Best things we heard in September

Fran Slater: After months of knowing I needed to spend more time with it to really understand it, I finally fully clicked with Kathryn Joseph’s for you who are the wronged this month. Leaving my house on a Friday morning, I saw a fog enveloping the whole of my local park and headed into it as I pressed play. Opener ‘what is keeping them alive makes me want to kill them for’ seeped into my bones in a way it hasn’t fully before, and I felt genuine goosebumps and shivers. I was only meant to be walking to the shop but extended my journey to several laps around the park to let the album take hold. Kathryn makes music for foggy days like that, and I feel like this album will now become very important to me as winter reveals itself.

That said, there have been a host of fantastic new releases this month after a long dry spell. Sampa The Great has some absolute bangers on her new one, Santigold made a pretty decent comeback after a long time out, Jockstrap were an exciting new discovery, and Marlon Williams has some really strong and heartwarming moments on offer on his latest release. You should check all of these out immediately.

James Spearing: I watched the documentary series 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything at the start of September. The claim in the title is a stretch to say the least, but fortunately there was still plenty of good music to watch. The standout performance in the series is a live recording of Tina Turner doing ‘Proud Mary’. This led to a brief obsession with the song, an inarguable classic.

Bringing things more up to date, I finally spent some time with the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs ahead of the new album arriving very soon. ‘Spitting off the Edge of the World’ (featuring Perfume Genius) is a strong sign that they’ve still got it. I’m looking forward to hearing more. I also enjoyed the new Sudan Archives album Natural Brown Prom Queen, particularly the groove of ‘Chevy S10’. Finally, after our prolonged break from being a (Picky Bastards Album of the Year 2021 Winner) Anna B Savage fan site, she’s back with a new song. ‘The Ghost’ picks up where she left off with taut emotion, characteristically personal lyrics and a chorus and a half. Fingers crossed for album news soon.

Sam Atkins: The first thing I’d like to do is shout out a single that has taken over my month, the incredible ‘Black Mascara’ by RAYE. This finally feels like the sort of career defining record RAYE has never been able (or allowed) to release and it’s amazing to hear her so dominant as an independent artist.

A few albums really grabbed me this month, Carving Canyons by Lissie was an unexpected joy; Subject To Change by Kelsea Ballerini continued her high bar for country pop records; while KT Tunstall released some of her best music in years with NUT.

It’s Oliver Sim and Rina Sawayama that have really delivered this month for me. Two intriguing albums that capture so much emotion and raw creativity – I’ve been listening to both a lot (on vinyl no less). Two artists I already loved proving yet again why I was right to do so.

Tom Burrows: I was on holiday for the start of the month, and while I was away the only thing I really listened to was ‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’ by Arctic Monkeys. Aching, romantic melancholy bathed in an ocean of strings? Hook it to my veins. I’m beyond excited for The Car next month.

When I got back I did some catching up. The new release that stuck most was Jockstrap’s off-kilter debut LP, I Love You Jennifer B. Their songs are composed of so many odd, seemingly random elements that their releases can sound like a compilation of songs by similar but different bands. For the first few listens I couldn’t decide whether Jennifer B was actually good or not. But by the fifth or so listens of the baroque, folky elegance of ‘Glasgow’ and ‘Lancaster Court’ and the retro pop weirdness of ‘Greatest Hits’, I’d been won over.

Ryan Self: My best of the month is a joint submission: the new supergroup Plains and one half of this act, Jess Williamson. I’m an acolyte for all things Waxahatchee, so when I saw Katie Crutchfield had started a new project I immediately dove in. ‘Abilene’, the lead single from the (hopefully) forthcoming record, is all front porch in the summer vibes, pure twang and bittersweet stories. I was previously unfamiliar with Williamson, Crutchfield’s partner in crime, so I dug up her most recent record Sorceress and found yet another revelation. Lead track “Smoke” is a hell of a slow burner of wry, painful memories. “No one’s come this close to knowing me / Hit me with it easy if you’re going to leave,” she sighs as the song crescendos.

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