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28 essential albums and concerts this fall

This fall brings potential breakout albums from up-and-coming artists Rina Sawayama, Yeat and Khruangbin and Vieux Farka Touré, but the big-name action will be found in arenas and stadiums: Kendrick Lamar (finally!) at Arena, Harry Styles setting up shop at the Kia Forum, two nights of global superstar Bad Bunny at SoFi Stadium and a sure-to-be-emotional (and loud) tribute to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins at the Forum.

Richard T. Rodríguez, “A Kiss Across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk and U.S. Latinidad” (Sept. 6)
What made people embrace “goth” culture in Latin America? Why does Morrissey count so many Mexican fans today? In this part-memoir, part-ethnography of England and SoCal in the 1980s, author Rodríguez, a professor of media and cultural studies and English at UC Riverside, investigates what binds these two seemingly disparate cultures. Starting with his own tween-age fandom of Boy George and the Culture Club, Rodríguez plumbs the depths of the passionate, sometimes tainted love affair between British post-punks and the Latinos who worship at their altar. — Suzy Exposito

Ari Lennox, “age / sex / location” (Sept. 9)
It’s been three years since Lennox released her acclaimed debut, “Shea Butter Baby.” In the time since, Dreamville’s lead songstress has threatened to quit music after feeling offended by an invasive interviewer, asked to be released from her recording contract and attempted to quit social media. Despite the turmoil, her music has remained stellar, from her feature on Jazmine Sullivan’s Grammy-winning album “Heaux Tales” to Lennox’s own sweatshirt-stealing anthem “Hoodie.” Her upcoming album “age / sex / location” should reaffirm Lennox’s status at the forefront of R&B and soul music. — Kenan Draughorne

Yeat, “LYFÊ” (Sept. 9)
Noah Smith, a.k.a. Yeat, may have had one of the most unconventional ascents in recent memory. After generating a swarming buzz by spitting barely legible lingo over rage beats, he broke through to the mainstream in a most unlikely way, crafting the TikTok hit “Rich Minion” for the Cole Bennett-directed trailer for “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” Millions of suited-up teens later, his 12-song EP should further solidify the 22-year-old as one of hip-hop’s rising stars. — KD

Kendrick Lamar will perform for four nights at Arena.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Kendrick Lamar, Arena (Sept. 14-17)
Since its long-awaited release in May, not long after Lamar played a part in Dr. Dre’s blockbuster Super Bowl halftime show, his thorny “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” hasn’t spun off anything like the inescapable hit singles that 2017’s “Damn.” did. But little about the acclaimed Compton rapper’s latest tour suggests he finds that particularly disappointing: Reports from the road describe a sober and highly theatrical concert experience focused more on storytelling and speechifying than on getting folks hyped. — Mikael Wood

Death Cab for Cutie, “Asphalt Meadows” (Sept. 16)
Frontman Ben Gibbard spent the COVID-19 pandemic livestreaming from home — peep his sweet rendition of Fountains of Wayne’s “Barbara H.” — raising money to help protect voting rights and assembling a Yoko Ono tribute album that includes covers by Sharon Van Etten and Japanese Breakfast. Now, Death Cab is back with its first studio LP since 2018, “Asphalt Meadows,” on which the veteran indie-rock band applies a New Order-ish sheen to its tender sad-boy anthems. Gibbard and his mates will play the Greek Theatre on Oct. 21 with support from Yo La Tengo. — MW

Blackpink, “Born Pink” (Sept. 16)
Three years is an eternity in K-pop, but in the time since Blackpink’s groundbreaking 2019 Coachella set, the group has released a debut LP, cut tracks with Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez, starred in a Netflix documentary, “Light Up the Sky,” and quietly navigated a complicated relationship with its Korean record label YG. The act’s second album, “Born Pink,” will likely be the genre’s biggest event of the year — lead single “Pink Venom” packs in hard turns between stomping hip-hop and sci-fi pop harmonies. Expect Blackpink to make a strong play for the very top of festival bills next year. — August Brown

Michelle Branch, “The Trouble With Fever” (Sept. 16)
“I’m a Man,” the first single from Branch’s new album, is about a skeevy partner wreaking havoc at home: “I’m a man / And I’m out of control / And I can’t help myself.” The song probably hits a little different now, after Branch filed for divorce from her husband, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, alleging infidelity just months after she gave birth to their first child together. Branch surely hoped “Fever” would be a confident showcase of her songwriter skills in a revival moment for ’00s culture. A trip to jail after allegedly punching Carney lends these songs a darker if sympathetic subtext. — AB

EST Gee, “Never Felt Nun” (Sept. 16)
EST Gee’s rise has been years in the making, with multiple releases each year dating to 2019. In early 2022, he paired with 42 Dugg for the joint album “Last Ones Left,” on which the two traded street boasts over rattling production. Gee and Dugg are part of Yo Gotti’s red-hot Collective Music Group, home to Moneybagg Yo, Mozzy and “F.N.F.” rapper GloRilla. Look for more commanding bars on “Never Felt Nun,” from a rapper who’s become a model of consistency. — KD

Rina Sawayama, “Hold the Girl” (Sept. 16)
If the rapture is indeed imminent, expect the raver pop-rock princess to party all the way to the end of the world. “God hates us? Alright then, buckle up, at dawn we’re riding!” belts the Japanese-British singer on her single “This Hell” — a righteous anthem for those shunned from religious communities. Sawayama’s sophomore album, “Hold the Girl,” does not hold back on the diva-caliber sass and nü-metal fury that has endeared her to collaborators like Elton John and Charli XCX. Sawayama performs at the Hollywood Palladium on Nov. 19. — SE

A woman lying down and squinting at the bright light

Lorde is set to headline the inaugural edition of Primavera Sound L.A. in September.

(Ophelia Mikkelson Jones)

Primavera Sound L.A., Los Angeles State Historic Park (Sept. 16-18)
Founded in Barcelona, one of Europe’s most celebrated music festivals will make its U.S. debut this year at the DTLA park. Famous for cherrypicking the most offbeat yet highly danceable talent from across the globe, Primavera Sound L.A. has named Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails as headlining acts; the weekend also will feature a circuit of exclusive shows in venues all over the city, including Stereolab at the Wiltern, Bad Gyal at the Echoplex and Giveon at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. — SE

Divino Niño, “Last Spa on Earth” (Sept. 23)
To those who prefer their coffee cortado-style and their Latin pop left-of-the-dial: The psych-rockers have just the record for you. A project born of five guys from Bogotá, Colombia, and Chicago, the album is an enthralling jaunt through indie rock, electro-house, R&B and reggaetón, resulting in a hook-y collection of Spanglish songs as bizarre as they are fit for any dance floor. Divino Niño previews its pop experiment live at the Echoplex on Sept. 14. — SE

Alex G, “God Save the Animals” (Sept. 23)
Philadelphia indie-rock weirdo and Frank Ocean collaborator Alex G (née Giannascoli) resurfaces in September with his ninth studio album, the spiritualized follow-up to 2019’s “House of Sugar.” Amid the twangy electro-folk churn of songs like “Blessing” and “Cross the Sea,” Giannascoli sings of interpersonal affections and afflictions with a quiet reverence for what they’ve come to teach him. — SE

Khruangbin & Vieux Farka Touré, “Ali” (Sept. 23)
Khruangbin has already released two joint EPs with Leon Bridges, both of which showcased the instrumental-focused band’s ability to pair its psychedelic grooves with a vocalist attuned to the same frequency. Now, its latest collaborative effort will involve Malian guitarist and singer Vieux Farka Touré, son of renowned singer Ali Farka Touré. “Ali” was crafted in his honor, and Khruangbin is a natural fit to complete his son’s vision. — KD

A man with long blond hair plays the drums

Taylor Hawkins.

(Kevin Winter / Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert, Kia Forum (Sept. 27)
The Foo Fighters drummer, who died in March at age 50, is set to be honored with an all-star tribute concert featuring a truly eclectic cast of admirers that includes Pink, LeAnn Rimes and Miley Cyrus along with rockers like Joshua Homme, Joan Jett, Geddy Lee and Brian May. Also on the bill: Alanis Morissette, with whom Hawkins played before Dave Grohl recruited him for Foo Fighters, and an array of world-class drummers including Omar Hakim, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Queen’s Roger Taylor. Expect a long night — and an emotional one. — MW

Roxy Music, Kia Forum (Sept. 28)
It’s been two decades since the great rakes of U.K. rock toured in the U.S. But Bryan Ferry’s combo has always stood outside of time in its panache, and the band’s 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction seemed to stir the old blood. Super producer Brian Eno won’t be joining the group on this run, alas (opener St. Vincent will be). Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson were among the last holdouts of the classic-rock reunion wave; fans will now finally get their chance to see them off in style. — AB

Kid Cudi, “Entergalactic” (Sept. 30)
Cudi’s upcoming project won’t just be music — it shares a title and release date with his adult animated television series coming to Netflix. Cudi has teased the project since 2019, but the title dates back 10 years prior, when the song “Enter Galactic (Love Connection Part I)” appeared on his breakthrough album, “Man on the Moon: The End of Day.” True to that song’s lyrics and parentheses-enclosed subtitle, Cudi said in 2019 that the album would revolve around “love and relationships,” which was validated in his Esquire cover story this August. With Netflix in tow, Cudi is elevating the definition of a “visual album.” — KD

Slipknot, “The End, So Far” (Sept. 30)
Any tally of the last great American festival bands had better include the gory pride of Iowa near the top. The group’s seventh album of gut-churning, spike-clad metal has some notable new influences — the doom-stricken balladry of Tom Waits on “Yen,” and a bit of brutal blues as promised by maniacal drummer Jay Weinberg in recent interviews. The band has lived long enough to see its nu-metal roots come back in fashion for Gen Z, but the gang choruses on “The Dying Song (Time to Sing)” and “The Chapeltown Rag” will cut right through any crowd of the Knotfest devoted. — AB

Bad Bunny, SoFi Stadium (Sept. 30 and Oct. 1)
Now in its eighth week at the top of the Billboard 200, it’s safe to say Bad Bunny’s fourth album, a balm for saudade titled “Un Verano Sin Ti,” is the de facto soundtrack of the summer. Halfway through what’s been dubbed the World’s Hottest Tour, the Puerto Rican hitmaker will stop by Inglewood’s SoFi for two nights before sailing on to the Caribbean and South America. If it’s anything like the concerts-turned-raucous block parties he’s thrown in his home base of San Juan, we say: Save up and start practicing your perreo moves, stat. — SE

Desert Daze, Lake Perris, Calif. (Sept. 30-Nov. 2)
2022 kicked up some high drama in the high desert over the effect of L.A.’s mystics on the fragile ecosystems of Joshua Tree. The decade-old psych-rock festival has contributed to that much-debated gentrification, but the fest’s full-fledged return to Lake Perris promises one of the country’s best-curated lineups: vets like Tame Impala and Iggy Pop finding a wavelength with the wilder Kikagaku Moyo, the Marías, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles and Black Country, New Road. — AB

A woman with long, blond hair wearing a black dress and singing into a microphone

Stevie Nicks in 2019.

(Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)

Stevie Nicks, Hollywood Bowl (Oct. 3)
L.A. witches, assemble: Nicks will touch down at the Bowl for what may be the largest coven meeting this town’s ever seen. Judging by her setlists from this year’s Bonnaroo and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, it’s sure to be a night filled with magic, intrigue and a resounding sing-along of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” The night’s opening act will be Nicks’ longtime friend, “Thousand Miles” singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton — whose 2013 wedding to Deer Tick frontman John McCauley was famously officiated by Nicks. — SE

Charlie Puth, “Charlie” (Oct. 7)
By the time his third LP drops, Puth’s most devoted fans — do they call themselves Charlie Puthers? — will already have heard much of it on TikTok, where the endearingly quirky singer and songwriter has been documenting its creation between bite-size videos of pop musicology. “Another dweeby dork moment by me,” he captioned one recent clip in which he excitedly compares a guitar sound heard in Saweetie and Doja Cat’s “Best Friend” to one heard in “Hoochie Mama” by 2 Live Crew. — MW

My Chemical Romance, Kia Forum (Oct. 11, 12, 14, 15 and 17)
In the 2000s, My Chemical Romance charged emo with the melodrama of theater nerds and became some of the biggest rock stars on the planet. After a long hiatus and a super-brief reunion tour paused by COVID-19, the New Jersey group is finally making a proper comeback with a North American tour and a new single, “The Foundations of Decay,” that earns every one of its hard-shredding six minutes. The act’s doing five nights at the Forum, followed right after by two weekends at the When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas. — AB

Carly Rae Jepsen, “The Loneliest Time” (Oct. 21)
Jepsen may never transcend cult-fave status in the way her cult so fervently believes she’s due. But the Canadian singer and songwriter — whose crowd at April’s Coachella festival made up with intensity what it might’ve lacked in size — has virtually perfected a kind of lovelorn pop tune with nostalgia for the sounds of the 1980s to match her longing for the romantic satisfaction that perpetually eludes her. Jepsen’s upcoming LP (which she’ll tee up with an Oct. 18 appearance at the Greek Theatre) goes long on allusions to her life in Los Angeles and showcases her underappreciated sense of humor: “Go find yourself or whatever,” she tells one more Mr. Wrong, “I hope it treats you better than I could do.” — MW

Harry Styles, Kia Forum (Oct. 23, 24, 26, 28, 29 and 31; Nov. 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 15)
In a chaotic era for roadshows, Maná, BTS and Adele have all turned to the extended-stay residency model for their 2022 tours. But no one has better adapted to the format than Styles, who clocks in for a formidable 15 nights of his Love on Tour run at the Forum. His Coachella headline set fully announced his arrival as a pop juggernaut with classic-rock credibility and modern adventurousness, and given fan demand, he probably could book nine additional nights if the space were free. If you can attend only one performance, there’s no better night to indulge Styles’ high-fashion sensibilities than Halloween. — AB

A man with blue hair, smiling.

Omar Apollo.

(Los Angeles Times)

Omar Apollo, Greek Theatre (Nov. 1)
In celebration of his funk-fueled springtime debut, “Ivory,” the Mexican American singer-songwriter will embark on his fall Prototype tour, a 23-date jaunt across the U.S. that kicks off Oct. 21 in San Diego and includes a stop at the Greek. Apollo has partnered with the nonprofit initiative Plus1, which will direct $1 from every ticket sale to support MusiCares, “to provide a safety net of critical health and welfare services to the music community.” — SE

Steve Lacy, Hollywood Bowl (Nov. 11)
The year of Lacy will reach its apex at the Bowl, when the Compton-born artist and producer concludes his Give You the World tour at the famed open-air venue. R&B heads have long loved the guitarist for his work with the Internet, along with his Prince-esque solo projects, but Lacy is no longer a cult artist: His 2022 album, “Gemini Rights,” and its TikTok-led surprise smash, “Bad Habit,” have catapulted the 24-year-old to leading Grammy contender. If you’re able to score a seat, the Bowl show will be a night to remember. — KD

Elton John, Dodger Stadium (Nov. 17, 19 and 20)
To conclude the North American leg of his epic farewell tour — at least he says this will be the end — the 75-year-old pop superstar is returning to one of the spots where he famously cemented his legend. John’s three shows at Dodger Stadium will come nearly half a century after the pair of historic gigs he played in a bedazzled baseball uniform in 1975. (If you weren’t there, consult 2019’s “Rocketman” biopic for a detailed re-creation.) The concerts come close to coinciding with the 25th anniversary of John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997” hitting No. 1 on the Hot 100, where the Princess Diana-inspired single stayed for a whopping 14 weeks. — MW

Michael Jackson, “Thriller 40” (Nov. 18)
Four decades after its release — and three years after an explosive HBO documentary that threatened to reframe Jackson’s legacy — the King of Pop’s magnum opus is still shaping the sound of modern music: Just try to imagine the creamy R&B center of Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” minus the groundwork laid by Jackson and producer Quincy Jones in “Human Nature” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” This double-disc 40th-anniversary reissue is set to feature 10 bonus tracks including rarities and previously unissued demos. — MW

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