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The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016

We could be in for quite the docket of heavy hitters next year

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Artwork by Cap Blackard

By now, you are probably sick of recapping 2015. But looking back at the year, one thing that sticks out is how many of Consequence of Sound’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2015 didn’t actually come out. Some, like Rihanna’s Anti and Kanye West’s Swish, could be dropping at any moment. Others, like ChromaticsDear Tommy and Frank Ocean’s next album, seem just as far away now as they did this time last year. And still others, like the long-anticipated return of The Wrens, seem destined to keep us waiting forever.

Will this year’s crop of 50 Most Anticipated Albums see more hits and fewer misses? Who knows, but if we get a majority of the 50 albums listed below, we will be in for quite the docket of heavy hitters in 2016.
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David BowieDavid Bowie –

Release Date: January 8th via Columbia/RCA Company

Why We’re Excited: David Bowie is back in full effect. His reemergence with 2013’s The Next Day picked up where his 1970s experimentation left off and quickly earned a high-ranking place within the Bowie pantheon. Now we have ★, an even more unconventional record, steeped in jazz and eerie production. From what we’ve heard of the record so far, including the stunning 10-minute-long title track, ★ appears to be cut from the same cloth as Bowie’s other most creatively fertile era: Outside. While ★ might not be the long-awaited sequel to his “non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-cycle,” what we’ve heard so far is all the noir and genre-fusion dynamism of Outside with the cyberpunk traded for Aleister Crowley and Stanley Kubrick. ★ promises to showcase Bowie fully unrestrained and following his creative whims into truly alien territory. It might serve to be the most “Bowie” Bowie record of all time. –Cap Blackard

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Hinds - Leave Me Alone albumHinds – Leave Me Alone

Release Date: January 8th via Mom+Pop Records

Why We’re Excited: The “lo-fi garage rock” label gets thrown around so much that it gets exhausting. But groups like Hinds are a great reminder of why it’s become such an autonomous genre over the last half-decade. The Madrid band’s hollow arrangements create vivid images of burnout days and wild nights. There’s a nonchalantness with their music that makes it so inviting. It’s like sitting in on your friend’s band practice, and your friend’s band is actually great. So far we’ve only gotten glimpses of their clashing harmonies and eluding sneer. Now we’ll get to indulge in it unashamedly with their debut, Leave Me Alone. –Dusty Henry

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ChairliftSingleChairlift – Moth

Release Date: January 20th via Columbia Records

Why We’re Excited: Coming out in January, Chairlift’s long-awaited third album has the potential to be the first great record of 2016. In the four years since the vibrant ‘80s pop of their breakout album, Something, songwriter Caroline Polachek kept busy, releasing an experimental pop solo record under the name Ramona Lisa, guest starring on tracks with contemporaries like Blood Orange, and having a writing credit on “No Angel” from Beyoncé’s self-titled 2013 album. Both singles released from Moth, “Ch-Ching” and “Romeo” consistently showed the duo’s strengths at crafting bright and energetic songs with swooning vocals that capture the rush of falling in love. In an interview with Pitchfork, Polachek described the record as a tribute to New York, contrasting the futuristic and horrifying aspects of the city within their dance-focused songs. At the very least, the record should provide a joyful soundtrack for late winter gloom. –David Sackllah

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eleanor friedberger new view albumEleanor Friedberger – New View

Release Date: January 20th via Frenchkiss Records

Why We’re Excited: There’s no telling how long we should expect to wait — if at all — for new material from indie-pop duo Fiery Furnaces, on hiatus since 2011, but luckily we haven’t ever had to wait long for something from one half in the meantime. Co-bandleader Eleanor Friedberger will release her third solo album (each released since her band went on pause), New View, next month, which is preceded by the single “He Didn’t Mention His Mother”: a textbook example of her more traditionally structured and melody-focused songs, which once again sounds like it would not be out of place on a list of the year’s best. –Steven Arroyo

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savages adore life new album The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Savages – Adore Life

Release Date: January 22nd via Matador Records

Why We’re Excited: When Savages stormed into our hearts and minds in 2013 with their debut, Silence Yourself, it was stunning how fully formed the young band was, so confident was their sound and so complete their selfhood. The cohesion of their identity awed listeners and critics, but it also raised the question: where will Savages go from here? Thankfully, the answer – their second album, Adore Life – is just weeks away. Some things have stayed the same: close collaborator Johnny Hostile stays on as a producer, and the band have picked a commanding imperative for the album title. But some are thrillingly different, like how Savages road-tested and fine-tuned Adore Life through a three-week residency at various New York venues last January (the crowd-centric music video for first single “The Answer” is probably a nod to that experience). The result is an album fueled by a furious lust for life. “It’s aggressive,” Beth said of the record. “Words of hope in a world of doom.” If 2015 has showed us anything, it’s the fact that the world is bleak, and so Savages are necessary. –Karen Gwee

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ben kaye wet 5 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Wet – Don’t You

Release Date: January 29th via Columbia Records

Why We’re Excited:  Fans of Wet have been waiting nearly three years for the CoSigned trio to drop a full-length LP. Finally, followers will get what they’ve been wishing for with the impending release of the band’s major label debut. With just one EP in 2013, the previously Brooklyn-based Western Massachusetts outfit endeared listeners with their R&B-tinged synthpop on tracks like “You’re the Best” and “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl”. That latter track resurfaces on Don’t You, but has been reworked to reflect the band’s lusher atmospheres. Minimalism still plays a role in Wet’s sound, but so does intricate layering.

The undeniably lovely “Dead Water” was the first track to introduce their expanding sound, followed by the achingly beautiful “Weak”. Loss is still as much of a theme as ever, as evident on “It’s All in Vain”. It turns out all that time between EP and LP has given the band time to let their music become fully formed so that, as frontwoman Kelly Zutrau put it, they could “feel good about these songs and not finish until they were perfect.” We’ll see how perfect they can make it when Don’t You drops in late January. –Ben Kaye

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sviib The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016School of Seven Bells – SVIIB

Release Date: February 12th via Vagrant Records

Why We’re Excited: School of Seven Bells co-founder Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) tragically passed away in 2013 after being diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. Though it comes as only a slight silver lining on a massive storm cloud, Alejandra Deheza announced that she would release one last album under the band’s name, fusing material Curtis had recorded prior to his death with her own new recordings. SVIIB will be the first School of Seven Bells album since 2012’s Ghostory, a divisive record that dripped dream pop gloss over a haunting narrative. Lead SVIIB single “Open Your Eyes” sounds inherently driven by Curtis’ passing — Deheza’s chopped, florid vocals piece together what sounds like the phrase “moving on,” and all the talk about waking up feels extra desperate and tragic. Deheza told Noisey that she only included tracks on which she and Curtis worked together, and the resulting album surely carries all the weight and depth of her loss, working through her pain and without her other half. But she also insists that the album has a joyous side, celebrating his life. Surely, SVIIB will be an immensely cathartic and emotionally powerful album. –Adam Kivel

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animal collective painting with new album avey The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Animal Collective – Painting With

Release Date: February 19th via Domino

Unless you were one of the fortunate few to be traveling through Baltimore Washington International Airport on Thanksgiving weekend, odds are you have yet to hear Painting With, the new album from Animal Collective. Lead single “FloriDada” has been made available to the non-airport masses, and its rapid, joyous tempo, bolstered as always by infectious harmonies, is a promising indication of what listeners can expect from Animal Collective’s first full-length album since 2012’s Centipede Hz. While sometime member Deakin is once again in absentia, Collective regulars Panda Bear, Avey Tare, and Geologist have welcomed musicians like John Cale and Colin Stetson to help fill the gap. Inspired by Cubism, Dadaism, and various other art modes, and featuring what Tare describes as “really short songs: no B.S.,” Painting With should be the latest opus from one of music’s most original forces. –Zack Ruskin

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Santigold-99-Cents-560x560Santigold – 99¢

Release Date: February 26th via Atlantic Records 

Why We’re Excited: It’s been three whole years with only a handful of singles and soundtrack contributions, so it’s about time Santigold (aka Santi White) got back in the groove and gave us an album. 99¢ rolls out in late February, and from what we’ve heard so far, the thing sound likes like a funky, starry, bassy comeback (thanks in no small part to kicky contributions from TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, Sam Dew, Hit-Boy, Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, and a fiesta of other folks). According to White last November, the album’s a meditation on how we negotiate our own realities, all the while playing with those realities through personality development and identity. So, an album that is simultaneously self-aware and subwoofer thumping? If the crunchy-good first singles, “Who Be Lovin’ Me” and “Can’t Get Enough of Myself”, are any indicator, we are down with some elevated me time. –Blake Goble

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The-1975-CoverThe 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It

Release Date: February 26th via Vagrant Records

Why We’re Excited: Everything we know about The 1975’s forthcoming album hints at nigh-unprecedented levels of excess, from the verbosity of the title (I Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It) to the neon-drenched music video for lead single “Love Me”. Right now, “Love Me” is our best indication of what the follow-up to The 1975’s self-titled debut will actually sound like, and there’s plenty to get excited about if you overlook the blatant ripping off of David Bowie’s “Fame”. This brave new version of the band comes across like a fever dream of the 1980s — especially singer Matt Healy, who seems to have ditched nuance for something more flamboyant and potentially more interesting. Is 2016 the year of The 1975? That sentence isn’t easy to read, and neither is the band itself. In a few weeks, we’ll see if they aspire to save pop music or merely join its rank and file. –Collin Brennan

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pusha t1 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Pusha T – King Push

Release Date: June 30th via Def Jam Records

Why We’re Excited: As an intoxicated Kanye West once said, “Everything is a Pusha T.” While that may have been a funny statement in the moment, it feels prophetic for the year Pusha T is about to have. Last month, G.O.O.D. Music announced that Pusha T would be taking over as president. This also came with the revelation that his previously announced album, King Push, would be delayed until 2016. In the meantime, he decided to release Darkest Before the Dawn: The Prelude. If that record was the opening act, King Push promises to be one of the biggest rap albums of the year. DBTD showed just how mean Pusha T can be with the right slick beats. He’s been rapping about selling cocaine since his Clipse days, yet he still makes it feel fresh. With his current presidential position, it’s safe to say that he’s not going to stop grinding for the top of the heap. If everything wasn’t a Pusha T already, it’s sure as hell going to be. –Dusty Henry

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ANOHNIAnohni – Hopelessness

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  ANOHNI’s previous work with Antony and the Johnsons was marked by an icy quiet. With her first single from Hopelessness, “4 Degrees”, she immediately shakes off that old cast. The song marries big band brass with complex, rolling drumbeats, elevating her singularly recognizable voice to a level of urgency and desperation we’ve yet to hear from her. “4 Degrees” scans as a climate change protest song, but one that positions its singer as ultimately responsible for the devastation of the planet. If Hopelessness is a political record, it sounds like it’ll parse this century’s political quandaries with the same intimacy and empathy that ANOHNI’s songwriting has always carried. Sometimes there’s more comfort in being joined in your hopelessness than in being shaken out of it. –Sasha Geffen

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band of horsesBand of Horses – TBA

Release Date: TBA 

Why We’re Excited: Band of Horses have, in recent years, seemed like one of those groups whose career is regressing instead of moving forward: they followed up the lush, rewarding, and fully conceived works that were Funeral (2006) and Cease to Begin (2007) with the clunkers Infinite Arms (2010) and Mirage Rock (2012). The je ne sais quoi (which could very well be attributed to Ben Bridwell’s high-pitched croon or those happy guitars that could be both gentle and loud) that made Band of Horses distinguishable from the rest of the late-aughts indie rock ilk seemed to have dissipated into thin air, leaving behind a residue that just wasn’t going to cut it for all but the most dedicated fans.

So, the question is: dare we hope for a return to the Cease to Begin heyday with this new album, slated to be released sometime in the spring of 2016? Bridwell has said that sonically, it shares more in common with Infinite Arms, but we can choose to be optimistic, right? It’s being produced by Jason Lytle of the band Grandaddy, known for their big-scale cinematic tendencies, so maybe the joy inherent in the group’s earliest work will come rushing back to fill our ears with the unique brand of euphoria that only a crescendoing Band of Horses tune can bring. –Katherine Flynn

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beyonce naughty boy runnin lose it all The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Beyoncé – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  Almost exactly two years ago, Beyoncé unleashed a landmark pop record she had been working on in secret. Beyoncé was her best, boldest, and least single-indebted album yet, and by releasing it in mid-December without a hint of advance warning, she went out of her way to prove she didn’t need any aid from advance promotion or year-end accolades to re-sign her lease on pop’s throne, uncontested. So now that that’s settled, what comes next? Aside from the occasional hint of a possible collaboration in the works — including ones involving Future and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony — we have very little to go on. We should expect nothing more from a Beyoncé album cycle at this point, and given how it played out last time around, we should prefer it that way. –Steven Arroyo

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james blake mix bbc The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016James Blake – Radio Silence

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Over a year ago, a rumor started floating around that both Kanye West and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon would appear on James Blake’s next studio album, Radio Silence. The UK crooner finally cut to the chase this July in an interview with Esquire: “If it doesn’t end up on the album, you know it hasn’t worked.” Let that sink in. If Vernon and West’s samples drag down an album, well, the songwriting on said album must be pretty dang solid. Live renditions of the title track suggest it’s full of moody piano, thick dub, and nightmarish vocals that linger (as usual). Until a studio version pops up, we’ll keep spinning his cover of “The Sound of Silence”, an obvious album teaser by title alone. –Nina Corcoran

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01-Blink-182-2Blink-182 – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The biggest story of Blink-182’s recent history was the messy, bizarre split between Tom Delonge and Travis Barker/Mark Hoppus, who have since recruited Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba to take over vocal and guitar duties. The new incarnation of the band took the stage for the first time last March, and Skiba proved a solid addition to the crew. Apparently, the new trio liked hanging out with each other enough to pursue a new record, with Barker recently telling NME that they have five songs, including one called “Punk Rock Cliché”, in the books. (After completing their last LP, 2011’s Neighborhoods, the band left Interscope, but have not since announced any signing.) While we know that Skiba can hold his own while performing Blink-182 classics, it’ll be interesting to hear what he brings to the table in terms of the sound he’s been known for with Alkaline Trio, and whether this will be a worthy new chapter for the pop-punk forefathers. –Killian Young

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blood orange dev hynes The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Blood Orange – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Issues like inequality, race, sex, and poverty are inexorably linked, but the mainstream citizen seems to only have just recognized this potent connection. Part of this awakening is due to artists like Dev Hynes, who is a man with the ability to deliver a spoonful of synthpop sugar to help the social awareness medicine go down. The Essex-born extraordinaire used Blood Orange’s 2013 release — Cupid Deluxe — to give a voice to the downtrodden and marginalized in many communities without being pedantic or preachy.

Unfortunately, the years since that record dropped have birthed a renewed sense of concern and confusion, especially in the realm of widespread police brutality. Fans should expect a passionate response from Hynes, who has already released a mourning track, “Sandra’s Smile”, in honor of Sandra Bland, who was killed in police custody after a frivolous and patently racist traffic stop in Texas. Other demoed tracks, such as the understated “Delancey”, have found Hynes experimenting with strings and cellos to great effect, leading many to look forward to this record’s release, not just for its social impact but its sheer beauty as well. –Dan Pfleegor

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boniver.new_.3-581x391Bon Iver – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: While it’s hard to argue with the vision and seamless execution that Justin Vernon brought to his previous two releases (plus an EP) as Bon Iver, what really makes those works so precious is their rarity. The self-released For Emma, Forever Ago came out almost nine years ago, and its deceptive instrumental simplicity coupled with intense emotional depth, followed by the album’s considerable impact, was a game-changer for the genre. Vernon’s next release, Bon Iver, pushed his sonic limits even further, making us all reconsider everything we previously knew about folk music, Auto-Tune, and bearded dudes in flannel.

In more recent years, Vernon has stayed busy with side projects, the occasional casual Kanye West collaboration and now the annual Eaux Claires summer music festival in his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. While he has announced a string of tour dates for 2016 and debuted two new songs (neither of which currently seem to have titles) this past summer, he’s been reticent about announcing any plans for a new full-length. As a public persona, Vernon is characteristically low-key and mysterious. Will he pull a Beyoncé and drop a fully formed album into the iTunes store, unannounced, on some blessed early morning in 2016? Only time will tell. –Katherine Flynn

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Chromatics - 2015Chromatics – Dear Tommy

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: When Chromatics said earlier this year that Dear Tommy would be out in time for Valentine’s Day, they never specified which year. Nevertheless, they’ve been tiding fans over. Singles like “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around” and “Shadow” have shown consistency in quality and growth in style for the band. Still, the album is largely a mystery. Producer Johnny Jewel has referred to Dear Tommy as the most rebellious album he’s ever made. That’s a bold statement with the meticulousness that’s gone into masterworks like Kill for Love and Night Call. But the band does have oft forgotten punk rock roots. Channeling that sense of anarchy with slick hooks sounds inticing. If there’s any band bold enough to pull it off, it’s Chromatics. –Dusty Henry

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screen shot 2014 10 08 at 7 57 33 am The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Crystal Castles – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Despite the dramatic 2014 exit of vocalist Alice Glass, Crystal Castles is not dead! Bred amidst darkness and electronic distortion in Toronto’s eclectic music culture, the 2016 Crystal Castles’ aesthetic holds tight to the original incarnation. Ethan Kath was quick to recruit another female vocalist — the enigmatically named Edith. Like the true identity of Kath’s new co-conspirator, the upcoming album’s title remains a mystery. However, Edith’s haunting ambiance has been showcased on both “Frail” and “Deicide”, each satiating the spirits who burn up a post-industrial dance floor. –Derek Staples

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05-DrakeDrake – Views from the 6

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: In 2015, Drake became the 6 God. He’d been on a marked upward trajectory for a while and had been repping his city to the point that some were calling for the NBA team to be renamed the Drakes, but he ascended to celestial status on the back of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, a collaborative record with Future, and of course “Hotline Bling”. Despite entering a new level of stardom, his follow-up to that smash year could well be a victory lap through Toronto, considering its name: Views from the Six. He’s still riding through T Dot, with longtime collaborator/producer Noah “40” Shebib reportedly on board. Rumored guests range from Beyoncé (all signs point to epic, so this wouldn’t be that shocking) to Skepta (Drake spent a chunk of 2015 in London, so a grime influence could be coming). Drake’s released his last couple of projects completely by surprise, so this may hit us at any moment. The only thing we know for sure is that the Six couldn’t ask for a better totem. –Adam Kivel

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Explosions-In-The-SkyExplosions in the Sky – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  To say that Explosions in the Sky has been off the radar isn’t actually fair to their cruelly ignored accomplishments. Over the years, the Austin multi-instrumentalists have delivered exceptional soundtracks for filmmakers Peter Berg and David Gordon Green. Their work alongside composer Steve Jablonsky for 2013’s Lone Survivor was visceral and breathtaking (see: “Waking Up”), while their fragrant tones for this year’s Manglehorn unlocked Al Pacino’s crusty demeanor with plenty of heart and charm (see: “Lightning and a Bottle”). But now they’re close to finally releasing a proper followup to 2011’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, as they told their Facebook followers back in November that they’re “coming out of hibernation.” Again, they didn’t really go anywhere, and we’ve always had new music from them, but it’s nice to know they’ll “be back.” If anything, it means they’ll hit the road more often, and that brings a big ol’ smile to this festivalgoer. –Michael Roffman

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43-Sky-FerreiraSky Ferreira – Masochism

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Whatever Sky Ferreira plans to do for her second album, Masochism, it’s going to be radically different from her underrated 2013 debut, Night Time, My Time. That’s a good thing. Last we heard from her, she was vibing to David Lynch, Suicide, and early ’90s pop. This time around? She’s working with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes, hinted at a Charli XCX collabo, and has been in the studio with familiar producers Ariel Rechsthaid and Justin Raid in addition to new faces like Rahki and Mike Dean. If fans couldn’t tell from her intermittent updates online, the album’s been one hell of a journey for her, complete with delays and health issues, but one that’s led to some much-needed clarity. As she told Beat Magazine, “I was a dormant volcano. I couldn’t work properly. Now I feel like I’m about to write much better songs. I could put this stuff out in three months from now, or I could wait and it would be a lot better.” Fingers crossed it’s 2016. –Michael Roffman

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alice glass solo debut The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Alice Glass – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: While nothing has officially been announced about a full album coming in 2016, 2015 marked the solo debut of Alice Glass, the former vocalist of Crystal Castles, in an eye-opening fashion. Glass and former bandmate Ethan Kath had a public falling out over social media as Glass responded to what she called “manipulative statements” by Kath in which he tried to diminish her accomplishments with the former band. Three months later, Glass released her first solo single, the frenzied and powerful “Stillbirth”, accompanied by a letter detailing her experience in an abusive relationship. The song itself was a welcome change of pace from her old band, keeping the intensity of the former duo’s dark dance music, but channeling the rage towards catharsis, with an affirming message of being able to start again and move past abuse. “Emotional and psychological abuse can be just as damaging [as pyshical abuse] and it is extremely difficult to remove yourself from,” Glass said in her message, trying to offer her story as a sign for others in similar situations to find a way out. Glass’ note concluded with a promise of more music, and while we’re still waiting for that, if it’s anything like what we’ve heard so far, the songs could very well be essential listening in 2016. –David Sackllah

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Grandaddy thumbGrandaddy – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited:  It’s been a decade since Grandaddy last released an album, with only a small set of reunion dates in 2012 to speak of in terms of activity. And the news of the album didn’t take the form of some grand announcement gesture, but rather a series of tweets from mastermind Jason Lytle that casually documented his work on what will be Grandaddy’s fifth album. Lytle has steadily been releasing music under his own name for the past 10 years, so the return to the Grandaddy project hopefully will speak to some inspired songwriting and a reason to get the band back together. The group’s track record is very strong, and it seems unlikely that Lytle would want to tarnish the best thing to ever come out of Modesto, California. –Philip Cosores

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haim.2013Haim – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: HAIM are going to drop an interesting sophomore album. Or rather, it could be interesting. Since 2013’s Days Are Gone, the California sisters have collaborated with an eclectic rogues gallery of artists, ranging from dance (Calvin Harris, Major Lazer) to hip-hop (Kid Cudi, Pusha T), to pop (Lorde, M83) to rock (Tame Impala, Tobias Jesso Jr). They also have a new fwend that happens to be the biggest star in the world (see: Taylor Swift). So yeah, their follow-up could be a lush and brilliant collection of music brimming with guest appearances that will bring them even higher in the industry. Ideally, they won’t have to lean on their rolodex too much and will continue, instead, to capitalize on what made them America’s favorite indie rock family. Working with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij is an exciting step in the right direction. Consider us hyped. –Michael Roffman

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pjharvey2_THUMBPJ Harvey – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: It’s been nearly five years since PJ Harvey shook her homeland and most of the music world with her Mercury Prize-winning eighth studio album, Let England Shake. And though we live in an era in which significant releases tend to be shrouded in secrecy, Harvey has been remarkably transparent during the making of her follow-up. For instance, the entire album was recorded as part of an art installation called Recording in Progress, which allowed fans to peek in on Harvey working on the album with longtime collaborators Flood and John Parish. For those who couldn’t make the exhibit, she debuted 10 new cuts at a London concert in October. And if we couldn’t be troubled to check out the clips of those songs scattered across YouTube, Harvey even delivered an album teaser and an explanation that the record documents a “unique artistic journey which took her to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C.” At this point, we’ve seen and heard enough to know it’s not a question of whether or not her new record will shake us. It’s just a question of how much. –Matt Melis

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 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016The Last Shadow Puppets – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Because of the stratospheric rise of the Arctic Monkeys, a new album by The Last Shadow Puppets has long seemed like a pipe dream. But eight long years after Alex Turner and Miles Kane released The Age of the Understatement, fans enchanted by the grandiose emotion and tangled lyricism of that Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut finally have release. The Puppets have rounded up the old gang again – including producer James Ford and strings wizard Owen Pallett – but consider just how much Turner and Kane have changed in the intervening years. Between Humbug and AM, Turner has zigzagged between styles with the Monkeys, metamorphosing from a doe-eyed dork to a swaggering rock star. Miles Kane now has two solo albums under his belt and has fully established his penchant for mod culture. Right now, we only have a short video to help us discern the sound of their sophomore album, but come some unspecified date in spring, we’ll finally discover the new iteration of The Last Shadow Puppets. –Karen Gwee

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Local Natives 2013Local Natives – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: After a gargantuan bout of touring to promote their frankly stunning sophomore album, Hummingbird, indie rock group Local Natives swooped below the radar, surfacing occasionally to meet a burgeoning fanbase impatient to see what they would do next. The band has kept coy, releasing little communication about the upcoming album except for Instagram posts about “staying productive” and ”late night drum tracking”. What’s been most intriguing is the range of locations these shots have been taken in, such as Thailand, Nicaragua, and their home base of Los Angeles. Their globetrotting, paired with breathless praise of their new, “urgent and enigmatic” material, suggest Local Natives are looking to mix their sound up, which can only be a good thing. –Karen Gwee

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lushthumb The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Lush – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: The reunion of Britpop shoegazers Lush came as a total surprise last year when the band announced that they were back together and working on a four-song EP. “We’ve been away for ages and ages, but we’re really excited to announce that we’re finally ready to reform as Lush,” the band said on their Facebook page. 4AD has since reissued their best-of compilation, Ciao!, and a one-off show at the Roundhouse in London on May 6th was announced (with a second show added after the first sold out in six hours). The EP will be released sometime in 2016 and was produced by Daniel Hunt of Ladytron and Jim Abbiss. If things go well, the band said a full-length album could follow. “I’m a bit anxious,” guitarist and singer Emma Anderson said, “wondering if people will think the new record will be as good as the old.” –Jon Hadusek

m83 bw press The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016M83 – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: It’s hard to believe that over four years have passed since M83′s critical and commercial smash of a double album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, sprinkled our hungry ears and cynical minds with dreamy fairy dust. Fun fact: That’s nearly 1,500 nights we’ve been able to blast “Midnight City” ad nauseam. Yet, despite their soundtrack work over the years — namely, 2013’s Oblivion and this year’s HAIM collaboration for Insurgent  — there’s still a lot riding on this follow-up. Can Anthony Gonzalez conjure up the same magic nearly half a decade later? Will there be another single to unite the world? Are they going to own every stadium across the galaxy? It’s frightening how little we know, but one re-listen through their catalogue, which they’ve proudly reissued recently, is enough to quell any such fears. They’re M83 and they’re going to be our best and fastest ticket out of this nightmare we call reality. –Michael Roffman

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MB_Press2015-899-Edit-350x350Mutual Benefit – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: This past month, singer-songwriter Jordan Lee, who records under the name Mutual Benefit, announced that along with an early 2016 tour supporting Deer Tick, he had signed to Mom + Pop and is at work recording the follow-up to his 2013 breakout release, Love’s Crushing Diamond. While little information is available as to what the follow-up will sound like, Lee emerged three years ago as a distinct voice, using strings and synths to accentuate and add flourish to his remarkably open and emotional melodies that displayed a raw sense of vulnerability. His tender, emotional folk may not have been the most novel of musical approaches, but its sincerity and diverse array of sounds helped to win many over. It’s too early to speculate what kind of sound the new record will have, as Lee has been largely quiet in the year away from the road that he’s taken to record it. If it follows in the footsteps of earlier releases, it’s likely it will be another record that sneaks up and takes many by storm. –David Sackllah

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Trent-ReznorNine Inch Nails – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: It wasn’t that long ago that Nine Inch Nails was playing a series of farewell shows in Los Angeles, with leader Trent Reznor promising to disappear into other projects, including his highly successful turn as a film composer. But after the release of Hesitation Marks in 2013 and the massive touring that followed, it appears that NIN is taking a little less time away from the spotlight than usual. Just recently, Reznor tweeted that the industrial pioneers will be releasing new music in 2016, but exactly what form that will take remains to be seen. As one of the principal figures involved with Apple Music, Reznor has proven time and again to be a jack of many trades and always seeking innovation in both compositions and performance. 2016 promises to be all the stronger with Nine Inch Nails involved. –Philip Cosores

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frank ocean e1441741163678 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Frank Ocean – Boys Don’t Cry

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Frank Ocean’s Tumblr page has become something of a central element to his mystery. It was the medium he chose in July of 2012 to share a revelatory note touching on his sexuality, among other vaguely existentialist meditations, in advance of Channel Orange, his last and only formal LP to date. Then, this past June, it was where he revealed (in typically nebulous fashion) a new LP that would be part of a package including his own publication, which his camp would later confirm. That album and package is supposedly Boys Don’t Cry, and while it didn’t arrive by the end of the year as many were hoping, rest assured that he hears us; via another Tumblr post, after posing an oddball hypothetical involving the earth’s rotation: “i know, i know..quit asking dumb ass questions to the internet and drop your album. Haha.” –Steven Arroyo

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JimmyPageJimmy Page – TBA

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Why We’re Excited:  Hearing Jimmy Page’s name in the news is nothing new. Every other year or so the guitar god generates headlines either with details about further polishing up Led Zeppelin’s catalog or with the latest round of finger-pointing between himself and Robert Plant over who is really preventing rock and roll’s most prayed for reunion from happening. The latest news cycle offers something juicier, though. Page not only has assembled a band for touring, but he’s also promised his first solo album since 1988’s Outrider. What might Jimmy Page sound like in 2016? “What I’m doing is something that’s going to be quite different,” Page explained at a press event. “It wouldn’t be anything that hopefully you’d imagine I would do.” As long as he isn’t backing Diddy and Godzilla again, consider us intrigued. –Matt Melis

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Owen-Pallett-Tanya-Tagaq-album-collaborate-Owen Pallett and Tanya Tagaq – TBA

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Why We’re Excited:  At a recent collaborative concert, two of Canada’s most decorated musicians announced that they’d take their joint venture into the studio for a solid week of recording. Unless you were at that show, you’ve yet to hear anything from Owen Pallett and Tanya Tagaq’s time together, but their individual pursuits promise a lot on their own. Pallett’s recent album, In Conflict, ranked among our favorites of 2014 with its intricate mesh of electronics and violin, while Tagaq’s set at SXSW last March peeled back the skin on what live music can and should be. Both are brave and restless performers, and both approach music as a communicative tool from entirely different perspectives. Pallett takes cues from his classical training, while Tagaq is a seasoned throat singer who splits her voice apart into a force of nature all on its own. It’s hard to predict what exactly that odd couple will produce, but it’s guaranteed to be a powerful combination. –Sasha Geffen

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Phoenix-1Phoenix – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Last we heard from Phoenix, they were talking about laying the groundwork for their sixth album in early 2014. Since then? Nuthin’. Practically dead air in Phoenix’s social media sphere. Then, as a small gift for 2015, the band released a surprise single for the holidays, “Alone on Christmas Day”. That’s nice and all, but after cavorting with their cool kid friends Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray, it’s about damn time Phoenix got back to work to give us the real gift of an album. Heck, if the French Four were to let out a full-blooded Christmas album as a spin-off of A Very Murray Christmas, that would be just swell. BANKRUPT! was such a blast and all, but here’s to hoping 2016 is when the groundwork that Pheonix was hyping in 2014 finally becomes a fresh and fancy pyramid of wild and catchy rock. –Blake Goble

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phosphorescentthumb The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Phosphorescent – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: Matthew Houck, the man behind the Phosphorescent moniker, took a relatively easy path through 2015. He released a live album back in February, but wasn’t on the road much after that, which has given him plenty of time to work on new material. Over the last few months, his Instagram has been filled with pictures of the band working in a makeshift living room studio apparently set up in Nashville, TN. Some of the images include dueling drum kits, outdoor acoustic sessions, and imposing scores of cables. All this leads one to believe that the follow-up to 2013’s magnificent Muchacho is shaping up to be one of Phosphorescent’s most ornate albums to date, and hopefully as lush and moving as ever. –Ben Kaye

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radiohead.spRadiohead – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: Trying to figure out when Radiohead’s ninth studio album might appear is tantamount to an Indiana Jones movie. In order to solve the puzzle, one needs to listen closely to Russian radio stations, decrypt studio photos posted online, and analyze past live shows for possible clues. The truth of the matter is that despite our best collective efforts, only the five lads from Oxfordshire and a few close collaborators know when we’ll be treated to the follow-up to 2011’s King of Limbs. We’ve heard drummer Phil Selway confirm the band had “quite a busy” autumn, while guitarist Jonny Greenwood has stated that “lots of new material” has been recorded and that the band was going through it all “to see if it’s any good.” The short answer is that like all of life’s best surprises, we may not know anything about the new Radiohead record until the moment we have it in our hands. Just don’t look for it on Spotify. –Zack Ruskin

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real estateReal Estate – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: Real Estate may be busy cracking open their own beers, but let’s not forget they’re hard at work in the studio, too. When interviewed about his side project Ducktails, guitarist Matt Mondanile told FACT Magazine that Real Estate’s fourth album will likely be even more LA-sounding than before because of his recent move to California. Remember: sunny vibes for long car rides come to those who are patient. If they’re busy tabbing their songs for fans, it may take a bit longer. “Real Estate is currently in full blown hit writing mode,” the band tweeted in early December. “You think these hits just appear out of thin air?” Well, when they sound so breezy and charmingly insouciant, a little bit. Our bad. –Nina Corcoran

the shins 600 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016The Shins – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: Whether it’s the case of The Shins firing out a crisper sound during their second album, Chutes Too Narrow, or the musical chairs crafted by lead singer James Mercer in parting ways with his longtime bandmates before 2012’s Port of Morrow in a shuffle countless people dubbed a “firing” – we know the pioneering American indie rock band thrive off change. They’ve got a clear MO and feeling – they make tactile simplicity physical and heart-centered even while remaining folkier than most pop. But that core sound keeps their minimalism intact while reaching for ambitious new heights of sincerity and sonic drama. There’s not much to go off of at this point other than a stream of teaser photos in the studio, so maybe they’ll go back to their carefree folk pop period or revisit those wry, buoyant smacks of sound. Either way, the best thing a bunch of seasoned indie rockers can do is cram into the studio and let shit happen. –Lior Phillips
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300x300 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Sigur Rós – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: When a band writes “we can only ask you to trust us on this one” in a surprise statement filled with phrases like “new unreleased songs” and “some other *new* things”, a unique feeling of optimism blossoms within you. Your anticipation begins to build slowly, and if you’re a fan of Icelandic post-rock pioneers Sigur Rós, it’s a feeling that feels like home, and within it is a vast space worth exploring and savoring. After 2013’s impassioned and kinetic Kveikur, fans are anxiously awaiting whatever it may be that Jónsi, Georg Hólm, and Orri Páll Dýrason have in store for us in 2016. –Sean Barry

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Spiritualized 2012Spiritualized – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: Because patience is truly a virtue. Last January 12th Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce revealed via Facebook he was enlisting the talents of Killing Joke’s YOUTH to produce his yet-to-be-titled eighth full-length studio album. At the time of the post, the duo had already started work at YOUTH’s London-based studio, embarking on a venture that was to be completed mid-2015 in Spain. Since those initial murmurs, virtually zero details have surfaced of the ongoing(?) project. The new album didn’t even receive mention during a June 2015 interview with Uncut magazine. The silence isn’t totally unprecedented; while Spiritualized’s 2003 effort Amazing Grace was recorded in just three weeks, 2008’s follow-up, Songs in A&E, was delayed due to a lengthy illness. Having performed at several festivals the latter half of the year, here’s hoping it’s not health but new, noisy sonic explorations that are delaying the official announcement. –Derek Staples

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bruce springsteenBruce Springsteen – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: The Boss is back. First, the ageless touring wonder Bruce Springsteen is performing in support of his recent The Ties That Bind: The River Collection. After, he’s planning to release a new record – which he described as “more of a solo project” – and tour in support of it by himself. Not much is known about the still-untitled album, but the LP will be Springsteen’s first full-length studio album with new content since 2012’s Wrecking Ball (considering that 2014’s High Hopes was made up of reworked material and old, deep cuts). If Springsteen aims to continue the unabashedly political narrative threads of Wrecking Ball, he need not look much further than the rhetoric spewed on the Republican presidential campaign trail for inspiration. –Killian Young

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strokes bandThe Strokes – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: The Strokes are like a cool group of estranged brothers who only hang out at family reunions, SNL after-parties, and music festivals. They seem to get along well enough, but it’s frustrating to watch them part ways once the event is over. So it was an amiable surprise to find the band making an appearance on Victoria Morales’ Instagram account. The fivesome also found the time to kick it at Morale’s studio, Victoria Records in Monterrey, Mexico, which just so happens to be where their producer, Gordon Raphael, has been spending his time as well. If everything goes to plan, 2016 will be the year The Strokes follow up 2013’s mixed bag Comedown Machine with their sixth proper album. But at the very least, it’s just great to see them noodling around in a recording space together, even if all we have to show so far are intriguing social media posts. –Dan Pfleegor

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tegansara2012_THUMBTegan and Sara – TBA

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Why We’re Excited:  It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that Tegan and Sara’s last album, Heartthrob, is nearly three years old, being that the Canadian sister duo supported the record relentlessly. The album was a dramatic creative shift, embracing their love of pop music and taking a confident step towards broader appeal, all while maintaining their previous artistic and creative heights. Then the pair went and earned an Oscar nomination for their Lego track “Everything Is Awesome”. It would be fair to say that their next album will find T&S with higher expectations than ever before and more possibilities. The Quin sisters have been tweeting about their eighth album’s progress, with little known about where the record will find them creatively. We do know that as of the end of November, it had been completed, with more details surely coming in the early part of 2016. –Philip Cosores

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tool band 10k02 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Tool – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: Another year, another hopeful wish for a new Tool album. Only now, there is physical and audible proof that it might actually be happening. At their Halloween show at the Hollywood Bowl last year, Tool played part of a new song, “Descending”, and the band will be touring the states with Primus in January. Though it’s unknown how much time they’ve spent in the studio, all signs point to a new Tool album in 2016, and the fact that the band is playing together period is encouraging. The real challenge will be prying Maynard James Keenan away from Puscifer, who are touring relentlessly in support of last year’s Money Shot–Jon Hadusek

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kanye-west-1 (1)Kanye West – Swish

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: In the wee hours of the morning on December 12, Kanye West – cryptic as always about his latest music project – tweeted, “I’m finishing my album and my next collection…” Sure, rumors have swirled around the release of Kanye’s Yeezus follow-up dating all the way back to 2014 when Theophilus London said that ’Ye had previewed the record in full at Paris Fashion Week. First the album was called So Help Me God; now it’s SWISH. And in the meantime, Yeezy’s recent output has run the stylistic gamut from the touching ballad “Only One” to the bombastic “All Day”. It’ll be interesting to see the range of beats and features, as well as how much of the record deals conceptually with fatherhood (especially with the recent birth of his son, Saint). With so much in flux, it’s clear that Kanye’s not in any rush to push out a record that isn’t exactly to his liking – and that’s reason enough to get excited. –Killian Young

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the xx new album studio 2016 The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016The xx – TBA

Release Date: TBA

Why We’re Excited: “Winter studio hibernation.” With three words, The xx confirmed over Facebook that they’re buckling down to wrap up work on the follow-up to 2012’s Coexist. A few Instagram photos surfaced nearly a year ago of all three members recording in the studio, but they presumably took a break when Jamie xx kept us dancing for months with In Colour, his debut LP (and one of the best albums of the year). The notoriously straight-faced trio sport tiny smiles in the photo. If they’re giddy about their upcoming third album, we should be too. –Nina Corcoran

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roger waters music heals The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016Roger Waters – TBA

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Why We’re Excited: While David Gilmour and Nick Mason may have officially called it quits as Pink Floyd in August, ex-bandmate Roger Waters showed no signs of slowing down this year. Let’s run down the former Floyd frontman’s 2015: a documentary and companion soundtrack commemorating his record-breaking touring of The Wall; his first live appearance since 2013 at Newport Folk Festival (debuting a new song no less); and the strong hope, if not promise, of a world tour and, more importantly, a new record in 2016. So, what might we expect from Waters’ first rock album since 1992’s Amused to Death? “It’s songs and theater as well,” Waters told Rolling Stone in late 2013. “I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s couched as a radio play. It has characters who speak to each other, and it’s a quest. It’s about an old man and a young child trying to figure out why they are killing the children.” I’m not sure what’s killing the children in Waters’ concept, but you can bet impatience will be killing Floyd fans if he makes us wait until late 2016 or beyond to find out. –Matt Melis

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