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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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The Hold Steady, “Open Door Policy”: The Brooklyn indie-rock band’s eighth album was “was written and almost entirely recorded before the pandemic started,” according to frontman Craig Finn, “but the songs and stories explore power, wealth, mental health, technology, capitalism, consumerism, and survival — issues which have compounded in 2020.”Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Hunter and the Dog Star”: Brickell referred to the band’s fifth album and follow-up to 2018’s “Rocket” as “a collection of songs reflecting the mystery of self-expression, loyalty, companionship and love in the darkest sky just before dawn.”Mogwai, “As The Love Continues”: The Scottish post-rock band worked remotely with producer Dave Fridmann on this 10th album, which features contributions from Nine Inch Nails’ Atticus Ross and saxophonist Colin Stetson.Julia Stone, “Sixty Summers”: On her first album since 2012, the Australian folk singer-songwriter takes a turn toward cosmopolitan pop, working with Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, and Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent.Grandaddy, “The Sophtware Slump ..... on a wooden piano”: A stripped-down take on the indie-rock band’s classic 2000 album.

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Sting, “Duets”: Collection of previous duets with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mary J. Blige, Julio Iglesias, Shaggy, Herbie Hancock, Annie Lennox and Charles Aznavour.Loretta Lynn, “Still Woman Enough” : This will mark the 50th (!!) studio album from the country doyenne, who, at 88, is still checking off a few things on her “to do” list. Here's the trailer for the album:

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Greta Van Fleet, “The Battle At Garden’s Gate”: The young Grammy-winning band’s follow-up to its 2018 debut was recorded in LA with Greg Kurstin (Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney) producing.

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Rob Zombie, “The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy”: The shock-rocker told Kerang! that on his seventh album “the songs are very catchy, but the structures are way more complex than they’ve been in the past.” It’s advanced by the single “The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation And Superstition).Ringo Starr, “Zoom In”: The five-song EP from the Beatles legend features contributions from Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Diane Warren, Robbie Krieger, Steve Lukather and more.

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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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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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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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