Music fans: brace yourselves for fall album releases



Mikaela Krim

The Fall season is upon us, and with it comes the requisite pumpkin spice lattes, cable knit sweaters, cozy blankets and football games. There are a few staple activities that feel almost mandatory as accessories to that gentle drop in temperature apple picking is a traditionally favorite pastime. But apples aren’t the only thing we’ll be gathering up this Autumn. The fruits of many artists’ summer labors are ready to drop, and music fans everywhere are eager to get a taste. What follows is a short list of some of the more noteworthy and highly anticipated albums from groups both big and small. Hold on to your infinity scarves and pray that these records indeed live up to their potential to blow you away. 


Disclosure, “Caracal” September 25

Last year, the single “Latch,” featuring iconic crooner Sam Smith, propelled Disclosure into a spotlight around the perimeter of which it had been long been hovering. The band’s relevance was further increased by EDM artist Flume’s (soon-to-be) classic remix of “You & Me.” Helping to place the Howard brothers’ debut album “Settle” at number one on the U.K. Albums Chart, those songs made their way into the American music-listener’s repertoire and secured Disclosure as one of the decade’s more innovative electronic pioneers. “Caracal” promises to bring additional features from Sam Smith, along with Lorde, Gregory Porter, and more. “Omen,” the catchiest new single thus released, unabashedly languishes in pop territory, while “Holding On,” feels a lot more like typical European dance-club fare, and “Willing & Able” treads the line. Indeed, much of Disclosure’s material falls somewhere in the middle, between dance and house, emotional and dry. It will be interesting to see where “Caracal” falls on the spectrum. 


Børns, “Dopamine,” October 16

Børns saw a swift rise to prominence in early 2015, with the success of his singles “10,000 Emerald Pools,” “Past Lives,” “Seeing Stars” and the ubiquitous “Electric Love.” Born Garrett Borns (excuse the pun) in Grand Haven, Michigan, the 23-year old seems to have hit the nail of consumer pop sentiment straight on the head. With a soaring falsetto and an impeccable ear for melody, his songs have a kind of teenage-crush feel that appeals to a wide audience. The first single off of “Dopamine,” “The Emotion,” glides along on a similarly melodic platform of strumming synth-guitar and major chord changes with an added element of—how else could we phrase it?—emotion. Fans should be ready to vibe out to “Dopamine” at all hours of the day or night. 


Small Black, “Best Blues,” October 16

Small Black has flown relatively under the radar for the duration of its existence. The featuring of its single, “Despicable Dogs,” on the soundtrack of “Project X” stands as its solitary claim to fame. But with the release of a new album, the Brooklyn-based band may see a spike in popularity. A member of the dream-pop category, Small Black is chilly-weather music at its finest, built for walking home under orange leaves while the sun goes down. If the newest single, “Boys Life,” is any indication, “Best Blues” promises more of the same introspective dreaminess with clearer vocals and a stronger percussive emphasis. 


Deerhunter, “Fading Frontier,” October 16

“Helicopter,” one of the popular songs off of Deerhunter’s 2010 album “Halcyon Digest,” could only be described as bubbling. The faint tinkling of chimes and the gooey sound effects mingled with a leisurely beat to create something otherworldly. In 2013, Monomania took the band’s sound in another direction, with distorted vocals and the indie-genre’s typically gritty focus on guitars. Now, with their seventh studio album, Bradford Cox and his crew seem to be reconciling the two. “Fading Frontier” promises to be a trip, somewhere between an up-tempo jam-album and a relaxed indie outing. Fans of any alternative music should be satiated by the eclectic musicality that Deerhunter’s sound offers. As Cox sings on the new single “Breaker,” “It’s been too long since I’ve been driving all night/ on the back roads winding/ under the stars.” We agree. Everyone needs some music to drive all night to, and this could be it. 


Youth Lagoon, “Savage Hills Ballroom,” September 25

“The Year of Hibernation,” Trevor Powers’ debut album under the stage name Youth Lagoon, was a fun romp that blurred the lines between Americana and electronic dream pop. With minimalist lyrics that allowed melody to take center stage, “Daydream,” “17” and “Afternoon” all established themselves as prime fodder for rainy-day introspection. Indeed, Powers has a gift for composition rarely seen in pop music, using the notes to tell the story in lieu of words. In 2014, “Wondrous Bughouse” went almost completely unnoticed, but Youth Lagoon is back. “Savage Hills Ballroom” seems to be following the genre-wide trend of increased vocal clarity in focusing on Powers’ high and breathy tones. “Knower,” one of the first singles off of “Savage Hills,” ups the ante with a beautiful horn solo, and “Rotten Human” gradually mounts to a chorus so richly layered that it feels more like a Coldplay or Magic Man song than that of the traditionally conservative Powers—although a simple and intermittent piano melody retains some of the musician’s signature sensitivity. 


Neon Indian, “VEGA INTL. Night School,” October 10

Of all the groups thus mentioned, Neon Indian has achieved the most widespread recognition. It’s been four years since “Era Extraña,” the group’s second album, established the group’s unique talent for making hazy synth-driven melodies easily digestible by the average music listener. The Denton, Texas-based band, headed by Mexican-born Alan Palomo, defies genre stereotypes, and fits more comfortably into the category of chillwave, synthpop, or indie-electronica “Annie,” the first single dropped off “VEGA INTL. Night School” has become an instant hit on satellite radio stations and is almost certain to reach mainstream airwaves in the coming months. With a persistent syncopated rhythm section and stunningly clear vocals, the track is far more danceable than Neon Indian’s previous work—we’d even go so far as to say you can sing along, a feat that, despite the musical ingenuity of “Era Extraña,” would be nearly impossible with any song off of that album. “Annie” parallels “Era Extraña’s” “Polish Girl” in structure and musical key, but boils down the chaotic sound of the former into a more refined product. 

“Slumlord,” the group’s second new single, is more aligned with their 2011 sound—it has a groovy bass and a decidedly ’70s funk feel. The stark differences between both singles leaves fans wondering not at the almost certain excellence of “VEGA INTL,” but in what direction Palomo will end up leading his band. 


Mayday Parade, “Black Lines” October 9

The angsty Tallahassee band is back with its fifth studio album. Known for previous hits like “Jersey” and “Miserable at Best,” the group has never quite reached the prominence it held in 2007, before the departure of original lead singer Jason Lancaster. But the punk rockers held on, releasing “Anywhere But Here,” the EP “Valdosta” and “Monsters in the Closet,” and playing the Vans Warped Tour multiple times. “Black Lines” promises more of the emotionally wrought and passionate sound that define the genre, driven by fierce guitar and rapid drum set antics. The two singles released so far, “One of Them Will Destroy the Other” and “Keep in Mind, Transmogrification is a New Technology” seem to actually move the band backwards in terms of typical punk-rock progression—the grit and pace imbue the music with more of a garage band feel (think old school Red Hot Chili Peppers), rather than tightening up the sound. It should be interesting to see what fans make of the development, or if Mayday Parade will earn a whole new legion of followers with the release. 


Frank Ocean, TBD 

Ignorance is not always bliss. Ocean’s long-awaited second studio album was expected in July 2015, but the date came and went. Now, fans have gone from feeling restless to downright worried—the idiosyncratic singer has been absent from both the public eye and social media in recent weeks, even blowing off a performance at FYF festival only to be replaced by Kanye West. The ambiguity regarding both Ocean’s physical location and that of his (presumably, based on precedent, excellent) new music is a source of general concern. Fingers remain crossed that the public’s anxiety will be assuaged in the coming months. 


Fetty Wap, “Fetty Wap,” September 25

It’s highly doubtful that any college student in America can be an active member of their community without knowing the name Fetty Wap. The Internet loves rap, and “Trap Queen” is and continues to be an undeniable hit. Our favorite one-eyed wonder recently released “679,” and his first full album drops tomorrow. 

Born Willie Maxwell, the New Jersey native’s songs insidiously work its way into listeners’ heads. With catchy hooks and unique beats that find their strength in glowing electronic sounds, Fetty’s music is pure entertainment. Music-lovers everywhere have high hopes for this studio debut, and chances are strong that bars, clubs and frat houses nationwide will be filled with his sultry crooning this winter into 2016. 


Avicii, “Stories,” DATE????

Many times referred to as the Swedish house hit-maker, some would credit Avicii with turning the tide for EDM popularity stateside. The 2011 single “Levels” was an absolute club necessity and opened the American heart, mind and ear up to the possibilities of house music. Avicii, known to his loving parents as Tim Bergling, has a penchant for jangly guitar-driven melodies (“Wake Me Up,” “Hey Brother”), that put strong emphasis on the vocals of whatever deep-throated singer is featured. “True,” the 2013 album that provided the platform for both aforementioned hits, was notable for its overwhelming positivity and sheer melodic forcefulness. Every track is swollen, proud and triumphant. “You Make Me,” “I’m Addicted to You” and “Liar Liar” have been remixed many times over, and prove that electronic music can be blissfully artistic. Ample piano features and clever chord progressions douse each track in a splash of color and raise the bar for “Stories.” Truly, “Waiting for Love,” a recently released single from said album, rises to the challenge with more of that golden Avicii sound. Alternations between enthusiastic choruses and austere piano-led interludes give the song an anticipatory appeal that’ll have listeners idling in their cars long after they’ve been parked, waiting for the drop to hit. And oh, will it ever.