Treble’s 20 most anticipated albums of fall 2017

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There’s no need to sugarcoat it: This has been a trying year. Political conflicts in the U.S. and abroad situate us in a period of transition. A transition to what, exactly, isn’t that clear, but it’s probably going to get messier before we find our way out of it. But something we can count on is the endless stream of new music, which only intensifies with time. There’s a lot of music out there, and we won’t have time to cover it all. So we have to prioritize, and in doing so we’ve assembled a list of 20 albums this fall that are among the most promising to be headed our way. Some of them are from high-profile artists we’ve been waiting on for a while. Some of them are debut albums by up-and-comers. And some of them are the next steps by relatively new artists that caught our attention already. One thing’s for sure: These records are likely to ride us out of this year much stronger than it began. Take a look at our most anticipated albums of fall 2017 below, from masked rappers to post-hardcore vets.

most anticipated albums of fall 2017 Leikeli47Leikeli47Wash & Set
(Sept. 8; Hardcover/RCA)

Leikeli47’s been featured in our hip-hop column, Da Art of Storytellin’, on the strength of her unique identity and sonic approach within a pretty crowded rap field. But the masked rapper has been on the rise for a couple years, now hitting a new peak as she’s made appearances on Zane Lowe’s radio show and had a song on HBO’s Insecure. Leikeli47 has the bars, and the fact that her face is always hidden makes sure that’s the focus. But with recent single “2nd Fiddle” as proof, she’s also got some hits. – JT

Ted Leo new album The Hanged ManTed LeoThe Hanged Man
(Sept. 8; self-released)

Seven years can be a long time in the music business, but that’s exactly how long it’s been since Ted Leo released an album with his band The Pharmacists. However, he has collaborated with Aimee Mann on their project The Both, and wrote a lot of material in the last seven years—two albums’ worth, in fact. One of those, The Hanged Man, will be the first to emerge, featuring some of his most lushly produced material to date, with a greater attention to power pop jangle and even a bit of saxophone. Thematically, it contains a mixture of political, personal, hopeful and heartbreaking material, so be prepared for something intense. But the tunes are most definitely there, and it’s good to have Leo back to doing what he does best. – JT

The National Sleep Well BeastThe NationalSleep Well Beast
(Sept. 8; 4AD)

One of the best things to come of 2017 so far is that unexpectedly rawking guitar riff in “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” the first single from The National’s Sleep Well Beast. After the relatively subdued Trouble Will Find Me in 2013, it seemed that the band didn’t have as many rockers in them as they once did—not that they were ever Van Halen. But that riff signaled they were still at least a little Van Halen. Which is to say that Sleep Well Beast probably isn’t their 1984, but they haven’t let go of their tendency to let loose and turn it up when the mood suits them. And for a band that’s all about moods, it’s good to know one of them is unapologetically hedonistic. (Also: The National should definitely cover “Panama.”) – JT

most anticipated albums of fall 2017 PardonerPardonerUncontrollable Salvation
(Sept. 8; Father/Daughter)

Fledgling label Father/Daughter records have quickly become one of the most reliable modern indie rock taste-makers since their start in early 2010. On September 8, they’ll push a new Pardoner record out into the world, which will be the band’s debut for the San Francisco label. We’ve already heard “Blue Hell” and the title track from Uncontrollable Salvation; both songs are fiery and feedback-heavy numbers, drawing influence from acts such as Sonic Youth, Spirit of the Beehive and F/D labelmates Happy Diving. – PP

Zola Jesus new album OKOVIZola JesusOKOVI
(Sept. 8; Sacred Bones)

Zola Jesus briefly made the move to Mute with 2014’s Taiga, but returning to Sacred Bones for the release of her fourth full-length album feels significant. And, indeed, the material on OKOVI is much darker than that of its predecessor. Early singles “Exhumed” and “Siphon” reveal a much more sinister and intense sound for her, which is no doubt a result of the grief and inspiration that went into it, with tragedy and personal reflection being a major theme throughout this batch of songs. And with production contributions from WIFE, it sounds pretty spectacular as well. – JT

Godspeed You Black Emperor new album Luciferian TowersGodspeed You! Black Emperor Luciferian Towers
(Sept. 15; Constellation)

It’s always a safe bet to count on a few things with Godspeed You! Black Emperor: 1. Sprawling, intense emotional dirges that travel from moody to explosive; 2. Cryptic titles and themes, along with short but similarly mysterious messages from the band; 3. Little advance notice; and 4. A pretty powerful visceral reaction. And maybe some less-obvious political motives. With a title like Luciferian Towers, and the unsettlingly majestic track “Undoing a Luciferian Towers,” we feel pretty safe in our prediction, as well as in the probability that we’ll be blown away, yet again. – JT

most anticipated albums of fall 2017 OmniOmniMulti Task
(Sept. 22; Trouble in Mind)

Trouble In Mind affiliates Omni are gearing up for the release of Multi-Task, the Atlanta group’s sophomore effort. Fresh off last year’s under-the-radar gem Deluxe, the post-punk trio are back with another batch of jagged, sub three-minute post-punk ditties. Lead singles “Equestrian” and “Southbound Station” both demonstrate the band’s focus and development towards Omni’s distinct sound on Multi-Task, landing somewhere between Ought’s melodic instincts and the wiry nature of The Hecks. They’ve also incorporated elements of glam and twee along the way, finding further balance of originality and tasteful new influence. – PP

Moses Sumney new album AromanticismMoses SumneyAromanticism
(Sept. 22; Jagjaguwar)

Moses Sumney landed on our Top 100 Songs of 2016 with his spectacular single “Lonely World,” a soulful yet intricate piece of indie art pop that starts off like the vibey soul of Sampha and ends with the cerebral dynamics of Radiohead. That was enough for his debut album to have a permanent slot on our most-anticipated list. Live, Sumney has been known to layer samples on top of each other to create an illusory, layered sound. Yet here he’s brought in some outside talent, including studio session MVP Thundercat. There’s some funk on this album, certainly, but it’s deep within layers of wispy psychedelia. – JT

Chelsea Wolfe new album Hiss SpunChelsea WolfeHiss Spun
(Sept. 22; Sargent House)

Chelsea Wolfe gets gradually heavier with each release, turning what was once a cool, atmospheric goth sound into a proper doom production. Yet compared to 2015’s Abyss, which took more of an industrial direction, Hiss Spun is her hardest rocking album to date, with guest appearances from the likes of Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and Sumac vocalist Aaron Turner. And to hear a single like “Vex,” which is both catchy and brawny, she seems ready to get loud, right and proper. (Which she did pretty spectacularly at Psycho Las Vegas this year.) – JT

Ben Frost new album The Centre Cannot HoldBen FrostThe Centre Cannot Hold
(Sept. 29; Mute)

When Ben Frost released Threshold of Faith earlier this summer, it came seemingly out of nowhere, a gift from the bottomless well of caustic inspiration inside the Icelandic noise/dark ambient artist’s secret chamber. As it turns out, that chamber was Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago, and he ended up recording two hours of material. While he’s parsing it out in gradual steps, this is a sizable chunk of his product, a full-length of blistering and apocalyptic electronic sounds committed to analog tape. This may or may not be the loudest album of the fall, but it’s bound to be one of the most intense. – JT

Protomartyr new album 2017ProtomartyrRelatives in Descent
(Sept. 29; Domino)

Detroit’s post punk darlings Protomartyr will return later this month with Relatives in Descent, the band’s Domino Records debut and the fourth installment in their incredibly consistent catalogue. After almost nonstop touring for 2015’s The Agent Intellect between multiple one-off singles, the band settled back in Southwest Detroit to record their new LP in a former optician’s office. Frontman Joe Casey’s stark lyricism continues to juxtapose humorous quips and observations, thematically exploring the existential anxieties of the fleeting nature of truth, making Relatives in Descent all the more relevant in today’s unreliable big media climate. – PP

Kamasi Washington new albumKamasi WashingtonHarmony of Difference
(Sept. 29; Young Turks)

Kamasi Washington’s follow-up to 2015’s massive The Epic is being described as an “EP,” though given how massive his debut was, anything might seem more slight by comparison. But then again, the first track released from the new set, “Truth,” spanned an impressive 14 minutes, so it’d be wise to expect something ambitious regardless. That track comprises the entirety of side two, while side A features five other tracks. So, an EP? Maybe technically, but it’s more accurately an abbreviated but nonetheless expansive spiritual jazz experience. – JT

Kelela new albumKelelaTake Me Apart
(Oct. 6; Warp)

Kelela’s full-length debut has been a long time coming. Her first mixtape, Cut 4 Me, back in 2013 introduced her as an R&B artist with an ear for the futuristic and ethereal, the product of a generation raised on Aaliyah and obsessed with The xx. That the Los Angeles singer ended up on pioneering electronic label Warp makes sense; her 2015 EP Hallucinogen was aptly titled, psychedelic and darkly sensual. And her new single “LMK” balances hitmaking hooks with the ephemeral vapors of traveling through time and space. In other words, it’s future pop. – JT

most anticipated albums of fall 2017 Wolf ParadeWolf ParadeCry Cry Cry
(Oct. 6; Sub Pop)

Breaking up for a few years and then returning with some unexpected new material doesn’t always yield indie rock gold, but after revisiting Apologies to the Queen Mary earlier this year, it’s hard not to feel hopeful. And to Wolf Parade’s credit, they’ve shared some promising new singles, including the excellent, upbeat “You’re Dreaming,” which suggests they’re re-energized and inspired after some time apart. Wolf Parade had a short but great run from 2005 to 2010. We’re betting on a second wind. – JT

Courtney Barnett Kurt Vile new albumCourtney Barnett and Kurt VileLotta Sea Lice
(Oct. 13; Matador)

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile share a lot in common. They’re both incredibly talented singer/songwriters, they each have effortlessly unique singing styles, and they both manage to make deceptively intricate indie rock arrangements sound so easy. So why wouldn’t they make a collaborative effort together? Lotta Sea Lice is their first album together, and the first single, “Over Everything,” gives the impression of a perfect, seamless collaboration. It’s such a natural pairing, it’s a wonder some know-it-all on Twitter didn’t think of it first. – JT

most anticipated albums of fall 2017 MelkbellyMelkbellyNothing Valley
(Oct. 13; Wax Nine)

Chicago noise punk outfit Melkbelly are set to release Nothing Valley this October, out on Carpark Records sister label Wax Nine. So far we’ve heard “Middle Of” and “Kid Kreative,” two certified rippers off Nothing Valley that feature frontwoman Miranda Winters’ sharp lyricism over the band’s chaotic and nuanced fuzz punk. Previously dubbed one of “the most exciting” by two different publications, Melkbelly have quickly harnessed national attention through Chicago’s bubbling punk scene and a series of stellar 7-inches, singles and the band’s Pennsylvania EP. – PP

Julien Baker new albumJulien BakerTurn Out the Lights
(Oct. 27; Matador)

Tennessee’s Julien Baker proved herself a talent to watch back in 2015 with the release of her debut Sprained Ankle, a heartbreaking and breathtaking debut from an artist seemingly years wiser than her years. It was enough to earn her a slot on Matador’s roster, and with the announcement of her first for the long-running indie label she offered up a stream of “Appointments,” a devastatingly beautiful first single from the album. Chances are there won’t be many dry eyes after hearing this album. (No, you’re crying…) – JT

Blut Aus Nord new albumBlut Aus NordDeus Salutis Meae
(Oct. 27; Debemur Morti)

French black metal artist Blut Aus Nord has built up a hell of a back catalog over the past two decades and change, from early lo-fi recordings bathed in a haunted winter chill to more recent experiments in genre. Since earlier in the decade, Blut Aus Nord have arguably moved on from black metal proper, occasionally erupting in a blast beat by and large choosing a more atmospheric, industrial-tinged and frequently ominous sound. Deus Salutis Meae has only been teased in the most cryptic manner of yet, but no item in their catalog in the past 15 years or so hasn’t been, on some level, amazing. – JT

most anticipated albums of fall 2017 ConvergeConvergeThe Dusk In Us
(Nov. 3; Epitaph)

It’s turning out to be a pretty prolific year for Jacob Bannon. Earlier this year he released his debut full-length as Wear Your Wounds, which was more of a folk and post-rock-inspired project than his typically explosive and intense material with Converge. But as it turns out, he also finished a new album with Converge. Arriving five years after 2012’s All We Love We Leave Behind, The Dusk In Us follows the longest between-album gap in the band’s history. Yet the two tracks they’ve shared so far, the manic energy of “I Can Tell You About Pain” and the dark post-hardcore of “Under Duress,” suggest it’s some of their most complex and nuanced work to date. Nuanced for music that kicks your ass, naturally. – JT

Quicksand new album InteriorsQuicksandInteriors
(Nov. 10; Epitaph)

I’ll be honest—it probably wouldn’t have mattered what “Illuminant,” the first single from Quicksand’s new album Interiors, sounded like. It would have been the first new music from the New York post-hardcore legends in two decades, and that’s enough, damn it. But that it’s actually good—in a muscular but moody kind of art-punk way—means it’s likely to be one worth putting on repeat. Granted, we don’t have more than the one song just yet, but Quicksand’s two ’90s releases are a couple of the best, viscerally intense yet melodically accessible releases of their era. If this comes anywhere near those, it’ll be an end-of-year contender. – JT

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