Top 5 Albums of September
The turning of September is a checkpoint that affects most everyone, be it in the climate cooling or the anxious mentality of pre-hibernation. Though January marks our entrance to a new year, September marks our entrance into a new cycle, a cycle that revolves around new school years, new apartment leases, and the festivus stress of holiday season. Everyone reacts differently to the new cycle, but at the very least we all feel it, and sometimes, it makes people a little cuckoo. Hell, in the most bizarre and meme-able time of our society, there are no shortage of buzzworthy Halloween costume ideas for this year. Looking at you, Ye.
September saw the return of several legacy acts with new releases, including Paul McCartney’s twenty-fifth studio album, Lil Wayne’s way-overdue Tha Carter V, and a new chiller from indie prophets Spiritualized. In line with September’s contemplative cycle shift, our top albums this month are thought provoking and grandiose, marinated in tanks of large concepts and fearless sonic exploration. Stimulate your brain with our top 5 albums of September.
Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love
For fans of: Arca, Oneohtrix Point Never, Serpentwithfeet
Sean Bowie’s ambient/noise project Yves Tumor represents the freedom in abstraction. The electronic musician’s latest pièce de résistance, the boundless Safe in the Hands of Love, is impossible to categorize as something singular, and where that could be the downfall of any artist, the noise guru thrives in what cannot be defined. Safe in the Hands of Love flexes at times with the hearty underground dance rhythms of acid and industrial house, but takes sudden sharp turns to explore elsewhere, be it the sinewy drawl of trip hop, or the harsh hallows of dark ambient. Bowie’s ability to make uncertainty sound so adventurous constitutes Safe in the Hands of Love as one of the most compelling experimental albums of the year.
Richard Swift – The Hex
For fans of: Danger Mouse, Dr. Dog, Rufus Wainwright
Before we tragically lost musical polymath Richard Swift in July, he was dealing with some losses of his own. Within the woozy chambers of his final album The Hex, the deaths of both his mother and sister heavily influence a foreboding air of tragedy. Known for his adventurous, often ethereal explorations, Swift dug deep into the corners of the afterlife through a psychedelic lense, wailing a soulful, yet damaged croon along the way. Despite its misfortunate association, the conceptual abundance of The Hex will always be a reminder of the great genius and soul of Richard Swift. RIP.
Low – Double Negative
For fans of: Sigur Rós, Beach House, The Antlers
Unwavering indie stalwarts Low have built their legacy with patient and steady hands, rarely exceeding a tempo faster than 80 bpm. While maintaining their lead-footed integrity, the trio have taken a plunge into the abstract on their newest album, the politically charged Double Negative. Frontman Alan Sparhawk hasn’t held back in his forthright criticism of Donald Trump in the past, and through ambient and often distorted textures, Sparhawk is just as critical as ever. Swarming in a darkly compelling abyss, Double Negative marks yet another shift in Low’s stoical career.
Christine and the Queens – Chris
For fans of: Perfume Genius, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Robyn
To better understand macho psychology, French singer/songwriter Héloïse Letissier created “Chris”, a slinky male alter-ego for whom serves as the main character on her latest album Chris. Letissier’s unapologetic exploration yields a story that sets out to defy double standards, and what better way to exemplify a virile alpha male than to the backdrop of gloriously glossy funk and synth-pop grooves. In it’s sweaty, often cocksure demeanor, Chris broadcasts the complexities and intricacies of toxicity masculinity that are often overlooked in our patriarchal society; frankly, Letissier couldn’t have delivered such a vivid statement at a better time than now.
Noname – Room 25
For fans of: Erykah Badu, Chance the Rapper, Jamila Woods
In all of its proud, hard-edged vitality, Chicago has bred high calibur hip hop acts throughout the last three decades, where the mammoth shadows of Kanye West, Common, and Chance the Rapper loom immensely over the midwestern metropolis. Rapper/poet Fatimah Nyeema Warner, otherwise known as Noname, is Chicago’s latest and brightest export, searing audiences with exceptionally smooth flow cut with a biting realism. Room 25 finds Noname in a contemplative recollection of her chronology, examining quarter life through channels of neo-soul and crunchy jazz soundscapes that rival the iconic beats of her elders. Standing tall amongst the presence of Chicago’s hip hop greatness, Noname gives new meaning to “City of the Big Shoulders”.