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The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Stay tuned -- the year in music may be speeding up

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As we eyeball the final stretch, it’s never easy to tell whether the year in music is speeding up or slowing down. In Tinsel Town, we all know the Oscar hopefuls will be coming soon to a theater near us as summer fades and fall settles in. Music’s different, though. Forget a barrage of holiday releases. If your favorite artist doesn’t drop an album by November, you’re likely not getting what you want for Christmas. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some late-in-the-game surprises, but let’s focus on what we know — or at least have been led to believe. Below are 25 promised albums from artists young and old, up-and-comers and bar-setters, some of whom are capable of not only shaping our thoughts on the year in music but maybe even on 2017 in general. Just check out the slate below, and you’ll see what we mean. And if you blew all of your hard-earned record money chasing sounds of the summer, better start raking leaves and shoveling snow in a hurry. You no doubt still have some wax to add to your stacks before 2018 hits.

–Matt Melis
Editorial Director

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25. Melkbelly – Nothing Valley

melkbelly nothingvalley The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: October 13th

Chicago-based Melkbelly has become a staple of the city’s DIY scene. The punk quartet is finally set to release a full-length debut album, Nothing Valley, on October 13th via Sadie Dupuis’ Wax Nine Records. Nothing Valley is Melkbelly’s first release since 2014’s Pennsylvania EP. The album’s first single, “Kid Kreative”, is wonderfully fuzzy and brash. Layers of noise and voice come together to create a dance-y, rough track. (You can watch the music video — chock-full of breakfast food, grubby hands, and psychedelia —  here.) Melkbelly is heading on tour in September with fellow punks Protomartyr, making stops in Raleigh, Cincinnati, and Baltimore. They’ll play a hometown show to debut Nothing Valley at Chicago’s The Hideout. If the album’s music is anything like its artwork, Nothing Valley is sure to be bright and buzzing. –Carly Snider

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24. Torres – Three Futures

torres three futures The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 29th

MacKenzie Scott aka Torres, admittedly, showed up on our radar an album later than should’ve been the case. So, you can forgive us if we doubled-down on 2015’s Sprinter, not only lauding the album all year long but curating a Chicago event with Torres as headliner. Courageously candid in her songwriting and some inspired hybrid of PJ Harvey and Kurt Cobain onstage, she’s proved far too compelling for us not to look anxiously ahead to September’s Three Futures. And her first two singles, “Skim” and the title track, have done nothing to dampen that curiosity. If anything, they show a songwriter finding new muscles as strong as her soft-loud dynamics without sacrificing any of her unflinching intensity. –Matt Melis

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23. Kamaiyah – Don’t Ever Get It Twisted

dont ever get it twisted The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: TBA

Kamaiyah burst onto the scene in 2016 with the retro-fueled, yet incredibly present A Good Night in the Ghetto, and quickly shot up the rap charts. Considering how massive that debut mixtape reached and how unavoidable it felt, it’s hard to believe that she’s only just now been named on XXL’s Freshman Class. The Oakland native already feels like a classic, and it’s not just because she mines the best of ‘90s West Coast hip-hop. The promise of a follow-up in April was tantalizing, and yet Don’t Ever Get It Twisted has thus far failed to materialize — supposedly due to sample clearance issues. Her pinned Tweet still says it’s #comingsoon, so don’t mind us as we continue to sit and click refresh, waiting for it to drop. –Lior Phillips

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22. Converge – The Dusk In Us

converge the dusk in us artwork The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: November 3rd

After five years without a full-length release, Converge are making a powerful return with their upcoming album, The Dusk in Us, due November 3rd via Epitaph/Deathwish. Two singles from the album, “Under Duress” and “I Can Tell You About Pain”, have already been released and made it abundantly clear that Converge has not lost one bit of their signature sonic intensity since 2012’s All We Love We Leave Behind. Major hype was built around The Dusk in Us last month when Converge dropped a 7” EP, which featured a track entitled “Eve” in addition to “I Can Tell You About Pain”. The latter was accompanied by the release of a music video, in which the ominous hallway footage is visually reminiscent of The Shining. Converge have given listeners many reasons to buzz with anticipation regarding their comeback — all there is left to do is wait. –Lindsay Teske


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21. Noel Gallagher — TBD

photo by Debi Del Grande

Release date: TBA

Brothers and former Oasis bandmates Liam and Noel Gallagher have uncovered a new weapon in their ongoing feud: album release dates. In spring, it was announced that Noel was expecting a November release for his anticipated third solo album — a mere month after Liam’s. The Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds frontman has kept fans anxiously waiting with baited breath for details surrounding the forthcoming record, but did reveal that one of the tracks will be named “Instrumental Number Three”. The album will follow up the warmly received Chasing Yesterday and reunites Gallagher with producer David Holmes, who shared with Gigwise that he believes “people are going to be surprised” by the new record. No matter what Gallagher has in store for November, it’s sure to be something fresh. –Lindsay Teske

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20. Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps

stranger in the alps The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 22nd

Even if you had never heard a Phoebe Bridgers song before, you could say this for her: she keeps good company. Having put out her debut 7” on Ryan Adams’ PAX AM label and opened on tour for Julien Baker, as far as we’re concerned, serve as irrefutable references in a music world where being heard can be as difficult as penning a wonderful song. And as we await her full-length debut, Stranger in the Alps, not only is Bridgers about to be heard, but she has the songs that’ll garner repeat listens. Whether it’s the more traditional, plaintive singer-songwriter fair of lead track “Smoke Signals” or single “Motion Sickness”, which adds instrumentation and opens up into an almost pop-like affair, Bridgers shows she can flex different muscles, keep listeners guessing, and, most importantly, keep them captivated. –Matt Melis

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19. Tori Amos – Native Invader

unnamed 14 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 8th

We know a Tori Amos song when we hear it: the spellbinding piano, that unmistakable mezzo voice that calls out and draws us near, like a caretaker watching over and shepherding the pieces of us that get so easily lost in this world. “Got to get you back to you,” she sings simply, among more poetic lines, on single “Reindeer King”, and she makes you believe that’s possible – whether you’re staring out at a broken America or inward at your soul’s own wounds. Three singles in and Native Invader already feels like an album that’ll help us weather storms and reclaim what’s been lost. I can’t think of a better gift to the world right now than that. –Matt Melis

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18. Liam Gallagher – As You Were 

as you were The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: October 6th

Forget about Liam Gallagher’s humorously short performance at Lollapalooza this year, which ended after just four songs when the singer abruptly called it a day. Gallagher means business on the first album released under his own name. It’s not the Oasis reunion that fans may want, but it’s also a step in the right direction, away from the Beady Eye concept that failed to make the same mark in the US that it did in the UK. Working with this year’s Grammy winner for Producer of the Year, Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia), Gallagher’s entry into the world of solo recording is a bit of a misdirection. Gallagher promises a band direction will remain in the sound, and if singles “Wall of Glass” and “Chinatown” are any indicator, As You Were is exactly the music that one of the most identifiable voices in contemporary rock should be making. It’s music that embraces the Gallagher persona and runs with it to rock and roll glory. –Philip Cosores

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17.  Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry

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Release date: October 6th

Six years removed from releasing their last album, there was very little reason to suspect that Wolf Parade would be returning. Main songwriters Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug had each further developed their unique voices, the former culminating in the superb 2016 Operators LP, Blue Wave, the latter most recently with another album in collaboration with experimental Finnish rockers Siinai. But then the rumbling started that the long-gone group were up to something. And, lo and behold, Boeckner, Krug, Arlen Thompson, and Dante DeCaro dropped an EP in 2016, proof that not only were they ready to return, but that that return would be as thrilling as their sterling initial run. They’ve now followed that with the lead single announcing their album, Cry Cry Cry, which glistens and glows in that prog-indebted grandiosity of ‘00s indie rock. “Valley Boy” finds Boeckner’s jagged guitar matching Krug’s meteoric lyrics (including a Leonard Cohen reference, no less) in a loose, yet beautifully cohesive mesh — hopefully indicative of much more to come. –Lior Phillips


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16. Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold

unnamed 48 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 15th

Though Foo Fighters’ last album, Sonic Highways, didn’t quite match the heights the band had achieved on the previous Wasting Light, it’s easy to put the blame on the record’s concept. After all, how can you be expected to write a classic song during strict confines of being in a new studio in a new city and composing on the spot. For Concrete and Gold, Grohl holed up in a remote California town to get reacquainted with his songwriting craft, before enlisting producer Greg Kurstin (whom you may remember from the Liam Gallagher blurb two entries ago) to help fine-tune the new album’s direction. In terms of our advance tastings, “Run” proved to be a sturdy entry to the band’s catalog, but it’s the recently offered “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” that seems like the album’s first bona fide hit. Rumors also have it that it will be a guest-heavy album, with The Kills’ Alison Mosshart and Paul McCartney already confirmed and a big pop star also expected to be in the fold. For one of the biggest rock bands of our time, every album is an event. At least this time, Foo Fighters are stacking the deck in their favor. –Philip Cosores


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15. Kelela – Take Me Apart

kelela take me apart album debut new The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: October 6th

The promise of a debut LP from Kelela has been a tantalizing topic now for years, hitting a blissful apex on the sublime 2015 EP Hallucinogen. The too-brief set of tunes channeled Janet Jackson in every sensual giggle, but simultaneously kept up with the syrupy alt-R&B of The Weeknd just as well. Lead single “LMK” keeps the murky emotional and relationship themes pumping thanks in large part to Jam City’s electro-R&B bass wobble. Kelela has called experimental producer Arca an “anchor” to the album as well as Jam City, suggesting that this one could get even deeper in its feelings and its weirdness. Announcing Take Me Apart, Kelela noted that she grew up listening to R&B, jazz, and Bjork, which seems like a tall order, but if any album can live up to it, it’s this one. –Lior Phillips

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14. Destroyer – ken

destroyer ken1 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: October 20th

Dancing around convention and diving into varied genres since the mid-nineties, Destroyer is back with a new album. Dan Bejar’s follow-up to 2015’s Poison Season, titled ken, is out October 20th from Merge. Though ken may appear to be a reference to a man, Bejar revealed that the title is pulled from a classic Suede song — “The Wild Ones” — with an original title of the same name. “I had an epiphany, I was physically struck by this information. I decided to lift the original title of that song and use it for my own purposes,” Bejar said of his discovery. ken’s first single, “Sky’s Grey”, was released in early August. The album’s tracklist spans 12 songs and includes intriguing titles such as “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood” and “La Regle de Jule.” ken, Bejar’s 12th studio album, was produced by Black Mountain’s Josh Wells, who has drummed for Destroyer since 2012. –Carly Snider

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13. Rostam – Half-Light

rostam half lightcover The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 15th

Rostam Batmanglij has long been the genius behind the scenes. As one of the two core songwriters in Vampire Weekend, he was happy crafting an aesthetic, working with Ezra Koenig on a trio of the most beloved albums of recent times. But in 2016, after releasing a string of solo singles, Rostam announced that he was going solo and leaving the band, causing many to wonder whether Rostam has the voice, the charisma, and the chops to exist without his college buddies. The result is a 15-song opus that sounds like the spiritual successor to the last Vampire Weekend album, with less emphasis put on direct songwriting and more on grand atmospheric gestures. The man who’s written and produced for the likes of Frank Ocean, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Solange proves more than capable to hold his own stage, and on Half-Light, the years behind the scenes feel like prologue for what he’s created. –Philip Cosores

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12. Morrissey – Low In High School

morrissey The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: November 17th

It’s been more than three years since the last Morrissey album, World Peace Is None of Your Business. But, that hasn’t kept the former Smiths frontman out of the news. There was an epic flameout with his record label, Harvest. He’s taken jabs at Obama, Sam Smith, and David Bowie. He even wrote a novel and supported Brexit. When all is said and done, it often feels like new Morrissey songs at this stage of his career take a backseat to pull quotes and his personal life. But with the upcoming release of Low in High School, it will be a welcome change to focus on his music. –Philip Cosores
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11. The National – Sleep Well Beast

cpdc6d The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 8th

When The National released Trouble Will Find Me in 2013, they were fresh off of campaigning for the re-election of Barack Obama. In the interim, they were involved in the support of Hillary Clinton. So, looking at the world around us in 2017, it should come as no surprise that the first single from their first album in four years turned out a little bit on the dark side. “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” isn’t overtly political, but it certainly feels immersed in a bleak dusk, an exasperation that can’t be overcome. “We’re in a different kind of thing now,” frontman Matt Berninger sings on that track, and that straightforward assessment is heartbreaking coming from a band so capable of grand poetry. Now three singles in, that tone doesn’t show much sign of fading, The National ready to offer a new mirror to society with a sort of catharsis that only they are capable of. –Lior Phillips


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10. Miley Cyrus – Younger Now

miley cyrus younger now The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 29th

Some might describe Miley Cyrus’ career as transmutative. They wouldn’t be wrong. In less than five years, the former Disney princess has gone from swinging on wrecking balls with hip-hop all-stars like Future, Nelly, and French Montana to purring alongside weirdo rockers like Wayne Coyne, Ariel Pink, and Phantogram. Now, she’s doing another 180 with Younger Now, her sixth studio album that she wrote with an assist behind the boards and instruments by longtime producer Oren Yoel. It’s a more stripped-down affair for Cyrus, bridging her rustic country roots with the more lucrative pop that helped her conquer the charts back in 2013 and 2014. Songs like “Malibu” and “Younger Now” solidify that notion, feeling less like a reinvention and more like a reevaluation, as if she’s kind of, maybe, sort of finding out who she actually wants to be. Good for her. –Michael Roffman

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09. The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful

the killers 2017 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 22nd

The Killers’ Brandon Flowers recently went on record saying that the lack of new rock bands ascending in popularity might have something to do with their quality and not just the changing times. And whether you believe him or not, the recent batch of singles from The Killers do affirm that something is missing in rock music today. Whether it’s the strutting pizzazz of “The Man” or the rollicking battle cry of “Run for Cover”, The Killers realize that being a huge rock band can be as much about showmanship as it is about songwriting. What makes The Killers great is that they’ve long had both, producing anthems that sound best in large spaces and having the charisma to make those songs feel transcendent. Maybe rock bands will view his comments more as a motivator than a slight. But with Wonderful Wonderful, Flowers and co. have the opportunity to show the young bucks how it’s done. –Philip Cosores

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08. William Patrick Corgan – Ogilala

wpc ogilala The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: October 13th

Billy Corgan wanted a challenge and he found one in Rick Rubin. “Having written the songs for voice and guitar, I put myself in Rick’s hands to take the music wherever he’d like,” the Smashing Pumpkins mastermind explained in a press release. “Normally, I would have done more, and tinkered more on production, but rather Rick put the onus on me to deliver at a molecular level via live takes. The rest was simply a reaction.” What came to fruition is Ogilala — his second solo album and first to be billed under his full name, William Patrick Corgan. And while some may roll their eyes at seeing his full name, it’s hard to scoff after hearing the first single, “Aeronaut”. Over monumental piano and draped with a curtain of strings, Corgan sounds incredibly vital in a way that can only be achieved by a legendary producer like Rubin. This should be very interesting. –Michael Roffman

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07. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice

lotta sea lice vile barnett The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: October 13th

Shrug. Your guess is as good as ours. All we know about the Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile collaboration comes from a couple snapshots, Instagram posts, and a tour announcement. The rest remains an aural chemistry experiment in our heads, trying to imagine where the habitually t-shirted Aussie’s refreshingly playful wordplay and poignant storytelling will settle in with the laid-back Philly guitarist’s hazy grooves. Here’s the thing: we’ve yet to imagine a sound we’re not dead curious to hear. Throw in the fact that their backing band will include none other than Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss and Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, among others, and there’s no way we see this collaboration sounding pedestrian at best. More like pedestrian at worst — and only then if there’s a manufacturer’s error and we’re sent a blank record. –Matt Melis

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06. Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights

julien baker e28093 turn out the lights The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: October 27th

In 2015, 20-year-old Memphis singer-songwriter Julien Baker stunned folks with her debut album, Sprained Ankle. The spare arrangements, plaintive vocals, and candidness about how she relates to everything from significant others and herself to times of trouble and God’s mysterious presence in her life were all striking revelations, especially from such a young voice. Now, about to release her second LP, Turn Out the Lights, first glimpse “Appointments” finds Baker seasoned far beyond what you’d expect two years later. “Wanted someone who I used to be like,” she sings, “now, you think I’m not trying/ I don’t argue; it’s not worth the effort to lie.” It’s such a perfect description of one member in a relationship unknowingly at odds with his or her partner’s internal struggles. She’s expanded her still-minimalist instrumentation to include piano and ambient parts and now trusts her voice to harmonize and draw attention to itself by raising her volume when a song calls for it. If the rest of the record shows similar growth, we’ll be keeping our appointments with Baker and Turn Out the Lights for a long time to come. –Matt Melis  

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05. Sam Smith – TPH-50HR

sam smith drowning shadows song The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: TBA

It’s hard to believe that Sam Smith only has one album to his name. Maybe it’s all the hits? His bangers with Disclosure? Who knows. Either way, that’s about to change as the English crooner is on the cusp of releasing the highly anticipated follow-up to his 2014 debut, In the Lonely Hour. Earlier this month, Smith was seen filming a new music video, showing off both a very svelte look and one curious new tattoo that reads: TPH-50HR. What the hell does that mean? The Pink House 50 Heydon Road. That’s the address where Smith grew up, and as an homage to his family, who have supported him from day one, he inked the address across his chest. That honor may extend beyond the body, though, as the Daily Star suggests the acronym could be the album’s title, adding that it’s “a very personal record.” Of course, that’s old hat for a guy who exudes intimacy like Smith, but hey, if he’s going deeper, we’re all the better for it. The good news is that he won’t be alone, as he’s reportedly collaborated with Jimmy Napes, Naughty Boy, Clean Bandit, Timbaland, and Frances. Not too shabby, Sam. –Michael Roffman

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04. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

unnamed 21 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: September 1st

The thought of a new LCD Soundsystem album gets my heart racing, eyes wide, and butterflies in the stomach, just like the oncoming jingle from an ice cream truck — a lot like the one that the band have been using to promote American Dream. Though for years it seemed completely unbelievable, James Murphy and co. are back, and I’m certainly not the only one feeling all tingly at the thought. They played the hits throughout their reunion tour this year, and the excitement was mutual: Murphy seemed thrilled to be among old friends and creating a spirited dance party at every stop. And while it was a blast dragging out the old stuff, the dashes of vibrant new material were an even greater thrill. The three singles released thus far have felt like spiritual kin to classic LCD material without sounding retread, which is kind of the dream scenario for a beloved band returning after time away. The ice cream jingles were great, but the hunger for the real thing will top even the best cone. –Lior Phillips

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03. Beck – Colors

unnamed 80 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: October 13th

Staying the course for Beck has always meant swerving off the road the moment the rest of the world seems to also be traveling in his direction. Most every album in his catalog, if measured by what came before, feels like a drastic stylistic detour, a sea change owing less to an identity crisis and more to a realization that no one style or genre can hope to contain his multitudes. So, while none of us was quite prepared to leap from strummy downer Morning Phase to the unabashedly danceable “Dreams” or the trippy, luminous moves of “Wow”, by the bouncing piano of third single “Dear Life”, we’re coming around and once again trusting in Beck to show us where it’s at. –Matt Melis

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02. Taylor Swift – Reputation

taylor swift1 The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2017

Release date: November 10th

You’d think with all the backlash surrounding Taylor Swift’s latest single, we wouldn’t be too excited for Reputation. Quite the opposite. Now that we’re living in a post-“Look What You Made Me Do” world, the more the merrier, if only so we can hear whatever else Swift has been cooking up in her billion-dollar kitchen. Granted, it’s only one track, but this is probably going to be her artpop album, as Dan Weiss suggested in his recent op-ed, and that’s always going to be intriguing for any artist. While it might not warrant her the longevity she’s striving for and likely won’t be as addicting as, say, 1989 or Red, Reputation has all the trappings of changing the narrative for Swift. Whether it’s good, bad, or somewhere in between obviously remains to be seen, but like the first episode of a juicy Netflix show, we can’t wait to binge the rest. –Michael Roffman

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01. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION

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Release date: October 13th

St. Vincent’s next album is going to be colossal, but that’s just where she’s at right now. Because, if we’re to parse through the assorted details she’s laid out for MASSEDUCTION — and c’mon, who hasn’t? — it’s easy to see that Annie Clark is working on another level. She’s bouncing ideas off of producer Jack Antonoff, recording at the legendary Electric Lady Studios, and testing out new material by performing for her past collaborators David Byrne and Sufjan Stevens. That’s exciting yet also reassuring. After all, this year marks the 10th anniversary of her debut solo album, 2007’s Marry Me, and it’s unbelievable to see how much she’s accomplished in a decade.

So far, it looks as if she’s only expanding her horizons: Her latest single, “New York”, bottles up the melancholy elegance of modern-day Manhattan, while her recent live debut of “L.A.” oozes with the desperation of America’s western cultural mecca. Both are lush slices of modern pop that twist and turn in various ways upon each re-listen, which more or less jives with what Antonoff told The New Yorker about his ensuing discussions with Clark: “I said, ‘Let’s go for the lyrics that people will tattoo on their arms.’” Rest assured, you can start consulting with your favorite parlor right now. –Michael Roffman

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