Wednesday, September 5, 2012

35 Albums We Can't Wait To Hear This Fall

Dear WRMC community,

Well, summer's drawing to a close. You know what that means: freshmen are wandering all over Middlebury's campus with a lost look in their eyes, unaware that they'll be sick of paninis by next week and confused as to why there are no books in Starr Library and why their rooming assignment says "Hadley" but everyone keeps calling it "Ross"; the presidential campaigns are becoming too tense to think about, but think about them we must; I'm freaking out that my visa's not going to arrive in time and instead of studying abroad in Europe I will be not studying, not abroad, on a couch in that weird room in the Mill that seemingly exists solely because of foosball; assholes are playing Beach House's first album and waxing poetic about how much more "autumnal" it sounds than their other records (ugh shut up); and, best of all, record labels are kicking into high gear! So many albums are on the way from high-profile acts and up-and-comers alike, the idea of writing a blog post to point out which ones to get really excited about is actually stressful. It's like asking me to walk into a room full of puppies and pick just a few to take home, without getting the chance to interact with them first. But I digress. It's been an amazing year for music thus far -- Frank Ocean, Fiona Apple, Japandroids, and Jessie Ware, to name a few, put out wonderful records -- but it's not over yet! Keep reading for the scoop on some albums due out in September, October, and November that you won't want to miss!


Alt-J, An Awesome Wave (September 18, Canvasback)
You may not have heard of this British singer-songwriter yet, but he's building a lot of buzz on the strength of An Awesome Wave, his first album, which blends standard, chilled-out acoustic-isms (ugh) with British dubstep flourishes. Maybe think James Blake, but lots of fun instead of lots of tears. Misguided or brilliant? I'm curious to see what America makes of Alt-J. RIYL: WHY?, Dent May, James Blake.


Animal Collective, Centipede Hz (September 4, Domino)
Okay, yes, it already came out, I dropped the ball. Sorry. But in case you somehow missed it, psych-pop/freak-folk/what-have-yous Animal Collective just released the follow-up to their commercial breakthrough and career-best Merriweather Post Pavilion. Recorded with all four original members of the group following solo albums by Avey Tare and Panda Bear, as well as Deakin's post-Strawberry Jam  hiatus, Centipede Hz is weirder and sonically busier than its widely adored predecessors. Only time will tell whether this will whittle AC's fan base down to its pre-MPP cult size or whether those drawn into the fold by MPP's stunning pop charms will follow these spaced-out Baltimoreans to stranger places. RIYL: Intergalactic odysseys, musique concrete, Avey Tare's solo album.


A$AP Rocky, LongLiveA$AP (October 31, RCA)
A crucial figure in the so-hip-it-might-be-over-already cloud-rap scene, A$AP Rocky is the subgenre's most crossover-poised figure, less eccentric than Lil B and less esoteric than Main Attraktionz. Plus, he played JFK in a Lana Del Rey video. RIYL: Clams Casino, Lil B, Watch the Throne.


Band of Horses, Mirage Rock (September 18, Columbia)
Indie crossover favorites Band of Horses are back with a new album, following the unfortunate misstep Infinite Arms. Will they bounce back? Here's hoping. RIYL: Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket, Okkervil River, the Shins.


Bat for Lashes, The Haunted Man (October 23, EMI)
London-via-Pakistan singer-songwriter Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes, returns this October with the follow-up to her breakthrough Two Suns, and if the Ryan McGinley-shot cover art and heart-wrenching first single "Laura" are anything to go by, it promises to be a more restrained, mature, and effective affair than previous Bat for Lashes records. RIYL: Antony and the Johnsons, Bjork, Florence + the Machine, Kate Bush, Patrick Wolf, St. Vincent.


Big Boi, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (November 13, Def Jam)
Why should you be excited about this? Um, because it's Big Boi, for one. Second, his first solo album outside of OutKast, 2010's Sir Luscious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty was totally the best rap album of that year (move over, Kanye!) -- it had it all: hilarious wordplay, insane flow, a weird narrative concept, lots of kooky sci-fi sound effects, hooks galore, and beats beamed in from the hottest rave on Mars ("Shutterbugg" especially takes the cake in this category). And the new album has a guest spot from Phantogram. What a combo! RIYL: Deltron 3030, Lil Wayne, OutKast, Watch the Throne.


Black Marble, A Different Arrangement (October 9, Hardly Art)
Black Marble make gloomy lo-fi pop -- i.e., they're the trendiest thing around right now. But they've got more going for them than a hip combination of influences: their tunes are grand without the bombast and somber without the camp. RIYL: DIIV, Minks, John Maus, the Soft Moon.


Bob Dylan, Tempest (September 11, Columbia)
I mean. Obviously. RIYL: Bob Dylan, seeing how the mighty have fallen.


Cat Power, Sun (September 4, Matador)
This is also already out. Sorry about that. But it's also really good, so if you're late to the party catch up quick! On her first album of original material in six years (the last being her commercial breakthrough The Greatest), Cat Power -- aka Chan Marshall -- revamps her sound and her image. This is the first Cat Power record ever that might not plunge its listener into a black pit of despair, perhaps because it's the first one where the artist herself isn't stuck in such a pit. Largely abandoning the strands of lo-fi rock, blues, country, and Memphis soul that have informed her impenetrably bleak sound in the past, Marshall gives us a radiant album of simmering synthesizers, unexpected instrumentation, anthemic lyrics, and an Iggy Pop cameo. Yes, please! RIYL: Bill Callahan, Fiona Apple, PJ Harvey.


Dark Dark Dark, Who Needs Who (October 2, Supply and Demand)
Minneapolis-based group Dark Dark Dark blend American folk music, New Orleans jazz, Eastern European folk, and indie rock to immensely pleasing results, in no small part due to the haunting vocals of frontwoman Nona Marie Invie. The group boasts a small but devoted cult of fans, and they're poised for a critical and commercial breakthrough with Who Needs Who. RIYL: Arcade Fire, Beirut, Bowerbirds, Hurray for the Riff Raff.


Daphni, JIAOLONG (October 16, Merge)
Most listeners know Daphni's Dan Snaith under one or both of his other monikers, Caribou and Manitoba. It's definitely the same Snaith, but this is decidedly not a Caribou/Manitoba record. JIAOLONG follows the path hinted at with Caribou's last album, the career-high Swim, and dives headfirst into the world of techno and instrumental electronic music. RIYL: Caribou, Flying Lotus, Four Tet.


David Byrne & St. Vincent, Love This Giant (September 11, 4AD)
OMG dream collaboration! Two super-weird, super-cool NYC art-rock icons, one old and one new, get kooky in the studio with each other and a brass band. Too many cooks in the kitchen? Hardly -- this album is strange, wonderful fun from start to finish. RIYL: David Byrne, St. Vincent, Talking Heads, Dirty Projectors.


Deerhoof, Breakup Song (September 4, Polyvinyl)
Deerhoof have proven themselves dependable sources for the following things: crazy, convoluted prog-rock compositions; incongruously cutesy vocals from Satomi Matsuzaki; and intimidatingly vicious guitar lines. I haven't heard this album yet but from the title and artwork, I'd guess that Breakup Song is probably as good an occasion as any to take cover and listen rapt with awe and not a little terror. RIYL: Blonde Redhead, Gang Gang Dance, Marnie Stern, Ponytail.


Diamond Rings, Free Dimensional (October 23, Astralwerks)
Toronto's John Regan paints his face, wears armor, performs choreographed dances on stage and in videos, ignores the gender binary, sells merch with the slogan "Stay Fierce," and just generally doesn't give a fuck. Which makes for great '80s-indebted synthpop, of course! Can't wait for the latest from Lady Gaga or Robyn? Try this sassy electro diva on for size. Free Dimensional does away with most of the post-punk influence from his debut Special Affections but not Regan's love of album titles with puns in them, and willfully embraces the hedonistic Euro-house vibe that's all over Top 40 these days. RIYL: Charli XCX, David Guetta, Eurythmics, Gary Numan, Lady Gaga, New Order, Robyn.


Dum Dum Girls, End of Daze EP (September 25, Sub Pop)
Few bands possess the kind of charisma that makes even a four-track EP worthy of album-intensity buzz, but Dum Dum Girls have proven to be one of those bands. Each of their releases, EP or LP, showcases an enormous leap of confidence and ability in frontwoman Dee Dee and her rotating cast of  badass female bandmates; since their first EP Bliss Out, the group has transformed from lo-fi also-rans into a full-fledged rock group, and Dee Dee's gone from timid librarian to mesmerizing indie rockstar. "Lord Knows," an advance track from this EP, catches the band in the act of shedding the vestiges of their derivative noise-pop past and embracing the timeless trappings of the best pop-rock. RIYL: Feist, Fleetwood Mac, the Jesus and Mary Chain.


Flying Lotus, Until the Quiet Comes (October 2, Warp)
Since the world last heard from Flying Lotus, the electronic scene that he help kickstart has shifted shape multiple times, and fans of his innovative, off-kilter beats are undoubtedly looking forward to hearing how the L.A.-based artist adapts to the current landscape. RIYL: Four Tet, ThunderCat, TNGHT.


The Fresh & Onlys, Long Slow Dance (September 4, Mexican Summer)
The Bay Area retro fetishists are back, and hopefully this new LP brings more of their past charms: close harmonies, clever lyrics, Nuggets-style garage rock, and sweet, catchy melodies. RIYL: Dum Dum Girls, Girls, the Shins, 1950s rock/1960s pop in general.


Grizzly Bear, Shields (September 18, Warp)
Grizzly Bear are on one of the hottest winning streaks in recent memory. Each of their three albums -- Horn of Plenty, Yellow House, and Veckatimest -- is rich, gorgeous, distinctive, and together they sound like the work of a single, insanely talented band without sounding anything at all like each other (or the work of anyone else). Advance cuts from LP #4, Shields, suggests that we can expect that to continue, with the band embracing a darker, more abstract tone. RIYL: Department of Eagles/Daniel Rossen, Animal Collective, the Antlers, Beach House, Dirty Projectors, Van Dyke Parks, Radiohead, St. Vincent.


How to Dress Well, Total Loss (September 18, Acephale)
Brooklyn-via-Cologne lo-fi R&B auteur How to Dress Well wowed just about everyone with his 2010 debut Love Remains, which came out before R&B was every hipster's favorite thing and therefore deserves a ton of credit. Although the production budget is bigger, Total Loss is sure to continue the ghostly, melancholy vibe of its gorgeous predecessor. RIYL: Active Child, Bon Iver, James Blake, Junior Boys, Justin Timberlake, M83, Sigur Ros, Tim Hecker, Usher.


Jason Lytle, Dept. of Disappearance (October 16, Anti-)
The frontman of the defunct but much-beloved turn-of-the-millennium alt-rockers Grandaddy, Jason Lytle, is back, and although we can't expect his solo effort to sound like the new Grandaddy album we never got, at least two of the notoriously reclusive Colorado singer-songwriter's trademarks (an adorable Wayne Coyne-meets-Stephen Malkmus vocals and awkwardly bad collage cover art) are definitely not out of the picture. RIYL: The Flaming Lips, Pavement, Radiohead.


Jens Lekman, I Know What Love Isn't (September 4, Secretly Canadian)
This totally adorable Swedish baritone must be faking it on his records. Either he's not really this adorable or he's not really heartbroken, because no one with that face, that voice, and that personality could possibly have trouble finding a loving girlfriend. Yet heartbroken he continues to claim to be on his latest full-length, and besides melancholy the listener can be assured of hearing the following things on I Know What Love Isn't: saccharine melodies, dryly witty lyrics, lots of samples (Jens loves samples), and all the trappings of vintage indie pop and '70s AM radio. RIYL: Avalanches, Beirut, Belle & Sebastian, The Magnetic Fields, smoove schmaltz.


Jonny Greenwood, The Master (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (September 11, Nonesuch)
Radiohead's experimentalist-in-residence Jonny Greenwood has scored films before -- notably There Will Be Blood and Norwegian Wood -- always to great effect, and here he's re-teaming with There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson (also responsible for Boogie Nights, Punch-drunk Love, Magnolia) for the soundtrack to The Master, which is a dark drama about the founder of Scientology, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix (who I guess isn't crazy anymore?). Sounds like perfect territory for Greenwood's trademark blend of discordant strings and electronic drones. RIYL: Max Richter, Philip Glass, Steve Reich.


Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album, Part 1 (September 25, Atlantic)
That cover art? That title? The stakes were already high for the mostly-forgotten Lupe Fiasco's fourth album (following a disastrous third effort), but now? This had better be one glorious album, or the backlash will show no mercy. RIYL: Drake, Kanye West, Spank Rock.


Main Attraktionz, Bossalinis and Fooliyones (October 23, Young One)
Every hip sub-genre gets its backlash, and the blogospheric negativity has hit "cloud-rap" hard of late. Will Main Attraktionz's (not sure of the grammar there to be honest) new album validate their sound apart from the zeitgeist that spawned it, or will cloud-rap take its practitioners down with it? RIYL: A$AP Rocky, Clams Casino, Lil B, the Weeknd.


The Mountain Goats, Transcendental Youth (October 2, 4AD)
The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle is probably the best lyricist working today, since Dave Berman stopped producing new work. His new album is called Transcendental Youth, which is funny because that's what every Mountain Goats song is about, more or less. So it seems fans can expect more of the same from this release -- amazing, short-story-like lyrics loaded with Biblical references, Darnielle's pinched nasal vocals, and shambling Americana courtesy of the ol' Goats. RIYL: Bob Dylan, Daniel Johnston, Neutral Milk Hotel, Silver Jews.


No Doubt, Push and Shove (September 25, Interscope)
'90s ska-crossover icons No Doubt are back, after Gwen Stefani's mildly successful solo career fizzled out. Will their first album since 2001's hit Rock Steady be a godsend or cringe-inducing? Well, they've brought iconic dancehall producers Major Lazer (aka Diplo and Switch) on board, so at the very least it should be a good bit of fun. RIYL: M.I.A., Santigold.


The Raveonettes, Observator (September 11, Vice)
Danish duo the Raveonettes have never been very original, but they're always a ton of fun. Each of their releases has started with a derivative core -- "Jesus and Mary Chain-style shoegaze revisions of '50s rock and '60s pop + Everly Brothers close harmonies" is their basic recipe -- and adds in derivative elements reflecting the style of the times (in 2009: '80s pop; in 2011: goth rock), but does it with more swagger, attitude, pop smarts, guitar distortion, and, above all, commitment than your average, everyday uninspired revivalist. They clearly love what they rip off of and, at their best, they make the listener forget how well-traveled this particular road is. RIYL: Crystal Stilts, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Phil Spector.


The Soft Moon, Zeros (October 30, Captured Tracks)
The Soft Moon toe the line between noise and melody, between violence and seduction, and between gothy camp and genuine darkness. It's a tough act to pull off, and it's a tough one to get noticed in a time when the influence of goth rock and industrial dance can be seen in most young urban American rock and electronic acts. But the Soft Moon's track record is spotless and though they've flown under the radar thus far, they deserve to make it big with this, their second album. It's a blend of black noise and danceable grooves that's perfectly suited to its Halloween release date. RIYL: Bauhaus, Ministry, My Bloody Valentine, Suicide, VNV Nation.


Tamaryn, Tender New Signs (October 16, Mexican Summer)
YES! New Zealand-born, San Francisco-based vocalist Tamaryn -- whose witch-y huskiness not even Victoria Legrand can rival -- is back with a new album following the 2010 standout The Waves, a white-hot slice of arid, monumental shoegaze laced with Tamaryn's inimitable alto moaning. Even if Tender New Signs were to sound just like its predecessor, I wouldn't complain, because its predecessor is amazing. Oh, and never fear -- Tamaryn's second guitarist, Rex Shelverton (of now-defunct Bay Area hardcore legends Portraits of Past) is back for round two. Fierce. RIYL: Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Warpaint.


Tame Impala, Lonerism (October 9, Modular)
Tame Impala made their mark with 2010's speaker-blowing psych-rock epic Innerspeaker, and the early singles from their sophomore effort suggest that these spacey Southerners are at it again -- "it" being massive, intricately produced, mind-expanding rock music, of course. RIYL: Bear in Heaven, MGMT.


Titus Andronicus, Local Business (October 23, XL)
The New Jersey rockers' third album is hotly anticipated following their triumphant 2010 masterpiece, The Monitor. RIYL: The Hold Steady, Japandroids.



WHY?, Mumps, etc. (October 9, Anticon)
Oh, Yoni Wolf. Mumps, etc.? Really? Is this guy ever going to stop writing hip-hop/indie pop hybrid songs about how he's afraid of death (and how that fear is sabotaging his romantic life)? I guess it doesn't matter, so long as those songs continue to be as smart, striking, hilarious, honest, and beautiful as the Anticon founder's best material -- let's hope this album follows the lead of the Sod in the Seed EP  out earlier this year and improves upon WHY?'s lackluster fourth album, Eskimo Snow. RIYL: Modest Mouse, Drake (hmm weird combo...).


Woods, Bend Beyond (September 18, Woodsist)
Few bands nail that end-of-summer feeling like the modest psych-rockers Woods, whose discography is consistently excellent and perennially overlooked. Hopefully that will change with their latest batch of tunes. RIYL: The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Real Estate.


The xx, Coexist (September 11, Young Turks)
Easily one of the most anticipated albums on this list here at WRMC, Coexist finds the black-clad Brits in top form as always, continuing to make heartbreak and grief sound deeply, impossibly sexy while seeming to barely touch their instruments. Coexist folds in a bit more of the UK bass influence from producer/percussionist Jamie xx, but otherwise sounds like a logical extension of the band's 2009 debut. Which means it's hot. Like, really hot. RIYL: Burial, Interpol, Phantogram, Portishead, Young Marble Giants.


Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon, and Thurston Moore, YOKOKIMTHURSTON (September 25, Chimera)
If you need me to tell you why you should be excited about this, get thee to Wikipedia (and a record shop) immediately. I mean, just look at that lineup. Holy shit. RIYL: Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore.



And these are only some of the albums due out in the fall! Keep your ears tuned for new work by many other artists, including but not limited to: Alicia Keys, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Andrew Bird, the Bad Plus, Calexico, Chelsea Wolfe, Clinic, Converge, Django Django, Dragonette, El Perro Del Mar, Ellie Goulding, Frightened Rabbit, the Hood Internet, Isis, Jason Collett, Jim O'Rourke, Kendrick Lamar, the Killers, Lindstrom, Major Lazer, MellowHype, Mouse on Mars, Mumford & Sons, of Montreal, Oneohtrix Point Never, Ozomatli, the Polyphonic Spree, Prince Rama, Ringo Deathstarr, Sam Flax, Sic Alps, Sky Feirrara, Teen Daze, Thee Oh Sees, Van Morrison, The Wallflowers, and oh so many more!

UPDATE: NPR's "All Songs Considered" thinks Ben Gibbard's solo album is "highly anticipated." LOLZ

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