The 10 Albums You Need to Hear in September


The summer’s over, and so, thankfully, is the annual drought of decent album releases that comes with the summer heat. There’s a heap of good stuff out over the coming month, so as ever, here’s our regular preview of the 10 records we reckon are gonna be worth your time in September — along with a roundup of all the other notable releases that’ll be heading your way, be they good, bad, very bad, or Toad the Wet Sprocket. Take cover!

The Julie Ruin — Run Fast (September 3)

Resounding cheers for the return of Kathleen Hanna in full band mode! Her voice and songwriting are as coruscating as ever, and you can hear both in all their glory on this record, which is streaming in its entirety right now at NPR. (Also, true story: your correspondent’s cat is named after Kathleen Hanna.)

Nine Inch Nails — Hesitation Marks (September 3)

Trent Reznor is back and sounding… well, if not cheerful, at least not as crushingly depressed as he used to do back in the 1990s. Parts of this record are downright discotastic, with tracks like “Copy of A” and “Everything” channeling classic synthpop sounds and decidedly jaunty beats. The lyrics are still largely morose, but shit, compared to The Downward Spiral, this is all sweetness and light. And it’s good!

Factory Floor — Factory Floor (September 10)

It’s one of those hideous music industry clichés to refer to albums as “long-awaited,” but it really does feel like this has been in the works forever — Factory Floor have been around for nearly a decade, and started releasing music in 2008, so it’s kind of amazing that this is their full-length debut. All good things come to those who wait, etc.

Body/Head — Coming Apart (September 10)

Kim Gordon’s new band, a collaboration with like-minded experimental guitarist Bill Nace. I saw them play at the excellent Red Bull Music Academy noise show at the Knockdown Center a couple of months back, and while they were still clearly working things out, there was the kernel of something really interesting happening. From what we’ve heard of the record so far — especially lead single “Actress,” above — it should make for fascinating listening.

Janelle Monáe — The Electric Lady (September 10)

Suites four and five of Monáe’s masterful Afrofuturistic Metropolis series, and if they’re half as good as what’s come before, they’ll be most excellent indeed. What we’ve heard so far — “Dance Apocalyptic” and the awesome “Q.U.E.E.N” (above) — sounds great, even if the Miguel duet “PrimeTime” is kinda drippy. And there’s a Prince collaboration!

Mark Lanegan — Imitations (September 10)

Lanegan has one of those voices that’d sound amazing even if he was just singing his shopping list, and while nothing he’s done of late has quite approached the glory of his spectacularly good 2004 album Bubblegum, this covers album promises to be fascinating listening. Amongst other things, it features him doing a version of Nick Cave’s gorgeously melancholy “Brompton Oratory,” along with songs by John Cale (above), Hall & Oates and, erm, Chelsea Wolfe.

Goldfrapp — Tales of Us (September 10)

In the run-up to this record, Alison Goldfrapp has been talking about how its predecessor — 2010’s lackluster Head First — felt “rushed,” and how she’s happy to have spent a whole lot more time on this album. Hopefully this isn’t just PR guff, because at her best, Goldfrapp is one of our most consistently intriguing songwriters. Lead single “Drew” certainly bodes well, a beautifully atmospheric ballad that’s a world away from the sugar-coated pop of Head First

Susanna and Ensemble neoN — The Forester (September 17)

It turns out that Susanna Wallumrød’s new band isn’t actually her band at all — Ensemble neoN are an independent multidisciplinary collective who, according to their website, “aim to present music at the highest level possible.” They certainly do so on this release, providing a fine foil for Wallumrød’s wonderful voice.

Mazzy Star — Seasons of Your Day (September 24)

A new Mazzy Star album. Really. After all these years. Rejoice.

Oneohtrix Point Never — R Plus Seven (September 30)

Daniel Lopatin rarely puts a foot wrong — his three records to date have been universally excellent, and if you’re in any way into cerebral electronic music, then you’re probably as excited about this new release as Flavorwire is. Lopatin also has an affinity for the letter R, it seems, as this is his fourth consecutive release starting with that particular letter.

Also out this month:

Neko Case — The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (September 3) In which Neko Case channels the spirit of Fiona Apple — at least as the album title goes, anyway. But seriously, this promises to be really good.

Okkervil River — The Silver Gymnasium (September 3) Yeah, but whatever happened to Will Sheff’s electronic project? That was good.

Chelsea Wolfe — Pain Is Beauty (September 3) #goth

Volcano Choir — Reprave (September 3) What Justin Vernon does when he’s not hanging with Kanye or battling bears in his cabin.

King Khan and the Shrines — Idle No More (September 3) Honestly, it’s hard to believe that the hyperactive King Khan was ever idle. May he never change.

Jonathan Rado — Law and Order (September 3) The latest installment in the ongoing Foxygen soap opera.

Ryuichi Sakamoto and Taylor Deupree — Disappearance (September 3) Brainiacs, rejoice.

Arctic Monkeys — AM (September 10) NME readers, rejoice.

Man Man — On Oni Pond (September 10) Captain Beefheart fans, rejoice.

Joanna Gruesome — Weird Sister (September 10) This looks good. Also, please someone get this band on a double bill with Truman Peyote ASAP.

The Weeknd — Kiss Land (September 10) Cue another outpouring of Twitter vitriol from his douchey fans at Geoff Barrow.

Holy Ghost! — Dynamics (September 10) LCD Soundsystem may be dead, but DFA isn’t.

Ministry — From Beer to Eternity (September 10) No, that’s really what it’s called.

Willis Earl Beal — Nobody Knows (September 10) Gravelly.

Sebadoh — Defend Yourself (September 17) The return of rock’s best passive-aggressive songwriter.

Bill Callahan — Dream River (September 17) The return of rock’s best sardonic songwriter.

MúmSmilewound (September 17) Seriously, why is everything that comes out of Iceland so good?

Placebo — Loud Like Love (September 17) Brian Molko’s computer says he’s gay, y’know.

Gwar — Battle Maximus (September 17) Soon to be appearing at a Warhammer convention near you.

MGMT — MGMT (September 17) The key question: will this record have actual songs on it?

Toad the Wet Sprocket — A New Constellation (September 17) This is not a joke.

Yoko Ono — Take Me to the Land of Hell (September 17) Yoko’s work is always interesting, if nothing else, and this promises to be no different.

Drake — Nothing Was the Same (September 24) Started from Degrassi, now the whole team’s here.

Chvrches — The Bones of What You Believe (September 24) Look, seriously, just go and listen to Silent Shout.

Kings of Leon — Mechanical Bull (September 24) Pigeons of the world, unite.

Trentemøller — Lost (September 24) This finds the producer moving away from straight-up electronic music, with mixed — if always interesting — results.

Willie Nelson — To All the Girls… (September 24) An album of duets with DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill… oh, no, wait…

Icona Pop — This Is… Icona Pop (September 24) I don’t care. I hate it.