The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2018

It's impossible to tell if this year is winding down or actually speeding up

Vampire Weekend, Lollapalooza 2018, photo by Heather Kaplan
Vampire Weekend, Lollapalooza 2018, photo by Heather Kaplan
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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 2018 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 2019 hits.

–Matt Melis
Editorial Director

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Aphex Twin – Collapse EP

Aphex Twin - Collapse

Release date: September 14

Aphex Twin is both charismatic and invisible at the same time, boasting a rabid fanbase and the ability to create a mythic quality around everything he makes. The DJ’s new release is set to be more of his trademark experimental techno, a fresh look at his enigmatic talent through a modern lens. It may be weird, but hey, all genius is weird. It’s the method to his madness that makes Aphex Twin a legend. –Clara Scott

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Prince – Piano & a Microphone 1983

Prince Piano & A Microphone 1983 album cover art artwork black and white mirror

Release date: September 21

Two years after his death, Prince’s prolific vault of unreleased material has already become mythic. Now, the Prince Estate has partnered with Warner Bros. to share a home recording of the iconic singer performing with just his piano in 1983. Piano and a Microphone 1983 is a nine-track glimpse into Prince’s talent right before he achieved international stardom and a look we’re fortunate to get. –Clara Scott

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Cat Power – Wanderer

Cat Power - Wanderer

Release date: October 5

It’s been over six years since Sun, Chan Marshall’s most recent album, where she expanded her sound into new territories with broad textures and electronics. A bold experiment that was one of the best of her career, it led to a prolonged period of quiet. If the guitar in her hand on the cover of Wanderer doesn’t signal a return to the introspective folk that defined her early work, then “Woman”, the lead single where she duets with Lana Del Rey, certainly does, and we couldn’t be more excited. –David Sackllah

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Swearin’ – Fall into the Sun

Swearin' - Fall into the Sun

Release date: October 5

There wasn’t supposed to be a third Swearin’ record. After the breakup of Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride led to the breakup of their band, and then Allison went on to make her tremendous solo debut, Tourist in This Town, the story seemed over for the promising Philly band. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, as the group reformed and sounds better than ever on their Merge debut, a tight, focused album of energetic indie rock. –David Sackllah

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Steve Perry — Traces

Steve Perry - Traces

Release date: October 5

If you’ve listened to the radio in the last 40 years, there is no doubt that you’ve heard Steve Perry’s voice. The former Journey frontman has not released anything in almost 25 years, but come this October his new album, Traces, will be available for listeners young and old to discover his talent. Now older and wiser, Perry’s record is an anthemic memoir of love and loss and will be nothing short of welcome after the long absence of his incomparable skill. –Clara Scott

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Phosphorescent – C’est La Vie

Phosphorescent - C'est La Vie

Release date: October 5

Matthew Houck has had a busy five years. In the time since Muchacho, the boldest Phosphorescent record yet, Houck got married, had two children, moved to Nashville, and built a studio. The changes inspired C’est La Vie, and on single “New Birth in New England”, he sounds as relaxed as he’s ever been. With a new purpose, the folk singer is back with a collection of loose, warm music for the soul. –David Sackllah

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Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born OST

A Star is Born artwork gaga

Release date: October 5

Lady Gaga has made a career out of being everyone but Stefani Germanotta (her birth name). So, maybe it’s not such a stretch for her to step into yet another character — this time onscreen — especially one also trying to be taken seriously as a singer and artist. So far most of the reviews of the film have been raves, and while we’re not 100% sure Bradley Cooper is the best singing partner, there’s no way in hell we’re going to not get excited about an excuse to hear brand-new Lady Gaga songs and performances. –Matt Melis

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Elvis Costello and the Imposters – Look Now

Elvis Costello Look Now artwork

Release date: October 12

Elvis Costello dropped two bombshells on us in early July: first, that he was successfully recovering from cancer and, second, that he and his band, The Imposters, were set to drop their first album together in a decade. Suffice it to say, rarely do feelings of shock, relief, and anticipation come bundled together like that, but we’re looking full steam ahead right now. With rock band backing, teased collaborations with Carole King and Burt Bacharach, and Costello’s description of the album as one that combines the “scope of Imperial Bedroom” and the “emotion of Painted from Memory“, two of the genius songwriter and genre chameleon’s most celebrated works, let’s just say we get why the album’s called Look Now. You have our attention, sir. –Matt Melis

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Cloud Nothings – Last Building Burning

Cloud Nothings - Last Building Burning

Release date: October 19

Cloud Nothings have released some of the most exciting punk and post-hardcore records this decade. The band’s new single off their forthcoming record titled “The Echo of the World” sounds like Cloud Nothings have channeled Jawbreaker and rediscovered some of that frantic energy and anger that made their first two records so exciting — an emphatic step in the right direction. –TJ Kliebhan

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Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army

Greta Van Fleet - Anthems of the Peaceful Army

Release date: October 19

It’s almost unfathomable to think that Greta Van Fleet has just a mere handful of songs to their name, but that’s all about to change: the rock quartet is set to release their debut full-length album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. The news finally came late last week after the band had posted a cryptic message on social media encouraging fans to “join the peaceful army.” So, here we are now with a title, a release date, and a new single, “Watching Over”, to help tide us over until mid-October. –Lindsay Teske

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John Carpenter – Halloween OST

John Carpenter Halloween cover

Release date: October 19

John Carpenter returns to the Halloween franchise for the first time since scoring Tommy Lee Wallace’s underrated 1982 sequel, Halloween III: The Season of the Witch. Coming off both volumes of Lost Themes and last year’s greatest hits anthology, there’s an energy to Carpenter right now that we haven’t seen in decades. Having heard the damn thing, we can confirm that energy is legit: This is the strongest score for the franchise since Carpenter last left the studio in 1982, and diehards will not only rejoice but memorize every track as they’re wont to do. The Shape stalks again, indeed. –Michael Roffman

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Thom Yorke – Suspiria: Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film

Thom Yorke - Suspiria

Release date: October 26

It’s a classic case of band one-upmanship. Anything Jonny can do, Thom can do better — or at least try once. Earlier this year, we were excited to find out that Radiohead’s Thom Yorke would be scoring a film for the first time ever. As horror fans, we were even more psyched to learn that the film he’s adding his unique compositions to is a remake of Suspiria, the Dario Argento classic. The soundtrack consists of 25 original compositions written by Yorke, a mix of instrumentals, interstitial pieces and interludes, and more traditional song structures. Color us curious to hear our favorite frontman not only dive into film scoring but also into the horror genre just in time for Halloween. –Regan Bexler

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Tenacious D – Post-Apocalypto

tenacious d The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2018

Tenacious D Tour Teaser

Release date: November 2

It’s been ages since Jack Black and Kyle Gass rose like a “fenix” as Tenacious D on an album way back in 2012, but we can still safely say this about the boys: from their bellies to their monster mamma jams, they never do anything small time. Last time the D had to overcome the excesses of Black’s lavish Hollywood lifestyle, and now it appears they’ll be facing a post-apocalyptic world in which their music (and maybe some gentle fucking) might be the only hope for all of mankind. It’s the type of overblown scenario the D thrive in, and we can only hope they’ve kept up their daily cock push-up regimen while away so that they’re up to the task of saving mankind’s asses. –Matt Melis

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boygenius – boygenius

boygenius ep

Release date: November 9

It’s not that often that a supergroup lives up to the name, but the collaboration of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus is defying expectations. A six-song EP in advance of a group tour, the project finds boygenius bringing out the best in each other as their voices and writing blend and support one another, making for much more than a gimmick. –David Sackllah

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Anderson .Paak – Oxnard

Anderson Paak Oxnard New Album

Anderson .Paak, photo by Lior Phillips

Release date: TBA

Expectations were going to be dialed up from here on out after Anderson .Paak conquered year-end lists with 2016’s Malibu. However, it seems that nobody is putting more pressure on the Cali artist to deliver than himself. Not only will the new album count Dr. Dre and Madlib among .Paak’s collaborators, but the artist himself has described the inspiration for the record as his youth spent listening to Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, The Game’s The Documentary, and Kanye West’s College Dropout. If .Paak can even scratch the surface of what his heroes achieved on those albums, then it’ll be well worth our wait to stay tuned. –Matt Melis

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Brockhampton – Iridescence

Brockhampton Iridescence new album september boston calling ben kaye

BROCKHAMPTON, photo by Ben Kaye

Release date: TBA

It’s only been a year since Saturation III, but the leadup to BROCKHAMPTON’s new album has already been rife with anticipation. Between Ameer Vann’s departure in May and the album’s multiple re-brandings — from its pushed-back release date to its three name changes — there’s no telling what to expect from America’s favorite boy band. If recent singles like “1997 DIANA” are anything to go by, Iridescence is bound to exhibit even more of BROCKHAMPTON’s signature creative urgency. –Laura Dzubay

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Childish Gambino – TBA

Watch Childish Gambino debut Algorhythm All Night in Atlanta

Childish Gambino, photo by Ben Kaye

Release date: TBA

With the release of a new single, “Feels Like Summer”, and its accompanying video, Childish Gambino is back on the scene and better than ever. The video is an animated homage to the hip-hop and R&B artists of today and the legends of yesterday with 62 cameos and has caused quite a lot of buzz around Gambino’s impending album. Donald Glover can do no wrong, really, and is returning to music after an incredible couple years away with his show Atlanta and features in the Star Wars universe. He is truly on fire, and whatever his next endeavor is, it should be anticipated eagerly. –Clara Scott

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EarthGang – Mirrorland

EarthGang

EarthGang

Release date: TBA

Back in February, we tipped off readers that Artist of the Month pick EarthGang were primed to become breakout stars. A short spring and summer later, the Atlanta alternative hip-hop duo have a celebrated EP trilogy in their rearviews, a recently announced spot opening for J. Cole, and a can’t-miss album that might still sneak into our hands before the new year. With the release of “Up” last week reminding us of the next-level zaniness Johnny Venus and WowGR8 are capable of, we’re ready to go through the looking glass and get to Mirrorland asap. –Matt Melis

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The Good, The Bad & The Queen – TBA

the good the bad the queen new album

The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Release date: TBA

Eleven years have passed since The Good, the Bad & the Queen, the so-far only release by the British rock supergroup consisting of Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Simon Tong, and Tony Allen. 2018 marks a busy year for Albarn, whose sixth Gorillaz album, The Now Now, was released in June. No singles have yet been released, so how closely the group’s new album will resemble their previous one’s dreamy texture and plucky acoustics remains to be seen. –Laura Dzubay

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Grimes – TBA

Grimes, photo by Heather Kaplan

Grimes, photo by Heather Kaplan

Release date: TBA

Grimes has always been a somewhat unpredictable figure, from her eclectic, wide-ranging music to her widely publicized relationship this year with Elon Musk. The Canadian singer-songwriter’s last album, 2015’s Art Angels, was near-universally acclaimed, weaving airy vocals in and out of a troubled synthpop dream. Barring a couple of clips shared via Twitter in June, Claire Boucher’s new material is a mystery, but if her previous albums are anything to go by, it’s a mystery worth looking forward to. –Laura Dzubay

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Madonna – TBA

Madonna // Photo by Philip Cosores

Madonna, by Philip Cosores

Release date: TBA

After becoming painfully aware that tribute speeches aren’t her forte, fans can look forward to Madonna re-entering her wheelhouse once more. The pop icon has confirmed that she will be releasing a new album later this year, marking her first batch of new work since 2015’s Rebel Heart. Speculation began back in May when she posted what appeared to be cover art for a new project on Instagram. So far the details surrounding the album are largely under wraps, with the exception of Madonna sharing that it will be partially inspired by her recent move to Lisbon, Portugal. –Lindsay Teske

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No Name – Room 25

Noname Room 25 due September

Noname, photo by Caroline Daniel

Release date: TBA

The Bronzeville, Chicago, MC dazzled listeners on her 2016 debut mixtape with her calming but sharp flow over lush, ethereal production. Noname’s laid-back rocking chair storyteller approach gave her characters and stories an engrossing and intimate quality that was aided by the uplifting production. It will be exciting to see if Noname delves further into that serene, cozy aesthetic she created on Telefone or employs more varied beats and reaches for a new sound. –TJ Kliebhan

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Rihanna – TBA

rihanna summer songs copy The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2018

Release date: TBA

The world has been hungry for more Rihanna music ever since her last Grammy-nominated slam dunk of an album, 2016’s Anti. The versatile and endlessly creative pop icon has been busy lately, with the success of Fenty Beauty and prominent acting roles in Bates Motel, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and Ocean’s 8. But recent singles have been sparse, and specifics regarding the reggae-influenced upcoming album — affectionately dubbed “R9” by fans — remain veiled in mystery. –Laura Dzubay

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The Smashing Pumpkins – TBA

The Smashing Pumpkins on Fallon reunion Solara Zero

The Smashing Pumpkins on Fallon

Release date: TBA

After undergoing several lineup changes throughout their career, The Smashing Pumpkins’ upcoming album will reunite frontman Billy Corgan with two original members of the band – guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin – which brings the trio back in the studio together for the first time in nearly two decades. Though many details about the album are unknown, the band gave listeners a sneak peek of what’s to come through the release of their striking new single, “Solara”. As it stands, The Smashing Pumpkins could very well have the comeback album of the year. –Lindsay Teske

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Vampire Weekend – TBA

Vampire Weekend, photo by Heather Kaplan

Vampire Weekend, photo by Heather Kaplan

Release date: TBA

How do you follow up one of the best rock albums of the decade? It’s been over five years since Modern Vampires of the City cemented Vampire Weekend in the pantheon of great indie rock bands, and Ezra Koenig has been hard at work trying to answer that question. While he’s been busy with other projects like co-writing the best song on Lemonade, making an anime show with Jaden Smith, hosting the Time Crisis show on Beats 1 (did you get an 8 Minute Cape Cod shirt?), through frequent updates he’s let us know that he’s chugging away on what may or may not be called Mitsubishi Macchiato, the band’s fourth album.

With Ezra playing new, allegedly unmastered, songs off his phone at a Lollapalooza after-party and their new label, Sony, hinting at a new project coming out by the end of the quarter, the new album seems like it will finally arrive. Without Rostam Batmanglij, the founding member who left in 2016 to pursue a solo career, the more pertinent question might be whether or not they can follow up their best work after losing an integral piece of the band. Looks like we’ll find out soon. –David Sackllah

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