The best new albums of the month, September 2014

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Release schedules usually mean that it's easy to pick 10 albums in the summer months, while the Autumn and New Year sees so many releases it is hard to limit the list to 10. Step forward September, which always manages to overwhelm me. This time it was even worse as I had no laptop for half of September and I only got to hear 29 of the 33 albums I had on my long list. I can't quite believe that I haven't got around to people like Laetitia Sadier and Thom Yorke yet, but that's why they are missing from the 10.

Holy Sons 'The Fact Facer'
my review (the 405)
"The Fact Facer applies variety and imagination throughout, which doesn't dilute the melancholy, yet ensures that the album doesn't become an overbearing listen. If anything it is the opposite, as the band are full of surprises and Emil Amos's voice is often a joy to hear. By the end of the album you can scarcely believe that this man is the drummer in Om."

Camera 'Remember I was Carbon Dioxide'
my review (the 405)
"Whilst there is no escaping the Krautrock influences, Camera have at least updated that sound with their own imagination, punky energy and a willingness to progress. If you enjoy the music of those German bands mentioned at the start of the review, you should get something out of this energetic 21st reboot of the genre."

Karen O 'Crush Songs'
I guess it's deliberate that the demos that make up 'Crush Songs' are barely there, recorded in a single take and often only about a minute long. The melodies are simple, delicate, and the instrumentation is mostly just a roughly recorded acoustic guitar, though there are little beats dotted around. It is a glimpse into her private emotions and manages to sound and feel like exactly that.

Tweedy 'Sukierae'
A double album created by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and his son Spencer, this is a lot better than I thought it would be. Spencer is a clearly a great drummer and his work on this manages to leave as distinctive a stamp of some of this material as his Dad's voice does. 20 songs as well, which are much more than Wilco cast-offs, in fact some of them are superb.

Aphex Twin 'Syro'
A much acclaimed return for Aphex Twin, with an album more succinct than its predecessor 'Druqks'. It immediately sounds like Aphex, though some of the edginess, crazier aspects have been tempered in favour of fairly accessible, almost house-influenced tunes.

Half Japanese 'Overjoyed'
I can't remember the last time that I listened to a full Half Japanese album, but I'm thrilled that they are such good form here. Cracking guitar sounds, the usual dubious rhymes in the lyrics, and Jad Fair is completely in your face throughout.

Shellac 'Dude Incredible'
Anyone was has seen Shellac in the last few years will be familiar with some of these songs. This album is one of their most immediate - and time will tell if it's amongst their best. Naturally it sounds brilliant, and quirky as well, with an a cappella opening on side 2 and more songs about surveyors on one album than anyone else has ever written.
(Obviously no Spotify on this one, but some chancer has put some of it on youtube, see below)

Sea Pinks 'Dreaming Tracks'
Relative unknowns in this list of heavy-hitters, Sea Pinks hail from Belfast and have a neat line in indie-pop, with nods to the heyday of Postcard records. Their fourth album, but the first to be recorded in the studio with a full band, complete with cello to add a bit of melancholy. Some strong songwriting, and the tracks flow really well together.

Perfume Genius 'Too Bright'
It took me longer to get into this than it had with his previous albums, first impressions were that the greater ensemble of musicians made PG's music more robust, less fragile. The songs do get under your skin in a pleasant way after a few listens, though the tracks with more dynamic range come across better

Tricky 'Adrian Thaws'
Not a perfect album by any means, but it's a sprawling, surprising effort by Tricky, hot on the heels of last year's False Idols. Random nods to past influences with a cover of Janet Kay's Silly Games and a cheeky Massive Attack steal. 

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