I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m finally getting in the swing of things. Routines are finally carved out, schedules set in stone, and the only thing getting me through it all are album releases. So, in an attempt to center ourselves and recap the last month in order to properly move into this one, here are four projects released in September you should be listening to.
Recommended tracks: “Something You Know” and “Relax and Run”
Unexpected, but warmly welcomed, Devonte Hynes shared his first release as Blood Orange since his 2019 record, titled Angel’s Pulse. Prior to this he’d spent the last couple of years working on projects outside of his alternative RnB alias, building his portfolio as a composer and classical musician. Leading to the Four Songs EP, he supported Harry Styles during his 15 night residency at Madison Square Garden, where he burnt exclusive bootleg CDs of his sets to be sold at the end of each show.
If I were to describe the EP in one word it would be transcendent. Closer to the record which first got me into his music, Four Songs is a distant cousin of his 2018 album Negro Swan. Each track feels like you're seamlessly floating between equally relaxing states of mind. Smooth, foggy, and hypnotizing, the entirety of the EP emulates the sensation of being in transit between different chambers of Hynes’ musical orbit. To put it into context, I’d say “Jesus Freak” is the gloriously disorienting gate to his mind and “Relax and Run” would be the final destination, a glimpse into his homogenous existence — a bit like the one you’ve probably fallen into in the past few months.
Recommended tracks: “What’s it all About” and “Greatest Hits”
Earlier this summer, I was faithfully referred to Jockstrap’s 2020 EP, Wicked City, in an interview with NUFFER. When I asked him to describe their sound in three words he carefully selected the following, “Experimental, Hip Hop, Classical.” Following this recommendation I mulled over those three words, finally gave them a chance, and was pleasantly surprised when I found them to be perfectly accurate — especially the experimental part. So, it came as no surprise when the duo released their latest project, exposing another side of their ever-growing musical identity
There’s been quite a lot of buzz surrounding this release. Often referred to as a strong contender for AOTY — rated a 5 star by NME and sitting high at an 8.4 by Pitchfork’s picky standards — while I Love You Jennifer B might not be an obvious choice to the average person, it sure is a record worth listening to this month. As they’ve stepped away from their saturated and cacophonous sound, Jockstrap seem to have found a flexible formula, allowing room for experimentation and cohesiveness. Adding electronic to Jake's three word pitch, the album features an oddly perfect balance between classical and electronic, with a hint of hip hop. Lyrically retro but sonically futuristic, I Love You Jennifer B exemplifies Jockstrap’s strong suit and creativity.
Recommended tracks: “Mission” and “After All”
Something very exciting happened last month; one of the modern godfathers of scratchy alternative rock graced us with his highly anticipated album, God Save The Animals. While his last solo project came out in 2019, Alex G fans have been thirsting for a new record from the alternative hero, and it is only safe to say that their thirst has been adequately quenched.
Nothing too life changing, Alex G has applied various musical philosophies from his past records to this recent one, resulting in a sort of anthology of his many musical facets. If you are familiar with his early discography, it isn’t too hard to identify which albums each track loosely resembles. For example, the third track, “Mission,” would perfectly fit into his 2010 record Race. Despite these resemblances, God Save The Animals is equally littered with musical and conceptual curveballs. From tracks like “Cross The Sea,” which seem to draw from his contemporary influences, to “Blessing,” a static track of gratitude and perseverance. In time for the bleak and cold months to come, God Save The Animals is the perfect album for all the Alex G heads of the world, and adventurous first-timers.
Recommended Tracks: “Imposter Syndrome” and “MARY,”
One of the few collectives perpetually at the forefront of my brain, AG Club is constantly proving their versatility and deserving place on all of our top ten tier lists. Funneling their explosive force and boisterous energy into their lyrics, Imposter Syndrome is a clear step forward for the Bay Area collective. While their previous two records felt like victorious snapshots of their early brushes with fame, Imposter Syndrome pulls back some layers as we see them tackle the nuances associated with commodifying their passion for music, and everything that comes along with this trade-off.
In comparison to FUCK YOUR EXPECTATIONS, this record prominently features lush and melodic elements. Short lived tracks like “Mr. Nobody,” and “Imposter Syndrome” counter their past and rather robust production approaches, allowing them to flourish beautifully with Flower Boy-esque charm. While I do enjoy the bigger sounds found in later tracks, this change of pace allows listeners to get a closer look at the themes laced into the record, turning it into a memorable and reflective experience.