It seems inconceivable that summer is already ending, but here we are. And that’s okay, because it means it’s time for fall, one of the very best times for cozy music listening. This autumn, we’re getting some big pop albums from the likes of Kylie Minogue, Nicki Minaj, Olivia Rodrigo, and a new version of 1989 from Taylor Swift. We’re also getting big rock albums from (checks notes) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dolly Parton, and Keanu Reeves, who recently reunited with Dogstar after a 23-year break. Other artists dropping albums this fall include Slowdive, James Blake, the Chemical Brothers, Mitski, Animal Collective, Wilco, Sufjan Stevens, and the Mountain Goats. And we’re getting plenty of tours, concerts, and music festivals, too.
Slowdive: Everything Is Alive [September 1]
1990s shoegaze legends Slowdive resurfaced in 2017 with an incredible self-titled album, their first in 22 years. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait another two decades for more, as their new album Everything Is Alive will arrive at the beginning of September. Although it’s dedicated to singer Rachel Goswell’s mother and drummer Simon Scott’s father, who both passed away in 2020, Everything Is Alive feels more comforting than mournful. “It wouldn’t feel right to make a really dark record right now,” vocalist Neil Halstead says. “The album is quite eclectic emotionally, but it does feel hopeful.”
Courtney Barnett: End Of The Day (Music From The Film Anonymous Club) [September 8]
Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett might be one of indie rock’s greatest lyricists, but her new album is going in a very different direction. Originally created with Stella Mozgawa to score the 2021 documentary Anonymous Club, End Of the Day consists of 17 instrumental improvisations that eschew Barnett’s usual sardonic storytelling and guitar riffage in favor of meditative ambient bliss.
James Blake: Playing Robots Into Heaven [September 8]
Before he embarked on his career as a melancholic digital-age crooner, James Blake made his name on a series of forward-thinking dance music EPs. His new album Playing Robots Into Heaven is touted as a return to his experimental electronic roots, featuring a tracklist free of big-name guests and inviting glitchy club beats and bloopy ambient instrumentals into his signature sound.
Olivia Rodrigo: GUTS [September 8]
Former Disney Channel actress Olivia Rodrigo emerged as a fully formed pop superstar on her 2021 debut SOUR. The young singer-songwriter is getting ready to follow it up with the new album GUTS, and the two singles we’ve heard so far, the grandly theatrical “Vampire” and the ’90s pop-rock blast “bad idea right?,” have both been fantastic. “For me, this album is about growing pains and trying to figure out who I am at this point in my life,” Rodrigo says. “I feel like I grew 10 years between the ages of 18 and 20—it was such an intense period of awkwardness and change. I think that’s all just a natural part of growth, and hopefully the album reflects that.”
Romy: Mid Air [September 8]
The xx’s Romy Madley Croft is stepping out of the shadows and onto the dance floor on her debut solo album Mid Air, produced by frequent collaborators like Fred again.., Stuart Price, and Jamie xx. “Mid Air is a collection of songs celebrating love, navigating loss and exploring identity,” she explains. “It’s musically inspired by dance music ... it’s a love letter to the queer clubs I first went to when I was growing up and people I met there and the music I heard that has made me feel more alive and less alone.”
Sparklehorse: Bird Machine [September 8]
Mark Linkous, the man behind the cultishly beloved indie rock project Sparklehorse, died by suicide in 2010. Thirteen years later, we’re getting an entirely new Sparklehorse album. Built from 2009 recordings with Steve Albini for a never-released Sparklehorse LP, Bird Machine was completed by Linkous’ brother Matt, sister-in-law Melissa, and producer Alan Weatherhead, augmenting the nearly finished songs with subtle additions while staying true to Linkous’ vision. “It was as though the songs let you know,” Melissa says. “Mark communicated these songs. We just did our best to transmit them.”
The Chemical Brothers: For That Beautiful Feeling [September 8]
The Chemical Brothers have been making music together for over three decades now, and “that beautiful feeling” of dance floor euphoria is what they’ve been chasing throughout their whole career. On For That Beautiful Feeling, which features collaborations with Beck and Halo Maud, the long-running U.K. electronic duo sound as fresh and vital as ever.
Alan Palomo: World Of Hassle [September 15]
You might know Alan Palomo as the mastermind behind Neon Indian, the electronic pop project that both pioneered and outlasted the late-’00s chillwave boom. World Of Hassle is Palomo’s first album to be released under his own name, but it isn’t exactly a radical shakeup in sound, presenting a playfully absurdist alternate reality full of squelchy synth-funk and gloriously chintzy ’80s nostalgia.
Explosions in the Sky: End [September 15]
Explosions in the Sky, masters of sweepingly cinematic post-rock, have a new album on the way. Despite its title, End isn’t the Texan band’s final album, just a meditation on “the concept of an ending—death, or the end of a friendship or relationship,” as they explain. “The end of a thing or a time can mean a stop, but it can also mean a beginning, and what happens after one thing ends might pale in comparison to what it becomes next.” Here’s hoping that End is only the beginning.
Mitski: The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We [September 15]
Mitski’s new album The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We features an orchestra arranged and conducted by Drew Erickson and a full 17-person choir arranged by Mitski herself. The choir is one of the most immediately striking elements of the record’s fantastic lead single “Bug Like An Angel,” which begins and ends in stark simplicity but nevertheless grasps the grand cathartic transcendence of Mitski’s finest material.
Nation of Language: Strange Disciple [September 15]
Over the past several years, New York synth-pop trio Nation of Language have gone from playing small local gigs to headlining international stages and late-night shows. Their well-deserved ascent continues with their third album Strange Disciple, recorded in East Williamsburg, New York, and produced by Holy Ghost!’s Nick Millhiser. NoL have never released a bad song, and with this record, that streak remains blessedly unbroken.
Riot Fest [September 15–17]
Chicago’s Riot Fest is returning to Douglass Park from September 15–17. Festival circuit mainstays Foo Fighters are headlining alongside Turnstile, the Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, Queens of the Stone Age, the Cure, and the Mars Volta. The bill is rounded out by Mr. Bungle, Tegan And Sara, 100 gecs, the Gaslight Anthem, Death Grips, AFI, 070 Shake, the Breeders, Kim Gordon, Viagra Boys, PUP, George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Ride, Cults, Code Orange, White Reaper, Thursday, Jehnny Beth, Oso Oso, Origami Angel, Warpaint, Nothing, Screaming Females, Insane Clown Posse, and plenty more.
Devendra Banhart: Flying Wig [September 22]
If you only remember Devendra Banhart as the poster child for the 2000s freak folk movement, you might be surprised by how slick and cosmopolitan his new record sounds. Flying Wig is a synth-heavy collaboration with Banhart’s Mexican Summer labelmate Cate Le Bon. “It’s about transmuting despair into gratitude, wounds into forgiveness, and grief into praise,” Banhart says, and it “sounds like getting a very melancholic massage, or weeping, but in a really nice outfit … if I’m going to cry, I wanna do it in my best dress.”
Kylie Minogue: Tension [September 22]
It’s safe to say that “Padam Padam” was one of the songs of the summer. On her new album Tension, Australian pop queen Kylie Minogue is returning to the classic electro-pop sound that defined hits like 2003’s “Slow.” And if the rest of it is anywhere close to as catchy as “Padam Padam,” it’ll have your heart going padam padam in no time.
Animal Collective: Isn’t It Now? [September 29]
The songs on Animal Collective’s new album Isn’t It Now? were written during the same monthlong residency in the Tennessee countryside that birthed last year’s Time Skiffs. The rest were saved until they could be recorded in person with producer Russell Elevado (D’Angelo, The Roots, Common, Kamasi Washington), and the result is yet another sterling example of AnCo’s irrepressible creativity.
Armand Hammer: We Buy Diabetic Test Strips [September 29]
Since their last album together as Armand Hammer, 2021’s Haram, Elucid and billy woods have both released great solo albums. On We Buy Diabetic Test Strips, their upcoming LP and first for Fat Possum, they reunite alongside producers including JPEGMAFIA, El-P, Kenny Segal, and Black Noi$e and guests like Moor Mother, Soul Glo’s Pierce Jordan (aka Money Nicca), Pink Siifu, and Junglepussy. If you like your rap weird and noisy, this one’s for you.
Gunship: Unicorn [September 29]
British synthwave band Gunship have a new album on the horizon, and it boasts a whole lot of big name guest collaborators. Iconic filmmaker and musician John Carpenter, whose ’80s synthesizer work basically led to the genesis of the entire synthwave genre, is on the record, as is Bush’s Gavin Rossdale, Slayer’s Dave Lombardo, John Wick/Guardians Of The Galaxy composer Tyler Bates, Tina Turner/Lost Boys saxophonist extraordinaire Tim Cappello, HEALTH, Britta Philips, and more.
Wilco: Cousin [September 29]
Jeff Tweedy has been remarkably prolific in the past few years, but what makes the upcoming Cousin special is the fact that it was produced by Welsh art-pop auteur Cate Le Bon, marking the first time in nearly two decades that Wilco have brought in an outside producer. “The amazing thing about Wilco is they can be anything,” Le Bon says. “They’re so mercurial, and there’s this thread of authenticity that flows through everything they do, whatever the genre, whatever the feel of the record. There aren’t many bands who are able to, this deep into a successful career, successfully change things up.”
Sufjan Stevens: Javelin [October 6]
Javelin, Sufjan Stevens’ first official solo album since 2020’s The Ascension, is billed as “his first in full solo singer-songwriter mode since 2015’s Carrie & Lowell” and “a testament to classic ’70s Los Angeles studio recording sessions.” If you’re a certain kind of Sufjan fan, that’s enough to get you salivating. And if you’re any kind of Sufjan fan, the slowly unfurling majesty of lead single “So You Are Tired” is enough to win you over completely.
Dogstar: Somewhere Between The Power Lines And Palm Trees [October 6]
In the ’90s, Keanu Reeves played bass in an alt-rock band called Dogstar. They broke up in 2002. But the Keanaissance triumphs over all, and Dogstar are returning soon with their first album in 23 years, Somewhere Between The Power Lines And Palm Trees. Their music still sounds like classic ’90s alt-rock, and you’ll get a chance to see them on tour this fall.
Austin City Limits [October 6–8, October 13–15]
The headliners at the two-weekend Austin City Limits festival this year are a bit of a mixed bag of good and meh: Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, Odesza, the Lumineers, Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette, the 1975, Hozier. That said, there’s plenty of great stuff on the undercard, like Kali Uchis, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Maggie Rogers, Lil Yachty, Tove Lo, Death Grips, M83, Rina Sawayama, Tegan and Sara, the Breeders, the Walkmen, Jessie Ware, Ethel Cain, Yves Tumor, Sudan Archives, Miya Folick, Little Simz, Chromeo, and the Mars Volta.
Jamila Woods: Water Made Us [October 13]
Idiosyncratic neo-soul singer Jamila Woods is one of the leading lights of the Chicago music and poetry scene. She’s described her upcoming album Water Made Us, named after a line from the track “Good News” that references a Toni Morrison quote, as “the most personal and vulnerable piece of art I’ve ever made ... I hope it feels like a playlist that carries you through the life cycle of a relationship, whatever stage of the journey your heart may be in.”
Metric: Formentera II [October 13]
Last year, Metric came back with Formentera, their first LP in four years. This year, it’s getting a sequel in Formentera II. “The first part of Formentera started with a huge amount of anxiety and ended in a moment of personal release and freedom,” the band’s Jimmy Shaw explains. “But Formentera II takes that escape even further. The back half of Formentera II really takes you off the map completely and you end up in a place in your mind that is blissfully further from reality.” Lead single “Just The Once” finds the Toronto indie rock veterans exploring some disco-revival-adjacent territory inspired by Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia.
Levitation Festival [October 26–29]
Levitation Festival is the Austin psych fest that used to be actually called Austin Psych Fest. It’s got a killer lineup this year, including Flying Lotus, Oneohtrix Point Never, DJ Shadow, Armand Hammer, Panda Bear + Sonic Boom, Ty Segall & Freedom Band, Baths, Bully, BadBadNotGood, Beach Fossils, Sasami, Water From Your Eyes, Jockstrap, High On Fire, Blonde Redhead, Alan Palomo, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the Black Angels, Codeine, Death From Above 1979, Turnover, Uniform, Palehound, Speedy Ortiz, Militarie Gun, Mercury Rev’s Clear Light Ensemble, and former mortal enemies the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols.
Taylor Swift: 1989 (Taylor’s Version) [October 27]
Taylor Swift is going through and rerecording her back catalog to regain control of her masters (and stick it to Scooter Braun, who’s been losing clients left and right lately), and we’ve already gotten Taylor’s Versions of the albums Fearless, Red, and Speak Now. Next on the list is 1989 (Taylor’s Version), coming out nine years to the day after the original 1989 and including five unreleased tracks. “To be perfectly honest, this is my most FAVORITE re-record I’ve ever done because the 5 From The Vault tracks are so insane,” Swift writes on Instagram. “I can’t believe they were ever left behind. But not for long!”
The Mountain Goats: Jenny From Thebes [October 27]
2002’s All Hail West Texas is one of the Mountain Goats’ most beloved albums. Over 20 years later, it’s getting a sequel in Jenny From Thebes, which is all about about a recurring character in the Mountain Goats universe first introduced in the All Hail West Texas track “Jenny.” “People like to hedge bets by using terms like ‘concept album’ but let’s be clear, this is a rock opera about a woman named Jenny, who buys a Kawasaki to ride as far away as she can from a town she’s been carrying on her shoulders too long,” the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle says. “If we’re going to do a sequel to a record that was recorded almost entirely on a boombox, why not do the opposite and make it as big as possible?”
Liz Phair Exile In Guyville 30th Anniversary Tour [November 3–December 9]
Liz Phair’s landmark debut album Exile In Guyville turned 30 years old in June. To celebrate the anniversary, she’s going on tour, performing the album in its entirety along with additional hits in a month-long jaunt across America. The tour kicks off November 3 in Pomona, California, and wraps up December 9 in Cleveland, with Blondshell and Kate Bollinger opening.
Dolly Parton: Rockstar [November 17]
That’s right: after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Dolly Parton is making a rock album. It’s called Rockstar, and it features a murderer’s row of genuine rockstars. Dolly got Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving Beatles, to do a “Let It Be” cover with Peter Frampton and Mick Fleetwood. There’s a Heart cover with Ann Wilson, a Police cover with Sting, a Journey cover with Steve Perry, a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover with John Fogerty, a Blondie cover with Debbie Harry, and a “Stairway To Heaven” cover with, uh, Lizzo. There are nine original tracks and 21 covers. Richie Sambora, Howard Lee, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Waddy Wachtel, Joan Jett, Chris Stapleton, Miley Cyrus, Pink, Brandi Carlile, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, Rob Halford, Nikki Sixx, Simon Le Bon, Linda Perry, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Pat Benatar, Michael McDonald, and goddamn Kid Rock are on this thing.
Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday 2 [November 17]
Nicki Minaj has been teasing Pink Friday 2, the sequel to her 2010 debut and her first studio album since 2018’s Queen, for years now. But it looks it’s finally actually coming out in November, and according to Nicki herself, it’s worth the wait. “The eargasms that YALL are about to have,” she tweeted in July. “Ooohhhh chiiiii huntyyyyy don’t make dat serveeeee.”