18 albums we’re anticipating for fall 2018
So many great albums have already come out in 2018, but of course even more are on the way this fall, and since fall will be here before we know it, we've put together a list of 18 upcoming fall releases that we're anticipating. Even though fall technically starts on September 22, we're going with the unofficial start of the season and including anything that comes out after Labor Day (so we didn’t include the summer albums we’re looking forward to like Mitski, Blood Orange, Trevor Powers, and Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner’s Big Red Machine). We mostly stuck to albums that already have release dates announced. That means we left off much-talked-about but still up-in-the-air releases (most of which we've had on past 'anticipated albums' lists) like My Bloody Valentine, Chromatics, The Wrens, Grimes, and Jarvis Cocker, and other stuff that's on the way but still not announced like La Dispute and How to Dress Well.
Our list spans indie rock, folk, IDM, pop, metal, hardcore, country, and more. No rap at the moment (though it's been a huge year for rap so far), but we're still hoping new albums by Brockhampton, DeJ Loaf, Kamaiyah, A$AP Ferg, Schoolboy Q, Young M.A, Maliibu Miitch, and Earl Sweatshirt will see the light of day before the end of 2018 (none have release dates announced yet).
To catch up on many of the great 2018 albums that have come out already, browse our Notable Releases, Bill's Indie Basement, and Upcoming Metal Releases columns. Also check out 5 Great 2018 Albums You May Have Missed and the Best Metal Albums of the First Half of 2018.
Read on for the list, in chronological order...
Heavy music vets Pig Destroyer are gearing up to release their first album with a bassist, and going by the singles they've released so far, it sounds like bass isn't the only new addition to their sound. The singles have a slower, more metallic hardcore vibe than the band's earlier grindcore material. It's a little more accessible, but still as crushing as Pig Destroyer have ever been. [Andrew Sacher]
Jason Pierce is never one to rush things, but the six years between Sweet Heart Sweet Light and the new Spiritualized album is the longest he's taken to make a new record. Part of that may be because he did almost everything himself. "Making this record on my own sent me more mad than anything I’ve done before," says Pierce. "We’d been playing these big shows and I really wanted to capture that sound we were making but, without the funds to do, I had to find a way to work within the constraints of what money I had. So I bought a laptop and made it all in a little room in my house." You'd never know it from the songs released so far which are as gorgeous and lush as you'd expect, and And Nothing Hurt looks as vast as the outer space trip Pierce is taking on the album's cover. [Bill Pearis]
Richard D James lives in his own solar system, full of glitchy beats, bouncy analog synths and sounds you're not sure how were created. (Videos only add further mystery.) Every Aphex Twin record is like a fly-by of his alien landscape, skitting close to the surface so that buildings flash by like strobes while clouds float motionless against the horizon. Song titles could be code or serial numbers. Is this 2018? 1998? A year yet to be seen? Who can say, but we welcome visits from his interplanetary craft, be it a full album or, in this case, an EP. [B.P.]
After 25 years and 11 albums, you might think you know what to expect from a Low album, but for Double Negative, core members Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker shake things up. They reteamed with Ones and Sixes producer BJ Burton, but here really took advantage of the studio expertise he shows on records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and Lizzo. Burton gets a "collaborative co-writer" credit this time, and the three songs released from the LP point to directions we've never heard Low go in before. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? [B.P.]
Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, alongside Bill Fuller and Will Young, make up BEAK> and follow their debut album, >, and second album, >>, with... wait for it... >>>. The trio's strict guidelines remain in effect here: recorded live in one room with no overdubs, only using edits to create arrangements. Their sound has also not varied much since forming nearly 10 years in Bristol, England, with dark postpunk and krautrock as the backbone. The Can-like first single, "Brean Down," which features the very now chorus of "the future's kinda sketchy so people gotta get along," sounds absolutely electric, though. [B.P.]
Christine and the Queens is the moniker of French pop musician Héloïse Letissier, and for her highly anticipated sophomore album, she's dropping the "-tine and the Queens." Letissier has always pushed the boundaries of gender as much as she pushes the boundaries of genre, and this new move towards Chris is another example of that. "Even the act of actually you know striking out the rest of Christine and the Queens for just a Chris to emerge is a sense of me being a bit more confident, exposed and upfront," she told Zane Lowe recently. "I could see muscles emerge. I was becoming more of a powerful female." Going by the early singles, the music picks up where the boundary-pushing alternative pop of Letissier's debut left off, and goes into some new territory too. They make the arrival of Chris seem very promising. [A.S.]
Mountain Man’s members have been busy since releasing their 2010 debut (and touring as Feist’s backup singers) - Amelia Randall Meath as half of Sylvan Esso (whose early hit “Play it Right” was a Mountain Man rework), and Molly Erin Sarle and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig with solo projects - but they came out of hibernation to perform at the 2017 edition of Eaux Claires, and now they've shared a few new songs and news of a new album they had been working on. Whether totally a cappella or accompanied with minimal instrumentation, Amelia, Molly, and Alexandra's voices mingling together in lush harmonies sound as sweet as ever, making this a must listen for folk and Sylvan Esso fans alike. [Amanda Hatfield]
No matter what trends are going on in music, Marissa Nadler sticks to her guns and makes the kind of bare-bones folk music she's always made (sort of a dark, gothy spin on the middle ground between '60s psych-folk and Hope Sandoval-style dream folk). Her music isn't ever really in style, but it never goes out of style either, and her recent singles sound just as instantly gripping as Marissa's music ever is. Making For My Crimes even more exciting: it features guest vocals by Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, and Kristin Kontrol. [A.S.]
The Big Thief frontwoman released her first solo album, Hours Were the Birds, in 2014, two years before Big Thief's breakthrough debut Masterpiece came out. "I had just turned 21 and moved to New York City where I was sleeping in a warehouse, working in a restaurant and photographing pigeons," she wrote. "Now five years later, another skin is being shed." abysskiss follows Big Thief's excellent Capacity and its first single, "cradle," is a slice of minimal, evocative folk that would've fit nicely on either of Big Thief's albums. [A.H.]
It's been six years since the release of Cat Power's 2012 album Sun, and Chan Marshall has finally announced a follow up, Wanderer, and shared some new music. Clocking in at just over a minute in length, first single "Wanderer" features lovely choral harmonies, making for an atmospheric, pastoral mood - and possibly hints at Chan going in a more folky direction with this album after the rock and electronics of Sun. Second single ”Woman” points in that direction as well, and also, excitingly, features Lana Del Rey, who sounds right at home lending her voice to Chan’s. Both songs have our hopes very high for Wanderer, which will also be Chan's first album for Domino after over twenty years on Matador. [A.H.]
Fucked Up are finally back from somewhat of a hiatus (during which time Damian Abraham recorded 169 episodes of his TOAP podcast), and they're about to release their first album in four years, which is a double album. Owen Pallett, who contributes strings to the album, said "Fucked Up have made their Screamadelica," and that's pretty high praise. Going by the songs they've released so far, it's already clear that they've gotten both more melodic and more psychedelic, but Damian's unmistakable bark is still there too. Fucked Up are never not ambitious, but it especially feels like they're shooting for the moon on this one. [A.S.]
As if it wasn't enough for Matt Pike and his Sleep bandmates to bless us with their first album in over 15 years this year, Matt Pike is giving us a new album from his long-running sludge band High on Fire too. HoF have always had a Motorhead influence, but that influence is even stronger than usual on Electric Messiah's lead single/title track, which is named after Lemmy and clearly channel's his brand of high-speed metallic punk. Converge's Kurt Ballou produced, as he's done before. So all the ingredients are there for a high-octane heavy rock album that'll melt your face off. [A.S.]
The War On Drugs get a lot of credit for indie rock's current interest in heartland synth rock, but some of the credit also belongs to Phosphorescent, whose standout 2013 single "Song for Zula" was one of the first (and is still one of the best) modern-day songs to go in that direction. That song was on Phosphorescent's last album, Muchacho, which he is finally now following after five years. The first single off the new album, "New Birth In New England," is closer to Paul Simon/Vampire Weekend than to indie heartland rock, but it's great in its own right and keeping hopes for this album high. [A.S.]
Windhand started out worshipping at the throne of Electric Wizard, but it was always clear that there was more to them. Singer Dorthia Cottrell always had these really melodic, Alice In Chains-y melodies hiding beneath the doomy murk. They embraced that grunge influence a little further by seeking out Seattle grunge legend Jack Endino to produce their last album, 2015's Grief's Infernal Flower. They're back with Jack again for this new one, and lead single "Grey Garden" suggests it'll be a big step forward from its predecessor. That catchy grunge side isn't hiding in the background anymore; it's pushed right to the forefront. The song also more overtly dips its toes into '60s psychedelia than Windhand usually do, and Windhand make all of these progressions without ever losing the intensity of their early work. [A.S.]
Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Colter Wall was just 21 years old and relatively unknown when he opened for Lucinda Williams at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in 2016. Two years later, on the strength of his much-loved 2017 Dave Cobb-produced debut album (which features a guest spot from fellow rising star Tyler Childers), the Johnny Cash-evoking troubadour is announcing shows at 1200-capacity rooms in NYC in support of his upcoming Dave Cobb-produced Songs of the Plains. Based on the singles, it's another taste of his penchant for classic outlaw country crooning, but this time with a greater focus on where he comes from. Of the album, Wall comments, "One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years, in the United States and playing in Europe, is that people all over the world really don’t know much about Canada at all…When you talk about Saskatchewan, people really have no idea. Part of it is because there are so few people there. It’s an empty place—it makes sense that people don’t know much about it. But that’s my home, so naturally I’m passionate about it. With this record, I really wanted people to look at our Western heritage and our culture." [Dave]
Cloud Nothings' last album, 2017's Life Without Sound, was mostly made up of the band's calmest-sounding songs yet, and it was great for what it is, but it's very exciting to learn that Cloud Nothings are getting back to the loud, noisy, spastic stuff. Their upcoming Last Building Burning is being touted as "the band's statement of intent to bring a heavier sound back to rock music," and lead single "The Echo of the World" makes good on that promise (even if that promise seems slightly less necessary on a list next to Pig Destroyer, High on Fire, and Windhand than it might otherwise). It's one of the most abrasive songs in the band's discography, and we can't wait to hear what else Last Building Burning has up its sleeve. [A.S.]
Phoebe Bridgers confirmed that she had a new project in the works with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus during NPR Music's 'Turning the Tables Live' concert and discussion early in August, and last week, the trio whetted our appetite further with a new press photo, evocative of Crosby, Stills & Nash's self-titled 1969 debut in black and white. While further details about the project have yet to surface, Phoebe and Julien made two of our favorite albums of 2017, and we love Lucy's 2018 album Historian. With their combined history of touring and performing together, and their shared propensity for making melancholic, emotionally devastating music that sticks with you, it's especially exciting to imagine what they've come up with together. We impatiently await more details. [A.H.]
UPDATE: They announced a self-titled EP and released three songs.
While exact info for this album is still TBA, mewithoutYou promised a fall release date and just dropped a new single and they're hinting that more info is coming very soon. Going by that single, it looks like this album is gonna be the band's most drastic shift in direction since they switched from arty post-hardcore to Neutral Milk Hotel-esque indie folk on 2009's It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright. The band said the new album would be heavier, and the new single is indeed one of the heaviest songs the band has released yet. Their early material is more aggressive than this song, but this one's got more sludgy weight to it. It's also more atmospheric than mewithoutYou's usual stuff. It's sort of their own unique take on the shoegaze/metal stuff that's been in style lately, but it's noticeably different than that too. [A.S.]
UPDATE: The album is called [Untitled] and due out on October 5. The band also has an EP with the same name out now.