Tomorrow marks the first day of autumn. You might not believe it given these muggy 80-degree days, but Fall is upon us nevertheless. Fall is the best for multiple reasons, including turtlenecks, Halloween, and mock-necks; but it is also a time when things die. Leaves. Bar backyards. Your summer tan. All gone. Looking back on this time last year, I was writing about the death (or at least prolonged hibernation) of CMJ. Now I could add the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and potentially The Deli Magazine to that obituary. Sure, the Voice is only going out of print, Rolling Stone is only up for sale, and The Deli Magazine is only half the size it used to be – maybe “death” is too harsh a word – but that’s what it feels like.
Today I happened upon one of those familiar red boxes and snatched up the last copy of The Village Voice I will ever hold. The cover was nearly text free, save for the paper’s logo and the words “Final Edition” in tiny print at the top. A black and white photo of Bob Dylan giving a salute filled the page. It is a somber image, and almost made my knees buckle on West Broadway. I could only think: “what next?”
And then, in rare moment of attempted optimism, I asked myself again: “yes, what next?” This time, instead of asking with dread, I asked it with the expectation of wonderful things. New York may be missing some iconic music venues, festivals, and print publications, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a wealth of great music coming our way regardless. So rather than mourn the lost, let’s look forward to the season’s best musical happenings, shall we? We shall. Here are the Fall 2017 record releases I am most looking forward to.
The difficult-to-define, experimental Canadians Godspeed You! Black Emperor will drop their sixth LP tomorrow – the much anticipated Luciferian Towers. Fortunately we don’t have to wait another second to check it out, as the group shared the album in full with NPR last week. In keeping with GY!BE fashion, this record is dense, sprawling, and frenetic. Now we can only hope the band will accompany its release with a US tour sometime soon!
Next week, Detroit post-punks Protomartyr will release Relatives In Descent – their debut LP for Domino Records. After seeing Protomartyr play a dynamite set at Basilica Soundscape last weekend, I’m especially thrilled for this new album, which according to the band’s Greg Ahee, was inspired by Mica Levi and the Raincoats’ Odyshape. Relatives In Descent was co-produced and recorded with Sonny DiPerri, who has worked with the likes of Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective. What’s not to love?
Mercury Prize winner Benjamin Clementine is one of the more fascinating characters in contemporary music. While his debut album 2015’s At Least For Now was a sweeping affair between neo-classical and Nina Simone, I Tell A Fly promises theatrics and a bit of the political. The record’s leading single, “Phantom Of Aleppoville” is an album all its own, volleying from marching snares to parlor piano and soul harmonies. It’s a tour de force, and I imagine the whole LP will be nothing short of the same. Don’t miss Clementine when he plays Carnegie Hall on October 5th.
Two very different records drop on October sixth, one being the long-awaited full-length debut from R&B artist Kelela. Take Me Apart (Warp Records) is the follow-up to Kelela’s 2014 EP Hallucinogen and her 2013 mixtape Cut 4 Me. According to the artist, the album is a blend of personal themes, politics, and genre. “Despite it being a personal record,” Kelela stated in a press release, “the politics of my identity informs how it sounds and how I choose to articulate my vulnerability and strength. I am a black woman, a second-generation Ethiopian-American, who grew up in the ‘burbs listening to R&B, Jazz and Björk. All of it comes out in one way or another.” Catch Kelela November 12th and 13th at Bowery Ballroom.
On the other end of things, Antichrist Superstar Marilyn Manson is back with his first new track in two years. The garage-pop cut “KILL4ME” is Manson’s leading single off his forthcoming record Heaven Upside Down, and it’s far more catchy than disturbing. Perhaps all of Manson’s interactions with Justin Bieber have affected his sound? Manson will perform at the Hammerstein Ballroom on September 30th and The Paramount on October 3rd.
Mid-October treats include the debut duet Lotta Sea Lice from Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, who make such a natural pair it’s amazing they didn’t cut a record together years ago. The record’s first single “Over Everything” is an expert blend of deadpan romanticism and tangy guitar riffs – elements both artists know their way around quite well. Kurt and Courtney (no, not that Kurt and Courtney!) will play The Beacon Theater on November 1st.
Archy Marshall is set to release his sophomore LP as King Krule. The Ooz is already garnering a lot of excitement from the music community, and if the entire record is half as good as its first single “Dum Surfer,” all the hype will be justified. For those of you who’ve yet to see King Krule live, he’ll be headlining Greenpoint’s Warsaw on October 24th and 25th. Get there early and eat some pierogies while you’re at it!
The first two singles from Destroyer’s forthcoming LP Ken sound completely different from one another. But then again, that’s the Destroyer sound: constantly morphing. Check out the frenetic and haunting “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood,” and keep an eye open for Destroyer’s 2018 US tour.
Right in time for Halloween, Sacred Bones Records will release John Carpenter’s Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998. This collection of Carpenter’s film scores (that’s right, he directed the flicks and composed the music to cult classics like Escape From New York and Halloween) will be limited to 500 hand-numbered vinyl LPs, pressed on “Anti-God Green” wax, of course. Get your copy quick, and don’t miss Carpenter’s Terminal 5 set on November 16th.
If that list of killer music-to-come doesn’t dissolve your Autumn blues, then I don’t know what will. Perhaps this list of incredible Fall concerts, happening right here in NYC: