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Holy Smokes, September Was Stacked!
Catching up with the rest of the month's best with Woods, Lydia Loveless, Seb Wildwood, Hotel Pools, and CHAI!
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As is tradition, September has been a feast for new releases with some late heavy hitters as we speed towards year-end lists (!). Yesterday, we recorded the September edition of 5-9’s Album of the Month podcast, where we give shoutouts at the show's beginning for other albums we loved that month that aren’t covered in our five picks - I had FIFTEEN other albums on my list! I’m not sure if any month in 2023 is that stacked.
Some of the month’s best have already been covered, like Slowdive and Nation of Language (both featured discussions on this month’s episode), or more of the year’s best with Sparklehorse, The Chemical Brothers, and Romy. If you missed Tuesday’s review of Slaughter Beach, Dog, listen to that AOTY candidate. It is probably premature to wrap up September with twelve albums on my “to-listen” list this weekend, but I want to get a handful of these on your radar before it’s too late.
As we dive into these quick picks, the disclaimer is the same as always: just because the review is short doesn’t mean it’s not some of the best music of the month. All killer, no filler; let’s do this.
Woods - Perennial
Perennial is an apt name for the latest Woods album, as Jeremy Earl’s band seems to release a new stunner every year for almost the past two decades. The New York band returned to Stinson Beach, California, to record these eleven heavily instrumental songs that hit that perfect spot between psychedelic and focused.
Lydia Loveless - Nothing’s Gonna Stand in My Way Again
This sixth album from Lydia Loveless, the Ohio-based alt-country twanger who is exploring a more indie pallet these days, Nothing’s Gonna Stand in My Way Again (gotta be a Wilco reference) brings the listener along as she works through a breakup and a return home. The early singles made my weekly playlist, and the album is a fantastic display of Loveless’s updated alternative singer-songwriter pallet.
Seb Wildblood - Separation Anxiety
The Chemical Brothers’ phenomenal latter career new record is dominating the conversation amongst my fellow writing friends, rightfully so. But the electronic world is sleeping on Separation Anxiety, the new album from London’s Seb Wildwood. Not only is this easily approachable laid-back house music, but Wildwood has brought in some of the year’s best features with favorites like newsletter favorites Laraaji, Tess Roby, and sir Was. Separation Anxiety is continually spinning around here and is easily one of the year's best electronic releases.
Hotel Pools - Evenings, Vol. 1
Do you prefer your electronic music to be more of the chillwave variety? No one may be doing it better in the last five years than Hotel Pools, who works through their damp Portland surroundings to bring us blissed-out sunset sketches. While most of Hotel Pools’ work fits within the vacation mode boundaries, Evenings, Vol. 1 is an instrumental concept album about a young person working the graveyard shift at a Tokyo convenience store, and their musical journey takes them to unknown heights.
CHAI - CHAI
CHAI’s transformation from bubbly punk to full-blown pop on their last record, WINK, didn’t sit well with everyone, but I loved it so much that it made my top ten two years ago. Bands typically use the self-titled album name to offer a reset and statement about their current sound, and CHAI sees the Tokyo foursome dig further into the pop world. With nostalgia as their guide, CHAI explores what it means to be a Japanese woman through bubbly beats and synths. Though not as immediate as WINK, this one is getting better with each listen.
Do you have a favorite album you discovered in September? Let me know in the comments!