Every Friday, dozens of new records are released into the wild. Some make big splashes, and others sink almost immediately. For most music consumers, it’s almost too much information, and save for those precious few who spend their hours glued to review sites and release calendars, it’s hard to know what’s coming out when. Thankfully, The A.V. Club is here to help those struggling souls. Each month, we offer a fairly comprehensive list of what’s coming to record stores and streaming services in upcoming weeks, complete with capsule previews so interested parties can know what to expect.


September 1

Cloud Control, Zone

Dreamy Aussie alt-rockers Cloud Control are down a member since their last album, 2013's Dream Cave, with bassist Jeremy Kelshaw departing in 2015. But if new singles “Rainbow City” and “Zone” sound a little more spare, stripped-down, and haunted as a result, it’s not necessarily to their detriment. And as always, the most distinctive element is the plaintive voice of lead singer Alister Wright, which rises and swoops over the band’s low-key melodies. [William Hughes]

Dälek, Endangered Philosophies

Dälek hasn’t released a full-length since 2009’s GutterTactics, which preceded the experimental hip-hop trio’s unfortunately timed five-year hiatus. After a decade of pushing boundaries, Dälek took a break just as its style started to find traction. (Kanye West’s noisy Yeezus would follow in 2013.) Endangered Philosophies helps make up for lost time, churning with Dälek’s expertly layered noise, percussion, samples, and vocals from MC Dälek. It’s headphone music, with a sound that consumes listeners in a richly created atmosphere. When cloudy fall days roll around, Endangered Philosophies will provide an ideal soundtrack. [Kyle Ryan]

Daughter, Music From Before The Storm

London trio Daughter wrote this score for the video game Life Is Strange: Before The Storm, the upcoming prequel to Square Enix’s 2015 hit game Life Is Strange, which is told from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl. Appropriately, lead single “Burn It Down” simmers with angst and drama, musing on being a “good kid” over swirls of strings and a sizzling electro beat. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]

The Knife, Shaking The Habitual: Live At Terminal 5

For most of their run as The Knife, Swedish siblings Karin and Olof Dreijer lived behind masks—behind the twisted vocal effects that warped their bewitching electro-pop; behind lyrics twisted with gothic imagery and dream logic; behind a refusal to give interviews; behind literal Venetian masks. All of that changed with the 2014 tour behind swan song Shaking The Habitual, a farewell that found the duo donning bright costumes and doing onstage aerobics while swallowed up in a dozen-strong collective of performers—a show that, appropriately, left some enthralled and others just confused. One of those performances is captured in the film and accompanying soundtrack, Shaking The Habitual: Live At Terminal 5, although due to a label dispute, it’s being kept from streaming and purchase throughout most of the world. For most fans, it will only be available to listen to via the band’s website—difficult and elusive to the very end. [Sean O’Neal]

LCD Soundsystem, American Dream

Back from the shortest retirement since your grandpa was forced to become a Walmart greeter, James Murphy revives LCD Soundsystem for a new album of wryly meta dance-pop, his first since saying a heartfelt, very public goodbye in 2011. While American Dream lacks the immediate punch and anthemic sweep of its predecessors, and it’s on the whole a much darker, heavier record, it’s also an unusually personal one, confirming the survival of Murphy’s ability to turn the specific, navel-gazing concerns of an aging scenester into something universally moving. It’s a welcome return to the workforce. [Sean O’Neal]

Mogwai, Every Country’s Sun

The long-running Scottish post-rock group returns with the follow-up to 2014’s Rave Tapes and its subsequent career retrospective album, Central Belters, marking the first release since the departure of longtime guitarist John Cummings. Happily, Every Country’s Sun—which was teased by electronics-aided first single “Coolverine” (excellent name, btw)—reveals a band that’s lost none of its slow-burn instrumental force. Also, the record contains the rarely heard voice of guitarist Stuart Braithwaite, adding a dream-pop sheen to Mogwai’s bombast. [Alex McLevy]

Motörhead, Under Cöver

The members of Motörhead have made it clear that, with the death of their beloved, grizzled rock god frontman, Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister, Motörhead as a performing band is no more. Consider Under Cöver a farewell message, then, collecting covers from throughout the band’s career (including Lemmy’s gravel-throated rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” recorded shortly before the two rock legends’ near-back-to-back deaths.) Other outfits getting the “Motörizing” treatment here include Sex Pistols (“God Save The Queen”), Ted Nugent (“Cat Scratch Fever”), and The Rolling Stones (“Sympathy For The Devil” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”), all pulled from the band’s vast musical archives. [William Hughes]

Hercules & Love Affair, Omnion

After debuting with one of the best dance albums of the ’00s, Hercules & Love Affair’s music mutated along with its shifting personnel. But something felt missing after the project lost the powerful voices of its debut’s guest singers, and Omnion, the group’s fourth album, is reaching for a bit of the same effect. Ringleader Andy Butler has brought in the likes of Sharon Van Etten and The Horrors’ Faris Badwan for guest spots, but really it’s the strong performances from permanent members Mary Rouge and Gustaph that steal the show. [Matt Gerardi]

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, The Punishment Of Luxury

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (commonly known as OMD) ruled ’80s dance floors and John Hughes movies with its catchy synth-pop. Continuing a rebound that began in 2010, its 13th album The Punishment Of Luxury is largely concerned with the future its music has always looked to, taking on class warfare and the pains of progress with a sound that, as always, balances technology with sparkling warmth. [Gwen Ihnat]

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Echo Of Pleasure

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart made waves in 2009 with its debut album and the ear worm of “Heart In Your Heartbreak.” Founder, frontman, and only consistent band member Kip Berman wrote and recorded the album on the cusp of fatherhood, and that vulnerability comes through on tunes like album-starter “My Only.” The Echo Of Pleasure isn’t Berman’s best effort, but still promises plenty of summery indie-pop to slow down the inevitable march into autumn.[Laura M. Browning]


September 8

Alvvays, Antisocialites

Three years after breaking out with its self-titled debut album and the arena-sized jangle-pop anthem “Archie, Marry Me,” the Toronto-based five-piece Alvvays finally delivers a follow-up. Antisocialites promises to build on the hallmarks that made the band’s debut such a jolt, offering more dreamy songs that bounce between agony and ecstasy thanks to Molly Rankin’s powerful wit. [Matt Gerardi]

Tony Allen, The Source

As Fela Kuti once declared, Afrobeat simply wouldn’t exist if not for Tony Allen, whose seminal 1970s work with the Nigerian musician transformed the way drummers approached their kit, from an instrument of rhythmic timekeeping to one that sang with melody, harmony, and color. The 77-year-old’s The Source marks his debut on legendary jazz label Blue Note Records, with Allen revisiting early jazz influences from Art Blakey to Charles Mingus. Don’t expect straight-ahead bebop; Allen’s instantly identifiable polyrhythmic drumming provides the backbone throughout, including lead single “Wolf Eats Wolf.” The Source also features an instrumental cameo from Blur’s Damon Albarn, with whom Allen collaborated in experimental rock ensemble The Good, The Bad & The Queen. [Kevin Pang]

Arch Enemy, Will To Power

Arch Enemy has always stood out in the boys’ club of death metal—not just for putting a woman behind the mic, but for boasting a lead singer whose growl is every bit as guttural and menacing as that of her male contemporaries. That hasn’t changed, even as the specific pipes have: Hand-selected by predecessor Angela Gossow, newish frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz (formerly of The Agonist) helps keep the band’s stadium-sized bombast intact, even as ongoing personnel changes have left only one original member. Judging from lead single “The World Is Yours,” Will To Power will offer more of the blackened-cheese anthems that put Arch Enemy (and Swedish melodic death metal) on the map. [A.A. Dowd]

Twin Peaks (Music From The Limited Event Series)

One of the most interesting aspects of Twin Peaks’ long-awaited Return is its treatment of the original show’s musical legacy. This double release splits its focus between Angelo Badalamenti’s new score, which evokes the melancholy synthesized work of the original series, and the in-show live performances by some of the many bands that have been influenced by Twin Peaks’ swooning, darkly romantic mood. If you’ve seen those drop-ins from Nine Inch Nails, The Chromatics, Rebekah Del Rio, or the always-cool James, you already know how affecting they are. (And if you’re more interested in the wind-swept ambient stuff, also check out Dean Hurley’s excellent—and encouragingly titled—Anthology Resource, Vol. 1.) [Clayton Purdom]

Tori Amos, Native Invader

Inspired by a trip through the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, Native Invader sees Tori Amos reconnecting with the American landscape that influenced her 2003 album Scarlet’s Walk. With lyrics touching on climate change and the increasing polarization of America, Amos says the album will “look at how Nature creates with her opposing forces, becoming the ultimate regenerator through her cycles of death and rebirth.” Musically, that means songs that return to Amos’ lush, dynamic, piano-driven roots, combining the personal and the mystical on tracks like album opener “Reindeer King.” [Katie Rife]

Beaches, Second Of Spring

Labor Day marks the end of summer, but the Australian quintet Beaches is extending the season on the opposite side of the globe just a little bit longer with the release of third album Second Of Spring. Sprawling across two LPs, Second Of Spring builds on the hazy, psych-influenced surf-rock jams of the band’s breakout 2013 album She Beats. Second single “Arrow” swirls together sweet-as-candy vocal harmonies, noisy, churning guitars, and peppy, tambourine-embellished ’60s-style rhythms for a sonic trip down the Pacific Coast Highway by way of Melbourne. [Katie Rife]

Carmen Villain, Infinite Avenue

The half-Norwegian, half-Mexican singer-songwriter Carmen Villain (née Hillestad) delivers her sophomore follow-up to 2013’s Sleeper, a record full of swirling, sometimes dissonant guitars and languid rhythms. Infinite Avenue looks to potentially hold a more Americana vibe, at least based on the single “Red Desert,” which evokes the canyon-wandering vibes and melodic drones of a more restless spirit. [Alex McLevy]

Death From Above, Outrage! Is Now

Its beef with LCD Soundsystem/DFA Records’ James Murphy apparently finally squashed, Death From Above loses the “1979” on its third studio album, Outrage! Is Now. It’s only been three years since 2014’s The Physical World—a short wait compared to the 10-year hiatus between DFA’s first and second albums. This time around, the normally hard-driving band seems to be going in a more radio-friendly direction, bringing danceable grooves to lead singles “Freeze Me” and “Never Swim Alone.” [Katie Rife]

Deerhoof, Mountain Moves

For its 14th album, experimental noise-punk quartet Deerhoof assembled a diverse group of likeminded collaborators, together putting forth ebullient optimism—coupled with resistance—as a salve to difficult sociopolitical times. Lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki harmonizes with Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner on the extraordinarily catchy lead single “I Will Spite Survive,” and “Come Down Here And Say That,” featuring Stereolab’s Læticia Sadier, is a dance-y post-punk stomp with plenty of attitude. While Mountain Moves was officially scheduled for a September 8 release, the band is now offering the album through September 7 on a pay-what-you-want basis, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting The Emergent Fund. [Laura Adamczyk]

Dream Syndicate, How Did I Find Myself Here?

After a solo career that lasted for nearly 25 years, frontman Steve Wynn reunited The Dream Syndicate in 2012. The band had previously brought its ear-piercing guitars and, as it progressed through its four initial albums, a Neil Young-inspired jam obsession to the primordial underground rock that was bubbling in the early ’80s. How Did I Find Myself Here? is the group’s first in 29 years, and early singles like the six-minute psychedelic space-out “Glide” sound as though it’s picking up where its long, winding live performances left off. [Matt Gerardi]

Faith Healer, Try ;-)

Alberta, Canada’s Faith Healer turns in the follow-up to its underrated 2015 debut, Cosmic Troubles, with singer-guitarist Jessica Jalbert now joined by drummer/multi-instrumentalist Renny Wilson. Naturally, Faith Healer sounds noticeably fuller, and its two lead singles—“Light Of Loving” and “Try”—suggest this’ll be an eclectic head trip, with room for driving psych jams and melodic pop grooves alike. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Flesh World, Into The Shroud

Formed at the convergence of indie-pop and queercore punk, the Velvet Underground obsessives in Flesh World float through space on a soft cushion of dream-pop guitars and post-punk melodies on their second full-length, Into The Shroud. Swirling guitars and synths keep the group’s cover of Solid Space’s “Destination Moon” with head appropriately in the clouds, while its feet stay nailed to solid ground thanks to an ultra-crisp drumbeat. [Katie Rife]

L.A. Witch, L.A. Witch

It’s taken L.A. Witch four years to finally release its self-titled debut full-length—plenty of time to perfect its m.o. of reverb-soaked garage-punk, sourced straight from some dusty 45 freshly rescued from a garage sale. But describing L.A. Witch as just a Girls In The Garage-type retro oddity sells it short, given the gothic, stiletto-blade edge it brings to every song. The plainspoken menace of singer Sade Sanchez’s voice belies the virtuosity of her classic surf-rock solos, a dynamic that’s mirrored in drummer Ellie English’s heavy thud and bassist Irita Pai’s bouncing bass. [Katie Rife]

Ted Leo, The Hanged Man

The personal and the political are on full display on The Hanged Man, Ted Leo’s first album in seven years. The Pharmacists’ frontman has whittled down decades’ worth of songs recorded in his home studio, but the tracks still cover a broad range of themes, from his own staggering personal loss to post-election disillusionment and reverse white flight. Leo channels his erudite rage on foot-stomping tracks like “Anthems Of None” and “Run To The City,” before switching to the power-pop sounds of “Used To Believe.” But he also dutifully pushes himself into new sonic territory on songs like “Gray Havens,” an almost Beatles-like tune on the second half. And while making the case for crowdfunded releases, Leo also manages to provide a little comfort to the weary on “You’re Like Me.” [Danette Chavez]

Kedr Livanskiy, Ariadna

Russia’s Yana Kedrina (aka Kedr Livanskiy) delivered one 2016’s most intriguing debuts in her January Sun EP, a home-recorded exercise in electronic minimalism that overflowed with uncommon warmth and hypnotic beauty and was influenced equally by Boards Of Canada’s woozy sentimentality, 4AD goth-pop, and Laurel Halo-like sci-fi mystique. Her first full-length, Ariadna, brings the added depth of live, analog synths, which bodes well for a sound that already blurs the natural and organic so deftly. [Sean O’Neal]

Midnight Sister, Saturn Over Sunset

Saturn Over Sunset is the intriguing debut from the duo of artist/singer/lyricist Juliana Giraffe and composer Ari Balouzian. As Midnight Sister, they make music inspired by their lives in the San Fernando Valley, channeling the kitsch and grime of the infamous L.A. outskirt into an ethereal LP that moves seamlessly between the inviting, the baroque, and the tragic. [Matt Gerardi]

Mount Kimbie, Love What Survives

On 2013’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, British electronic duo Mount Kimbie (Dominic Maker and Kai Campos) moved from the fizzy minimalism of its early releases toward a broader, if still tastefully restrained maximalism, one that welcomed live instruments, jazzy flourishes, krautrock grooves, and, most importantly, voices—both their own and guests like breakout wunderkind King Krule. The third Mount Kimbie album, Love What Survives, promises to further refine that progression, again with the help of some talented friends: James Blake, Micachu (aka Mica Levi), and the returning King Krule all pop up here. [Sean O’Neal]

The National, Sleep Well Beast

For those not paying close attention, it would be easy to argue that The National hasn’t changed all that much in the dozen years since the band’s breakthrough, Alligator. But each new record—Sleep Well Beast is The National’s seventh full-length overall—brings new nuance and beauty to the sad weirdness. The first single from Beast, “The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness,” is strange and wonderful, and portends good things. Dark things, but good things. [Josh Modell]

Nosaj Thing, Parallels

Nosaj Thing’s world-class trilogy of minimalist beat records—2009’s Drift, 2013’s Home, and 2015’s Fated—feel like evergreen dispatches from an alternate dimension, full of tracks that feel vaguely sentient, assembling themselves as you listen along. They seem to breathe for a moment then expire, chance meetings in an alien world. All three albums run neatly alongside each other, but the new Parallels looks to strike, interestingly enough, slightly perpendicular: Its first single, “All Points Back To U,” is a low-key club track with a more insistent throb than we’re used to from the producer. This is due, in part, to years of his work being stolen at a tour stop a couple years back, but somehow the result seems less like a forced reinvention and more like a hard-earned evolution. [Clayton Purdom]

Princess Nokia, 1992 deluxe reissue

The alter ego of DIY rapper-singer Destiny Frasqueri, Princess Nokia reissues last year’s tenacious 1992 EP with eight new songs attached, including new single “G.O.A.T.” That track is just the latest testament to the 25-year-old’s restlessly chameleonic talent: Since 2014, she’s dabbled in everything from futuristic EDM (Metallic Butterfly) to retro soul (Honeysuckle) to underground hip-hop, with 1992 reflecting her adolescence in Spanish Harlem with nine impeccable tracks expounding on everything from brujería to Bart Simpson. Frasqueri has said it’s just one of “a new gag-worthy batch of surprises and releases” to come, so stay tuned. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Toadies, The Lower Side Of Uptown

With The Lower Side Of Uptown, the “Possum Kingdom” group seeks to embrace a little of the magic that made them famous all those years ago. The record’s first single, “Broke Down Stupid,” “could’ve appeared on Rubberneck” in 1995, according to Toadies drummer Mark Reznicek, and guitarist Clark Vogeler says in a press release that the record is “louder and heavier than the last couple Toadies albums.” [Marah Eakin]

Chad VanGaalen, Light Information

Chad VanGaalen’s music has always been something of a paradox, defined by an immediate distancing weirdness that gives way to welcoming warmth. The freak-folk veteran is up to similar tricks on his sixth album, Light Information. For a record about “not feeling comfortable with really anything,” tracks like “Old Heads” and “Pine And Clover,” with their wacky premises and sing-along choruses, sound as comfortable as he’s ever been. [Matt Gerardi]

Zola Jesus, Okovi

Zola Jesus has always been an introspective artist, but Okovi could be her most soul-searching record yet. Inspired by the death of two people close to her, the musician made Okovi—the Slavic word for shackles—as a way of looking at what she says in a press release are “the questions of legacy, worth, and will.” The songs aren’t all about inner struggles; lead single “Soak” is written from the perspective of a half-conscious serial killer victim who’s struggling to remain lucid while facing down being dumped into a large body of water. In other words: This record’s probably not going to get your next party bumping. [Marah Eakin]


September 15

Deer Tick, Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2

Deer Tick has 20 tracks ready for release, and half the songs don’t sound like the other half. How does the Providence quartet remedy this? By releasing its sixth and seventh studio albums simultaneously—10 tracks leaning more on its folksy Americana side (see Vol. 1 lead single “Sea Of Clouds”), and the other 10 tracks focusing on garage punk that’s gritty in all its Replacements-loving glory (anchored by Vol. 2’s riot act “It’s A Whale”). [Kevin Pang]

Ariel Pink, Dedicated To Bobby Jameson

Ariel Pink follows up 2014’s “aesthetically wacky” Pom Pom with this full-length ode to the late singer-songwriter Bobby Jameson, a Los Angeles-based musician who achieved mild cult success in the mid-’60s and early ’70s before dropping out of the music scene. Jameson was long thought to be dead, but he resurfaced online in 2007 to “pen his autobiography and tragic life story in a series of blogs and YouTube tirades,” according to advance press materials. “His book and life resonated with me to such a degree that I felt a need to dedicate my latest record to him,” Pink says. Lead singles “Feels Like Heaven” and “Another Weekend”—the former swooning in love’s potential, the latter bemoaning life’s mundanity—suggest a dreamy, melancholy tone for the entire album. [Laura Adamczyk]

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton, Choir Of The Mind

More than a decade has passed since Emily Haines’ last solo album, the excellent Knives Don’t Have Your Back, as her main gig in Metric kept her occupied. She managed to write Choir Of The Mind during the occasional down moment, eventually hitting the studio last fall in her hometown of Toronto with collaborator (and Metric bandmate) Jimmy Shaw. Choir Of The Mind finds Haines stripping away the instrumental expansiveness of Knives Don’t Have Your Back to accomplish as much as possible with just her voice, piano, and “rhythms I was making with my breathing,” she says. Haines also says she felt the urge to rebel against her perceived identity, so expect some other surprises. [Kyle Ryan]

Annie Hart, Impossible Accomplice

Impossible Accomplice comes to us courtesy of synth-pop trio Au Revoir Simone’s hiatus, during which member Annie Hart stayed busy writing songs in the basement of her Brooklyn home. Unsurprisingly, the synthesizer is at the centerpiece of Hart’s solo debut, whose stripped-down pop songs are built around only the most emotive sounds Hart could dial in—alongside bass and drums “recorded at Fred Armisen’s apartment.” True to its name, single “Hard To Be Still” is driven by an ebullient, ants-in-your-pants rock rhythm and an array of hypnotic synths that complement Hart’s smitten, heart-full lyrics. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Foo Fighters, Concrete And Gold

The early tracks from Concrete And Gold, the Foo Fighters’ first record in two years, indicate a return to familiar form: “Run” offers the group’s typical quiet-loud-quiet dynamics and Dave Grohl attempting to blow out his vocal chords yet again, while “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” is a (slightly) slower ode to rock friends who’ve left us (“Heaven is a big band now”). As always, you’d be hard-pressed to find a current rock band as devoted to the energy and history of the genre. [Gwen Ihnat]

Hundred Waters, Communicating

Gainesville, Florida has traditionally been known as a hotbed for punk and hardcore acts, but Hundred Waters is attempting to change that perception. The band’s Communicating is the electronic trio’s third LP on Skrillex’s OWSLA label, and it sounds nothing like the Hot Water Musics or Against Mes the city has traditionally churned out. Tracks like “Particle” and lead single “Blanket Me” resemble James Blake meeting Frou Frou or even Balam Acab’s Wander/Wonder, displaying an intimacy echoed by the fact that the band recorded/mixed most of Communicating in its shared living space. [Leo Adrian Garcia]

Gary Numan, Savage (Songs From A Broken World)

Having spent the last year indulging in nostalgia with a tour that found him playing classic albums Replicas, The Pleasure Principle, and Telekon, a now fully purged Gary Numan returns to the post-apocalyptic future-present on Savage (Songs From A Broken World). A concept album about the desperate nomads of a barren desert created by global warming, Savage wraps its Mad Max narrative in the appropriately harsh, Nine Inch Nails-influenced industrial rock that’s been Numan’s forte for the past two decades. Lead single “My Name Is Ruin” sets the stage for this quasi-musical, capturing the story of a man whose daughter is taken from him by religious fanatics over blistering processed guitars and Middle Eastern synth melodies. [Sean O’Neal]

Open Mike Eagle, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream

An intensely personal and emblematic record about poverty and struggle in Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream could be the record Open Mike Eagle needs to finally break into the hip-hop mainstream. On tracks like “Brick Body Complex,” Eagle raps from the POV of a housing project in an effort to give voice to the institutionalized racism and classism that leads to poor people of color being viewed as drug-addicted, murderous animals. It’s an ambitious project, but one that Eagle appears to have tackled with aplomb. [Marah Eakin]

Prophets Of Rage, Prophets Of Rage

Is Prophets Of Rage arriving just in time or 15 years too late? The supergroup—composed of the non-rapping members of Rage Against The Machine alongside Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord and Cypress Hill’s B-Real—first played at the Republican National Convention last summer to decidedly mixed reviews, with remarkably pedestrian riff-rock more in tune with Audioslave than Rage’s righteous squall. There’s a lot of talent here, and certainly more than enough for them to rage against in 2017, but the two ensuing singles—titled “Radical Eyes” and, um, “Unfuck The World”—don’t bode particularly well. [Clayton Purdom]

Lee Ranaldo, Electric Trim

Back with Mute Records for the first time since the early days of Sonic Youth, guitarist Lee Ranaldo delivers his first solo record since 2013's Last Night On Earth. Where that album was a melodic and less distorted affair, featuring both more straightforward compositions and extended jams, this one looks to distill his sound even further into a solid fusion of guitar-based pop and shoegaze-level musical journeys. First single “Circular (Right As Rain)” sounds downright nostalgic, with its ’70s-hippie-soundtrack vibe and male-female harmonies. [Alex McLevy]

Rostam, Half-Light

Rostam Batmanglij turned in his full-time Vampire Weekend card a while back, all in order to write songs with other folks (like Carly Rae Jepsen and Hamilton Leithauser) and concentrate on producing. Half-Light marks his first official solo foray, and it doesn’t fall too far from the Vampire Weekend tree, though it’s a little less pastel-tinged and more floaty. [Josh Modell]

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions, Son Of A Lady

The long-running project of the Mazzy Star frontwoman and My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions follow up last year’s excellent Until The Hunter with three new songs, including an acoustic version of Hunter’s Kurt Vile-featuring centerpiece, “Let Me Get There,” as well as the new xylophone-driven single “Sleep.” A few more twanging, ethereal songs from two masters of the form. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Son Little, New Magic

Son Little is the stage name of Aaron Livingston, whose dramatic, thoroughly modern take on soul and R&B began eking out into the world with his 2014 EP, Things I Forgot. New Magic is his second full-length LP for ANTI-, and early tastes show the singer bringing some fuller, more traditional sounds—like the Philly soul of “Blue Magic”—to sit alongside his electronic-tinged tunes. [Matt Gerardi]

Yusuf/Cat Stevens, The Laughing Apple

The Laughing Apple marks the 50th anniversary of Cat Stevens’ first release, 1967’s Matthew And Son, and appropriately, it bridges that past with the present music by the longtime singer-songwriter (now known as Yusuf/Cat Stevens). It’s a mix of earlier compositions like “You Can Do (Whatever),” originally intended for Harold And Maude, and new songs like “See What Love Did To Me,” which would fit right into that film with its tale of a “blindfolded bumblebee” searching for the meaning of life. [Gwen Ihnat]

Sløtface, Try Not To Freak Out

Combining personal and political in equal measure, Norwegian four-piece Sløtface (pronounced “Slutface”) delivers hook-filled pop-punk with the emphasis firmly on the pop. Its Sugar Smacks-addled debut album Try Not To Freak Out features earworms crafted for maximum pogoing, with lead single “Magazine” beginning as a mid-tempo stomper before segueing into a full-speed-ahead anthem. Don’t let all that hyperactivity crowd out great lyrics like “Patti Smith would never put up with this shit.” [Alex McLevy]

Wyclef Jean, The Carnival 3

It’s to Wyclef Jean’s credit that he’s managed to put a full decade between each installment of his series of Carnival albums. His 1997 debut was a statement of strident individualism as the Fugees dissolved. Carnival II, from 2007, was an all-over-the-place mess featuring Shakira, T.I., Paul Simon, Chamillionaire, and a whole lot more. The new effort looks to stay in the same lane as this year’s J’ouvert EP, with Wyclef dabbling in every style he can think of alongside any old guest he can get in the studio. [Clayton Purdom]


September 22

The Blow, Brand New Abyss

On their second full-length together as The Blow, Brand New Abyss, Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne have crafted their minimalist electro-pop out of a “mothership of patched-together modular synthesizers, ancient samplers and audio production gear” and produced it entirely themselves. Fevered single “Get Up,” with its poetic punk lyrics and playful synth lines, is about “crushing capitalism,” a response to the never-ending construction the duo has witnessed from the windows of its Brooklyn apartment. Expect more danceable, opinionated tunes where that came from. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Phoebe Bridgers, Stranger In The Alps

There’s a song on Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album that goes, “Jesus Christ I’m so blue all the time / And that’s just how I feel / always have, always will.” Blue is definitely the color of the 22-year-old singer-songwriter’s debut album, but there’s a lot more shade there than it might seem at first blush. It’s a gorgeous set of songs that should sit comfortably next to the new one by her former tourmate Julien Baker, which arrives just a month later. [Josh Modell]

The Clientele, Music For The Age Of Miracles

The Clientele’s sound hasn’t diverged too far from its late ’90s/early ’00s sound, though that predictability has long proved to be its strength. Although new singles “Lunar Days” and “Everyone You Meet” don’t sound particularly fresh or surprising, they’re still lovely, shimmering melodies with breathy vocals and a string section just this side of whimsical. Music For The Age Of Miracles is the group’s first LP in seven years, and if it doesn’t quite feel like the age of miracles right now, Alasdair MacLean’s mellow voice still provides respite from reality, a kind of chamber-pop meditation. [Laura M. Browning]

Cold Specks, Fool’s Paradise

As Cold Specks, Toronto’s Ladan Hussein makes a darker shade of soul, influenced as much by goth rock as she is blues and Southern gospel. Fool’s Paradise, Hussein’s third LP, digs into the singer-songwriter’s identity as a Somali-Canadian woman and the revelation of her parents’ war-torn history. Fittingly, single “New Moon” is about turning inward and caring for yourself in difficult times, its buoyant synth line feeling like a life raft among the song’s vast arrangement. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Luciferian Towers

Luciferian Towers is such an excellent title for a Godspeed You Black Emperor album that if it didn’t exist, someone would have to invent it. Presumably we’re in for more epic, rafter-cracking sounds like the ones the band has been making for two decades. And though it’s all instrumental as usual, please know that The Man is still the target of their ire, with song suites called “Bosses Hang” and “Anthem For No State.” [Josh Modell]

Noah Gundersen, White Noise

There’s still a hint of Seattle singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen’s indie-folk twang on some of the singles off of his upcoming album White Noise. “Bad Desire,” for instance, has traces of the same country music roots that helped propel Gundersen’s 2014 debut Ledges toward mainstream success. But there are also suggestions that the artist—going it solo again after a stint with his old bandmates in Young In The City—is ready to aim for full U2/Coldplay bombast, as heard on the overwhelming “The Sound,” the rare Gundersen song that doesn’t place his voice front and center. [William Hughes]

Hiss Golden Messenger, Hallelujah Anyhow

Say what you will about Hiss Golden Messenger’s M.C. Taylor, but dude’s not a slacker. Hallelujah Anyhow is Hiss’ third record in two years, and—if you’re counting singles—his third release this year alone. Fortunately for fans, Taylor’s songwriting and musicality don’t appear to have suffered from the uptick in productivity. Hallelujah Anyhow is sharp, but still beautiful, introspective, and hopeful. [Marah Eakin]

The Horrors, V

Although the stylistic leaps have gotten smaller since The Horrors went from shrieking synth-punk agitators to immersive studio rats, there is still immense pleasure to be found in guessing where the next release will take the restlessly refining group. V, the band’s first album in three years and fifth overall, finds a touch of darkness underpinning the dramatic, kaleidoscopic ’80s movie symphonies it’s been plying since Skying, with lead single “Machine” bearing some of the same heavy, haunting atmospheres and industrial throb as recent tourmate Depeche Mode. The rest of the album is just as affecting—in about a dozen different ways, as is usually the case. [Sean O’Neal]

The Killers, Wonderful Wonderful

After frontman Brandon Flowers’ brief solo tangent, The Killers return for their first album in five years on Wonderful Wonderful. Unfortunately, the time apart hasn’t seemed to be very creatively inspirational: “The Man” basically sums up the entire song right there in the title; “Wonderful Wonderful” awkwardly melds U2 and Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” with Flowers melodramatically calling out to a “motherless child”; and “Run For Cover” includes a nice nod to Sonny Liston—but unlike Liston, its hooks are weak. To its credit, the band still makes some impressively cinematic videos—and at least Flowers is now blessedly mustache-free. [Gwen Ihnat]

Ledisi, Let Love Rule

The 2014 album The Truth saw Ledisi at her most confident and sophisticated, with the New Orleans-born vocalist drawing on greats of the past like Prince and Mary J. Blige while maintaining a contemporary sound. After a brief hiatus, she returns with what promises to be her biggest record, Let Love Rule, which finds her collaborating with performers like John Legend, B.J. The Chicago Kid, and gospel legend Kirk Franklin. [Baraka Kaseko]

Luna, A Sentimental Education

Luna broke up officially in 2005, after a series of fantastically mellow albums that never quite lit the world on fire. The band members reunited in 2015 for what was initially just a run of shows, but they’re officially dipping their toes back in the water now with A Sentimental Education, an album of covers. Dean Wareham’s voice still sounds buttery and aloof (in a good way), and his band glides effortlessly through covers of The Cure, Mercury Rev, The Rolling Stones, and more. There’s also an accompanying EP of newly written instrumentals, so it’s possible this is all just a slow prelude to a proper new album. [Josh Modell]

Macklemore, Gemini

Pretty much everything we know about Macklemore—the supremely woke singles “Same Love” and “White Privilege II,” as well as ubiquitous shitty-bar staples like “Can’t Hold Us” and “Thrift Shop”—are the result of his two collaborative albums with producer Ryan Lewis. Now he’s lining up his first solo album in 12(!) years, Gemini. 2005’s The Language Of My World was a very different beast musically, full of well-cut breaks and beats built of tidy flute loops, but hoo boy, it was still Macklemore on the mic. The new record seems as poppy as the Ryan Lewis stuff; the video for the first single, featuring arena-rap hook mainstay Skylar Grey, is about Macklemore visiting his grandma, because this guy can’t even do that without expecting a round of applause. [Clayton Purdom]

Metz, Strange Peace

In retrospect, it seems odd that it took Metz three albums to collaborate with Steve Albini. After all, the famous engineer is the patron saint of abrasive, noisy, and aggressive punk, both behind the mixing board and as the frontman for long-running post-hardcore trio Shellac. A musical descendant of Shellac, Metz checks all of those boxes, and Albini’s habit of making rhythm sections sound colossal suits the Canadian trio perfectly. All of that gives Strange Peace the feeling of an inevitable meeting of the minds, and it apparently made the recording process a breeze. Metz reportedly banged out the album live-to-tape in four days, and that cohesion is apparent on Strange Peace’s 11, gloriously ferocious tracks. [Kyle Ryan]

Moses Sumney, Aromanticism

If Moses Sumney’s music were made tangible, it’d provide theoretical physicists with a fascinating paradox: How does the singer-songwriter pack such density of sound into compositions so light and airy? It probably has something to do with the patient way those songs ebb and flow, their stretched-out-Silly-Putty approach to soul, folk, and jazz the surest link between Sumney’s recordings and the live performances that loop his falsetto and finger-picking into a gently lapping tide. The subject matter of his debut LP, Aromanticism, comes with its own heft: It’s “a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape,” something that comes across both loud (well, as loud Sumney gets—which isn’t very) and clear through the watery isolation of the “Doomed” video. In the clip for “Quarrel,” the petals of a submerged rose go through a slo-mo transformation while Sumney’s voice glides over heavenly strings and ominous brass—more contradictions and states of matter for those scientists to ponder. [Erik Adams]

This Patch Of Sky, These Small Spaces

Oregon-based six-piece This Patch Of Sky combines the cathartic instrumentals of early Explosions In The Sky with the grace and orchestral expansiveness of Canada’s Constellation label acts like Godspeed You! or Do Make Say Think, but still manages to carve out its own sound even while attracting those obvious comparisons. The new These Small Spaces is full of hypnotic, lush soundscapes that rise and fall in sweeping, tide-like waves. [Alex McLevy]

Tricky, ununiform

Tricky’s 1995 debut Maxinquaye has, like a lot of early trip-hop, proven remarkably resilient—which has only made it more difficult for its creator to top. The British producer and warbly, rambling spoken-word stylist (rapper seems an inapt term) is positioning his new ununiform as a return to that classic style, full of down-tempo midnight blues and proto night-bus mood music. Longtime collaborator Martina Topley Bird and a gaggle of extremely hype Russian rappers guest. [Clayton Purdom]

Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spun

Abyss, Chelsea Wolfe’s last album of metal-influenced, darkly operatic ballads, was a bottom-heavy swoon of a record, the sound of apocalyptic goth-doom fused to near-Diamanda Galas levels of intensity. The new record maintains that spirit, but adds new sounds and further sonic experiments to the mix. Meditation never sounded so heavy. [Alex McLevy]

Wolves In The Throne Room, Thrice Woven

From its humble origins recording demos in a secluded cabin to its recent pivot to moody electronica, Wolves In The Throne Room is basically the Bon Iver of black metal. Of course, nobody would confuse WITTR lead singer Nathan Weaver’s phlegm-clearing banshee scream for a plaintive croon, and his lyrics trend more toward mythical odes to the Pacific Northwest wilderness than laments for Emma forever ago. Sixth album Thrice Woven finds these flannel-clad Olympians getting back in touch with their metallic side, relegating the keyboard ambience that dominated previous record Celestite to the background. At the same time, the flurry of electric guitar pauses to allow for the occasional interlude of acoustic strumming, Christmas-carol harmonizing, and Tom Waits-esque spoken-word incantations. It’s as if that malevolently mobile spirit from the Evil Dead movies periodically slowed to a stop to really take in all the natural beauty of its surroundings, before continuing its slingshot rampage through the woods. [A.A. Dowd]


September 29

Miley Cyrus, Younger Now

In a year full of huge, overhyped releases by her peers, Miley Cyrus follows Harry Styles’ lead with a quietly confident, classic pop-rock record. Younger Now is more or less a 180 from 2013’s hip-hop-indebted Bangerz or 2015’s experimentally indulgent Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, and finds Cyrus “leaning into her roots” and leaving any concern for radio airplay out of the recording booth, a more conservative approach credited to her reconciliation with fiancé Liam Hemsworth and her time mentoring other musicians on The Voice. Every song teased so far sees Cyrus very much at home in herself, showcasing her distinct voice and a maturity that belies the album title. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Ben Frost, The Centre Cannot Hold

Electronic artist Ben Frost makes some of the most punishing music ever to be wrung out of machines—a nightmare of sizzling, industrial drone, frazzled synths, and assaultive beats. In that way, pairing Frost with scabrous producer Steve Albini—as on the new The Centre Cannot Hold and its August predecessor, The Threshold Of Faith EP—kinda seems like overkill, even if their mutual love of music as blunt force makes it a natural one. For anyone else who appreciates sounds that border on geological events, there’s plenty of craggy mountains to climb and pitch yourself headlong into the abyss here. Opener “Threshold Of Faith” is all frayed wires, hissing ventilators, distant synth swells, and a cavernous bass drop that kicks you repeatedly right in the stomach, hypnotizing and nauseating in equal measure. [Sean O’Neal]

Igloohost, Neo Wax Bloom

On Brainfeeder’s sprawling roster of L.A. beat scene astro-travelers, Iglooghost is one of the furthest out there. The U.K.-based producer’s debut EP from 2015 was an interdimensional journey in 16 minutes, skipping across footwork, IDM, cartoon explosions, drum’n’bass, and more, all with an impish sense of glee that evoked PC Music and Aphex Twin. If his full-length debut Neo Wax Bloom is anywhere near as dense, you’ll probably need to update your computer’s graphics card before streaming it. [Clayton Purdom]

Jessica Lea Mayfield, Sorry Is Gone

Jessica Lea Mayfield goes from worshipping at the altar of Dave Grohl to finding her own sound on third album, Sorry Is Gone. While a hint of her former grunge roots can be heard in the title track, the upbeat, breezy single also points to an evolved pop sound—and it hints at the album’s emotional roots in Mayfield’s divorce from her husband and previous producer. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]

Pere Ubu, 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo

The latest effort from seminal Cleveland art rockers Pere Ubu, 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo is described in press materials by group member David Thomas as “The James Gang teaming up with Tangerine Dream.” That reference might be a bit obtuse for anyone under 40 or who’s unfamiliar with the work of Joe Walsh, but that’s okay. If you’re not into Pere Ubu already, this record probably isn’t the place to start. [Marah Eakin]

Primus, The Desaturating Seven

Only the ninth studio LP in the group’s almost 30-year career, The Desaturating Seven is Primus’ take on children’s book dystopia. Inspired, the group’s Les Claypool says, by a book from the ’70s that he used to read his kids, The Desaturating Seven is an album about darkness, deceit, and gluttony and—knowing Claypool—it probably features more than one reference to his dislike for America’s current Trumpian political climate. [Marah Eakin]

Protomartyr, Relatives In Descent

Protomartyr’s one-two punch of 2014 and 2015 records showed a rangy, jangling, bookish take on post-punk, full of big ideas about philosophy and history and the fate of man. They also fucking shredded, with stomping hooks and thunderous climaxes. Three tracks from Relatives In Descent have been released so far, each of them leaning into the band’s gloomiest, most dirge-like impulses; the hook of one is just singer Joe Casey intoning, “Don’t wanna hear those foul trumpets anymore” over escalating dissonance. Expect cathartic, apocalyptic fun. [Clayton Purdom]

Propagandhi, Victory Lap

Now three decades old, Canadian anarchist punk band Propagandhi has seen plenty of good and bad times, but what could inspire the group’s outspoken anti-fascists more than the Trump era? This is a weird sort of golden age for bands like Propagandhi, whose strident message has always been as important as the songs it plays. Even though frontman Chris Hannah wrote on the band’s website last year that he “barely gives a shit about anything besides heavy metal and hockey anymore,” the new Victory Lap continues down the well-trod path Propagandhi has established over the years, with huge guitars (and the occasional metallic flourish), fast tempos, and the general sense that everything is utter shit. These are the days! [Kyle Ryan]

Shania Twain, Now

With Now—her first record in about 15 years—Shania Twain attempts to find her voice again, both literally and figuratively. After emotional stress and a battle with Lyme disease that almost took away her pipes, Twain has regained strength enough to release Now and plot a massive North American comeback tour, including multiple nights at arenas all over the U.S. and Canada. Though Now singles like “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” aren’t quite barnburners on the level of “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” Twain’s still a force to be reckoned with, and fans will flock to her return regardless. [Marah Eakin]

Torres, Three Futures

Mackenzie Scott, a.k.a. Torres, created her headiest work to date on Three Futures, when she imagined an album that could be experienced by all five senses. She conceived of a 10-room house, where each room was a song on the album, each one possessing distinct smells, colors, tastes, and sounds. But knowing all of that isn’t a prerequisite for appreciating Three Futures; it’s more of a guide to finding its various thematic Easter eggs. The new album continues the path established by its two predecessors, alternately icy and warm, minimalist and rocking, with Scott’s husky voice adjusting to its surroundings. Comparisons to St. Vincent remain inevitable—especially considering Scott has a St. Vincent tattoo—but Three Futures is more RIYL than copycat. [Kyle Ryan]

Kamasi Washington, Harmony Of Difference

Having debuted at this year’s Whitney Biennial, Kamasi Washington’s six-movement suite “Harmony Of Difference” now sees official release via Young Turks. The jazz saxophonist and composer—whose most recent work includes cameos on this year’s acclaimed albums by Thundercat and Kendrick Lamar—sought to blend such diverse influences as swing, funk, and calypso with the 37-minute piece. “Truth” is the final movement, a long, cosmic, two-chord jam with celestial choirs and expatiating rhythms. Don’t miss the stunning video by Spanish director A.G. Rojas. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Lucinda Williams, This Sweet Old World

Lucinda Williams’ fourth album, Sweet Old World, remains one of the singer-songwriter’s strongest collections of songs to date, and to mark its 25th anniversary, Williams revisits it with a fresh band and a quarter-century of hindsight. These stories about love (“Lines Around Your Eyes”), loss (“Pineola,” “Little Angel, Little Brother”), and lust (“Hot Blood”) take on a looser, grittier feel with Williams’ weathered vocals and modern arrangements, and she brings to life four bonus tracks left off the 1992 release. It’s a sweet, celebratory look back at an influential Americana album that’s inspired everyone from Emmylou Harris to Allison Crutchfield to cover its songs. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Wolf Alice, Visions Of A Life

North London alt-rock band Wolf Alice has been busy since its acclaimed 2015 debut, My Love Is Cool, helping to start the Bands 4 Refugees fundraising movement and appearing alongside Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott on last year’s Ghostbusters soundtrack. Its follow-up album, Visions Of A Life, is as varied and ambitious as ever, with both the jolting “Yuk Foo” and the poppy, synth-heavy “Don’t Delete The Kisses” proving the four-piece capable of stepping out of its comfort zone while stepping up the youthful charge it’s making its name on. [Kelsey J. Waite]

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die,  Always Foreign

The first single from the new The World Is A Beautiful Place & That’s The Last Time I’m Typing That Ridiculously Long Name is surprisingly direct and short, considering how sprawling some of the band’s past songs have been. It’s almost pop-punky, even, and features guest vocals from the singer of Mewithoutyou. But presumably the rest of Always Foreign will spread its wings a little bit more. [Josh Modell]

Worriers, Survival Pop

There’s no mystery why a progressive punk band—called Worriers—fronted by a queer person would call its new album Survival Pop. These are dark times, especially when you have those affiliations. Hugely catchy and sharply written, Survival Pop moves at too brisk a pace to wallow, though. Punk can fall into pat chord progressions and simplistic construction, but singer-guitarist Lauren Denitzio avoids that trap, giving the songs more texture and nuance than listeners may otherwise expect. [Kyle Ryan]