The 22 albums you must hear this fall

From Alt-J to SBTRKT and acts that do not sound like computer commands, here are the best new fall albums. Believe it or not, Miley Cyrus is on two of these.
Weezer, Alt-J, Flying Lotus, Karen O make our list of must hear fall albums.
Weezer, Alt-J, Flying Lotus, Karen O make our list of must hear fall albums.
By Brent DiCrescenzo |

It's no different than the movie biz or book industry. As the leaves begin to drop (we swear that happens here), so do the "important" records. September always comes riddled with high-profile, critically adored music. There are many notable upcoming releases that didn't make the cut, new albums from Banks, Interpol, Scott Walker, Leonard Cohen, Lady Gaga, Moonface, Delta Spirit, Death from Above 1979, Robert Plant, Perfume Genius, Goat… and that's just in the span of two weeks. Then, when the holiday season rolls around, the big guns come out. That later slate remains a little hazy, but we've made some educated guesses. Here are the 22 fall albums we are itching to get in our earbuds.

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Ryan Adams
Photograph: Michael J. Chen

Ryan Adams 'Ryan Adams'

Sept 9 (PaxAmericana/Blue Note)
At last, just as the Mayans predicted, Ryan and Bryan Adams will finally release an album on the same day. The two have more in common than you might think. "Gimme Something Good" cruises into Great Plains twilight like classic Eagles, while "My Wrecking Ball" hushes down to Fleetwood Mac balladry. After spitting out records early in his career, Adams is slowing, focusing on a graceful California sound as he matures.
Karen O

Karen O 'Crush Songs'

Sept 9 (Cult)
Half a decade ago, Yeah Yeah Yeahs goddess Karen O recorded a clutch of demos under the title Native Korean Rock. Now, the lo-fi, stripped-bare acoustic lovelies are being released as a long-overdue solo debut. She sings about romantic heartache with childlike wonder in a way that will be cherished by anyone who loved her ditty in Her.
Jeff Tweedy
Photograph: Michael J. Chen

Tweedy 'Sukierae'

Sept 23 (dBPM/Anti-)
Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has teamed with his drumming son, Spencer, for what sounds like a sprawling Wilco retrospective. No wonder, as Spencer took lessons from Glenn Kotche. The seven of the 20 tracks that have been released run the gamut from sweet folk to electroacoustic krautrock. Something about whole father-son team thing just hits us right in our soft spots.
© Gabriel Green

Alt-J 'All This Is Yours'

Sept 23 (Atlantic)
The unlikely Leeds breakout, shaved to a trio after the departure of Gwil Sainsbury, aims to skip the sophomore slump. Alt-J presents the weird with such clean lines, it hardly seems weird. Again produced with crisp percussion and circuit-board precision, the tunes oddly seduce as Joe Newman delivers his dark nursery rhymes with a nasal pinch. Unexpected curves—an organ solo, a Miley Cyrus sample—keep you on your toes.
Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin 'Syro'

Sept 23 (Warp)
Announced via small blimp and the Dark Web, this unexpected yet long awaited release from the pioneering electronic genius should shame all those EDM producers dorking around with Ableton. Jam of the year: "4 bit 9d api+e+6 [126.26]"? Probably not, but it'll sound like Liszt being devoured by nanobots.
Julian Casablancas & The Voidz

Julian Casablancas & The Voidz 'Tyranny'

Sept 23 (Cult)
In which the Strokes frontman enters his heavy-metal phase. He's still obsessed with the '80s, but remember that Iron Maiden was pretty huge in the Reagan era. Still, though the guitars are crunchier and V-shaped, the shirts a little more sleeveless, this new act of Casablancas upholds his baroque craftsmanship and preternaturaly melodic arrangements.
Photograph: Dan Wilton

SBTRKT 'Wonder Where We Land'

Sept 23 (Young Turks)
Aaron Jerome may loathe dance-music conventions as much as he does vowels, but the SBTRKT man still gets thighs pumping like few others. Many of our favorites, such as Caroline Polachek, Warpaint and Jessie Ware and Ezra Koenig, pop up to handle vocals, and we only hope they match the dumb brilliance of the Vampire Weekend frontman singing about "gargoyles gargling oil" on "New Dorp. New York."
Kat Edmonson
Photograph: George Brainard

Kat Edmonson 'The Big Picture'

Sept 30 (Sony)
Edmonson, who dubs her music "vintage pop," offers a more soulful alternative to the doe-eyed nostalgia of Zooey Deschanel (see below). After two albums of sorting through the Great American Songbook on indie labels, the 31-year-old jumps to a major with a batch of tunes she largely cowrote. Though they can still easily slip unnoticed into a Mad Men episode or Sean Connery Bond flick.
Ex Hex
Photograph: Jonah Takagi

Ex Hex 'Rips'

Oct 7 (Merge)
Post-riot-grrrl supergroup Wild Flag was rousing fun, but now that Carrie Brownstein is back on the Portlandia set, how will Mary Timony get her kicks? Answer: this power-pop trio, which reaches even higher levels of air-guitar-along righteousness. Few records on this list seem more appropriately titled.
Flying Lotus
Photograph: Tim Saccenti

Flying Lotus 'You're Dead'

Oct 7 (Warp)
It doesn't take too much digging to find folks proclaiming jazz is dead. The title of this fifth outing from the Coltrane relative thumbs its nose at such notions. Judging by this brain melting teaser, You're Dead weds proggy jazz fusion and modern electronic glitch, two rather brainy fields, into something playful and hip-hop. Case in point: Herbie Hancock and Snoop Dogg guest.
Photograph: Michael J. Chen

Weezer 'Everything Will Be Alright in the End'

Oct 7 (Republic)
Rivers and co. always turn to Ric Ocasek when they need a comeback. The Cars frontman produced Weezer's debut (The Blue Album), the first record without Matt Sharp (The Green Album) and this last chance for relevence (The Brownish Orange Album with the Monster). It's a meta concept LP that looks back on the band's early days, but will probably end up as a charmingly stupid rollercoaster (The Red Album).
Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus 'Taiga'

Oct 7 (Mute)
In case you haven't noticed by the lip shades of Lorde and Charli XCX, goth hasn't made such inroads into pop since Billy Corgan sported leather skirts. As evidenced by new single "Dangerous Days," even eerie ice queen Jesus is crafting synth jams that could inconspicuously slip onto an Ariana Grande record. As the album title suggests, she's moving from frigid territories into lands where green life breaks through.
© Cara Robbins

Foxygen '…And Star Power'

Oct 14 (Secretly Canadian)
The breakthrough second album from these style spaniels served up a scrappy pastiche of '60s psych and garage pop, colored by mushrooms and paisley. But everyone compared it to Pavement. Now the California act is moving forward a decade with a double album of soft rock in the same vein as Todd Rundgren and Ariel Pink.
Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware 'Tough Love'

Oct 21 (Island)
Though it's produced by Benny Blanco (Katy Perry, Maroon 5), the sophomore effort from the British singer maintains her seductive, smouldering and sophisticated soul-pop. Despite subtle touches of downtempo dubstep, cuts like "Share It All" and "Say You Love Me" position her as an heir to Sade, if not Adele.
The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips 'With a Little Help from My Fwends'

Oct 28 (Warner Bros.)
Lead Lip Wayne Coyne has often put his painted toenails in his mouth via his social media behavior, and there's something icky about his continued relationship with Miley Cyrus, but thankfully he's back to what he's best at—making drugged-out, uplifting rock. This track-by-track cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper features, er, "fwends" like Tegan & Sara, MGMT, Phantogram and, yes, Miley Cyrus.
Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd 'The Endless River'

There are several reasons to not get excited: 1) Roger Waters is not involved and the band clearly still loathes one another. 2) This material is leftover from an album made 20 years ago. 3) It's supposedly largely instrumental. However, when one of the monolithic rock acts for all eternity drops a new record, it feels important. Even if it sounds like free music that comes with a yoga mat.
Foo Fighters at Madison Square GardenWith a new date added at NYC's most storied arena, you no longer need to schlep to New Jersey to see Dave...
Photograph: Steve Gullick

Foo Fighters 'Sonic Highways'

Nov 10 (RCA)
The quality of Dave Grohl's music seems inversely proportional to the girth of his neck and the length of his hair. Too often, the former Nirvana drummer tries to shred (guitars and vocal chords) like Cannibal Corpse, though his career peaks are closer to Cheap Trick. That being said, 2011's Wasting Light smelled fresher than the stolid prior few, and this one is again produced by Butch Vig.
She & Him

She & Him 'Classics'

Fall (Columbia)
It's too easy and cruel to mock a popular actress making rose-tinted retro-pop. It's like smacking a puppy on the nose. Zooey D. and M. Ward's Betty Crocker bop can charm your pants off if you shed the cynicism. For the duo's first major-label platter, the two are covering, well, classics. Though their notion of timeless runs deep, to Brill Building confections along the lines of Maxine Brown's "Oh No Not My Baby." This ain't Rod Stewart.
Grimes soaks up the roar of her fans (and a fan) during a bubbly set at Pitchfork Music Festival, Sunday, July 20, 2014.


Fans blew wind through her blond locks. Choreographed dancers mimicked her spandex'd shimmying. On her recent summer festival dates, the introverted seapunk blossomed from stage fright into Gem & The Holograms. Her dolphin-cry abstraction have started to come into focus on new club bangers like "Go." The 26-year-old didn't sign with Roc Nation to become the new Cocteau Twins. She yearns to be a pop star, and this will be her bid.

Kendrick Lamar

TBA (Top Dawg/Interscope)
It's hard to believe that two years have passed since Lamar's landmark good kid, m.A.A.d. city, largely because nothing in rap has come close to it since. Well, perhaps labelmate Schoolboy Q. That's how much the new de facto poet laurate of L.A. is running the game. Live, though, he tends to go too hard, overwhelming his marvelous introspective moments with wide-eye vigor. We're crossing our fingers that fame doesn't kill his vibe.
U2 "Invisible"


TBA (Universal/Interscope)
Ah, the old timers are going through that modest pre-album routine again: Perform during the Super Bowl, release single for African charity, leak teasers onto the Internet via Bono blaring his stereo out of the window of his French beach house. "Invisible," fruits of their labor with Danger Mouse, is quite good and portends a comeback. Rumor has it this lucky 13th LP is dubbed Sirens, and it'll be out before 2015. Vorsprung durch Technik!
Kanye West brings mountains and masks United Center in Chicago on his Yeezus Tour of North America, December 18, 2013.
Photo: Josh Mellin

Kanye West

TBA (Def Jam)
Though his stage show remains a profound and jaw-dropping spectacle, Kanye's lyrical skills have fallen off a cliff. Yeezus was largely about sneakers, Kim and his dick. The new "All Day" does not bode well for a return to the witty and ruminative verses of old, nor does it strike us as the Michael Jackson pop he's promised. Whatever the new material ends up sounding like, it is certain to be arrogant, inane, Anna Wintour–referencing and fascinating. Nobody else in music truly warrants the tag "must hear." Even if it fails to revolutionize how we think of men's athletic footwear, this will dominate the conversation.