The 10 Albums We’re Most Excited About in September

After spending much of this week taking stock of August’s best albums, then songs, it’s time we turned our eyes—and ears—to the future. September is positively awash with new releases that are not only noteworthy, but also truly exciting, from the first new Yeah Yeah Yeahs record in nearly a decade to the creatively bountiful new outings by Santigold and Alex G. That’s just a handful of the month’s most-anticipated albums, if you ask us—brush up on all 10 (and more!) below.

Notable September 2 releases: Bill Orcutt: Music for Four Guitars, Bitchin Bajas: Bajascillators, The Front Bottoms: theresa, Jon Pardi: Mr. Saturday Night, Kris Kristofferson: Live at Gilley’s – Pasadena, TX: September 15, 1981, Lean Year: Sides, Living Hour: Someday Is Today, Mo Troper: MTV, Motel Radio: The Garden, Moth Cock: Whipped Stream and Other Earthly Delights, Pi’erre Bourne: GOOD MOVIE, SSWAN: Invisibility Is an Unnatural Disaster, Stereolab: Pulse of the Early Brain (Switched On, Vol. 5), Two Door Cinema Club: Keep On Smiling, The Wonder Years: The Hum Goes On Forever, Ylayali: Separation

September 9

Santigold: Spirituals

Little Jerk Records

Multi-hyphenate artist Santi White has been on a quest for transcendence since her debut single under the moniker Santigold in 2007, blending elements of dancehall and reggae with punk and electro-pop to transcend the notion of genre altogether. While working on her fourth studio album, and her first project since 2018 mixtape I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions, White took inspiration from spirituals that enslaved Black people would sing to endure what she referred to in a statement as “the un-get-throughable.” Spirituals sees White melding her eclectic influences with the desire to rise above her own lack of physical freedom in quarantine, placing intention behind each layer of booming percussion and wave of manipulated vocals. Lead single “High Priestess” erupts in a flurry of whirring drums and bass, while follow-up “Ain’t Ready” crackles with electricity in a storm of piercing synths, building something big enough to peer down over the clouds. “I want to make music that sounds like the past and the future all in one,” White said in the same statement, “music that makes you feel safe enough to jump in, but then takes us on a journey to where we needed to go but have never even heard of. I want my music to be the bridge.” —Elise Soutar

Sudan Archives: Natural Brown Prom Queen

Stones Throw

If there’s one thing L.A.-via-Cincinnati artist Sudan Archives isn’t, it’s average—and on Natural Brown Prom Queen, the follow-up to her 2019 full-length debut Athena, she’s glad to remind you of that herself. “You don’t need those women, they are average,” she coaxes over the sleek disco-soul of opener “Home Maker,” while on the subsequent “Natural Brown Prom Queen (Topless),” she repeats, ”’Cause I’m not average,” backed by rapid handclaps and booming bass. And it is a reminder, as much as it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy—Paste hailed the singer/songwriter, producer and violinist born Brittney Parks as the Best of What’s Next in 2017, on the strength of her self-titled debut EP alone. At 18 tracks and nearly an hour, Natural Brown Prom Queen finds Sudan Archives at her most ambitious, as well as her most introspective, welcoming listeners into the places and experiences that shaped her special talent even as she unleashes it. You could say it’s not your average album. —Scott Russell

More notable September 9 releases: The Afghan Whigs: How Do You Burn?, Ari Lennox: Age/Sex/Location, Badge Époque Ensemble: Clouds of Joy, Built to Spill: When the Wind Forgets Your Name, Charles Stepney: Step on Step, Charley Crockett: The Man from Waco, Holy Fawn: Dimensional Bleed, Jockstrap: I Love You Jennifer B, John Legend: Legend, The Kinks: Muswell Hillbillies / Everybody’s In Show-Biz – Everybody’s A Star, Marlon Williams: My Boy, Miya Folick: 2007 EP, Ohma: Between All Things, Oliver Sim: Hideous Bastard, Ozzy Osbourne: Patient Number 9, Preoccupations: Arrangements, Sampa the Great: As Above, So Below, Sarah Davachi: Two Sisters, Son Little: Like Neptune, Wyldest: Feed The Flowers Nightmares, Yarn/Wire: Andrew McIntosh: Little Jimmy

September 16

The Beths: Expert in a Dying Field

Carpark Records

While The Beths’ music bristles with anxiety, it feels more like the nervous excitement of butterflies in your stomach than a full-blown panic attack. The New Zealand-based quartet will release their third LP, Expert in a Dying Field, on Sept. 16 via Carpark Records. The jittery title track introduces the mind-racing indie rock that sees them spiraling around impossible-to-answer questions and the incessant ticking of the clock. This sense of urgency is furthered by their breakneck pace, songs that simultaneously feel like hours of overthinking and a frantic mad dash to say what they need to before time runs out. Their power-pop seems almost like catharsis as Elizabeth Stokes’ soaring vocals careen through zipping riffs and clamoring percussion. —Samantha Sullivan

Death Cab for Cutie: Asphalt Meadows

Atlantic Records

Though they’ve never quite recaptured the magic that created a new generation of indie-rock obsessives in the early 2000s, Ben Gibbard’s Death Cab for Cutie are threatening a late-career standout with Asphalt Meadows. Produced by Grammy winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Wallows), the album is the veteran Washington band’s 10th, and their first since 2018’s Thank You for Today. Early returns, namely singles “Roman Candles” and “Foxglove Through the Clearcut,” suggest that Death Cab are aging gracefully, bridging the gap between their more soft-spoken, intricate beginnings and the scope of their Atlantic output—the former track leaves room for Gibbard’s reedy, romantic melodies amid propulsive noise-rock guitars, while the latter finds the frontman taking Sprechgesang vocals for a spin amidst sleek, sweeping pop-rock. There’s something uniquely thrilling about seeing a band steadily finding new ways forward, even 25 years on. —Scott Russell

Young Jesus: Shepherd Head

Saddle Creek

Young Jesus, the brainchild of Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter John Rossiter, has long been a difficult band to describe, and on its forthcoming sixth album Shepherd Head, the project’s sonic tent is bigger than ever. Rossiter explains in press notes that while recording the Welcome to Conceptual Beach follow-up on his MacBook, he incorporated everything from nearby dog howls and voice memo mistakes to flowing rivers and singing strangers: “Whatever wanted to be in came in.” This inherent embrace of the world that birthed it imbues Shepherd Head with an abundant sense of peace. As we wrote of lead single “Ocean,” featuring not only Tomberlin, but also former Young Jesus members Marcel Borbón Peréz and Peter Martinez (the band’s original drummer), “There’s a sense of cosmic scope to the track, as well as everyday earthliness (Rossiter layers footsteps and leaves crunching into the track as texture), but what ultimately pervades it most is a sense of preternatural calm. ‘Go / Give your life unto the weave / To the fabric and the seam / To the drift of what you’ll be,’ Rossiter and Tomberlin urge, as if in worship of the unseen forces that govern all, not in spite of their unknowability, but because of it.” Rossiter himself all but disappears into these songs, as if channeling something far larger than himself—than any one of us. —Scott Russell

More notable September 16 releases: Blackpink: Born Pink, Butcher Brown: Butcher Brown Presents Triple Trey, Crack Cloud: Tough Baby, Disco Doom: Mt. Surreal, Djo: Decide, Ela Minus & DJ Python: corazón EP, Fletcher: Girl of My Dreams, Jesca Hoop: Order of Romance, Joe Strummer: Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years, The London Suede: Autofiction, Lou Reed: Words & Music, May 1965, The Mars Volta: The Mars Volta, Marcus Mumford: (self-titled), Michelle Branch: The Trouble With Fever, Mura Masa: Demon Time, No Age: People Helping People, No Devotion: No Oblivion, Pink Floyd: Animals 2018 Remix, Rina Sawayama: Hold the Girl, Sumerlands: Dreamkiller, Vundabar: Good Old, Whitney: Spark

September 23

Alex G: God Save the Animals

Domino Recording Co.

When it comes to Alex G, you never know quite what you’re going to get. Whether it’s the soft-spoken Brooklyn basement show-esque acoustics or the experimental hypnosis of his single, “Blessing,” he likes to keep listeners guessing. The Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter will be releasing his latest album, God Save the Animals, on Sept. 23. As seen on singles ranging from the guitar-centric “Runner,” to the distorted deluge of “Cross the Sea,” he collages together an album that will keep you on your toes. Toying with religious motifs and constructing his own ideas on the divine, Alex G affirms his place as the patron saint of indie rock. —Samantha Sullivan


Dirty Hit

It would be quicker to tell you which genres this Kansas City trio doesn’t touch—as most recently seen on their 2021 album Puppies Forever, BLACKSTARKIDS are the type of band to move fluidly from pop-punk hooks to hip-hop verses, presenting bold, bright pop music as seen through indie rock’s artfully adventurous lens. TheBabeGabe, Deiondre and Ty have only shared one single from their forthcoming mixtape CYBERKISS* so far, the technicolor club banger “SEX APPEAL,” a tribute to early-2000’s hip-hop/pop titans like Timbaland and Missy Elliott. But if the “mixtape” designation tells us anything, it’s that CYBERKISS* finds BLACKSTARKIDS continuing to pursue their ever-expanding sonic possibilities in just about every direction at once, making vibrant music that turns time-tested influences into the pop music of the future. —Scott Russell

More notable September 23 releases: Alhaji Waziri Oshomah: World Spirituality Classics 3: The Muslim Highlife of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah, Altopalo: Frenemy, Arkells: Blink Twice, Beth Orton: Weather Alive, Caroline Shaw & Attacca Quartet: Evergreen, Christine and the Queens: Redcar les adorables étoiles, The Comet Is Coming: Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam, Couch Prints: Waterfall Mixtape EP, Death’s Dynamic Shroud: Darklife, Divino Niño: Last Spa on Earth, Dr. John: Things Happen That Way, Editors: EBM, Future Teens: Self Help, Iceage: Shake the Feeling: Outtakes & Rarities 2015-2021, John Louther Adams: Sila: The Breath of the World, Joni Mitchell: Archives, Vol. 3: The Asylum Albums (1972-1975), Magdalena Bay: Mercurial World Deluxe, Makaya McCraven: In These Times, Maya Hawke: Moss, Motörhead: Iron Fist (40th Anniversary Edition), Nikki Lane: Denim & Diamonds, Nils Frahm: Music for Animals, Sofie Royer: Harlequin, Sports Team: Gulp!, Toledo: How It Ends, Vieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin: Ali, Willow: CopingMechanism

September 30

High Vis: Blending

Dais Records

With the follow-up to their 2019 debut No Sense No Feeling, London’s High Vis are on the verge of … well, high visibility. On Blending, the quintet deliver cocksure Britpop hooks with hardcore-punk force, wrapping gut-punch truths in anthemic, yet textured rock. Relentlessly melodic opener “Talk for Hours” sets the tone for the record: “Talk for hours, I hardly know ya,” frontperson Graham Sayle sings, only to follow his brusque dismissal with, “But I, I’m listening / But I, I’m listening, I’m listening to you cry.” High Vis aren’t interested in coddling anyone, but they know damn well we all get knocked down—and have their hand out when it’s time to get back up. On singles like the surreal shimmer of “Fever Dream” and emotional knockout “Trauma Bonds,” Sayle and company don’t mince words about harsh realities, yet hope always shines in around the edges. Blending is a reminder—as well as proof—that it’s a gift to be alive, in joy and pain alike. —Scott Russell

Mamalarky: Pocket Fantasy

Fire Talk Records

Mamalarky is a ray of sunshine. Known for their unwavering optimism and bright indie rock, the band’s sophomore album, Pocket Fantasy, will be out Sept. 30 via Fire Talk. The lead single, “Mythical Bonds,” is a celebration of friendship ornamented with playful riffs and jangly psych-rock. While working on the album, three of the band’s four members moved into a secluded house surrounded by nature, a theme they expertly lace throughout the album. Blissed out and breezy, even as the last few days of summer start to slip away, Mamalarky’s new album evokes the sun-kissed glow of days spent lounging around the lake with your loved ones. —Samantha Sullivan

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Cool It Down

Secretly Canadian

Ever since their 2014 hiatus, there had been a Yeah Yeah Yeahs-shaped hole in the art-rock landscape—and now, nearly a decade later, Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase are back to fill it in with the follow-up to their fourth (and, for a while there, final) album Mosquito. The New York City trio are playing the eight-track Cool It Down relatively close to their chests, having shared only a pair of singles since the album’s announcement in early June. Lead track “Spitting Off the Edge of the World,” produced by Dave Sitek and featuring Perfume Genius, is a climate-change lament etched in hypnotic synth-rock, while the dramatic dance-rock of August follow-up “Burning” feels like a fresh take on the It’s Blitz! era. With a couple of indie-rock classics already under their belts, we won’t put it past Yeah Yeah Yeahs to add another in their third decade as a band. —Scott Russell

More notable September 30 releases: 2nd Grade: Easy Listening, Basher: Doubles, The Big Pink: The Love That’s Ours, Clark: 05-10, Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (2022 Mix), Dropkick Murphys: This Machine Still Kills Fascists, Keith Jarrett: Bordeaux Concert, Kolb: Tyrannical Vibes, Lambchop: The Bible, Mamaleek: Diner Coffee, MILLY: Eternal Ring, OFF!: Free LSD, Office Culture: Big Time Things, Perera Elsewhere: Home, Pixies: Doggerel, Pretty Sick: Makes Me Sick Makes Me Smile, Sam Prekop: The Sparrow, Shannen Moser: The Sun Still Seems to Move, Shygirl: Nymph, Slipknot: The End, So Far, Titus Andronicus: The Will to Live, Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Deluxe Edition)