Short

September was the best month of 2016 so far for new albums

Here are our month's highlights

Yeah. There are a couple of obvious ones here, but they couldn’t be omitted. Bon Iver’s ’22, A Million’ is a fascinating listen from an artist processing his own recent issues in a bloody-minded and melodic fashion. Same goes for Danny Brown – it’s not just his delivery that makes ‘Atrocity Exhibition’ one of the most unique listens right now but also the newly discovered corners his new music voyages into – hip-hop that wilfully seems without any sort of beat at times. And there were releases we’ve not included – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ ‘Skeleton’, and who could forget Craig David’s return with ‘Following My Intuition’. September, you were good to us.

Artist: Bon Iver
Title: ’22, A Million’
Label: Jagjaguwar
What is it? A new Justin Vernon album, but not what you’d expect.
L&Q says: “‘22, A Million’ is the sound of a battered romantic coming to terms with the state of his life. It plays out like a slow march towards some abstruse redemption.”

Read our review

Artist: Danny Brown
Title: ‘Atrocity Exhibition’
Label: Warp
What is it? The Detroit rapper’s most candid and experimental work to date. First album on his new home Warp.
L&Q says: “With ‘XXX’ we wondered if it was a fluke, and on ‘Old’ he proved that it wasn’t. With ‘Atrocity Exhibition,’ Danny Brown cements himself as a hip-hop great.”

Read our review

Artist: Blue House
Title: ‘Suppose’
Label: Whipped Cream
What is it? Former members of Fiction (James Howard) and Drop Out Venus (Ursula Russell) deliver a shimmery, simple debut album.
L&Q says: “Of course it’s difficult to define what ‘indie’ really means in 2016, but if it does mean anything, then it’s music like this – a collection of engagingly lovely songs.”

Read our review

Artist: Jenny Hval
Title: ‘Blood Bitch’
Label: Sacred Bones
What is it? The Norwegian artist’s fourth solo album (and sixth including those under the name Rockettothesky) is a more focussed effort.
L&Q says: “Ostensibly a concept record involving the investigation of blood (particularly menstrual blood) and the parallel narrative of a female vampire, it also evokes the sense of an artist still wrestling with self-doubt and edging back towards character constructions as a means of making sense of the world and, ultimately, herself.”

Read our review

Artist: Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam
Title: ‘I Had A Dream That You Were Mine’
Label: Glassnote
What is it? Ex-Vampire Weekend multi-instrumentalist and The Walkmen frontman join together for this sentimental debut album.
L&Q says: “It’s a concept that plays out beautifully with Rostam’s production softening Leithauser’s lupine power.”

Read our review

Artist: Warpaint
Title: ‘Heads Up’
Label: Rough Trade
What is it? The Californians’ third album sees them try out their poppiest melodies yet.
L&Q says: “This is the Warpaint’s most danceable, most tactile record to date.”

Read our review

Artist: Preoccupations
Title: ‘Preoccupations’
Label: Jagjaguwar
What is it? The Calgary punks formerly known as Viet Cong reinvent themselves with a scorching second record.
L&Q says: “Almost despite themselves, Viet Cong were a great band. Improbably, Preoccupations are even better.”

Read our review

Artist: Keaton Henson
Title: ‘Kindly Now’
Label: Play It Again Sam
What is it? A bleak but beautiful sixth album from the elusive singer-songwriter.
L&Q says: “Plumbing the same maudlin depths as previous efforts, ‘Kindly Now’ is a similarly sad, slow show.”

Read our review

Artist: Clipping
Title: ‘Splendor & Misery’
Label: Subpop
What is it? The third album from the LA experimental rap trio is a dystopian hip-hop space opera.
L&Q says: “Absolutely uncompromising in its execution, pace and vision.”

Read our review

Artist: Angel Olsen
Title: ‘No Woman’
Label: Jagjaguwar
What is it? Building on her 2014 breakthrough ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness’, the Asheville-based artist returns with a brilliant record of two halves.
L&Q says: “Olsen’s immense talent hovers under the surface throughout, and of course the vocals are consistently stunning.”

Read our review

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