66 Pop and Jazz Albums, Shows and Festivals Coming This Fall

When pandemic lockdowns shut down the concert industry last year, some artists forged ahead with planned album releases and answered a question loaded with risk: What would a rollout look like without the regular promotional cycle of in-person interviews, late-night performances and live shows? Many musicians pivoted to streaming; others buckled down on their songwriting and hit the studio. The results of these experiments are largely emerging now.

While some of pop’s biggest names are still being coy about whether they’ll make their big returns this season (Adele, Beyoncé and yes, we’re still waiting, Rihanna), this fall’s music calendar is already stuffed with a reunion of disco legends, an all-star Afrobeats festival and the arrival of a slate of buzzy newcomers.

Dates are subject to change; check vaccine and mask requirements for individual performers and venues.

You can listen to a playlist of songs on Spotify from the fall preview here.


JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND AND ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO It’s hard to think of an artistic pursuit that Justin Vivian Bond and Anthony Roth Costanzo haven’t tackled between them. Now the longtime friends and iconoclasts are joining forces for a theatrical concert, “Only an Octave Apart,” inspired by their mutual admiration for Carol Burnett’s collaborations with Julie Andrews and Beverly Sills, and for each other. Thomas Bartlett and Nico Muhly, also contributors to Bond and Costanzo’s upcoming album of the same name, will handle musical direction and arrangements. (Sept. 21-Oct. 3; St. Ann’s Warehouse)Elysa Gardner

CORY HENRY His soulful output as a keyboardist, singer and composer has landed Cory Henry attention from the jazz and gospel worlds, and made admirers of pop and R&B fans who pay little attention to either of those genres. He’ll perform Sept. 22-26 at the Blue Note Jazz Club, where other scheduled acts include the adventurous hip-hop and jazz fusionist Georgia Anne Muldrow (Sept. 29-30) and the sentimental favorites the Manhattan Transfer (Nov. 23-28). — Gardner

ALESSIA CARA Since landing her first hit with “Here” — a tart, ambling song about being a wallflower — at 18, the Canadian singer Alessia Cara has documented the friction of adolescence and young adulthood with clear eyes and a sharp pen. On “In the Meantime,” her third album, Cara’s youthful unease gives way to mid-20s ennui; she sings about the passage of time (“What if my best days are the days I’ve left behind?” she wonders on one misty piano ballad), romantic disappointment and feelings of inadequacy. Incisive and introspective as ever, Cara continues to position herself as both pop star and self-therapist. ( Sept. 24; Def Jam) — Olivia Horn

THE COOKERS There’s something dangerous about putting together an all-star crew of jazz musicians whose careers took off (mostly) in the 1970s. It was a complicated, ungoverned time in jazz, when fusion was upending the genre’s creative economy and even traditionalists were pushing their own boundaries. In the years since, our memory of the era has become a bit simplified, and some of its more rugged straight-ahead jazz — made for labels like Strata-East and Black Lion — hasn’t fully made it into the canon. But the Cookers, a group of luminaries mostly now in their 70s and 80s, have managed to retain the rough-and-tumble spirit of their old work, while accepting the laurels that have rightfully come to them. On their new album, “Look Out,” a bristling collection of originals, the old feeling is newly alive. (Sept. 24; Gearbox Records)Giovanni Russonello

THEO CROKER Born into a family of civil rights activists and jazz musicians, Theo Croker was well positioned to carry the mantle of the music and its message. Now in his mid-30s, he has amassed an impressive résumé as a side musician for a diverse array of musical innovators, including the jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and the rappers J. Cole and Common. For his new album, the smoldering neo-jazz collection “Blk2Life || A Future Past,” the tables are turned and he’s calling in favors: Guests include Wyclef Jean, Ari Lennox and Kassa Overall, a longtime Croker pal and collaborator. (Sept. 24; Sony Masterworks)Russonello

MIHO HAZAMA AND THE DANISH RADIO BIG BAND Top northern European big bands have long invited great composers and arrangers from abroad to collaborate on albums. These well-tooled orchestras can offer expert and faithful readings, though it’s often all too apparent that the bands don’t have a particularly lengthy or intimate relationship to the guest’s music. For the upstart Japanese big-band composer Miho Hazama, whose arrangements thrive on big gestures, exuberance and bravado technique, that’s not a huge problem. If “Imaginary Visions,” her new album with the Danish Radio Big Band, feels like a master class in crisply executed contemporary big band jazz, it’s a class worth attending. (Sept. 24; Edition Records)Russonello

KONDI BAND This intercontinental, intergenerational group’s story began when a YouTube video of the street musician Sorie Kondi made its way to Chief Boima, an American D.J. and producer with roots in Kondi’s native Sierra Leone. Boima’s subsequent remix of Sorie’s song “Without Money, No Family” paved the way for the pair’s ongoing collaboration as Kondi Band, named for Sorie’s 15-pin thumb piano, which lends an undulating backbone to glittering, electronic compositions that draw on West African traditions and contemporary dance music. “We Famous,” Kondi Band’s second album, expands its global footprint with contributions from a third member, the London-based producer Will Horrocks. (Sept. 24, Strut) — Horn

NAO With her gravity-defying soprano and lithe, darting melodies, the English songwriter Nao glides through songs about falling in and out of love, sounding buoyant even when she’s downhearted or uncertain. She’s joined by kindred jazzy-R&B songwriters on “And Then Life Was Beautiful,” including Lianne La Havas, serpentwithfeet and Lucky Daye. (Sept. 24; Sony Music UK/RCA Records)Jon Pareles

THE OPHELIAS On their third album, “Crocus,” this Ohio four-piece delivers tender and sometimes unnerving songs of the heart, wrapped in thickets of expressive violin and delicate harmony. But the beauty of the arrangements doesn’t blunt the spikiness of lyrics penned by the group’s frontwoman, Spencer Peppet, as she surveys the emotional wreckage of relationships in the rearview mirror (“Holding you feels like a bomb went off in my chest” she sings, memorably, on “The Twilight Zone.”) Julien Baker, an artist with whom Peppet shares a knack for lyrical vulnerability, lends guest vocals to one track. (Sept. 24; Joyful Noise)Horn

POPPY Since her ascent on YouTube several years ago, Poppy has ping-ponged from one identity to another: She’s styled herself as an internet satirist, a cyborgian pop star and, most recently, a nu-metal frontwoman. In every role, her signature move is to unnerve, whether she’s demonstrating a makeup look for a funeral, singing about body culture or screaming atop thrashing guitars and hurtling hard-core drums. Poppy’s upcoming fourth album follows last year’s “I Disagree,” which earned her a Grammy nomination for best metal performance. Titled “Flux,” it lands somewhere between the sonic extremes of her previous work, marrying heavy distortion with sticky pop hooks. (Sept. 24; Sumerian)Horn

DAVID SANFORD BIG BAND The composer and academic David Sanford has spent his career exploring the ways big-band jazz and Western classical can feed off each other, with dashes of punk, ambient and experimental music thrown in too. His new album, “A Prayer for Lester Bowie,” pays tribute to the influential trumpeter and composer, a key member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who shared Sanford’s proclivity for scrambling prefabricated formulas. The album is a glorious hodgepodge of large-ensemble synchronicity and wah-wah-drenched blazes, with plenty of time devoted to featuring Hugh Ragin, a Chicago trumpeter like Bowie, whose rough and gleaming sound bespeaks a mix of pride and lament. (Sept. 24; Greenleaf Music)Russonello

SUFJAN STEVENS AND ANGELO DE AUGUSTINE After some synthesizer-powered albums, Sufjan Stevens returns to his pristinely folky side on “A Beginner’s Mind,” a collaboration with the songwriter Angelo De Augustine, full of fingerpicking and delicate vocal harmonies. It’s high-concept in an unobtrusive way; the songs are inspired by movies, but it’s just as easy to take them as first-person ruminations on character and fate. (Sept. 24; Asthmatic Kitty)Pareles

BILLY STRINGS The path from bluegrass to the jam-band circuit was opened by none other than Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Lately it has been traversed by Billy Strings, who writes pensive, philosophical songs and breezes through them with his virtuosic guitar and mandolin picking. On “Renewal,” his fifth album, the core of the music is an acoustic string band — with fiddle and banjo, no drums — that happily takes an occasional psychedelic detour. (Sept. 24; Rounder)Pareles

ENDEA OWENS & THE COOKOUT Let’s be honest: A lot of us started the pandemic with a pledge to fill the lonely stretches of lockdown with new and meaningful projects. For Endea Owens, a young bassist on the rise, that vow panned out. A member of the “Late Show” band led by Jon Batiste, she began organizing free “cookout” concerts in her Harlem neighborhood, providing live music and free meals to a broad swath of the often-underserved community, while playing a mix of jazz standards and backyard R&B jams. This fall, not long after Jazz at Lincoln Center reopens its doors for live concerts, Owens will bring her band, now called the Cookout, to Dizzy’s Club for a two-night run. (Sept. 25-26; Dizzy’s Club)Russonello

THE DIAMOND SERIES AT FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW Soprano Heaven arrives this fall, as the venue welcomes sparkling leading ladies for concert-length performances. Kelli O’Hara (Sept. 28-Oct. 3) and then Laura Benanti (Oct. 5-10) will kick off the series and Megan Hilty follows, Nov. 2-7. Also on tap at the Midtown club: the song and dance marvel Tony Yazbeck (Sept. 21-22); the silver-voiced Broadway veteran Christine Andreas (Sept. 24-25); the flame-haired dynamo Marilu Henner (Oct. 17); the grande dame Marilyn Maye (Oct. 25-30, Nov. 1) the show biz-diva Ruby Manger, alter ego of comedian and actor Julia Mattison (Oct. 13); and “Seussical Reunion Concert,” featuring members of the 2000 Broadway musical’s original cast (Nov. 22). — Gardner

DUCHESS The women in this vocal trio — Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou — are not siblings by blood, but their sisterly, airtight harmonies have won them a following in jazz circles. The group will appear Sept. 30 at the newly reopened Birdland Theater, where the fall lineup includes beloved regular Natalie Douglas (Oct. 1-2, Nov. 15), Klea Blackhurst in a tribute to Jerry Herman (Oct. 20-22); Marissa Mulder, saluting John Prine (Oct. 3); and the singer-songwriter Christine Lavin (Nov. 22); in addition to weekly installments of “The Lineup With Susie Mosher” on Tuesdays and, upstairs at Birdland Jazz Club, “Jim Caruso’s Cast Party” on Mondays. The jazz club will also host a Sept. 20 concert featuring cast members from the returning Broadway production of “Company,” benefiting the mental health nonprofit Darkness Rising. — Gardner

MICHAEL GARIN AND MARDIE MILLIT AT THE WEST BANK CAFE The husband-and-wife duo, who also perform together in the Habibi Kings, continue to hold forth at the West Bank Cafe (and on Facebook), where on the first two Sunday nights of every month you can catch Michael Garin — pianist, singer, raconteur, mash-up maestro — leap between genres with Mardie Millit serving as his comedy partner and lending a lustrous soprano. The Jazz Bandits appear every Friday, while Saturdays bring the piano and vocal stylings of Eric Yves Garcia, followed by the Gabrielle Stravelli Trio, led by the jazz singer and songwriter. — Gardner


KELLY CLARKSON The original “American Idol” diva released her last album, the soulful, stomper-filled “Meaning of Life,” in 2017, and has since turned back to TV, where she dishes out advice to contestants on “The Voice” and hosts a daytime talk show. But Clarkson got back in the studio to capture a bit of holiday magic, and will release a Christmas album — her second — in October. The first single, “Christmas Isn’t Canceled (Just You),” is due Sept. 23. (Atlantic)Horn

JOEY PURP Like his fellow Chicagoan and occasional collaborator Chance the Rapper, Joey Purp wears his independent artist credentials with pride. He continues his string of self-releases with his third mixtape, “UpLate,” leaning into his more hedonistic instincts while rapping about conquests, cars and cash with cool detachment. With no features, it’s a relatively insular effort from an artist who tends to work collaboratively. He also contributed production, favoring bouncy, unfussy beats over the flashier aesthetic of earlier projects. (Self-released)Horn

TONY BENNETT AND LADY GAGA The two singers first connected on “Cheek to Cheek,” a 2014 album of jazz standards. “Love for Sale,” their newest, dives into the Cole Porter catalog, and will be Tony Bennett’s last studio recording following the recent announcement that he has Alzheimer’s disease. Lady Gaga is just a year removed from releasing the kaleidoscopic dance pop album “Chromatica,” but once again her chameleonic musical instincts make her flexible voice a natural fit alongside Bennett’s timeless tenor. (Oct. 1; Columbia/Interscope)Jeremy Gordon

BRANDI CARLILE Since she released her sixth album “By the Way, I Forgive You” in 2018, the roots rock star Brandi Carlile’s profile has risen considerably. First there was that unforgettable performance of her anthemic song “The Joke” at the 2019 Grammys; then, earlier this year, her resilient and acclaimed memoir “Broken Horses” debuted atop the New York Times best-seller list. Expectations are high for her next album, but the searing “In These Silent Days” rises to the occasion. It’s a confidently composed testament to Carlile’s eclecticism, featuring fiery rockers (“Broken Horses”), politically engaged narratives (“Sinners Saints and Fools”) and a few shimmying folk numbers (“You and Me on the Rock”) that prove her recent live performance covering Joni Mitchell’s album “Blue” in its entirety may have unlocked a whole new phase of her own songwriting. (Oct. 1; Low Country Sound/Elektra)Lindsay Zoladz

THE DAPTONE SOUL REVUE The 20-year-old Daptone label has been devoted to funk, soul and gospel that harks back to the 1960s and 1970s. In 2014, it gathered its roster on an appropriate stage to record “The Daptone Super Soul Revue Live at the Apollo,” with a parade of singers fronting an impeccable backup band, working up to one bluesy peak after another. Topping the extensive bill were Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones, two gutsy, grown-up shouters who didn’t survive the 2010s. (Oct. 1, Daptone)Pareles

TIRZAH The avant-garde English electro-pop musician Tirzah’s sensuous second album “Colourgrade” is the result of extended jam sessions with her fellow producers and longtime collaborators Coby Sey (whose vocals are featured on the standout duet “Hive Mind”) and the experimental pop artist/Oscar-nominated musician Mica Levi (close friends with Tirzah since their school days). Tirzah’s songs are atmospheric, hypnotic and rarely straightforward, but her low croon has a beckoning allure — like Sade vocals refracted through a gleaming prism. (Oct. 1; Domino)Zoladz

LOST IN RIDDIM Afrobeats, the Nigerian pop that elegantly and ingeniously meshes African rhythms and savvy programming behind unflappable voices, was on its way to conquering the United States when the pandemic struck and destroyed tour plans. But Afrobeats tracks have still been racking up tens of millions of streams. A festival at the Railyards District in Sacramento, Lost in Riddim, presents 20 hitmakers — including Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage and Mr Eazi — offering a two-day immersion in Afrobeats for a U.S. audience. (Oct. 2-3; Railyards District, Sacramento, Calif.)Pareles

MISS RICHFIELD 1981 The toast of Provincetown and “ambassadoress” of her native Minnesota suburb celebrates four decades of drag glory with “40 Years on the Throne,” a multimedia shindig mixing songs, videos and games with audience interplay at the Triad Theater,(Oct. 7-9). The club favorites the Dozen Divas, starring Dorothy Bishop, return (Sept. 24); later, acclaimed jazz singer Sharón Clark will appear with the Chris Grasso Trio (Oct. 16); “Extra! Extra!” will showcase the MAC Award winner Scott Raneri (Sept. 25, Nov. 7); Naima Mora will spin “The Amazing Adventures of a Woman in Need,” a tale of inner life and solidarity in New York that the model and actress co-wrote with Marishka S. Phillips (Oct. 16); and the sessions singer and recording artist Clayton Thomas will deliver “A Christmas Love Song” a couple of weeks early (Dec. 11). — Gardner

TAMMY FAYE STARLITE Alt-cabaret’s most enchanting chameleon returns, this time in the guise of the Israeli chanteuse Tamar, who sings in English and Hebrew. Developed with the director Rachel Lichtman, Tammy Faye Starlite’s latest creation draws inspiration from her former muse Marianne Faithfull, as well as Françoise Hardy, Juliette Gréco and Leonard Cohen. (Tamar’s version of “Suzanne” includes lyrics from “Ba’Shana Haba’ah.”) She’ll hold court each Thursday in October at Pangea. On Nov. 8 and 15, the old-school champion Sidney Myer — held dear among cabaret fans as both an entertainer and a booker — starts his own new chapter, premiering “Sidney’s Back at Pangea.” And Tweed TheaterWorks returns with its “Sundays @ 7” series, with participants set to include the octave-jumping vocalist and mystic Carol Lipnik (Oct. 17) and the celebrated writer-performer David Cale with his musical collaborator Matthew Dean Marsh (Nov. 21). — Gardner

JOHN COLTRANE No jazz recording is more sacrosanct than the John Coltrane Quartet’s 1964 capture of “A Love Supreme.” But perhaps no recording can live up to the fierce combustion of a live jazz show. So there’s reason to celebrate the recent discovery of a 1965 recording on which Coltrane gives a rare club performance of his masterpiece. “A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle” marks the first time that a live version of the suite is being officially released as an album of its own. At this show, verging into the avant-garde, Coltrane augments his quartet with two saxophonists, Pharoah Sanders and Carlos Ward, plus a second bassist, Donald Garrett, and lets the expanded group spontaneously remold his compositions into something new and cathartic. (Oct. 8; Impulse) Russonello

NATALIE HEMBY Natalie Hemby has thrived in Nashville as a collaborator, sharing songwriting credits on dozens of songs (including the Grammy-winning “I’ll Never Love Again” from “A Star Is Born”) and lately joining the Highwomen with Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires. But her voice can stand on its own. On her second solo album, “Pins and Needles,” she sings about love’s enticements and complications, avoiding current arena-country gimmickry for a sinewy, naturalistic 1990s sound that harks back to another of her collaborators, Sheryl Crow. (Oct. 8; Fantasy)Pareles

OLD DOMINION For the better part of a decade, members of this five-piece have been shaping the sound of country radio, both with hits of their own and those they pen for stars like Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and Kelsea Ballerini. “Time, Tequila & Therapy,” Old Dominion’s fourth full-length, is packed with chipper, harmony-rich country-pop that teeters pleasantly between earnestness and goofiness. “There’s no hard feelings, and no bad vibes,” the frontman Matthew Ramsey sings on one contented tune; the album’s title is his recommended recipe for post-breakup enlightenment. (Oct. 8; Sony Nashville)Horn

WORLD CAFE 30 OVER 30 WXPN is a Philadelphia radio station with rock foundations but an eclectic bent, known to public radio listeners across the country for its NPR-distributed flagship program, “World Cafe.” That show — which features live performances and interviews with artists including industry fixtures (recently the Wallflowers and David Crosby) and up-and-comers (Jensen McRae, Shungudzo) — turns 30 this fall. To celebrate, XPN will roll out 30 weeks of special programming on air and online beginning Oct. 11; offerings will include resurfaced archival footage and a collection of new covers by program alumni. — Horn

ZAC BROWN BAND Longtime listeners who may have felt alienated by the country juggernaut Zac Brown’s pair of pop-oriented 2019 releases — his band’s eclectic album “The Owl,” and Brown’s even glossier solo album “The Controversy” — are likely to find “The Comeback” a fitting title for the Zac Brown Band’s seventh studio album. Returning to the raucous, full-bodied sound of the Georgia-based group’s 2008 breakthrough “The Foundation,” “The Comeback” leans hard into many of its proven strengths, from the playful, “Margaritaville”-esque dispatches “Paradise Lost on Me” and “Same Boat” to the lush group harmonies and intricate guitar work showcased on “Out in the Middle.” Don’t be afraid to call it by its name. (Oct. 15; Warner Music Nashville/Home Grown Music)Zoladz

COLDPLAY After briefly linking up with the Swedish pop impresario Max Martin a few years ago, Britain’s most tender big-tent export has handed him the reins for its new album. “Music of the Spheres” refashions the band’s emotionally generous stadium rock into nimble and soaring pop, and further commits to its eternally optimistic worldview on bouncy songs like “Higher Power,” where a spiritual take on life also extends toward a belief in the extraterrestrial. It also features a formal collaboration with the Korean megastars BTS, following a few years of mutual public appreciation. (Oct. 15; Atlantic)Gordon

FINNEAS The artist born Finneas Baird O’Connell is more commonly known as the primary collaborator of his sister, Billie Eilish, with whom he’s won eight Grammys. “Optimist” is his debut solo record, following a 2019 EP. Contrary to his sister’s moody, minor-key pop, Finneas is more of a classic crooner in the model of Rufus Wainwright or Elton John, which you can hear in the exposed “What They’ll Say About Us.” (Oct. 15; Interscope)Gordon

XENIA RUBINOS The Brooklyn musician Xenia Rubinos continues to build on the creative ambition of her last album, “Black Terry Cat” from 2016, on which notes of hip-hop, R&B and rock mingled, bolstered by Rubinos’s considerable jazz chops and incisive, often barbed, lyricism. Early singles from her vivid upcoming album, “Una Rosa,” suggest the ways in which her project has expanded: Rubinos layers electronics into her already-eclectic sound, and mutates her vocals to signal alienation and grief. Named for a danza by the Puerto Rican composer José Enrique Pedreira, “Una Rosa” also digs deeper into Rubinos’s Afro-Latino musical heritage, and features more singing in Spanish than her prior releases. (Oct. 15; Anti-)Horn

YOUNG THUG The ’20s pop-punk renaissance is in full effect, and its latest devotee is the prolific rap chameleon Young Thug. After releasing the second installment of his “Slime Language” compilation earlier this year, Young Thug debuted a new sound during an NPR Tiny Desk concert this summer: chunky rock guitars, rapid-fire live drumming, and over the top of it all, the rapper pivoting between sharply confessional bars and catchy hooks. A little bit SoundCloud-era emo-rap, a little bit “Rebirth”-era Lil Wayne, the declaratively titled “Punk” is an intriguing new chapter for a shape-shifting artist who’s never content to repeat himself. (Oct. 15; 300 Entertainment/Atlantic)Zoladz

SAMARA JOY The daughter and granddaughter of accomplished gospel artists, this aptly named 21-year-old found her own calling in jazz. Floating from precociously warm, sexy low notes to a silky top, Samara Joy’s voice evokes classic influences and has earned her collaborations with leading contemporary musicians such as the guitarist Pasquale Grasso, whose trio will accompany her at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on Oct. 17. On Oct. 24, Dizzy’s will host the scat master Ashley Pezzotti and Her Trio; Pezzotti will also join the JALC Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis for “Big Band Holidays” at JALC’s Rose Theater, Dec. 15-19. — Gardner

TAYLOR MAC The boundary-shattering theater artist returns with “Sugar in the Tank: New Songs About Queer People,” crafted with the music director and arranger Matt Ray, and showcasing the talents of other old friends (along with new ones), including band members who performed in Taylor Mac’s acclaimed “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” and the costume designer Machine Dazzle. The show runs Oct. 19-23 at Joe’s Pub, where offerings include another reliable source of inspirational irreverence (and Ray collaborator), Justin Vivian Bond (Oct. 5-9); “Kludge,” a collection of music and poetry curated by Laurie Anderson (Oct. 12-16); the neuro-inclusive Epic Players (Oct. 24-25); the enduringly pure and fierce voice of Toshi Reagon, with Big Lovely (Nov. 9-11) and Lizz Wright (Nov. 12-13); Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force, the innovative young vocalist and dynamic big band (Nov. 16-20); and the drag diva Peppermint, in “A Girl Like Me …” (Dec. 5-6). — Gardner

BRIC JAZZFEST Picking back up where it left off before the pandemic, this annual jazz festival will bring a mix of rising Brooklyn-based talent and established stars to the arts organization’s sprawling home base in Downtown Brooklyn. Headliners at the three-night festival will include the vocalists Cecile McLorin Salvant and Kurt Elling, both performing on opening night; the Sun Ra Arkestra, an avant-garde standard-bearer, slated for Friday; and Madison McFerrin, the upstart jazz-and-beyond singer and composer, who served as a co-curator of the 2021 festival. (Oct. 21-23; BRIC House)Russonello

CIRCUIT DES YEUX Harnessing the bewitching power of Haley Fohr’s four-octave voice, the sixth album from her project Circuit Des Yeux, “-io,” has an operatic grandeur and a rumbling, Scott Walker-like intensity. Fohr composed these haunting and elemental songs for a 24-piece orchestra, and their bombastic percussion and screaming string sections make “-io” her most ambitious achievement to date. A stirring reflection on grief, oblivion and acceptance, the album sounds like a fearless free fall into the void. (Oct. 22; Matador) — Zoladz

GROUPER Liz Harris’s work as Grouper is for listeners who crave mystery, and don’t mind if a song never resolves into legibility. “Shade,” her 12th full-length record as Grouper, compiles songs written over the last 15 years across the country. On tracks like “Followed the Ocean” and “Basement Mix,” her voice, submerged under tape hiss and aqueous piano chords, sounds like a dispatch from a lost civilization. (Oct. 22; Kranky)Gordon

ELTON JOHN The isolation of Covid-19 led Elton John to try collaborations galore. On “The Lockdown Sessions,” he takes his place (sometimes virtual, sometimes in person) alongside Dua Lipa, Lil Nas X, Miley Cyrus, Stevie Wonder, Brandi Carlile, Eddie Vedder, Rina Sawayama, Stevie Nicks, Charlie Puth, Nicki Minaj and many more. By turns he’s a colleague, a venerated elder, a cover act and a hook singer; all sorts of musicians wanted to latch on to his dramatic melodies and benevolent aura. (Oct. 22; Interscope)Pareles

MY MORNING JACKET With a self-titled album, its first since 2015, My Morning Jacket ponders the nature of reality in a digitally mediated, late-capitalist era. The music, harking back to the late 1960s and early 1970s of Pink Floyd and the Allman Brothers, makes even clearer how much the band longs for a vanished analog past. (Oct. 22; ATO)Pareles

ARTIFACTS TRIO The self-titled debut album from this iconoclastic group of all-star Chicagoan improvisers, released in 2015, was a direct homage to the legacy of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, featuring covers of compositions by figures from throughout the history of that avant-garde collective. This time, the trio — Tomeka Reid on cello, Nicole Mitchell on flute and Mike Reed on drums, all association members themselves — is carrying the spirit of homage into the present, with a disc of their own original compositions called “… and Then There’s This.” As on the last album, the intrigue is in the empty spaces, the territory left open by the lack of a piano or a bass or, often, any clear rhythmic pulse at all. (Oct. 29; Astral Spirits)Russonello

GEESE Last spring, while many of their fellow high school seniors were solidifying their college plans, members of the buzzy Brooklyn rock band Geese were taking meetings with record labels. After announcing themselves with the misleadingly named single “Disco,” this teenage five-piece is set to release its expansive, guitar-forward debut record on the same label that houses post-punk groups like Idles and Fontaines D.C. Titled “Projector,” it’s packed with spiny guitar riffs, angsty, psychedelic musings and plenty of indulgent instrumental breaks. (Oct. 29; Partisan/Play It Again Sam)Horn

ED SHEERAN Ed Sheeran’s guileless style of pop music made him an unlikely global superstar, largely owing to his intuition for navigating universal emotions through undeniable melodies. “=” (pronounced “equals”), his latest LP, draws from the same genre-agnostic well: The lead single, “Bad Habits,” splits the difference between folk and pop like a polite club banger, while “Visiting Hours,” a tribute to his late mentor, Michael Gudinski, is pure choral pathos. A variety of musicians such as Kylie Minogue, Natalie Hemby and Ben Kweller also contribute. (Oct. 29; Atlantic)Gordon

THE WAR ON DRUGS Over the last decade, Adam Granduciel’s band has developed a conduit between blurry art rock and blue-skied Springsteenian ambition, slowly refining its ethos with the patience of a painter stippling a canvas point by point. On “I Don’t Live Here Anymore,” the band’s first studio record since winning the Grammy for best rock album, still waters mask anxieties about change, love and finding one’s place in the world. Ideal for those who want the experience of standing in a cool breeze while sitting at home. (Oct. 29; Atlantic)Gordon

POSTY FEST If you’re trying to figure out “the kids” — or, if by the miracle of chronology, you’re one of them — you could do worse than attending Posty Fest, a two-day festival curated by the pop-rap trickster Post Malone. This year’s lineup features Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Flo Milli, Jack Harlow and more. The festival will take place outdoors in order to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. (Oct. 30-31; AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Tx.)Gordon


IDLES The British band Idles wrings new variations from the post-punk vocabulary of obstinacy, impact, dissonance, talk-singing and ratcheting-up tension on its fourth studio album. The band escalates from electronic Minimalism to flat-out stomp and roar; the vocalist, Joe Talbot, veers from bitter cynicism to dance-floor instructions to howls of “Damage! Damage! Damage!” (Partisan)Pareles

ABBA After nearly 40 years, the Abba fan’s plea of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! … some more Abba songs, please” has finally been answered. “Voyage” is the Swedish mega-group’s first LP since “The Visitors,” but the lush grooves of songs like “Don’t Shut Me Down” sound like they’ve been retrieved from a time capsule. The new record will be followed by a reunion concert starting in 2022, where the group will perform as holograms. No, seriously. (Nov. 5; Capitol)Gordon

ART BLAKEY & THE JAZZ MESSENGERS The quintessential band of the hard-bop era was near the height of its powers in 1961, when it traveled for the first time to Japan for a series of performances. With Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Bobby Timmons on piano and Jymie Merritt on bass, this configuration (the group’s membership rotated constantly) had already recorded a pair of instant-classic albums, “The Big Beat” and “A Night in Tunisia,” but there’s nothing quite like the casual synergy and playful sparring that they put on display live. On “First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings,” a previously unheard collection that was recently dug up, no performance is under 10 minutes long. Extended takes on Benny Golson’s “Blues March” and Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time” are among the standouts. (Nov. 5; Blue Note)Russonello

AIMEE MANN The singer-songwriter Aimee Mann’s 2017 album, a glum but elegant collection straightforwardly titled “Mental Illness,” is a good primer for her new project: a song cycle based on “Girl, Interrupted,” Susanna Kaysen’s celebrated memoir about her stint in psychiatric care at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. Mann’s new songs were commissioned for an upcoming stage adaptation of the book — the details of which remain unknown — and will soon be released on the album “Queens of the Summer Hotel” (a reference to a line from a poem by Anne Sexton, another notable McLean patient). The theatrical prompt puts good use to Mann’s more maudlin songwriting instincts, and gives her occasion to indulge in lush orchestrations. (Nov. 5; SuperEgo) — Horn

RADIOHEAD Radiohead decisively jettisoned rock’s structural and sonic conventions with its 2000 and 2001 albums “Kid A” and “Amnesiac,” challenging itself to upend expectations with every new track. It’s reissuing the two albums along with a third disc of material from the same sessions as “Kid A Mnesia,” including a few rare songs and radically different takes of familiar ones. (Nov. 5; XL)Pareles

DIANA ROSS You can’t hurry a Diana Ross record. The Motown icon’s first album in 15 years is the beatific “Thank You,” which features some fresh talent: Jack Antonoff, pop producer du jour, contributed to “I Still Believe,” a boisterous disco track that also features St. Vincent on guitar, and Tayla Parx, a frequent Ariana Grande collaborator, helped write the schmaltzy ballad “Just in Case.” (Nov. 5; Decca)Horn

SNAIL MAIL On “Lush,” her debut LP as Snail Mail, Lindsey Jordan pushed herself to the forefront of modern guitar pop. “Valentine,” which she co-produced with Brad Cook, expands her tightly manicured sound by incorporating R&B and hip-hop, but still centers her emotive songwriting about the fussy and devastating thoughts that keep us up at night. “You’ll always know where to find me when you change your mind,” she sings on the title track, like someone who intimately knows how feelings can’t be ignored. (Nov. 5; Matador)Gordon

DONNA McKECHNIE One of musical theater’s true triple threats, Donna McKechnie was already a Broadway veteran when she scored a Tony Award singing, dancing and acting in the original company of “A Chorus Line.” In “My Musical Comedy Life,” at the Green Room 42 from Nov. 11-13, she’ll share songs and stories tracing her career, including numbers from “Company,” “Sweet Charity” and “Promises, Promises.” The venue’s fall lineup also features the two-time Broadway World Award winner Mark William (Sept. 25); the “Dear Evan Hansen” alumnus Michael Lee Brown (Oct. 2 and 9); the multi-artist showcases “Broadway Belters Sing!” (Sept. 29, Oct. 6) and “Whitney Houston: A Celebration in Song” (Nov. 6); the musical actress Bianca Marroquin (Nov. 10); and, on Tonys night, Sept. 26, “Hold Me Closer Tony Extravaganza: Tony Award Viewing Party,” hosted by the Skivvies. — Gardner

DAMON ALBARN Remarkably, the prolific musician from Blur, Gorillaz and many more projects is releasing what’s formally just his second solo album. “The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows” originated as an orchestral piece, but was lyrically fleshed out during lockdown. Here, the acid wit of Damon Albarn’s earlier work further peels away to reveal contemplative lyrics about the passage of time, among other openhearted ideas, set against a shimmering musical backdrop of strings and synth textures. (Nov. 12; Transgressive) — Gordon

COURTNEY BARNETT Witty, dense lyricism and uneasy ruminations on modern life are this Australian musician’s bread and butter; since her breakout EP arrived in 2013, they’ve earned her scores of fans. On Courtney Barnett’s third album, “Things Take Time, Take Time,” she seems unburdened: her tone is lighter, her guitar tamer. “Don’t worry so much about it,” goes the amiable thesis of “Rae Street,” “I’m just waiting for the day to become night.” The record was produced with Stella Mozgawa, of the indie-rock band Warpaint, and features contributions from Vagabon and Cate Le Bon. (Nov. 12; Mom & Pop) — Horn

JONI MITCHELL Following last year’s revelatory “The Early Years,” the second volume of Joni Mitchell’s ongoing collection of archival releases charts one of the most astonishingly productive periods of her career, from 1968 to 1971 — or, in terms of Mitchell’s discography, from her promising debut “Song to a Seagull” to her enduring masterwork “Blue.” (“Clouds” and “Ladies of the Canyon” came in the years between, if you can believe it.) Across five discs and 119 tracks, “Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971)” provides an intimate glimpse into the process of a peerless songwriter’s rapid evolution, including some previously unheard early versions of Mitchell classics like “All I Want,” “A Case of You” and “California.” But just as compellingly, the many live recordings in this collection also chronicle Mitchell’s increasingly confident command of larger and larger audiences, including an unreleased 1968 set in an Ottawa coffee house (taped by the devoted Mitchell fan Jimi Hendrix), her famed 1969 Carnegie Hall debut and a breathtaking 1970 London show that features backing vocals from her partner at the time and one of her “Blue” muses, James Taylor. (Nov. 13; Rhino) — Zoladz

BEN LAMAR GAY For Ben LaMar Gay, a love song can also be a kind of self-affirmation, and a low-key theory of everything. Likewise, as his career wears on, the walls between the various corridors of his artistry — as an electronic musician, a jazz-trained improviser, a postmodern folklorist — continue to disintegrate. The 17 tracks on “Open Arms to Open Us” bubble with the sounds of mixed percussion, stringed instruments from across the globe and digital overlays. One thing that stays relatively clear is Gay’s voice, a wise and confiding baritone, which he barely alters with any reverb or effects. (Nov. 19; International Anthem)Russonello

ROBERT PLANT AND ALISON KRAUSS Much has changed since “Raising Sand,” the 2007 Grammy-winning and chart-beating collaborative album between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, but on “Raise the Roof,” their voices still fit together like a pair of dusty boots nestled atop a welcome mat. Fans of Led Zeppelin’s folksier side will appreciate Plant’s return to Appalachian bluegrass, and the covers of artists from Merle Haggard to Bert Jansch to Geeshie Wiley. T Bone Burnett returns as producer. (Nov. 19; Rounder) — Gordon

MAKAYA McCRAVEN The drummer, composer and producer Makaya McCraven has become one of the most talked-about improvising musicians in the game largely thanks to his method: He tinkers with his band’s live recordings until they’ve become something murkier, groovier and more kaleidoscopic. He typically doesn’t pull from old recordings or archival aesthetics, but instead remixes his own group’s music. With the release of last year’s “We’re New Here,” an affectionate reworking of Gil Scott-Heron’s final album, that changed: McCraven strapped on his headlamp and wandered deep into the archive. On “Deciphering the Message,” McCraven’s newest album and his first for Blue Note, he delves into the label’s own back catalog, using samples and clips from classic recordings as a centerpiece around which his band improvises and embellishes. (Nov. 19; Blue Note)Russonello

TAYLOR SWIFT In the most prolific chapter of her career so far, Taylor Swift is both exploring new sounds — the moody cabin-pop of last year’s twin releases, “Folkore” and “Evermore” — and revisiting her early work. Swift’s ongoing project of recreating her first six albums in an effort to reclaim control of her master recordings continues with “Red (Taylor’s Version).” This new edition of her 2012 album comes with nine previously unreleased tracks; among them are “Nothing New,” featuring Phoebe Bridgers; Swift’s own version of “Better Man,” which she wrote for the country group Little Big Town; and an extended cut of the fan-favorite song “All Too Well.” (Nov. 19; Republic)Horn

SUZANNE VEGA In 2019, the folk-influenced singer-songwriter, author and occasional theater artist Suzanne Vega embraced another outlet for storytelling, performing a two-week residency at Café Carlyle. Her New York-themed set was released last year as “An Evening of New York Songs and Stories” — now the basis for “Two Evenings of New York Songs and Stories.” The show arrives Nov. 26-27 at City Winery, where the fall roster veers from other troubadours — including John Hiatt and the Jerry Douglas Band (Sept. 26-27), Rodney Crowell (Oct. 14), Graham Parker (Nov. 1 and 8), Marc Broussard (Nov. 2-3), Joe Henry (Nov. 14) and Vanessa Carlton (Nov. 22) — to the actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo (Oct. 11) and “A John Waters Christmas” (Dec. 12), with the Pope of Trash ringing in the holy season. — Gardner


ANA MOURA Ana Moura is firmly rooted in the smoky, fatalistic traditions of fado from her birthplace, Portugal. But album by album she has been connecting ever more widely to the former Portuguese empire and to 21st-century technology. On “Mázia,” the melancholy richness of her voice is backed not only by the Portuguese guitarra but also by beats from Portugal, Brazil, Angola and Cape Verde, and she’s perfectly at home with blues-rock guitar, electronics and flecks of Auto-Tune, even as the melancholy richness of her voice comes through. (Dec. 3; Universal)Pareles


100 GECS The 2019 debut album of Dylan Brady and Laura Les’s internet-inspired future pop launched 1,000 think pieces about the duo’s chaotic approach to musical collage. That LP was conceived over email, but “10000 gecs,” the follow-up, was recorded in person in Los Angeles. Their way-way-way-left-of-center approach to the pop mainstream is grounded by the studio drummer Josh Freese (Guns N’ Roses, Katy Perry), but there’s still enough manic genre collision to launch 10,000 more think pieces. (Dog Show)Gordon

KEVIN ABSTRACT The impending breakup of the all-American boy band Brockhampton hasn’t slowed the creative momentum of Kevin Abstract, its most visible member. Befitting his ongoing work to collapse artistic distinctions — famously, Brockhampton includes a handful of nonmusical members — his third solo album flits between genres and moods. The hard-hitting rap of “Slugger” bleeds into a softhearted track like “Sierra Nights,” which sounds like a coming-of-age movie. (Question Everything/RCA)Gordon

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