Best Music of the Month: September 2017
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Hey everyone! Henderson here. We at The Alternative have decided to combine two of our favorite monthly features: Hendo’s Headspace and our monthly Spotify Playlist. Both of those posts were recommending our favorite tracks of the month, so why not give you all the great new music in one place? We think you’ll enjoy the new format, and I will still be writing the long form stuff that was in my Headspace posts, just separately. It’ll be good. Promise.
Anyway, here is how the new format will work. I’ll be hitting you with some writeups about my absolute favorites, and then those tracks and more will be on our Spotify playlist. Hope you find your new favorite artist! There were a ton of great new tracks this month and Steven and I are excited to tell you about them.
OUR FAVORITE MUSIC OF SEPTEMBER
I have to start off with the new The World Is A Beautiful Place… record, Always Foreign. There is so much to digest within this album. TWIABP have always written epic thoughtful indie/emo tracks, but on this release the songs are catchier than ever, and yet also thematically deeper than their past work. “Can you still call it a country if all the states are broken? Can you still call it a business when all you do is steal?” The lyrics deal with racism, disappointment in America, and even the departure of a troubled band member. The record reminds me of Jeff Rosenstock’s WORRY. in the way it is able to address issues while still being accessible and fun to sing along to. Their last album, Formlessness, was good, but I was never really a huge fan of this band before. This record has really caught my attention. You shouldn’t skip it.
Another track that I absolutely have to mention is Julien Baker’s first single, “Appointments”, from her upcoming album, Turn Out The Lights. I was a bit concerned that she would have trouble following up the success of 2015’s Sprained Ankle, but I feel silly admitting that after listening to this track and watching the video. The amount of emotion Julien is able to convey is earth shattering. “Maybe it’s all going to turn out alright, and I know that it’s not, but I have to believe that it is.” I am so excited for this album. 10/27 on Matador Records.
Speaking of Matador releases, I am a believer in this Kurt Vile / Courtney Barnett side project after taking a listen to “Continental Breakfast”. It has the folky sound you would expect from their collaboration and I am totally okay with that if the songwriting can keep up with this single. Huge fan of Courtney Barnett (especially the early stuff), and this might just finally make me into a Vile believer.
I’ve been a fan of Hodera for a long time, and I’ve worked with them in the past, so there may be a bit of bias here, but I genuinely believe that their upcoming LP is one of the best of the year. They’ve released 2 singles so far, “North Dakota” and “Baltimore”, both of which deal with heartache and depression and do so in a way that is relatable and not cheesy or superficial. While these 2 themes are spread throughout the album, I think the tracks about mental health that really shine on the release, so be on the lookout for those in the near future.
This has been a sweet month for singles in general. Bully’s new track straight up rocks. Iron Chic’s new track is old Iron Chic (see: scream-along punk) but stronger lyrically. Mo Troper’s new track is eclectic folk with nice warm brass. Pope released a fuzzy collection of shredders. Now Now’s new track is… perfect duh. Anything Now Now touch is a winner in my opinion. It seems that October will be yet another stunning month for new music if these tracks are any indication. 2017 has been jam packed with awesome new music and terrible in nearly every other way, for better or worse, it looks like that will continue.
But it’s not all about what’s coming next month. September also had a bunch of winners. Prawn has long been held up by emo revival fans as one of the torch bearers of the genre, especially after their last album Kingfisher. Their new album, Run, has earned them that title.
A newer band, Looming also crafted a gem with their album, Seed. A dark and brooding follow-up to their debut Nailbiter (which was nominated for our best debut of 2015).
Then there was Philly’s Caracara, who put together a Foxing esque dynamic with the wide range of instrumentals and poetic lyrics on their debut, Summer Megalith.
Maybe the most surprising of all, was the incredible EP LVNDR TWN, from Connecticutt’s Jelani Sei. This jazzy flowing release is pretty unlike anything else I listen to, and yet I have not stopped spinning it since I was introduced. It has a meditative energy to it which is really special.
BROCKHAMPTON isn’t really a new artist, and they haven’t even had any songs come out this month, but I haven’t been able to stop listening so I had to include them. They’re a somewhat massive rap group that’ll remind you of early Odd Future, but while Odd Future were willing to mess around with hip hop conventions, Brockhampton seem determined to buck them completely. They’ve released 2 albums in the last 12 months, and over 10 music videos, most of which feature oddball imagery and a revolving cast of diverse MCs who spit nice bars over addicting beats. Just when you think you might have them figured out, the beat drops away and there will be an extended distorted singing verse. It’s music for the ADD generation. Seem like something you might be even a little bit interested in? Then you have to give them a listen.
I’m a big fan of live sessions, and every once and awhile a certain session hooks me and I listen to nothing else for days. This month there were 2. First the NPR Tiny Desk session from NY indie rockers, Snail Mail, and then the Audiotree session from longform rockers, Strange Ranger, whose new album is streaming now. Both pack a guitar punch, but it’s really the lyrics and vocals that allow both to shine. These bands sound nothing alike, but I think they are both headed in the same direction: UP.
This past month also included the loss of at least 2 amazing musicians. The legendary songwriter Tom Petty, and the incredible soul singer Charles Bradley. Each had an incredible story to their life, and each left a large mark on the music industry as a whole. I encourage all of you to listen to the work of these artists, and take inspiration from their art. The greatest things about music is that it never dies, but unfortunately that is not true for musicians.
There really has been so much great music this month, there is no way I can even write about all of my favorites, but definitely make sure to listen to the new Petal release, Nervous Dater’s punk rock album, Shamir’s first single off his new indie rock LP, the hazy new track from Moses, a bunch of new tracks from NJ basement legends LKFFCT, and the ex Soda Bomb frontman’s new slacker rock band Fool Heavy was a really cool surprise.
Okay that’s enough for September! Let us know which tracks you enjoy and take a listen to (most of) these tracks and more on our Spotify Playlist below!
– Writing by Henderson Cole
– Playlist curated by Steven Lalonde
Fuck Trump. Aid For Puerto Rico. Ban Guns.