The best album releases of the month, September 2013 edition

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Well, it has been a tricky month for me personally and I'm not in the mood for writing much. However, due to a slight ripple of demand (!) and the fact that I have been doing these for 21 months now, I have decided to post my choices from September even though they are late. It was a strong month and I heard around 23 decent albums. Cutting them back to ten was tricky, but it makes for a decent list I think. Note: I sidelined the Arctic Monkeys very fine 'AM' because you'll all have heard about it already, and shoved the albums released on Sep 30th (Quasi, RM Bubbert, PINS) into next month's pile. Here you go...

Factory Floor 'Factory Floor'
I was beginning to wonder when this debut album from Factory Floor would arrive, they've been teasing us for years. They have a similar skill to Moroder-style  disco by making tunes that somehow seem to go on forever, but never outstay their welcome. Well worth the wait.

Bill Callahan 'Dream River'
He's made some fine records over the last 20 years, both under the name Smog and more recently as himself. This is the first one since Knock Knock to completely floor me on first listen. It is dream-like as the title suggests, and his subtle songs are played by a fluid bunch of musicians, adding some slight jazzy touches.

Neko Case 'The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You'
Another artist often labelled alt-country, Case's latest sees her deliver a varied range of songs, with the same vigour as her other band The New Pornographers. The quality doesn't dip on this, one of her best yet.

Mazzy Star 'Seasons of Your Day'
You know when people say, "it's like they've never been gone"? Well, that fits Mazzy Star's 'comeback' album perfectly. This slots perfectly on to the rest of their back catalogue, and on first few listens it is just as strong an album as any of their releases. Apparently they never stopped writing and recording over the years, and I can certainly believe it. If you've ever been a fan of their music, you need to hear 'Seasons of Your Day'.

Body/ Head 'Coming Apart'
my review (The 405)
"Overall this album may be too raw and difficult for a lot of fans to take in, but as an artistic impression of the post-Sonic Youth flux it is pretty great. Bill and Kim's guitar improvisations and drones create a trancelike backdrop and Gordon sounds like she is singing in a bad dream.
This is one of the most uneasy listens of the year but, for fans of this music, it is essential."

Joanna Gruesome 'Weird Sister'
Nothing to do with the absurdly talented American lady that their name rhymes with, instead Joanna Gruesome are the finest c86 and early MBV loving band I've heard in many years. The trouble with this kind of music was that it got old very quickly, many years ago, but 'Weird Sister' gives it a thrilling make-over. Hard to resist this kind of thrilling indie-pop.

Califone 'Stitches'
As far as I can tell, this is pretty much a solo effort by Califone's Tim Rutili. At times it comes across as a series of musical sketches or demos, pitching itself between Americana and a kind of cinematic lo-fi.

Sebadoh 'Defend Yourself'
Yet another comeback, fourteen years after their last album. Like Mazzy Star, their sound hasn't changed, yet 'Defend Yourself' is more of a grower and less immediate than their great run of 90's releases. After a few listens, I'm beginning to think that this maybe one of the most consistent records they've made.

Chvrches 'The Bones of What You Believe'
The album does suffer by opening with a slice of utter pop genius in 'The Mother We Share', which is impossible to follow, but it is a fine debut album. A vibrant, crystal clear version of synth based indie-pop.

Younghusband 'Dromes'
Like Factory Floor, this is another lot who have taken ages delivering their debut album. They seem to get bundled together with the psych-rock types, but this is an album built around classic indie-pop influences. By turns reminiscent of the Velvet Underground, the House of Love and maybe Pavement, it does tend to wear its influences proudly. Happily, they've got plenty of songs to transcend them with.

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