7 albums to listen to this fall

(Clockwise from top left: Drop Nineteens (Courtesy Steve Eichner); Bad Rabbits (Courtesy Garden Of Eden); Singer Mali (Courtesy Alex Springer); Houndsteeth (Courtesy Bret Kaser); Lost Film (Courtesy Lost Film); Izzy Heltai (Courtesy Jacqueline Justice); Shallow Pools (Courtesy Sarah Mentus)
(Clockwise from top left: Drop Nineteens (Courtesy Steve Eichner); Bad Rabbits (Courtesy Garden Of Eden); Singer Mali (Courtesy Alex Springer); Houndsteeth (Courtesy Bret Kaser); Lost Film (Courtesy Lost Film); Izzy Heltai (Courtesy Jacqueline Justice); Shallow Pools (Courtesy Sarah Mentus)

I was losing track of the summer months until I visited my mom the first weekend of September. I walked into the living room and saw a colorful line of gourds perched on the fireplace and a string of red and orange maple leaves draping the windows. It was then that I realized it was fall, not because of the chilly nights, the earthy smell in the air, the shorter days or the changing leaves. It was because of my mom's living room decorations, set out promptly on the first weekend of September. There is no better indicator of a changing season than a mom's decorated house.

As I sat among the gourds and maple leaves, I dug into some great new music from a group of artists all originating from Boston and surrounding Massachusetts towns. In compiling this season's music guide, I pulled out some jangly indie rock from Western Massachusetts and experimental pop from the Boston DIY circuit, as well as a slew of storied Boston groups showcasing the city's deep well of diversity, from audacious and energetic pop-leaning projects to music enigmatically labeled as "anti-pop." What a treat it was to source this group of albums for you, and I hope you enjoy the gourds and maple leaves as much as I do.

Lost Film, 'Keep It Together'
Sept. 15

On "Keep It Together," the fourth album from the jangly, Western Massachusetts guitar-pop outfit Lost Film, songwriter Jim Hewitt left the usual refuge of his Easthampton bedroom studio to record in a snow-swept cabin in New Hampshire. "I've been really into textures lately," he says in the album bio, noting the parallel between the Amish textile rug on the album cover and the subtle, minimalist textures woven throughout nine songs of inviting and dreamy indie rock. It's soft, comforting and nostalgic like an old patched quilt.

Singer Mali, 'Lodestone'
Sept. 22

Known for her long-standing Boston-based group Jaggery, Singer Mali's debut solo album "Lodestone" is an exercise in musical theater, world music and avant-pop, pulling from the likes of Fiona Apple and Imogen Heap. She calls it "operatic anti-pop," and somehow it fits. The album's compelling use of orchestral instruments, exotic percussion and vocal synthesizers accompany Mali's soaring soprano vocals. Think of "Lodestone" as a modern opera ruminating on the complex intersection of human nature and its murky future.

shallow pools, 'I Think About It All The Time'
Oct. 13

From within the bombastic barrage of their music, Boston's shallow pools are entrenched in social issues surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. "I Think About It All The Time," the indie-pop group's debut album, features songs co-written by LGBTQ+ icon Lynn Gunn of PVRIS and often illustrates the deep cavern of injustice dug out for minorities in this country. The audacious "Nightmare" shows how a group like shallow pools handles such discrimination — with unrelenting pop maximalism, a no-holds-barred punk spirit and contagious moxie.

Bad Rabbits, 'Garden Of Eden'
Oct. 20

If you've been bopping around Boston's club circuit any time in the last 15 years, you've likely heard of Bad Rabbits, indisputably one of the city's most innovative and totally bonkers R&B groups to ever do it. It's been five years since their last album, but the forthcoming "Garden Of Eden" shows the genre-bending group harboring the fruits of their labor. The self-titled lead single gives you everything you need to know, with its propulsive club beat, throwback synth-stabs and vocalist Fredua "Dua" Boakye's gutsy roar.

Izzy Heltai, 'mostly myself again'
Oct. 20

Izzy Heltai has propelled himself from the catacombs of Boston's DIY scene to spots at major festivals and stints supporting artists like Jason Isbell and The Head And The Heart. But his latest EP, the pensive "mostly myself again" details how life isn't always so sweet behind the scenes to the tune of a sauntering, folksy indie rock backdrop. Single "Bad Time," a can-kicking indie ballad, shows how lovely and poignant it can be to hear someone so expressly stewing on themselves while the sound of a few lonely guitar chords emphasizes a plea to be heard.

Houndsteeth, 'Hold Your Horses'
Oct. 27

Houndsteeth is one of the more singular indie bands to come from Boston's DIY scene, wielding an unabashed uniqueness that's beyond reproach. "Hold Your Horses," the forthcoming album from the trio, shows them at their best, containing a collection of twee-ish experimental pop songs that refuse categorization. Think Stereolab meets Beat Happening or a Deerhoof album covered by lounge musicians. This one might have me stumped, but I'm not mad about it.

Drop Nineteens, 'Hard Light'
Nov. 3

More than 30 years since the release of their pioneering album "Delaware," Boston shoegaze legends Drop Nineteens are making a fashionable return to the scene. "Hard Light," their first album in four U.S. presidents, sounds nothing like a three-decade hiatus. Led by songwriter Greg Ackell, Drop Nineteens fall right back into lush and velvety soundscapes on "Hard Light," an album brimming with moody grooves and prickly guitar play. For a band that quit the game at their peak, they sound like they never left it. What a comeback.


Charley Ruddell Music Writer
Charley Ruddell is a freelance music critic and contributor for WBUR.



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