Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
With 2011’s Ashes & Fire, uber-prolific songwriter Ryan Adams essentially fought his demons and won, coming out on the other side of illness, booze and New York City intact, with a masterful, tender album to show for it. This time he peps things up a bit, strumming slightly scruffy alt-rock tunes on electric guitar. He claims to have scrapped an entire album of “slow, adult shit” before recording this new batch. Still, it’s best moment is “My Wrecking Ball,” a melancholy ballad about losing a loved one. (Out Sept 8.)
Essential track: “Gimme Something Good”



Ty Segall

Ty Segall, Manipulator
This West Coast garage rocker (who recently relocated from San Fran to L.A.) usually tosses off albums in bursts, veering hard in one direction or another. That this latest album took Segall two years to put together says something about the thoughtfulness that went into its creation. The personal “Manipulator” is one of his most varied efforts, spanning whisper quiet acoustic glam and cathartic fuzzed-out punk wails. (Out now.)
Essential track: “Feel”


Nicholas Krgovich

Nicholas Krgovich, On Sunset
I’m pretty sure there’s not an official poet of the Pacific Coast Highway, but L.A. indie-pop songwriter Nicholas Krgovich seems to be applying for the job. His preferred mode is on-the-fringe R&B-inflected crooner, with a bit of Dirty Projectors vocal gymnastics and plenty of rough edges that reveal the cracks in his voice. (Out Sept 23.)
Essential track: “On the PCH on Oscar Night”




Cayetana, Nervous Like Me
Anyone with fond memories of ‘90s pop-punk, both literate and snotty, in the days before it became subsumed by Hot Topic, will be glad to hear that the genre is reaching a new peak of late. A startlingly large amount of it comes out of Philly (in addition to Jersey, Massachusetts and Brooklyn): The debut of this PA trio is both upbeat and intimate. (Out Sept 9.)
Essential track: “Hot Dad Calendar”



New Pornographers

New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers
To say that New Pornographers founder A.C. Newman has help is a bit of an understatement: With Neko Case and Dan Bejar on board, he’s managed to coral two of the best songwriters going for his indie-rock collective. Bejar, who makes music as Destroyer, contributes three songs to this disc, and Case flexes her vocal talents throughout. Harmonies flow off one another in an ELO-ish cascade, and the results are ebullient and joyous. (Out now.)
Essential track: “Brill Bruisers”