As we usher in a new school year, it's time to hang up your surfboard, put away your sunblock and head out to Staples and purchase your pencil cases, pink erasers and spiral notebooks.
Every autumn is accompanied by a glut of new music. Riffraf has been anxiously waiting for Cat Power's Sun, her ninth studio album and first of original material in six years, which was released yesterday.
Here are ten more records that will knock your socks off this September.
Mr. Zimmerman's thirty-fifth studio album contains a tribute to the late John Lennon, "Roll on John," and the fourteen-minute title track about the Titanic. Because the album's title is reminiscent of the title of Shakespeare's final play, rumors began to spread that the Tempest would be Dylan's final album. Dylan was quick to dispel the rumor, however: "Shakespeare's last play was called The Tempest. It wasn't called just plain "Tempest." The name of my record is just plain Tempest. It's two different titles."
Dave Matthews Band
Away From the World (9/11)
Steve Lillywhite produced the Dave Matthews Band's eighth studio album, their first since 2009's Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King. "The Riff" is the album's standout track in which Matthews ruminates on mid-life: "Ain't it funny how time slips away/Looking at the cracks creeping across my face."
Over With You (9/11)
According to a press release, Steve Forbert’s first studio album in three years is a "focused song cycle featuring an earnest account of the often-mixed emotions involved in personal relationships." Over With You is a highly personal record. Forbert said, “The songs are about what people feel in deep relationships — mainly love and friction.”
Riffraf's interview with Steve Forbert will be posted tomorrow. The singer-songwriter chats about the song that stirred him to write songs of his own, his latest record and playing CBGB in the late 70s.
St. Vincent & David Byrne
Love This Giant (9/11)
Most of the time cross-generational collaborations come off as overwrought and contrived, but Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) and David Byrne appear to have forged one that's worthwhile. Clark and Byrne composed lyrics together in person and via e-mail, which resulted in an entire album's worth of material.
Charmer is Aimee Mann's eighth studio album. It features the track, "Living a Lie," a duet with The Shins' leader James Mercer. It's hard to believe that Ms. Mann has released eight solo albums. Each record has demonstrated Mann's dedication to the craft of songwriting. If that's any indication, Charmer will not disappoint.
Ben Folds Five
The Sound of the Life of the Mind (9/18)
The Sound of the Life of the Mind reunites Ben Folds (lead vocals/piano), Robert Sledge (bass/backing vocals) and Darren Jessee (drums/backing vocals) who haven't recorded together since 1999's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.
Battle Born (9/18)
In January 2010, Brandon Flowers and gang announced that they would be going on hiatus. After little more than a year of relative non-activity, the Las Vegas quartet ended their break in order to record their fourth studio album, Battle Born. The Killers hired an all-star team of producers to assist them: Steve Lillywhite, Brendan O'Brien, Daniel Lanois, Damian Taylor and Stuart Price.
On the recording of the new album, Green Day's leader Billie Joe Armstrong said,"We are at the most prolific and creative time in our lives....This is the best music we've ever written and the songs just keep coming. Instead of making one album, we are making a three album trilogy. Every song has the power and energy that represents Green Day on all emotional levels. We just can't help ourselves....We are going epic as fuck!"
The trilogy, aptly titled Uno!, Dos!, and Tre!, will feature a face from the individual band members on the album's cover: Armstrong graces the cover of Uno!, while Dos! will feature bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tre Cool's likeness will be on the cover of Tre. Dos! will be released on November 13th and Tre on January 15, 2013.
Mumford & Sons
The British indie folk band Mumford & Sons have followed-up their debut record, 2009's smashing Sigh No More, with the highly anticipated Babel. According to the band, they haven't deviated from their sound but have tried to perfect it.
It's a genuine challenge for a band to match the success of their first record. Many have fallen prey to the sophomore slump. What do you think is the most successful sophomore effort of all-time?