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WIRED’s Fall Music Preview: St. Vincent, Ibeyi, Kelela, and More – A N I T H
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WIRED’s Fall Music Preview: St. Vincent, Ibeyi, Kelela, and More

WIRED’s Fall Music Preview: St. Vincent, Ibeyi, Kelela, and More


Summer is almost over. And while that means you probably won’t get to hear “Despacito” 100 times a day, it also means a new wave of music is headed to your ears. (Also, LOL, you’re still going to hear “Despacito” 100 times a day.) But with so many tracks ready to populate your Spotify playlists, how do you know what to pick? We’d like to help. Below are nine albums coming in the next few months and we bet there’s something here for everyone. From the art pop of St. Vincent to the raw R&B of Kelela, there’s a lot here to play with. Tune in.

Kelela—Take Me Apart (Release Date: October 6)

Since 2013, Kelela has made music acutely in sync with the emotionality of being alive. With her Cut 4 Me mixtape and EP Hallucinogen, the R&B ingénue mined vulnerability, betrayal, and desire with a particularly sentient and seductive allure—they were songs that invited you in and asked you to stay the night. With Take Me Apart, Kelela’s long-hoped-for debut, she continues her exhumation of personal and public matters of the heart. Close collaborators, including producers Arca and Jam City, lace the album with a delicious, deliberate velocity, but because the 14-track project is built with minimalism in mind (there are no guest features), it’s Kelela’s voice—with its subtle and surprising force—that rightfully and deservedly carries the load (“Frontline,” “Better,” and “Altadena” are sure high points). In a press release, she said the final product was “an honest vision of how we navigate dissolving ties with each other and yet remain sanguine for the next chance at love.” It’s an age-old trope, but in Kelela’s more-than-capable hands the textures feel refreshingly novel. —Jason Parham

Taylor Swift—Reputation (Release Date: November 10)

Taylor Swift’s last album—the sleek, addicting, occasionally bad-blooded 1989—was released nearly three years ago, and since then, she’s reignited her never-finished feud with Kanye West, sparred politely (but publicly) with Apple, and emerged victorious from a disturbing lawsuit. All of this will likely be addressed in some form or another on Reputation, which includes production work from pop-savants like Jack Antonoff and Max Martin, and seemingly will continue (conclude?) Swift’s transformation from teardrops-on-my-guitar country-pop killer to aspiring club-queen. The lead-off single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” was a strange, inert fusion of robotic kiss-offs and Right Said Fred rhythms; the internet was quick to howl, but its video is already on its way to a gazillion views (check it once, check it twice). A follow-up, “…Ready For It?,” was a massive improvement—a soaring, scorched-earth anthem that was hook-addled enough to allow you to overlook Swift’s forced-flow delivery. The remainder of the album’s 15 tracks remain a mystery, but considering Swift’s knack for both narrative-steering drama and radio-seizing pop hits, we’re guessing we’ll be hearing them (and hearing about them) plenty over the next few years. —Brian Raftery

Ibeyi—Ash (Release Date: September 29)

You may recognize Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz from their multiple cameos on Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade—but that’s not what you’re going to remember them for. The pair, which perform under the name Ibeyi, have been enticing listeners—including Queen Bey—since their 2015 self-titled debut. Now the trilingual neo-soul act is back with their sophomore effort, Ash, an album sure to push the duo’s creative fusion of sounds even further. The French-Afro Cuban pair’s debut was heavily influenced by their late father—a Grammy-winning Cuban percussionist who passed his Yoruba roots on to his daughters—and the death, in 2013, of their older sister Yanira. The result was an album both solemn and reflective, but the first singles off Ash hint at a follow-up that’s more bold and modern. Listening to Ibeyi’s first album felt oddly intrusive, like eavesdropping on profound and intimate moments between two sisters. Ash promises to be a more outward-looking project, informed by the twins’s histories, but not confined to their past. —Justice Namaste

St. Vincent—Masseduction (Release Date: Oct. 13)

Full disclosure: I’ve never been a huge St. Vincent stan. (::Ducks rotting vegetables thrown at face.::) The singer FKA Annie Clark always fell into my “respect what she does, but it’s not for me” column. Masseduction looks poised to change all that. Co-produced by Jack Antonoff, it has the singer-songwriter (and occasional David Byrne collaborator) weaving between somber keyboard-driven ballads like “New York” to the driving electronic pop of “Los Ageless,” and has brought an urgency to her music that grabs me. (How could lyrics like “How can anybody have you? How can anybody have you and lose you? How can anybody have you and lose you and not lose their minds, too?” not do so?) I likely won’t be the only one. —Angela Watercutter

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile—Lotta Sea Lice (Release Date: October 13)

In 2013, Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile separately released two of the most tightly shambolic singles of the decade: Barnett’s “Avant Gardener” was a hilarious stream-of-conscious panic-attack equipped with a lurking hook; Vile’s “Wakin on a Pretty Day” combined stoner’s-stroll observations with dreamy, limber guitar lines. Given their shared affections—droll lyrics, deep riffery—a team-up seemed inevitable, and on the first single, “Over Everything,” the two swap deceptively simple slice-of-life observations over a sea of six-strings; it’s like hearing two old friends share a late-night call, trying to distract each other from the “big old ominous cloud in [the] periphery.” The rest of Lotta Sea Lice is equally intimate, with Barnett and Vile trading off casually existential-minded verses and lingering guitar melodies. It’s a gorgeous record, one that feels less like a formal collaboration, and more like an overheard mind-meld. —Brian Raftery

Cardi B—Untitled (Release Date: TBD)

“Bodak Yellow”—which, by the end of August, had become one of the most streamed songs of the summer—is all backbone. It charts the rise of Cardi B into rap’s storied ranks, an alchemy of her own design: “I’m a boss, you a worker bitch, I make bloody moves,” she sneers on the song’s irresistible hook. The story of Belcalis Almanzar is every bit the Cinderella tale—only, she was born in the Bronx, used to be a stripper, and hustled her way onto VH1’s Love & Hip Hop reality franchise for two memorable seasons before turning to rap full-time. But it’s a come-up story all the same, and it should come as no surprise that “Bodak Yellow,” her biggest hit to date, has only grown in stature since its issuing: The song drips with bravado. With a pair of successful, if adequate, mixtapes behind her, the New York City native will release her major-label debut this year. Few details have been announced, but if the past is any indication, the as-yet-titled album will include beats from her longtime producer SwiftOnDemand, a possible guest verse from Offset, and that classic Cardi clap back. —Jason Parham

Bully—Losing (Release Date: October 20)

Bully’s 2015 debut, Feels Like, was a walloping nod to ‘90s glower-pop, full of bracing scuz-guitar melodies, and anchored by the raspy wrath of frontwoman Alicia Bognanno, who took lyrical swings at everyone within earshot (including herself). Losing, the group’s Sub Pop debut, is just as propulsive: “Feel the Same” employs Wipers-swiping guitar squiggles in the service of a bruising two-minute relationship-postmortem, while “Running” is a chugging can’t-go-home-again anthem in which Bognanno’s voice snaps from calming to curdling. Full of tough-earned wisdom and egalitarian rage, Losing is a high-energy, high-impact emotional workout for everyone involved. —Brian Raftery

Demi Lovato—Tell Me You Love Me (Release Date: September 29)

An actual text I sent to a friend recently: “Why is it every time I say that I listen to Demi Lovato for her voice I feel like I’m saying I read Playboy for the articles?” That sounds creepy, but let me explain. Ever since Lovato released the phenomenal girl-on-girl hotter-than-July jam “Cool for the Summer,” saying I’m a Demi fan has always felt like the most predictable choice my queer ears could make. Whatever. Her vocals are stellar and her songs are catchy. And based on what she’s released from her new album—”Sorry Not Sorry,” “Instruction,” and the title track—her sixth full-length promises to be more of the same. Bring it on. —Angela Watercutter

Jessie Ware—Untitled (Release Date: TBD)

British vocalist Jessie Ware has always been a master of bending pop sensibilities to her will. Her sound—a mix of R&B, soul, and electronica—takes cues from just about every style to create something wholly new. And it looks as though that trend will continue on her third album. On the first single, “Midnight,” she evoked Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” And she quickly followed that up with “Selfish Love”—a vaguely Caribbean-themed track with a healthy dose of the Cardigans’ “Lovefool.” It’s been three years since Ware released a new album (her last, Tough Love, came out in October 2014), and while she hasn’t officially announced her third, it is expected later this year—and it can’t come soon enough. —Angela Watercutter



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