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Hip-hop epics, desolate noise and transformative cosmic jazz – it’s September’s best albums

Featuring Little Simz, Low, Nala Sinephro and more

Press play on our ten favourite albums from September, and start the drive to your nearest petrol station. The queue hasn’t moved for 38 hours, but we’ve got enough to be with you every step of the way, from activism in space to sound being composed in 3D (without the glasses), and Sufjan Stevens writing collaboratively about low-brow cheerleader comedies.

Artist: Little Simz
Title:
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Label:
Age 101
What is it?
An autobiographical 19-track rap epic showcasing Simz’s finest work to date, over orchestral epics, fairytale interludes, ’80s funk and Afrobeat.
L&Q says:
“Little Simz levels her successes by being herself, being introverted. And with that, she has made a record that prompts the kind of introspection that can lead to personal breakthroughs.”

Read Cat Gough’s full review here and Gemma Samways’s cover feature with Little Simz here.

Artist: Suuns
Title:
The Witness
Label:
Joyful Noise
What is it? A quieter fifth LP from the newly downsized Montreal psych-rockers, recalling the sonic contortions of BEAK> and Clinic.
L&Q says:
“SUUNS sound at ease in these expansive arrangements. An excellent and engrossing record.”

Read Zara Hedderman’s full review here.

Artist: Low
Title:
Hey What
Label:
Sub Pop
What is it?
A dependably spectral, ineffable follow-up to 2018’s sonic breakthrough Double Negative, as rich as it is desolate.
L&Q says: “If Double Negative was an arresting, shapeshifting intrusion into the contemporary alternative rock landscape, a sudden starling cloud of an album that constantly lurched, disentangled, disintegrated and reconstituted itself before blinking out of view, Hey What is the sound of those birds coming home to roost.”

Read Luke Cartledge’s full review here.

Artist: Anna Leone
Title:
I’ve Felt All These Things
Label:
All Points/Half Awake
What is it?
A long-awaited Vashti Bunyan-inspired debut from the young Stockholm-based songwriter, revelling in solitude and self-reflection.
L&Q says:
“A marked progression from 2018’s Wandered Away EP, which positioned her as an acoustic folk troubadour, it’s defined by her determination to expand her sound-world.”

Read Susan Darlington’s full review here.

Artist: Nala Sinephro
Title:
Space 1.8
Label:
Warp
What is it?
A boundless debut from the Caribbean-Belgian producer, harpist and modular synth artist, taking from jazz, electronic music and field recordings.
L&Q says:
“Throughout its transfixing 45 minutes, Space 1.8 is stirring and emotional in ways that can feel so subtle and hard to identify, as gently healing as watching waves rise and fall.”

Read Cat Gough’s full review here.

Artist: Moor Mother
Title:
Black Encylopedia of Air
Label:
Anti
What is it?
An Afrotopian dream from poet and visual artist Camae Ayewa grounded in spiritual jazz, analogue rap and space travel.
L&Q says:
“When the planets orbiting Black Encyclopedia collide, and modern-day corruption is extrapolated into Moor Mother’s spaciousness, the record sounds like a new type of haunting protest music.”

Read Tristan Gatward’s full review here.

Artist: M1llionz
Title:
Provisional Licence
Label:
Ten Per Cent
What is it?
An incredible regional grab for the crown held by the capital in UK rap, with production from Headie One, Ghosty, Jevon, Honeywoodsix and BKay
L&Q says:
“A slow roll around the backstreets of Brum, it’s a record that both captures the mundane and sometimes funny moments of city life and punctuates it with an undercurrent of paranoia and foreboding.”

Read Dominic Haley’s full review here.

Artist: Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine
Title:
A Beginner’s Mind
Label:
Asthmatic Kitty
What is it?
The result of a month-long songwriting sabbatical by friends and labelmates, inspired by the films they watched together each night from All About Eve to straight-to-video cheerleading comedy Bring It On Again.
L&Q says:
“This blurring together extends to their approach to lyrics; the duo deliberately shuffled their work together, finishing each other’s lines and leaning into surrealist imagery and thoughtful digressions.”

Read Alex Francis’s full review here.

Artist: Lyra Pramuk
Title:
Delta
Label:
Bedroom Community
What is it?
A reinterpretation of Pramuk’s mind-bending vocal-only debut album from collaborators such as Caterina Barbieri, KMRU, Ben Frost, Hudson Mohawke and Tygapaw.
L&Q says:
“Like SOPHIE, Pramuk is an artist who giddily approaches sound, freely morphing herself into new forms. Here, she offers her voice up for others to use, becoming a shadow in the background, or a monolith towering above depending on the approach.”

Read Skye Butchard’s full review here.

Artist: Peter Gregson
Title:
Patina
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
What is it?
A fifth LP from the pioneering cellist, composing in three-dimensional space using new state of the art surround sound.
L&Q says: “Here we are at the vanguard of contemporary technological breakthrough, learning once again that it is the organic and imperfectible human touch that renders such emotional resonance out of great art.”

Read Max Pilley’s full review here.

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