In the past few years, we’ve had our hearts broken and eventually mended as a result of the breakups and reunions of our favorite bands. Sure, it’s a natural fact of life: everything good will eventually come to an end. But it’s important to ignore those aching existential thoughts and simply enjoy the music, and I’m psyched to follow all the artists who are active now following absences. The variety of recent alternative, rock, punk, and metal comebacks mean the musical landscape may drastically change for the better, just as it had in the past thanks to these acts.
Here’s a list of 10 recently reunited bands who I expect — or, at least hope — will make large contributions this year:
Seattle rockers Acceptance put out one of the most underrated albums of the 2000s in Phantoms, yet they fizzled out shortly after. The members went their own ways — including guitarist Christian McAlhaney, who joined Anberlin — but in early 2015, they had announced their return. Their second full-length, Colliding by Design, is due out in February via Rise Records. “Diagram of a Simple Man” hints at what to expect, and it’s a fresh, vibrant alternative rock sound that plays around with ambient keyboard, acoustic guitars, and atmospheric vocals. Even if the band halts after the release of this new album, the gift of this new album will be more than enough.
2. Brand New
They haven’t been on an official hiatus during their 17-year career, nor is their return to musical prominence intending to be a long one (2018 is likely to be it). However, Brand New’s increase in shows over the past few years, in addition to vinyl represses and single releases, has had its dedicated fanbase on the edge of its seat for every next move. Late last year, it was announced that their fifth record would be delayed past its expected 2016 release date, so it’s safe to assume they’ll put it out in 2017 and spend the final year of their career touring and saying their final goodbyes. But this long-expected record is likely hyped past any realistic expectations at this point, and that means it’s just going to be even sweeter if — or, really, when — the punk outfit finds a way to surpass them.
The career of post-hardcore staple Glassjaw has been an interesting one to follow. While haven’t been on a true hiatus since 2005, they haven’t released a full-length in the time since and instead have left us with a few EPs. Recently, they’ve made a series of festival appearances, and we couldn’t help but develop an appetite for new material with each subsequent show. But when Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Billy Rymer stated he’d tracked drums for a whole album’s worth of songs last month, our hunger for the full-length grew even more, and it’s sure to hold us in high anticipation throughout 2017.
Of all the reunions that occurred in 2016, I was most surprised by Hopesfall. The post-hardcore players announced their return and a new album last year, along with their signing to Equal Vision Records. Their reformation was one no one saw coming, since they hadn’t said much after their breakup in 2008. A band who’s always found strength in forward movement, it’s hard to expect anything less than that when it comes to new material. But until then, I’ll be cranking up the volume on The Satellite Years.
5. LCD Soundsystem
It’s been nearly 12 years since Daft Punk was playing at James Murphy’s house, but it’s about to start playing again in 2017 when his dance-rock project LCD Soundsystem makes a triumphant return. The artist’s fourth full-length will come nearly three after the release of The Long Goodbye, which culminated LCD’s career with a “final” show at Madison Square Garden that, as of now, isn’t final anymore. Even though plans for a 2016 release date fell through, hopefully the extra time Murphy spends on the record will be for the better when it hits shelves this year.
Nearly 20 years since their heyday in ‘90s shoegaze, British quartet Ride reunited in 2014. The band began their recording career with a ‘90s masterpiece, but then saw their three follow ups decline in quality until their experimental run in alternative rock led to their disintegration. Unfortunately, the high standards Nowhere set for them led to creative struggles down the road, especially with the shoegaze sound settling down by the mid-’90s. But with the announcement of a new album in 2017, my hopes are high that the group will deliver where their previous few records didn’t.
7. Set Your Goals
Like Ride, Set Your Goals didn’t originally go out on a high point. 2011’s Burning at Both Ends struggled critically, the band was broke, and the project eventually went on the back burner as the members went on to other things. But sometimes that time away can be for the best, and I’m hoping that will be true for Set Your Goals. So far, they’ve played a few shows with their full lineup, and more is planned for 2016. Nothing’s been stated yet in terms of new music, but my eyes will be peeled. Still, I’m more than happy with the live aspect alone for now, as that’s where I’ve always thought they shined brightest.
8. The Starting Line
There aren’t many pop-punk albums that can hold a candle to The Starting Line’s Say It Like You Mean It. But even with a high standard set early in their career, the Philadelphia fivepiece successfully moved beyond the sound of their debut, playing different styles of alternative rock in the years after. The band’s hiatus lasted under two years, but it wasn’t until last year that they finally released new music. Anyways was the group’s first release in 2007’s Direction, and it’s making me wonder if they’ve got a full-length and/or heavy touring coming soon as well.
I talk about the seven-plus years since the last Brand New album as if it’s been an eternity. But prog-rockers Tool haven’t put out new music in over a decade at this point, and the wait may soon be over in 2017. It hasn’t come without its delays, including commitments outside of music, but now they’re focused on their careers once again and have album five in the works. One of the most ingenious artists in all of music today, it’s going to be fascinating to see where Tool goes next.
Underoath was broken up for just four years before reuniting, much of the reasoning I attribute to the fans and media pegging them about a possible reunion. Vocalist Spencer Chamberlain thought it could happen “if the stars align,” and they must have in 2015, as the band played their first show as a reunited bunch the following March. They then toured several cities they didn’t play on their farewell tour (god bless them), and another tour supporting Bring Me the Horizon is scheduled for this year. It’s still not clear if Underoath is planning a new album, but with the amount of talent and creativity flowing between its members, you’ve got to think it’ll happen eventually. Although it’ll be weird seeing them playing support gigs in 2017, it’s going to be fun having Underoath back for another year.
Photo Credits: Andrea Rigano (Hopesfall), Emilie Bailey (Ride), Rich Myers (The Starting Line), Speakeasy PR (Underoath)