If you too are falling victim to the existential existence sweeping the hearts of a nation, in which nothing is certain – not even if the sugar puff man is now using fake sugar to avoid the taxes, or if we’re all just puppets in an ever more sinister series of capitalist snapshots where Atwood is the one true God – then, well, at least you can now be sure of one thing. That these were the best nine albums released in September 2019. Give them a listen.
Artist: Gruff Rhys
Label: Rough Trade
What is it? The Super Furry Animals frontman’s first Welsh-language album, rendered through South African electronica and sunny psychedelics.
L&Q says: “luxuriously lounge-lizard parping brass augments the wistful melodicism of the title track, and ‘Taranau Mai’, all trombone drones, tabla and expressively jazzy trumpet flourishes, smoulders with psychedelic warmth.”
Read Sam Walton’s full review.
Artist: Alex Cameron
Title: Miami Memory
Label: Secretly Canadian
What is it? The third album from Australia’s most deadpan character assassin turns its thoughts homewards, and gives us more of Cameron’s own life than before. It’s good enough to dance to, but you still don’t know if you’re meant to take it seriously.
L&Q says: “It’s in joyous, stupid, triumphant moments like this when you’re forced to stop over-thinking Cameron and go with his chest-punching indie rock. But yes, it is a joke, and he definitely planted it there knowingly, along with the following line about Elon Musk and his “cars that run on sand”.”
Read Stuart Stubbs’s full review.
Title: Love & Compromise
What is it? An honest and perceptive debut from Birmingham’s R&B breakout, filled with messages of self-love and positivity.
L&Q says: “Like a guided relaxation tape, the album’s pillow-soft instrumentals slip us into Mahalia’s euphoria.”
Read Alexander Smail’s full review.
Artist: Mike Patton and Jean-Claude Vannier
Title: Corpse Flower
What is it? Filled with the allure of every great-terrible album that came before it, here’s the debut collaboration by Faith No More’s Mike Patton and famed arranger for Serge Gainsbourg, Jean-Claude Vannier.
L&Q says: “On the one hand, it’s questionable tripe from creepy old men raging against the dying of the light; on the other, it comes off as a pornographic text of premeditated, nothing-left-to-lose hideousness, openly goading the listener to hate it.”
Read Dafydd Jenkins’s full review.
Artist: (Sandy) Alex G
Title: House of Sugar
What is it? A fuzzy, lo-fi record of primal urges, awkward discomfort and Vocoders, based loosely upon a garish casino in Philadelphia.
L&Q says: “Like the best songwriters, he has the rare talent of writing about his own personal history in a way that makes you think he’s writing about you. That’s even more impressive given these are songs about raw, abstract emotions, with obscured production and loose structures to match.”
Read Stephen Butchard’s full review.
Artist: Brittany Howard
What is it? The squelchy small-town debut solo album from Brittany Howard after a decade of fronting Alabama Shakes. It sounds almost exactly nothing like Alabama Shakes.
L&Q says: “There’s catharsis in confrontation, and although this is primarily an album spent in the depths of uncomfortable, emotional reflection, Jaime is a beautiful thing for it.”
Read Reef Younis’s full review.
What is it? The first full project from Iglooghost, Kai Whiston and BABii, that’s as ready and willing to sell you furniture as it is to set your mind loose in a world of baffling and gamified electronics.
L&Q says: “The only thing we can definitely say from XYZ is that GLOO will be the first to win the space race. Trying to unpick the madness is as redundant as not buying into it in the first place.”
Artist: Girl Band
Title: The Talkies
Label: Rough Trade
What is it? The long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s critically-acclaimed Holding Hands With Jamie from another Dublin noise rock trendsetter.
L&Q says: “The Talkies hits you with vacillating confrontation, panic and anxiety but there’s more in play than pure, thumping menace and the ugliness of it all.”
Artist: Sui Zhen
Title: Losing, Linda
What is it? An album through the lips of a digital creature dealing with human feelings and coming to terms with its own digital disillusionment, inspired by Laurie Anderson, posthumanism, Inuit throat singing and cyborgs.
L&Q says: “Laid over beats, Sui Zhen’s vocals add a warmth that only a living body allows. Electronic tracks are intertwined with bossa nova; piano and brass meet synths and drum machines, perfectly mirroring the everyday experience of a person having to deal with their online presence.”
Read Guia Cortassa’s full review.
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