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MUSIC

17 reasons for pop music fans to celebrate the fall

A posthumous collection of Sharon Jones's cover versions of other artists' songs will be released digitally Oct. 23.
A posthumous collection of Sharon Jones's cover versions of other artists' songs will be released digitally Oct. 23.Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP/File 2010

Concert stages will remain empty, but there’s plenty to please music fans through the end of 2020, from new album releases by Boston-based and national artists, reissues, live-streamed shows, books, and documentaries.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In)” Few modern performers have been as straight-up endearing as the late Sharon Jones. The soul singer’s belated success (releasing her first album in her mid-40s) and subsequent cancer battle provided her with an underdog narrative that made her easy to root for, especially when she continued to deliver fierce-as-hell performances while bald from chemo. “Just Dropped In” collects scattered covers Jones had performed, from the titular Kenny Rogers groove to songs by Gladys Knight, Prince, Dusty Springfield, and (obviously) Woody Guthrie. Oct. 23 (digital), Nov. 29 (physical)

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MARC HIRSH

The Michael Character, “Oh Shoot!” Offstage, The Michael Character bandleader James Ikeda has spent most of the past decade pursuing multiple advanced degrees in history, and his lyrical blend of angst and academia is as thought-provoking as ever on the punk project’s upcoming 13th record. On “Oh Shoot!” his raucous acoustic sound is bolstered by experimental full-band arrangements and frenetic layered vocals offering critiques of everything from international relations to his own search for purpose. Oct. 23

KAREN MULLER

Billie Eilish's live-streamed concert on Oct. 24 will benefit workers in the live-music industry who have been affected by the pandemic.
Billie Eilish's live-streamed concert on Oct. 24 will benefit workers in the live-music industry who have been affected by the pandemic.Associated Press

Billie Eilish, “Where Do We Go? The Livestream” Way back in March (remember March?), one of 2019′s biggest pop breakthroughs was set to headline TD Garden — a plan that was foiled by lockdowns. She’s making up for her canceled tour with a live-streamed concert from her hometown of Los Angeles, with ticket prices benefiting live-music-industry workers whose incomes were upended by the pandemic; if her show at Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion in 2019 is any indication, expect it to be high-energy yet unsettling, full of unforgettable hooks and nightmare-borne imagery. Oct. 24, 6 p.m. $30. livestream.billieeilish.com

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MAURA JOHNSTON

Tim’s Twitter Listening Party Back in March, Tim Burgess of the groove-minded Britpop heroes the Charlatans had an idea: He’d put on an album — in that particular case, his band’s 1990 debut “Some Friendly” — and invite other Twitter users to do the same, then engage in an in-depth chat about it. That’s turned into a series, “Tim’s Twitter Listening Party,” where other musicians revisit classic albums; upcoming guests include British electronica pioneers Faithless (talking their new album on Oct. 23), Green Gartside and Rhodri Marsden of high-concept poppers Scritti Politti (discussing the masterful “Cupid & Psyche ’85” on Nov. 8), and indie weirdos Mercury Rev (chatting about their debut “Yerself Is Steam” on Nov. 10). Ongoing; see website for schedule. timstwitterlisteningparty.com

MAURA JOHNSTON

Candace McDuffie's "50 Rappers Who Changed the World."
Candace McDuffie's "50 Rappers Who Changed the World."

“50 Rappers Who Changed the World” by Candace McDuffie In recent years, Boston music journalist and critic Candace McDuffie has written for publications from Rolling Stone and Spin to Vibe and Glamour; now, she’s compiled her expertise about the past half-century of hip-hop into her first book. “50 Rappers Who Changed the World,” an illustrated compendium of the genre’s most influential figures, hits shelves later this month. It’s a musical history of sorts, told through profiles of artists from Grandmaster Flash and Run DMC to Kendrick Lamar and Cardi B. Oct. 27

KAREN MULLER

Cam, “The Otherside” This singer-songwriter hit it big with her second album “Untamed,” highlighted by the sparkling yet mournful “Burning House,” in 2015. Since then, she’s walked her own line through Nashville, with the galloping “Jolene” answer song “Diane” proving how she can deftly bring classic country ideals into the 21st century, a 2018 opening slot for Brit crooner Sam Smith showcasing her arena-commanding personality, and credits on songs by pop heavyweights like Miley Cyrus and Diplo highlighting her songwriting’s universal appeal. Her third album is the culmination of this journey — and the latest step in her career-long evolution. Oct. 30.

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MAURA JOHNSTON

Billy Dean Thomas, “For Better or Worse” Billy Dean Thomas might be among the newer names in Boston’s hip-hop scene, but their slick delivery, punchy wordplay, and infectious energy has fueled a fast ascent. There’s still a party in the pulse of their forthcoming seven-track EP, “For Better or Worse,” but it’s tempered by lyrics that cautiously reevaluate relationships and priorities. As Thomas assures listeners on “Be Well,” it’s all about striking a balance: “Music is my peace treaty and my club throwdown.” Oct. 30

KAREN MULLER

Outkast, “Stankonia” 20th anniversary re-release It’s been two decades since Outkast unleashed “Ms. Jackson,” “So Fresh, So Clean” and “B.O.B.” on a grateful world. If it’s been nearly that long since you gave the Atlanta rappers’ whirlwind fourth album a spin, then let this re-release provide ample excuse to revisit “Stankonia.” If it’s never been far from the playback device of your choice in the past two decades, then André 3000 and Big Boi have you covered with newly released mixes by Cutmaster Swiff, Beat Bullies, and Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha. Wooooo! Oct. 30

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MARC HIRSH

Walter Sickert and his band, the Army of Broken Toys, are planning to livestream a show from the Museum of Science's Charles Hayden Planetarium.
Walter Sickert and his band, the Army of Broken Toys, are planning to livestream a show from the Museum of Science's Charles Hayden Planetarium.Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe/file 2012

Museum of Science: Subspace Sessions Livestream Series This fall, the Museum of Science’s Subspace Sessions music series continues with two virtual installments streamed live from the Charles Hayden Planetarium. On Oct. 29, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys completes the otherworldly atmosphere with their haunted-carnivalesque revelry for a special Halloween performance; on Nov. 19, Julie Rhodes brings her soulful Americana to the space.

KAREN MULLER

Mr. Bungle, “The Night They Came Home” In the ’80s, vocalist Mike Patton fronted the shock-and-glee act Mr. Bungle, which released a few demos before he was drafted by metallurgists Faith No More; shortly after that, “Epic” and its flipping fish made Patton an MTV staple. (He’s wearing his other band’s shirt in the video.) Mr. Bungle quickly got signed by Warner Brothers, releasing three albums, including 1999′s kitchen-sink masterpiece “California,” before going dormant. Earlier this year, Patton, guitarist Trey Spruance, and bassist Trevor Dunn got together with Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Slayer’s Dave Lombardo for a series of one-off concerts; that led to the quintet re-recording the band’s first demo, “The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny,” which comes out a day before this live-streamed Halloween show. Oct. 31, 3 p.m. $15. mrbungle.live

MAURA JOHNSTON

Rilo Kiley tribute (various artists), “No Bad Words for the Coast Today: The Execution of All Things Covers Comp” Emo-adjacent indie wunderkinds Rilo Kiley went on what would become a permanent hiatus in 2010 or thereabouts. Since then, there’s only been the odds-and-sods “Rkives” compilation and frontwoman Jenny Lewis’s engaging solo career to sustain fans. Enter this tribute to the band’s fine second album, covered by a new generation of indie wunderkinds, including Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis. Performing as Sad13, her version of “Paint’s Peeling” internalizes the angst of the original, adding a twistiness and unpredictability to a long-familiar cornerstone of Rilo Kiley’s catalog, exactly the type of thing you hope for in a project of this type. Nov. 6

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MARC HIRSH

Kylie Minogue releases her new full-length "Disco" on Nov. 6.
Kylie Minogue releases her new full-length "Disco" on Nov. 6.Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

Kylie Minogue, “Disco” In 2018, the Australian pop supernova released “Golden,” which combined two-stepping rhythms with real-talking lyrics. Her 15th full-length finds her back under mirror balls and strobe lights, with singles such as the glossy “Magic” and the sumptuous “Say Something” hinting that this album will add a whole lot of glitter to the late-autumn gloom. Nov. 6.

MAURA JOHNSTON

Mikael Tariverdiev, “Visions In Black And White” Soviet-era composer Tariverdiev, who died in 1996, was effectively unknown outside the Iron Curtain until Stephen Coates of UK band the Real Tuesday Weld spearheaded a campaign to introduce his amalgam of classical, cocktail jazz, and Russian folk to NATO-protected ears. The inaugural collection, 2015′s three-disc “Film Music,” was both overwhelming and tantalizing — Tariverdiev scored more than 130 movies in addition to his concert work — and subsequent releases have been equally marvelous. “Visions” promises to lean toward the jazz end of his explorations, mutated just enough by the USSR’s official disapproval of the genre to pulse with a captivating freshness. Nov. 6

MARC HIRSH

Benee, “Hey u x” The wistful, breezy self-deprecation of “Supalonely” seemed to echo a lot of people’s summer-lockdown feelings, and subsequent songs “Snail” and “Night Garden” offer ample evidence that Benee’s debut full-length will be more than just a single hit surrounded by filler. Like fellow youth Billie Eilish, the New Zealander possesses a knack for doing quite a bit vocally with a quiet singing style, but Benee’s chipper melancholy gives her the vibe of someone who’s responded positively to the Xanax that Eilish’s teen-gone-deeply-wrong rejects. Also: Her name rhymes with “penny,” so don’t embarrass yourself. Nov. 13

MARC HIRSH

BTS is set to release “Be (Deluxe Edition)” Nov. 20.
BTS is set to release “Be (Deluxe Edition)” Nov. 20.Nina Westervelt/The New York Times

BTS, “Be (Deluxe Edition)” The Korean septet’s world domination has somehow risen to new heights this year, with the fizzy “Dynamite” and their rework of the TikTok-beloved Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo track “Savage Love” counting as their first and second Hot 100 No. 1s — and making them the first Korean pop group to hit the American singles chart’s summit. “Be (Deluxe Edition)” will be the group’s ninth album, and fifth in Korean. Nov. 20.

MAURA JOHNSTON

“Zappa” Among the many, many contradictions that defined Frank Zappa sits the fact that he was an inscrutable open book. Seemingly hiding nothing, seemingly holding back nothing, he put out dozens of bent, oftentimes aggressively inaccessible albums while combating congressional censorship, knocking out a fluke hit (1982′s more-biting-than-you-remember “Valley Girl”), and becoming a cultural diplomat for a newly independent Czechoslovakia. Alex “Bill S. Preston, Esq.” Winter’s documentary excels at explaining the musician/composer to the unconverted; you may not like or even appreciate his music once it’s over, but you’ll understand it and the person behind it a lot more. Nov. 27

MARC HIRSH

“Can’t Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop’s Blockbuster Year” by Michaelangelo Matos How stacked was 1984 for pop music? Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” Prince’s “Purple Rain,” Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer,” and Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual,” classics all, were nominated for Album of the Year, and they still lost the Grammy to the Lionel Richie album that gives Matos’s book its title. And those barely scratch the surface, with Madonna’s full ascension, George Michael’s arrival, and “Thriller” still parked at No. 1. The music critic — who’s written for The Village Voice, The Atlantic and others — promises to go deep on the annus mirabilis from multiple angles: stylistically, geographically, and otherwise. Dec. 8

MARC HIRSH