Coming up: the gigs and albums not to miss this spring

The Observer’s pop critic picks the highlights of the next couple of months, from PJ Harvey’s art installation-turned-album to J Dilla’s long-lost album

Misty Miller

Winsome teenage singer-songwriter turned pierced 21-year-old tearaway, Misty Miller does snarly guitar pop like a young Chrissie Hynde with boyfriend trouble. Debut album, The Whole Family Is Worried, is chock-full of sulky goodness.

The Whole Family Is Worried is out 8 April, a UK tour starts 13 April

Katy B at Liverpool Pride 2014.
Katy B at Liverpool Pride 2014. Photograph: Christopher Middleton/Demotix/Corbis

Katy B

You weren’t likely to get Major Lazer on an album with Floating Points and up’n’coming UK MC Novelistany time soon – not until Katy B, inset, went and made Honey, one of the busiest albums of 2016. The list of collaborators on the south London singer’s latest offering is as deep as it is long, taking a step back from pop into clubland.

Honey is out 29 April

Simon Mavin, Nai Palm, Paul Bender and Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote at the 2016 Grammy awards.
Simon Mavin, Nai Palm, Paul Bender and Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote at the 2016 Grammy awards. Photograph: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for NARAS

Hiatus Kaiyote

Melbourne future-soul adventurers Hiatus Kaiyote had one of the most talked-about albums of last summer in Choose Your Weapon, which also earned them a Grammy nomination. They bring their live “multi-dimensional, poly-rhythmic gangster shit” back to our shores this spring, including a date at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

Tour starts Manchester 27 April, ends 30 April

PJ Harvey at Somerset House, where she recorded her ninth album in front of an audience.
PJ Harvey at Somerset House, where she recorded her ninth album in front of an audience. Photograph: Seamus Murphy/PA

PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey’s ninth studio album has had an unusually public gestation – its recording formed the basis of an art installation – and is the fruit of her travels (with videographer Seamus Murphy) around conflict zones and Washington DC. Let the world shake.

The Hope Six Demolition Project is released 15 April

Miles Kane and Alex Turner
Retro swaggerers Miles Kane and Alex Turner. Photograph: Zackery Michael

The Last Shadow Puppets

Last heard circa 2008, Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s side project is back with a swagger, in the form of Bad Habits, the raucous first single from new album Everything You’ve Come To Expect. Producer James Ford and string arranger Owen Pallett are also back on board; Isaac Hayes was on the stereo, according to Turner.

Everything You’ve Come To Expect is out 1 April

Nao
Nao performing with Disclosure last December. Photograph: RMV/Rex/Shutterstock

Nao

In a field teeming with cutting-edge digital R&B sirens, Londoner Nao manages to bring a distinct space-age soul to on-point sounds, like FKA Twigs run through an Erykah Badu filter. Squired previously by Disclosure – she was on their Caracal album – and now building up nicely to her debut album, scheduled for this summer, it’s worth catching her in small venues now.

Tour starts Birmingham 20 April, ends 27 April

Meilyr Jones
Orchestral popper Meilyr Jones. Photograph: PR

Meilyr Jones

Indie bards are ten-a-penny, but Meilyr Jones (formerly of Race Horses, contributor to Neon Neon) has more flair than most. His debut solo album – part confessional, part inspired by art history on a trip to Rome – is an ambitious orchestral pop outing. He hits the road this month.

Jones plays Rough Trade East, London on 22 March, then tours the UK from 25 April to 4 Sept

Lush: Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson and Phil King.
Lush: Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson and Phil King. Photograph: David Levene/Observer

Lush

Shoegazers Lush – fronted by school friends Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson – announced their reunion last year and promptly sold out one date in London. They have since added a second, and are putting out their first new music in 20 years in mid-April, an EP called Blind Spot. Swoon.

Lush play London’s Roundhouse 6 and 7 May;

Blind Spot is released 15 April

J Dilla
The late J Dilla. Photograph: Johnny Tergo/AP

J Dilla

Detroit producer and rapper J Dilla, inset, died of a rare blood disease in 2006. Lionised by the likes of Questlove and Flying Lotus, the Slum Village and Soulquarians member is frequently cited as an influence both within and outside his genre. The Diary is Dilla’s lost 2002 vocal album, on which he raps, producing himself and others (Snoop Dogg, Bilal); these are proper tracks, not just half-baked ideas.

The Diary is out 15 April

Tinashe
Tinashe hits the UK in May. Photograph: Emmerson/Splash News/Corbis

Tinashe

US breakout R&B star Tinashe’s eagerly awaited second album, Joyride – the followup to 2014’s lauded Aquarius – keeps sliding back in the schedules as she juggles increased production and songwriting duties. But she has four UK dates firmly inked in; a second London show was added due to demand.

Tour starts London 2 May, ends Manchester 5 May

Contributor

Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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