The albums of Fall 2017: Sleeper hits and big names round out the sound of 2017

By Matthew Joseph

(Eva Rinaldi / Flickr)

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of artists releasing summer/early fall soundtracks so we created a roundup of highlights that you may have missed, alongside some future projects to keep an eye out for.

Kesha – “Rainbow” (8/11)

Yes, THE Kesha. Imagine the collective surprise of the pop star dropping her dollar-sign moniker and teaming up with hard indie rock band The Eagles of Death Metal. “Rainbow” is a statement, a return to form and a genre-stretching bold step of an artist wanting to be taken seriously.

Grizzly Bear – “Painted Ruins” (8/18)

Ever heard “Two Weeks”? That annoying indie song with the plinking piano and the “oh oo-oh OO-oohs”? That’s the incredible critically acclaimed Grizzly Bear, one of the champions of baroque pop. “Painted Ruins” is a confident balance of skilled vocal performances and an orchestra hall’s closet of instruments.

The War on Drugs – “A Deeper Understanding” (8/25)

Further proving that indie bands get their names from a dartboard, The War On Drugs is equal parts rock and shoegaze, with a little splash of Tom Petty. Their 2013 album Lost in the Dream was frontman Adam Granduciel taking the reigns of a project started by legend Kurt Vile and delivering a worthy album of the year. A Deeper Understanding promises no less.

A$AP Mob – “Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy      (8/25)

Rocky’s “Cozy Tape” series is like the Wu-Tang of trap. The 13-member group tops off the month after Ferg’s new album and Twelvy’s debut. Vol. 1 had 13 additional features, and Vol. 2 brings every hot name from Gucci Mane to Playboi Carti and Frank Ocean. The star-studded rap collective will probably be giving the anthems to every frat party this fall.

LCD Soundsystem – “American Dream” (9/1)

It seems like every band was breaking up at the start of this decade, but James Murphy’s electronica-meets-rock group has reunited, returning for another addition to their award-winning discography. The single “American Dream” swings like a pendulum of synth and melancholy, while “Call The Police” deals out commentary masterfully, daring you to “go ahead, call the police.”

Foo Fighters – “Concrete and Gold” (9/15)

Dave Grohl’s stadium rock needs no introduction. While their hits will forever stay in radio rotation, the Foo Fighters have been slowly building a rock solid discography in the shadows. Early writing for “Concrete and Gold” had Grohl forcing himself into seclusion to tackle “creative atrophy.” With his return, his bandmates knew he was on the right track, but the frontman reached out to pop producer Greg Kurstin (The Shins, Sia, Adele) to tighten loose ends. Described as “Motorhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper,”Concrete and Gold” sounds like a triumphant revival.

The Killers – “Wonderful Wonderful” (9/22)

The Killers return from Battle Born—their soft, quiet send-off back in 2012. “Wonderful” seems to continue their new wave, electronic departure: 2008’s Day & Age. Lead single “The Man” has Brandon Flowers channeling David Byrne for a bright and synthy jam, boasting “‘Cause baby I’m gifted, you see what I mean? USDA-certified lean, I’m the man.”

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – “The Kid” (10/6)

If you were looking for study music, here’s your album and more. Smith’s 2016 album “EARS” was electronic bliss. It was jazzy and atmospheric. It was soft, soothing and still managed to be wonderfully experimental. “Rare Things Grow” is an eclectic soundscape of bubbles, bottles, jazz and Smith’s lush vocals. And judging by “The Kid”’s album cover, a cosmic-painted Smith relaxed and eyes closed, it’ll be just as entrancing.

Kelela – “Take Me Apart” (10/6)

“An honest vision of how we navigate dissolving ties with each other and yet remain sanguine for the next chance at love.” Solange and Bjork-endorsed, Kalela’s brand of R&B has the sexy musk of nightlife. Her debut aims to be as alluring as it is contemplative. Single “LMK” pushes her voice with waves of muddy bass, like the sounds that echo off club walls.

Weezer – “Pacific Daydream” (10/27)

Yeah. Bet you didn’t know Weezer was still making music. They’ve been remarkably consistent ever since “Say It Ain’t So” and “Buddy Holly.” Last year’s “White Album” won several awards and was hailed as Weezer’s best in a decade. They look to continue the momentum with “Pacific Daydream,” “reveries from a beach at the end of the world…as if the Beach Boys and The Clash fell in love by the ocean and had one hell of an amazing baby”.

Eminem – TBA

It’s about that time to refresh the pool of Eminem singles that seem to never go away (see “The Monster” and “Love The Way You Lie”). In defense of Marshall Mathers, he’s still in the Top 5, he still opened a completely new audience to rap and made two of the best albums in the genre. But, 2004 was still the last of the greatness. It’s been a slow decline and recent features have been near unlistenable. From Twitter and his very few press appearances, he seems serious this time. He’s even acknowledged the drop in quality in his work. But rumor has it that him and Pink are about to drop a song soon, so who knows.

ScHoolboy Q – TBA

In reference to 2016’s “Blank Face,” ScHoolboy Q says, “I never gave you the other side—the father, the dude that’s actually happy, the dude that doesn’t be in the hood just hanging out.” ScHoolboy has been one of the grimiest. His real life accounts are horrific not because he makes them extra gruesome or talks them up, but because there’s no mistaking how real it is. But he still makes hits that bang—“Man of the Year” and “Collard Greens” to name a few. It’s pretty impossible to imagine ScHoolboy making a happy album to lift spirits, but it’s far more likely to expect a whole album of dope, west coast hood themes.

Melanie Martinez – TBA

“Pity Party” singer Melanie Martinez blew up after 2015’s “Cry Baby.” “Cry Baby” itself is a whole concept album of a character and her world. Martinez says she plans to continue the story and sing about the stories of characters in “Cry Baby”’s neighborhood. She’s even currently making a film about it. For what seemed like a random pop singer, she skyrocketed with her incredible ambition and unique tone and mood to her songs. The next installment in her series is expected to land sometime this year.

PRhyme – PRhyme 2

A rapper and producer duo can be deadly, just look at El-P and Killer Mike, Eric B. & Rakim, or Madlib and pretty much anyone else. But the greatest boom-bap producer and one of the meanest, most talented emcees? DJ Premier and Royce Da 5’9’’ are just ridiculous. Royce’s 2016 album “Trust The Shooter” gave a sneak peek of what the two have cooking up on “Black History.” The first PRhyme featured Common, Ab-Soul, Mac Miller and Slaughterhouse all on one EP. Who knows what will happen if they drop a whole album.

Matthew Joseph can be reached at [email protected]