Fall brings any number of albums worth jamming to, but here are thirteen that unquestionably deserve a listen when they hit iTunes.
Banks, Goddess, September 9
Banks has forged ahead with a sound that sidesteps genre—a little Lykke Li, a little Sade, blessed with a breathy voice that makes every song sound like it’s levitating right out of your speakers.
Justin Townes Earle, Single Mothers, September 9
The son of country legend Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle’s music is understandably met with high expectations—which he is meeting handily.
Aphex Twin, Syro, September 23
When an unreleased Aphex Twin album from 1994 was found this year and posted on the Internet, the web pretty much shut down. When it was discovered that the electronic music pioneer would be releasing an album of new material, his first since 2001, it was announced with blimps flying through the sky.
Perfume Genius, Too Bright, September 23
Perfume Genius has emerged as a powerful voice in music, singing about coming out of the closet, heartbreak, and, for his first single from his upcoming album, sashaying to the beat of your own drummer. Think of him as an alt Sam Smith.
Zola Jesus, Taiga, October 7
Zola Jesus has evolved her avant-garde industrial leanings into a sound far more palatable for her new album, Taiga, her first for Mute Records. Which means she might be poised for a much larger audience.
Tinashe, Aquarius, October 7
Tinashe has emerged as the voice in R&B this year: “2 On” was on heavy rotation this summer, and Aquarius’s second single, “Pretend,” is a truly heartfelt kind of jam that could become a standard. For her new album, she’s working with everyone who matters—DJ Mustard, Boi-1da, Jasper, Future, and Stargate.
Kindness, Otherness, October 14
With Otherness, Kindness has crafted a pop record that feels nostalgic and entirely new all at once, working with fresher legends like Dev Hynes, Robyn, and Kelela, and mixing in production work from established greats like Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Jimmy Douglass. These catchy songs will feel like they’ve been in your head all your life.
Pharmakon, Bestial Burden, October 14
Brooklyn-based Pharmakon ripped the music world apart with last year’s album, Abandon, a noisy power-electronics record that sounded completely coarse and difficult, but downright worth it. Though little is known about her sophomore effort, it’s bound to be brutal.
Charli XCX, Sucker, October 21
On the heels of her song-of-the-summer collaboration with Iggy Azalea and her own breakout single, “Boom Clap,” who had a better season than Charli XCX? Expect Sucker to be the album that solidifies her as the superstar she was bound to be.
Jessie Ware, Tough Love, October 21
With powerhouse chops, Jessie Ware might be the strongest new voice in pop. Working with BenZel, the production duo of Benny Blanco and Two Inch Punch, she’s created a cohesive album of slow-burners that highlights her incredible vocal prowess.
Taylor Swift, 1989, October 27
Taylor shed her country roots for 1989’s first single, and it took the song all the way to No. 1 on the charts. Will going all-the-way pop ensure that Taylor can compete with Beyoncé and Rihanna for the title of Biggest Pop Star in the World?
Dan Bodan, Soft, October 28
Berliner Dan Bodan makes music so subtle you have to practically cup your ear to hear its layers and textures. Once you do, though, you uncover an earnest lyricist futuristically playing with our very notion of what a singer-songwriter is supposed to sound like.
Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint, TBA
Nicki has been on a tear this year, proving all the haters wrong by releasing some of the strongest verses of her entire career and setting the Internet on fire with every sensationalist move she makes. All the guest verses, all the videos, all the performances, and all the memes have been leading up to this, an album that she’s promising will be her classic.