The fall music release calendar is a perfect cross-section of the industry in 2019: genre-defying, with controversial superstars, stars-in-training, and veterans who still find themselves with something to say. And with a list of rumored albums that includes efforts from superstars like Rihanna and Adele, this could be the season when people do something incredible … actually buy music. In 2019? We know!
Sturgill Simpson, “Sound & Fury” (Sept. 27): The alt-country Grammy winner announced that his fourth album, a follow-up to the highly acclaimed “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” will be accompanied by an animé film of the same name that will be released on Netflix the same day as the record. He’s described the album as “a sleazy, steamy rock and roll record,” according to a news release.
Kanye West, “Jesus Is King” (Sept. 27): Based on the album and song titles, this is the era of “Sunday Service” ‘Ye; many are expecting a full-on gospel-rap record here. That is, of course, if we hear it at all. His album “Yandi” had release dates last September and November, but never saw the light of day.
Tegan and Sara, “Hey, I’m Just Like You” (Sept. 27): The album comes three days after the release of “High School,” the sister duo’s memoir. Appropriately, the album consists largely of demos from the band’s early days, with high schoolish titles like “Hold My Breath Until I Die” and “Don’t Believe the Things They Tell You (They Lie).”
The New Pornographers, “In the Morse Code of Brake Lights” (Sept. 27): Album number eight for the Canadian indie stars is, according to a news release, a showcase for the underrated Kathryn Calder. The single “The Surprise Knock” would have fit in nicely on the band’s “Twin Cinema." The group will also play Brooklyn Steel on Nov. 7.
Angel Olsen, “All Mirrors” (Oct. 4): Early reviews of alt-rock favorite Olsen’s fourth album have called it “bigger” and “her farthest-reaching work yet.” For the single, “Lark,” that means a string section headed up by Jherek Bischoff, who has collaborated with Amanda Palmer, Yacht and Los Campesinos! She’ll be in New York for three shows at Brooklyn Steel on Nov. 21, 22, and 23.
Wilco, “Ode to Joy” (Oct. 4): It’s been three years since the alt-country band, which turned 25 in 2019, has released an album. But there’s been plenty of Wilco-adjacent music in the meantime; lead singer Jeff Tweedy released three solo albums over that time and bassist Nels Cline released a jazz record on Blue Note.
Kim Gordon, “No Home Record” (Oct. 11): Thirty-eight years since founding Sonic Youth with Thurston Moore, Gordon has a solo record to call her own. Single “Sketch Artist” embraces a bass-heavy, sometimes distorted sound, like she has been hanging out with Trent Reznor.
King Princess, “Cheap Queen” (Oct. 25): The debut album of New York pop singer/songwriter Mikaela Straus has become one of the fall’s buzziest releases, thanks to its advance singles and her performances at Coachella and Glastonbury. Hit “1950” impacted on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, and she’ll play her homecoming shows on Nov. 1 and 2 at Terminal 5.
FKA twigs, “Magdalene” (Oct. 25): Singer, songwriter, dancer, Apple ad star: FKA twigs has worn many hats since her debut EP in 2012. “[The] process of making this album has allowed me for the first time, and in the most real way, to find compassion when I have been at my most ungraceful, confused and fractured,” she says in press materials.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, “Colorado” (Oct. 25): It’s the first album from the legend and the band since 2012. Despite having ample opportunities to become a nostalgia act, Young has never stopped creating. This will be his 10th album, solo or with a band, in the last 10 years.
Luke Combs, “What You See is What You Get” (Nov. 8): It may feel to country fans that Combs just released his debut album; it’s number one on the Billboard Top Country Album chart as of Sept. 14. It actually showed up in stores in June 2017. Imagine having to record a follow-up to an album that’s spent 118 weeks on the charts?
Rihanna, Adele, Ty Dolla $ign, Juanes and Kesha are each “maybes” for this fall. Another that could be fun: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the producers and songwriters behind a roster of number one hits (Usher’s “U Remind Me” and Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes,” among others) are reported to have an album in waiting which could be heavy on famous guests.