The 15 Albums You Need to Hear in September


You know summer is well and truly over when the humidity recedes, the days start getting shorter and the big album releases start coming thick and fast. Yep, it’s almost time for the September rush, and this year the crop is particularly good — so much so, in fact, that we’ve expanded our usual round-up of 10 albums you need to hear in the month to come to a bumper list of 15. As ever, we’ve also rounded up the rest of the month’s notable releases: the good, the bad, and the ugly. So tell us: what are you looking forward to hearing in September?

Animal Collective — Centipede Hz (September 4)

Um. Well. What to do after you’ve made the album that everyone has decided is your masterpiece? It’s a question that plenty of bands have struggled with over the years, and one that few have managed to answer satisfactorily. How does Centipede Hz fare? Well, it’s no Kid A, put it that way — although it does have its moments, it’s certainly not “a record so excellent we don’t understand it yet”. Mo’ money, mo’ problems, and all that.

Jens Lekman — I Know What Love Isn’t (September 4)

No such worries for Jens Lekman, who’s generally eschewed the album for the EP over the years — this is only his third full-length album in a career that’s spanned over a decade. He’s hardly been idle over that time, but still, a new “proper” album is always very much cause for celebration… especially when it’s as good as I Know What Love Isn’t, which is very good indeed. Hurrah.

Cat Power — Sun (September 4)

Well, now. After the relative disappointment that was The Greatest, Chan Marshall has only gone and made her best record since… well, possibly ever. Don’t just take our word for it, though — it’s streaming at NPR this week, so get listening.

Bob Mould — Silver Age (September 4)

Hüsker Dü’s days of umlaut-y glory are decades in the past now, but Bob Mould is still cranking out spiky post punk songs that are a shitload better than many of his younger rivals. This is his first record since 2009, and he’s as grumpy as ever. “I’m never too old to contain my rage,” he sings on title track “Silver Age” — and we wouldn’t want him any other way.

Mount Eerie — Ocean Roar (September 4)

Rarely has a musical project been better-named than Mount Eerie, the pseudonym for Washington State artist Phil Elverum, whose songs sound like exactly what you might want to listen to while exploring some sort of remote haunted mountain range. This is Elverum’s second record of 2012, following on from the largely excellent Clear Moon, and from what we’ve heard so far, it’s a whole lot less sparse than that record — but no less atmospheric and, well, eerie. Bring it on.

The xx — Coexist (September 11)

Since this album is being more closely guarded than Fort Knox or something, we can’t tell you a great deal more about it than what you’ve likely heard already — ie. that on the evidence of the couple of new songs we have heard, it sounds like… well, it sounds The xx’s first record, to be honest. This isn’t an altogether bad thing, of course.

Thee Oh Sees — Putrifiers II (September 11)

You know what you’re gonna get with ever-prolific San Francisco garage pysch pop types Thee Oh Sees — razor-sharp pop songs, the occasional psych wig-out, and lots of fun. So it goes with Putrifiers II, which means that we’re very much looking forward to getting our hands on a copy.

The Raveonettes — Observator (September 11)

Likewise the Raveonettes, who’ve been making an occasionally sinister take on ’50s-inspired bubblegum pop for the best part of a decade now. According to Sune Rose Wagner, Observator was “meant to be [their] LA album,” a plan that was sabotaged when the singer hurt his back, got diagnosed with depression and then hoovered too many drugs on the West Coast. Oops.

St Vincent and David Byrne — Love This Giant (September 11)

If this record has as many memorable melodies as it does brain cells, it’ll be an all-time classic.

How to Dress Well — Total Loss (September 18)

It’s not a proper month without a good Tri Angle release, and this month’s is the follow-up to How to Dress Well’s standout 2010 debut Love Remains. From what we’ve heard so far, it could be yet another good R&B-influenced album for 2012. Ye gods! What’s happening to the world?

Grizzly Bear — Shields (September 18)

It may say something about our inherent sad-sackery that our two most anticipated albums of this month are the Jens Lekman record and this. Still, it’s not just us — the largely sublime Veckatimest introduced the joys of Grizzly Bear to a wider audience, meaning that Shields has a lot to live up to. Fingers crossed it does a better job of it than Centipede Hz.

Menomena — Moms (September 18)

The Portland trio are a duo since the departure of long-time member Brent Knopf — this is their first record since the line-up change. Decidedly sombre lead single “Heavy Is As Heavy Does” also has one of the better opening lines we’ve heard in 2012: “Heavy are the branches hanging from my fucked-up family tree/ Heavy was my father, a stoic man of pride and privacy.”

Django Django — Django Django (September 25)

We mentioned this record a couple of weeks back when it was streaming at NPR — it’s getting a belated release in the USA, having been available since January in the band’s native UK. The UK press have largely loved it, and rightly so, given that it’s a pretty precociously ambitious debut. The band’s Beta Band-esque psych extravaganzas are a little too busy at times — it feels like there are five or six ideas crammed into every song — but they certainly make for interesting listening.

Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon — YOKOKIMTHURSTON (September 25)

Does this mean Kim and Thurston are speaking again? We can only hope.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band — St Peter and 57th St. (September 25)

And finally, a live album from a veteran New Orleans jazz band featuring Merrill Garbus, My Morning Jacket, Mos Def and Steve Earle? We are intrigued.

Also out this month:

Stars — The North (September 4) Streaming at NPR, especially for lovers of theatrical Canadian indie.

Deerhoof — Breakup Song (September 4) Also streaming right now at NPR if you fancy a listen… Click here to get involved.

Matchbox Twenty — North (September 4) Sigh.

T.I. — Trouble Man (September 4) Rumors that the original album title was “Oooh Look At Me I’ve Been In Jail!” remain unconfirmed.

The Vaccines — The Vaccines Come Of Age (September 4) This London quartet’s debut album got heaps of press in the UK but rather disappeared on this side of the Atlantic. It’ll be interesting to see what this one does.

Two Door Cinema Club — Beacon (September 4) Meanwhile, the award for “dullest UK indie band” goes to…

A$AP Rocky — LongLiveA$AP (September 11) The exact same title as his 2011 mixtape, but apparently an entirely different entity. Not at all confusing. Oh, OK, different titles. Duly noted.

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra — Theater Is Evil (September 11) So, this is what a million dollars buys you.

Calexico — Algiers (September 11) Tex-Mex goes North African!

Dave Matthews Band — Away from the World (September 11) Oh, if only.

DMX — Undisputed (September 11) Undisputed what, though? Biggest asshole to dogs in the entire universe?

The Avett Brothers — Carpenter (September 11) Lovers of, rejoice.

The Presets — Pacifica (September 11) Huge in their native Australia, and also apparently’s influence for “Boom Boom Pow.” Don’t hold it against them.

Aimee Mann — Charmer (September 11) Amongst other things, this apparently features a duet with James Mercer.

Ben Folds Five — The Sound of the Life of the Mind Out (September 18) Wow, they’re called Ben Folds Five and after all these years there’s STILL ONLY THREE OF THEM. How quirky.

Dinosaur Jr — I Bet On Sky (September 18) It’s probably terribly unfashionable to be excited about a new Dinosaur Jr record in 2012, but blow us down if we’re not looking forward to this.

Carly Rae Jepsen — Kiss (September 18) You may have heard of her.

Kreayshawn — Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay (September 18) You may also have heard of her.

Nelly Furtado — The Spirit Indestructible (September 18) You may have heard of her if you remember the 1990s.

Woods — Bend Beyond (September 18) Yay for Woods, who are always excellent. We hope this doesn’t get lost in the September rush.

Green Day — Uno! (September 25) Hey, does that mean they’re about to play their last card and fuck right off?!

Mumford and Sons — Babel (September 25) Something to listen to while you brew your real ale in your ramshackle shed. Try not to doze off.

No Doubt — Push and Shove (September 25) Quite why No Doubt still exist in 2012 we couldn’t begin to tell you.

Ozomatli — OzoKidz (September 25) Veteran multicultural hip hop-a-go-go!

The Soft Pack — Strapped (September 25) We liked them better when they were calling themselves the Muslims and covering Spacemen 3, but this should still be worth hearing.