Read about our 5 favourite new music releases for the month of September, plus some classic chillwave from 2001. Listen to the playlist at the end of the post or download these songs this month…
From album: Be The Cowboy
Mitski Miyawaki is a Japanese American singer/songwriter born in Tokyo but now living in New York. She released her first two albums while still studying at music school. After college she released a further two albums including 2016’s acclaimed Puberty 2 (home to the massive single Your Best American Girl). Switching from her original training of a classical orchestral backing to crunching guitars and sweeping electronics, Mitski’s vibe is the essential sound of modern pop. Carefully crafted song structures and thoughtful lyrics are her stock-in-trade. And she remains able to inject a bit of venom as well, which is why the reunited Pixies chose her as their support act during their recent US tour. Lead single Nobody has a glorious 70s disco sound while the lyrics and accompanying video present the listener with a love song aimed perfectly in our alienated world at, well, the self…
(Also download from the album: Why Didn’t You Stop Me?, Washing Machine Heart, Two Slow Dancers)
Song: What’s The Use?
From album: Swimming
On 7 September Malcolm James McCormick (aka Mac Miller) sadly passed away from a suspected drug overdose. The balance of the posting below was written prior to this tragic event.
For 2 years Ariana Grande and Mac Miller were an item. Then, earlier this year they split. Perhaps it was the aftershock of the horrific experience of her Manchester concert in May last year. Or maybe something else I guess. Whatever. In any event what’s more important is that they’ve both recently released new albums. In an way each of them represent a break-up album of sorts. And Grande’s is sure to be the bigger seller. But Miller’s album is the much more interesting proposition. A laid back, unhurried collection of glorious jazz-flecked hip-hop. Miller alternates between his singing, talking and rapping voices throughout. Album highlight and 3rd single What’s The Use? is lyrically bleak, but it’s dreamy production fits with the slow, and sometimes tedious, healing process. A funky and soulful bass line also keeps the mood more upbeat than the theme would otherwise suggest.
(Also download from the album: Self Care, Ladders, Jet Fuel)
Song: Weird Part Of The Night
From album: Time
Drummers may seem an unlikely source of captivating jazz-funk-soul-pop crossover music. But Louis Cole has changed that narrative for sure. Putting down the sticks, his singular voice and unusual sense of groove is captivating and unique. And it doesn’t half help that he has rock star good looks to boot. Latest album Time takes a while to sink in, but a patient listener is rewarded with the multitude treasures that unfold. Opening track Weird Part Of The Night is an ode to the musical inspiration that comes in the small hours of the morning when the good folk of the world are sleeping, and the bad folk are, well, you know, not…
(Also download from the album: When You’re Ugly, Things, Phone)
From album: Songs You Make At Night
Folktronica is a musical style that originated from the UK in the early 2000s. Tunng was, and probably remains, the genre’s finest proponent. On latest album Songs You Make At Night the band leans far more heavily towards the electronica and way less on the folk. Forlorn double-tracked vocals, acoustic guitars, found sounds and quirky song timings thankfully remain intact, but synths now form the spine rather than merely the interspersed bleeps and ticks of the past. The extra grunt and clearer melodies sit well, with at least 3 tracks on the album only a light-touch remix away from the dance floor. Abop is one of those bangers and the closest thing to a top 40 contender the band has yet produced.
(Also download from the album: Dream In, Sleepwalking, Flat Land)
Song: Dance To This
From album: Bloom
In late 2010, Spud the movie was released. Based on the much-loved John van de Ruit novel of the same name, the movie tells the story of a young John ‘Spud’ Milton as he comes of age via the South African public school system. At times funny, at times poignant. The star of the movie was a then relatively unknown Troye Sivan in the titular role. This popular film spawned 2 sequels, both also starring Sivan. Born in South Africa but raised largely in Australia, Sivan has shifted his focus away from cinema to music of late and has quietly become a flag bearer for global gay rights in the process. His debut album was tentative, but the follow-up, Bloom, sees him hit his straps. Confident rather than cocky, Sivan has struck a rich groove of pop. And he’s able to attract a star-studded cast as well. Mid-tempo single Dance To This sees Ariana Grande performing half the vocal duties.
(Also download from the album: Bloom, The Good Side, My My My!)
In case you missed it…
Song: Remind Me
From album: Melody A.M. (from 2001)
In the entertainment world we sometimes get treated to something that comes packaged in a perfect capsule. Something magically finite. Think of TV shows like Breaking Bad, or book collections like the Hitchhiker’s Guide series. It seldom seems to happen in music. Bands either drag on into a wannabe forever kind of relevance (like U2), or burn out too soon before their full story is told (like Nirvana). Or worse, there are those who overstay their welcome even when it’s clear that their best work is far behind them (like Coldplay). In that sense, Norwegian band Röyksopp’s approach was refreshing. Five near-perfect albums span their entire 13 year career. The final chapter even came to us via an album titled The Inevitable End as if to emphatically close the lid firmly shut.
It all started in 2001 with the release of Melody A.M. Ten slices of Scandi-cool synth pop. The album was for the most part a more chilled out variant of what was to come later but the singles were instant classics. Of these, Remind Me has aged best and still brings an amazing capacity to evoke long-forgotten memories via its minor key melodic brilliance.
(Also download from the album: Poor Leno, Royksopp’s Night Out, So Easy)
(RELATED POSTS: Read more of our music reviews here.)
LISTEN TO OUR PLAYLIST
You can listen to previews of each track by clicking on the icons next to the song titles below.
If you have iTunes and an Apple Music account, you can listen to the full songs and add the playlist to your library. Simply click on the grey Apple Music icon.