10 Artists Who Were M.I.A. In 2016


It’s no secret that 2016 has been a relatively quiet year in the realm of popular alternative and rock music. Although this year has almost come and gone without much contribution from some of music’s heavy-hitters, that only makes for more to look forward to in the following year.

Here are 10 such artists who haven’t done much in the way of new releases and live performances in 2016, but have likely been hard at it in the studio, gearing up for a mega 2017.



It seems astonishing that it’s now over two years since the Seattle natives released their eighth studio album, and its accompanying HBO documentary miniseries Sonic Highways. Between their extensive world tour and headlining various festivals, 2015 also saw the release of the surprise five-track Saint Cecelia EP.

But perhaps more notably, Dave Grohl fell off stage while performing in Sweden, resulting in a dislocated ankle and a broken leg. Although he returned to the stage minutes later, assisted by a medic, the band cancelled the rest of their European tour, which included a performance at the famed Wembley Stadium.

Following Saint Cecelia, Grohl announced the band would be entering into another indefinite hiatus, and rumours began to circulate that the band were on the verge of breaking up. In March this year, the band playfully addressed the rumours in a spoof YouTube video, which insisted “for the millionth time, we’re not breaking up and nobody’s going fucking solo!” (The latter statement was recently proven to be false, with drummer Taylor Hawkins releasing a solo EP titled KOTA earlier this month).




Although nothing is concrete right now, we can likely expect new material from the Foos some time next year. Don’t expect a new album straight away though, especially in the vein of a Sonic Highways Season 2, which hasn’t seemed to evolve from anything more than a conceptual stage.



“We were eager because we were in a good spot, having fun and the record (sixth album …Like Clockwork) had done really well. But we decided to take a break because we had been going so hard for so long, and we really worked on that record for a long time. It’s not like we’re sick of each other and don’t want to do it – it’s just better to step back for a second and come back once the world has had a little bit of a break from you.”

– Josh Homme (vocals)

Hailing from Palm Desert, California following the dissolve of the frontman’s previous band Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age’s most recent studio output was in 2013 with the highly successful …Like Clockwork.

Since then, each member has embarked on various other side-projects and supergroups. Despite indications that the band were recording a seventh album as long ago as February 2015, it was only in June this year that Homme unequivocally confirmed that the recording process was “locked in” for the next QOTSA album, and would feature an unchanged lineup.




Nothing in 2016, but if all goes to plan, next year will be big for QOTSA.

During a 2014 solo acoustic show, Homme debuted a new mystery track ‘Villains of Circumstance’, many fans believing it to be either a discarded demo from the …Like Clockwork sessions, or something from an upcoming project. Over two years later, the track is yet to appear on any official release – expect it to be on album seven.



“We’ve been making so much new material… we’re just kind of experimenting a lot with all the different directions the band can go.”

– Mike Shinoda (co-lead vocalist)

Following their constant touring for 2014’s The Hunting Party, an album receiving mixed reviews, Linkin Park has been laying low, despite revealing early work on a new record, via an updated Facebook cover photo and redesigned webpage at the end of 2015.

Relatively little is known about their next LP, which NME reported in January would be released this year. That timeframe is looking increasingly dubious by the day.




Something soon, but probably not this year. If something does hit, it’ll be a new single, as opposed to a full album.

It sounds like the band may be headed in a “new direction” given the nature of many statements from its members. However, we won’t be able to properly speculate on that until we get that lead single.



With Hayley Williams now the only remaining original member of the punk-rock turned power-pop group, most of their adoring fans would have been understandably concerned regarding the future of the band.

Williams confirmed on Twitter that she and Taylor York were in fact working on a fifth studio album, and fans were delighted by the surprise return of Zac Farro in various promotional images. However, he was quick to point out he would not be rejoining the band, and instead would only feature on drums for the recording of the new record.




The new album in 2017, and a possible (but not probable) lead single before the year is out. What’s of more interest is not when the record will arrive, but whether it’ll be a return to their roots.

More likely, it’ll be an even bigger departure from previous works, aimed at furthering their mainstream success, as Williams continues her rise as one of the most recognisable young women in rock, and her rank up the hierarchy of Taylor Swift’s girl squad.



Although 2016 may have passed without any contribution from the popular Thirty Seconds to Mars, frontman Jared Leto remained firmly in the spotlight following his limited, polarising performance as The Joker in Suicide Squad, in which he starred opposite Margot Robbie and Ben Affleck.

Following their fallout with EMI Records (documented in Leto’s directorial debut documentary Artifact), it was revealed the next album would be released next year under Interscope Records.




A lead single for the new album, which could perhaps even drop later this year.

Although Leto’s contractual obligations are largely unknown, chances are his role as The Joker will be ongoing, most likely in Ben Affleck’s solo movie The Batman (expected as early as 2018). Combined with an uninterrupted tour schedule for the band, that doesn’t leave much time for promoting a new release, so expect it to come sooner rather than later.



Following their lengthy On With The Show world tour over the past two years, seeing the return of singer and keyboardist Christine McVie, the future of the Brit-American legends has never been more certain.

Despite Stevie Nicks’ reluctance to continue recording and touring with the band, Mick Fleetwood stated that they’d already compiled “a huge amount of recorded music”, including at least seven co-written contributions from Lindsey Buckingham (guitars, vocals) and Christine McVie.

This year, the band released a deluxe remaster of their 1982 classic Mirage, before recently announcing they had scheduled another world tour for 2017. The band returned to the studio in October, with an eventual release likely to coincide with their 50th Anniversary.




A new album almost looks to be certain, and perhaps lengthy, even if Nicks wasn’t to have any input (again, unlikely for what may very well be the band’s final time around).



After releasing their critically and commercially successful self-titled debut in 2014, hard rock duo Royal Blood were quickly thrust into the spotlight. They rightfully garnered huge compliments from rock and roll elder statesmen Dave Grohl and Jimmy Page after witnessing them live.

In 2015, while performing at Reading Festival, the band were desperate to play new music and unveiled new track ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’. Frontman and bassist Mike Kerr described the song as possibly “the weirdest song on the new album”, indicating an impending release. Using the most of 2016 to “enter hibernation” and record said album, the band also released fresh track ‘Where Are You Now?’ in April, which featured on Mick Jagger and Martin Scorcese’s (recently cancelled) HBO series Vinyl.




Album number two. The band have provided the odd tweet here and there throughout 2016, claiming they “can’t wait to get new tunes out into the world,” and given their confidence and solidarity in musical direction, a new record doesn’t seem to be far away at all.


8. U2

Following the much maligned, free 2014 release Songs Of Innocence, it comes as no shock that U2 took some time to recoil after concluding their latest world tour Innocence + Experience. This followed the intense scrutiny of their literally inescapable (and frequently unwanted) 13th studio album. Talk of a follow-up sister record has been rife within U2 rumour mills, and have been circulating since 2009’s No Line On The Horizon. Tentatively titled Songs of Ascent, there have been few updates on the album, despite Bono insisting that the album “will come”.

In August, it was reported that the band will release a new album and world tour next year, though its title is now slated to become Songs Of Experience, taking cues from their previous world tour.




Although a 14th album is all but confirmed for 2017, Bono had suggested new material (likely in the form of a lead single) could be released by September or October this year. That time has now passed, so perhaps it’s more likely we’ll receive a stand-alone single.



Performing a handful of shows and festival slots across 2016, the Las Vegas locals are definitely taking their time with their fifth album, following the mixed reception to 2012’s Battle Born. Since then, the band has released Direct Hits, producing two new singles, while frontman Brandon Flowers, drummer Ronnie Vannucci and bassist Mark Stoermer have each released sophomore solo albums.

In 2016, the band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their beloved second album Sam’s Town, with two shows at the Sam’s Town Casino, and re-issued it on vinyl, pressed with a new demo recording from the era.

Only last week, the band released the Christmas album Don’t Waste Your Wishes, which compiled the band’s previous ten charity singles, along with a new intimate cover of ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’, featuring Flowers’ fourth grade teacher, Ned Humphrey Hansen.




There’s little doubt 2017 will mark the release of a fresh album, with the band working with songwriters Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) and Elton John intermittently throughout the recording process, while the familiar producers Flood and Alan Moulder, along with Killers newcomer Jacknife Lee have all been linked to the latest project.

For victims still craving a taste of what’s to come, The Killers actually feature in Robbie Williams’ latest album The Heavy Entertainment Show, after giving away one of their new songs ‘Mixed Signals’ to Williams. He even admitted to unashamedly asking if he could have the song.


10. THE XX

English indie band The xx may have formed in 2005, but over ten years later, the now-popular trio have frustratingly only spawned two full-length releases, their acclaimed 2009 debut xx and the equally triumphant Coexist.

Only recently, the band’s third effort was revealed to be titled I See You and given a release date of January 13, 2017.  Keyboard and percussionist Jamie Smith has stated that the record will have a more distinctive sound and more positive, open and expansive concept than the previous two, already kickstarting promotion with the lead single ‘On Hold’ dropping on YouTube two weeks ago.




Last week, the band appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, performing their latest single, as well as another new track ‘I Dare You’. It can be assumed the track will act as the album’s second single, and is likely to be officially released before the year is out.

About James Nice

Aspiring writer and journalist, with a passion for alternative and rock music.

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