Forget all the “rock is dead” chatter: These indie heroes, from a Vampire Weekend co-founder to a DIY-punk veteran, will represent for rock’n’roll this season.
Who: Vampire Weekend keyboardist-guitarist-turned-cool-kid producer (Frank Ocean, Haim, Solange).
What’s on deck: Having amicably split from Vampire Weekend in January 2016, he’ll release solo debut Half-Light on Sept. 15.
Why you should care: Early Half-Light tunes sound like left-field art-pop wizardry. Also: Rostam looked super cute in Charli XCX’s “Boys” video.
In their own words: An unexpected influence? “I’ve been digging back into Shania [Twain],” he recently confessed to Billboard.
Who: Former Walkmen frontman with six solid LPs, as well as one with Rostam: 2016’s I Had a Dream That You Were Mine.
What’s on deck: The singer hits the road for a North American solo tour, which will be bundled with a new live LP for ticket buyers.
Why you should care: Gritty and glam, Leithauser’s high tenor has only improved with age — he’s one of indie rock’s most sublime voices.
In their own words: “I’ve got to get a couple girls in the band,” Leithauser told Billboard. “I’ve been so dude-y for so many years.”
Who: Rhode Island rockers beloved for over a decade, led by charismatic singer-songwriter John McCauley.
What’s on deck: On Sept. 15, two self-titled albums drop: an acoustic nod to the band’s origins and a garage-rock romp.
Why you should care: Deer Tick’s first new music since 2013 showcases generation-bridging guitar heroics tailor-made for big festival stages.
In their own words: Recording in Memphis, McCauley has said, “We were a little proud of ourselves, like, ‘Man, I think we still got it.’”
Who: Brooding, Brooklyn-by-way-of-Cincinnati quartet-turned-festival main-stage mainstays.
What’s on deck: After six studio albums (including stone-cold classics Alligator and The Boxer), the new Sleep Well Beast arrives Sept. 8.
Why you should care: Beast lead single “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” recently became the band’s first commercial radio No. 1.
In their own words: Frontman Matt Berninger gets the band’s “dad rock” rep: “We all have kids and stuff. Rock songs? No one’s going to get hurt.”
Who: Hyper-literate, high-energy punk since the ’90s; friend of Aimee Mann, with whom he has recorded as The Both.
What’s on deck: Solo LP The Hanged Man comes Sept. 8, seven years after the troubadour’s last Ted Leo & The Pharmacists album.
Why you should care: After splitting with Matador Records, Leo kickstarted The Hanged Man; it’s his most experimental work yet.
In their own words: Expect a personal record. “I’ve lived more in the last seven years than in the previous 20,” said Leo recently.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2 issue of Billboard.