the Mediterranean.Bill Champlin, “Livin’ for Love”: A new album from the former Chicago singer-guitarist-keyboardist who sang lead on the hit “Hard Habit to Break.”TRZTN, “Royal Dagger Ballet”: The latest from the Paris-based musician, composer and producer features collaborations with Interpol’s Paul Banks and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O.

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Ani DiFranco, “Revolutionary Love”: The 22nd album from the indie-folk icon was inspired by Valarie Kaur’s book “See No Stranger.”Langhorne Slim, “Strawberry Mansion”: The Americana rocker from Nashville, via Langhorne, Pennsylvania, addresses his struggles with debilitating anxiety and depression on his seventh album.Lucero, “When You Found Me”: The veteran alt-country band from Memphis reunited with Grammy-winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Drive-by Truckers) on this 10th album.The Notwist, “Vertigo Days”: The first album in seven years from the German post-rock band plays as “one long, flowing suite” with collaborations with Saya (Japanese pop duo Tenniscoats), Ben LaMar Gay, jazz clarinetist Angel Bat Dawid and Argentinian electronic artist Juana Molina.The Besnard Lakes, “The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings”: Sixth album from the Montreal psych band is a double LP themed around the death of co-founder Jace Lasek’s father.Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, “Macca to Mecca”: A 13-song love letter to the Beatles recorded at The Roundhouse in London in November 2017 with a special appearance by Paul McCartney.

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