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16 artists to look forward to hearing in 2016

Ryan Huddle/Globe Staff/Margo Price Photograph by Ramon Felix

With 2015 in the rear view, it’s time to meet some new faces and welcome back some old friends. Here are a few of the artists, bands, albums, and shows we’re looking forward to in 2016.

Jeremy Saffer


Maybe you spotted Mallika Sundaramurthy among the local luminaries plastered on flat surfaces all over town when Uniqlo opened at Faneuil Hall; probably you wouldn’t have guessed she supplies the tortured growls for Marlborough’s most brutal death-metal band. Abnormality — Sundaramurthy, guitarists Jeremy Henry and Sam Kirsch, bassist Josh Staples, and drummer Jay Blaisdell — combines lethal technical skills, dystopian lyrics, and an old-school allegiance to quality riffs: a mix that hooked eminent indie label Metal Blade, which signed the band in October. An album is due in spring; you might get a taste when Abnormality plays Hothfest at Maximum Capacity in Chicopee Jan. 9. (STEVE SMITH)


Geoff Johnson

Black Tusk

When bassist Jonathan Athon of punk-metal brawlers Black Tusk died in November 2014 from injuries incurred in a tragic motorcycle accident it sent shudders through the metal community. Fortunately, Athon’s final recordings had been committed to tape and the remaining members were too stubborn to let these monstrous sounds be buried. “Pillars of Ash” (Jan. 29) takes the genre’s death obsession and refracts it back at the listener with an unremittingly intense sense of closure. This is metal at its most cathartic: a thrashing testament to the power of the riff. (SEAN L. MALONEY)

Violet Delancey

It’s an age-old story, and one that Delancey, who has a graduate degree in mythology, no doubt appreciates: Young woman falls under the spell of music-making, abandons embarked-upon career, and moves to a location that facilitates her newfound passion. In her case, talent matches ambition, to judge by her accomplished debut, “When the Clock Strikes Midnight” (Feb. 19). The album moves from the sound of Hot Band-era Emmylou Harris to acoustic country and galloping Celtic-tinged folk, with Nashville cats such as Paul Franklin and Stuart Duncan providing sterling support. (STUART MUNRO)


Danielle Haim, Alana Haim, and Este Haim.Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images/Getty


The popular sister act has made jokes about the oven being preheated for the follow-up to its delicious 2013 debut, “Days Are Gone,” but there’s been no official word on an actual date of arrival. Thanks to snippets of radio reports and social media, we do know that the Haims are at work with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij and gifted producer Ariel Rechtshaid, who also worked on “Days Are Gone.” Hopefully, not so many days will go by before the ladies announce a title, release date, and tour. (SARAH RODMAN)

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images


The legendary British pop-rocker has said that his forthcoming album, “Wonderful Crazy Night” (Feb. 5), reminds him of some of his classic ’70s output, and producer T Bone Burnett has described it as an upbeat rock record. In addition to Burnett (who also co-produced John’s last album ), “Wonderful” finds John continuing to partner with longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin and familiar bandmates Ray Cooper, Davey Johnstone, and Nigel Olsson. Hearing John and Burnett’s remarks and having caught his still-vital live act in 2015, we’re hopeful that “Wonderful” will be exactly that. (SARAH RODMAN)

Alex King


Blending rich vocal harmonies with a 21st-century update of the electrified R&B that dominated the Quiet Storm era, this trio has been hotly tipped by soul royalty like Prince and Babyface. “We Are King,” the group’s debut album (Feb. 5), is five years in the making. It was worth the wait: On tracks like the gently electrified “The Greatest,” Berklee alums Paris Nicole Strother and Anita Bias have the type of vocal interplay that even longtime duet partners might envy, while Amber Strother’s sumptuous backing tracks sound classic yet forward-thinking. (MAURA JOHNSTON)


Danny Clinch

Lake Street Dive

Lake Street Dive continues its march to the big time with a fifth studio record, for which it signed to prestigious label Nonesuch and hooked up with noted producer Dave Cobb (who typically works with country artists). From what we’ve heard, “Side Pony” (Feb. 19) is the sound of a band that’s feeling its oats and hitting its stride, a statement record that uses the hairstyle for which it’s named as shorthand for the band’s singular, outside-the-lines jazz-pop-soul cocktail. The quartet celebrates at a sold-out House of Blues on March 23. (STUART MUNRO)


Hailing from Cincinnati, Leggy offers a brand of rock both crushed out and fuzzed out. Thanks to the gulped vocals of guitarist Véronique Allaer, the trio’s punchy songs are the punk-pop equivalent of diary entries written in block letters with a poof-topped pen, the ink blurred ever so slightly by a tear or two falling onto the page. “Dang” (Jan. 8) builds on the happy-sad energy of the band’s superbly scruffy 2015 EP, “Nice Try,” with Allaer’s knotty takes on romance giving the crashing “Backyard” and the regret-filled kiss-off “Lana” a gooey, bittersweet center. (MAURA JOHNSTON)


D. Darr/World Music

Charles Lloyd & the Marvels

With guitarist Bill Frisell and steel guitarist Greg Leisz on board, it’s no wonder that the latest from the great saxophonist Lloyd has a slight Americana bent. Bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland (from Lloyd’s New Quartet) round out the band. The debut LP, “I Long to See You” (Jan. 15), includes two antiwar anthems — Ed McCurdy’s “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” featuring guest singer Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” — as well as Lloyd originals, hymns, and folk songs, and Norah Jones singing “You Are So Beautiful.” Lloyd brings his Marvels to Berklee Performance Center Jan. 31. (JON GARELICK)

Jimmy Katz/World Music

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Saxophonist Mahanthappa’s “Bird Calls” tied for first place on the NPR Music jazz critics poll for best albums of 2015, and it’s not hard to hear why. Rather than “cover” Charlie Parker per se, Mahanthappa used Parker motifs as the inspiration for a collection of arresting original compositions. Live, this band crackles, thanks in part to the leader’s ferocious alto sax, as well as to astonishing 21-year-old trumpeter Adam O’Farrill (who plays Dizzy to Mahanthappa’s Bird) and the brilliant pianist Matt Mitchell. Bassist Thomas Kneeland and drummer Jordan Perlson join them at the ICA for their Boston concert debut March 9. (JON GARELICK)

Michael D. Spencer


Raw talent is hard to explain, but you often know it when you hear it. That’s true of McGuirk, a strong-belting soul singer who’s been tearing up the local clubs lately. She’s been compared to a young Amy Winehouse, but stopped covering Winehouse’s songs to avoid being typecast. The Concord native now has some knockout original tunes, and is headed into the studio to make her first record with Jeremy Curtis (of Worcester band the Curtis Mayflower) and Jason Stokes (who’s worked with OutKast). Expect a March release; meanwhile, McGuirk starts a Friday residency at Bull McCabe’s on Jan. 8. (STEVE MORSE)


Santiago Felipe/Getty Images


In the spirit of the late great Little Jimmy Dickens, Morris might be little, but she’s loud. The diminutive Texas native made a splash in ’15 with her five-song EP, which included the rousing, Hank and Johnny name-checking single “My Church” and the sprightly, swaggering “80’s Mercedes.” Bostonians can check out the country newcomer soon, since she scored the opening slot on the first solo tour for Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, which hits the House of Blues on Jan. 17. (SARAH RODMAN)

The 1975

This Manchester, UK, foursome became beloved by Britpop aficionados thanks to its outrageously catchy pop-rock, which blends muscular grooves and New Romantic gloss with hyper-confessional lyricism and jittery guitars. If the tracks the band played at a sold-out House of Blues show in December are any indication, its second album, “I Like the Way You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It,” will expand on its debut’s keenly self-aware hookiness: The shimmying “Love Me” (which recalls Bowie and INXS) and the shimmering yet wounded “Somebody Else” are megahits in waiting. (MAURA JOHNSTON)

Margo Price Photograph by Ramon Felix


Illinois native Price has been making a serious name for herself around Nashville, eventually reaching the ears of Jack White, who signed her to his Third Man Records. From what we’ve heard, her debut, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” (March 25), recorded at the famed Sun Studios, should be a humdinger. Blending throwback class (think fellow White favorite Loretta Lynn) with contemporary sass, Price — who pawned her wedding ring and sold her car to bankroll the sessions — pulls no punches. “How’s it going to feel when you’re put in your place?” she asks one unfortunate target. “Well, I guess you’re about to find out.” So is everyone. (SARAH RODMAN)

Greg Allen

Emitt Rhodes

This one might set some sort of record. Rhodes released a string of solo albums in the early 1970s that brought forth Beatles comparisons. Now, 43 years after his last release, the cult figure is about to release another one. Rhodes was a one-man show on his older records, playing every instrument; “Rainbow Ends” (Feb. 26), redolent of Newman, Nilsson, and other exquisite ’70s pop sensibilities, features the assistance of a host of luminaries, including Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, members of Wilco, and players from Beck’s and Brian Wilson’s bands. (STUART MUNRO)

Richard Dumas


“Cinematic” is the word usually thrown around when discussing long-running Brit-soul deconstructionists Tindersticks. But the band’s 10th album, “The Waiting Room” (Jan. 22) truly doubles down on that descriptor, grafting globe-trotting sounds like Italo-disco and Afro-funk to the five-piece’s finely honed songcraft, creating Panavision-worthy textural and thematic density. And with each moody meditation already assigned to an independent filmmaker, album-release day is only the beginning for the band’s most ambitious project to date, promising that 2016 will be filled with video delights. (SEAN L. MALONEY)