Coming off the heels of a great year for music in 2019, I thought it would be fitting to look forward to 2020, showcasing the artists that have me anticipating their work.
The first three weeks of January have already been full of surprises. Between Mac Miller’s touching posthumous album “Circles” and Eminem’s sudden release “Music to Be Murdered By,” spontaneous releases have made their mark at the start of this new year.
Released among those two albums on the same weekend was the brazenly made debut album “Modus Vivendi” from 070 Shake, a proclaimed Kanye West “protege.” She separates herself from that label through a seamless blend of future pop and R&B, with vocals akin to Ty Dolla $ign as much as Lorde. She’s a distinct voice among young up-and-coming artists.
In the immediate future, there’s promising music with confirmed release dates. Tame Impala’s “The Slow Rush,” coming out Feb. 14, is their first album in almost five years since “Currents.” The singles released in anticipation of the album have been sentimental and focused psych-rock tunes, all grabbing my attention towards this album’s release.
A newer voice in the fringes of mainstream is Moses Sumney, whose upcoming two-part album “græ” will have dual release dates: an unconfirmed date in February and May 15. Sumney’s music is a gripping fusion of chamber pop and soul music backed by incredibly capable vocals.
There are a couple of hip-hop artists with hinted and semi-confirmed albums that are expected to come out in 2020. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake” has been in the works since mid-2018. The viral dance single “Futsal Shuffle 2020” is an intriguing tease towards his album’s inevitable release.
The album I’m most excited for is Frank Ocean’s follow-up to his 2016 album “Blonde.” He said his upcoming release is inspired by the music of “Detroit, Chicago, techno, house, French electronic … “ which is vaguely reflected through the two singles he’s released thus far, “DHL” and “In My Room.” Other songs have been teased, including a Justice collaboration, so if these sounds come to fruition it could be a definite 2020 highlight.
I have a hunch Kendrick Lamar may release music in 2020, as it’s been almost three years since “Damn.” I’m also hoping internet icon and indie-pop darling Joji comes out with music showcasing growth from his last album, “Ballads 1.”
Two slightly more obscure artists that may be due for new music in 2020 are NYC-based Jon Bap and Steve Lacy collaborator Ravyn Lenae. Bap, partner of singer Anna Wise, is a genre-fluid artist that might be most aptly described as neo-funk. After two stellar singles, “Stevie” and “Up” in 2018, Bap has yet to release anything else. In the same vein, Lenae, who stylistically and vocally resembles Erykah Badu, released a five-song EP in February 2018, so I would not be surprised if new music was around the corner.
Turning to Louisiana, I’ll be eagerly keeping my eye on some local artists (way more than I can mention in this article). The Lafayette indie-rock band Speechfuzz carries a charming brand of spunk in their live shows, and I’m curious to see how that translates into their upcoming debut album “Midnight,” releasing on Feb. 14.
The Fizgigs, composed mostly of local highschoolers, is an eight-piece Lafayette band touching into folk-rock and grassroots sensibilities with a youthful flair. They’ve performed at Wurst Biergarten and Parc International in the tail-end of 2019, so expect more shows to come in 2020.
The New Orleans-based group Berlin Taxi is a band I like to describe as a quartet of synth-pop wizards, with heavy John Maus influences. They come through Lafayette every now and then, so keep your calendars open for them in 2020.
There’s so much I didn’t get to cover in this article, but it goes to show how fruitful 2020 could be with good music. I’m thankful I’ll be able to write more about these artists in the future. Until then, I hope these highlights of what I’m anticipating helps people find something they like.