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New Music Friday: The best releases out on Sept. 15

A woman sitting on the ground near the outside wall of a wooden structure holds a wooden mallet in one hand with her other hand raised in surrender.
Ebru Yildiz
Courtesy of the artist

Our picks for the best albums out this week refuse to be one thing; they shape-shift and warp any rules around genre and conventions, with hairpin turns and sometimes strange sonic shifts that, despite upending expectations, are seamless and often breathtaking.

We start with Corinne Bailey Rae's Black Rainbows, an album inspired by the English singer's visit to Chicago's Stony Island Arts Bank and how, she says, it forever changed her. This personal transformation emerges in a startling mix of punk rock, jazz, Afrofuturism and more.

We've also got The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We, a collection of pastoral, lushly orchestrated songs that Mitski calls her most "American" album to date, plus a beautifully uplifting reflection on loss and recovery from Vagabon, a head-spinning, hook-heavy debut from Spanish singer Ralphie Choo and more.

WBEZ And Vocalo Radio's Ayana Contreras joins critic and reporter Cyrena Touros, Atlanta-based culture critic Gavin Godfrey and host Robin Hilton as they share their picks for the best albums out on Sept. 15.

Featured albums

  • Corinne Bailey Rae — Black Rainbows. Featured songs: "Erasure," "Peach Velvet Sky," "A Spell, A Prayer," "New York Transit Queen"
  • Mitski — The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We. Featured songs: "I Don't Like My Mind," "When Memories Snow," "The Frost," "The Deal," "I Love Me After You"
  • Ralphie Choo — SUPERNOVA. Featured songs: "MÁQUINA CULONA (feat Mura Masa)," "BULERÍAS DE UN CABALLO MALO," "WHIPCREAM (feat. Paris Texas)," "TANGOS DE UNA MOTO TRUCADA"
  • Vagabon — Sorry I Haven't Called. Featured songs: "Lexicon," "Do Your Worst," "Can I Talk My S***?," "Nothing to Lose"

Lightning round

  • The Beaches — Blame My Ex
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson — A Prayer to the Dynamo
  • Killer Mike — MICHAEL (Deluxe)
  • Madison Beer — Silence Between Songs
  • Pharoah Sanders — Pharoah

Other notable releases for Sept. 15

  • Baroness — Stone
  • Bombino — Sahel
  • Carlos Niño & Friends — (I'm just) Chillin', on Fire
  • Cleo Sol — Heaven
  • Christone "Kingfish" Ingram — Live In London
  • Demi Lovato — Revamped
  • Dengue Fever — Ting Mong
  • Explosions in the Sky — End
  • K. Flay — MONO
  • Luluc — Diamonds
  • Shakey Graves — Movie of the Week
  • S. Carey & John Raymond — Shadowlands
  • Teddy Swims — I've Tried Everything But Therapy (Pt. 1)
  • Vic Mensa — Victor
  • Woods — Perennial
  • Worriers — Trust Your Gut