Did anyone else look at their calendar this week, puzzled? It doesn’t seem quite right that August is half over, the days are slowly going to get shorter and the ease of wandering out the front door with no sleeves or pant legs are things we should start cherishing before they’re no more. The upside of August being half over? Getting closer to wearing the prematurely purchased fall jackets hanging stiff and unworn in your closet, the crisp smell of the fall season (a given)…and new music releases. There’s something about those long drives down the golden tree-lined roads near the end of September that’s made so much better with a gaggle of new CDs fresh off the shelves. Then again, I might be the only person who still buys CDs. EIther way, without further adieu – here are a few notes, bands and beats to look forward to in September of 2012:
1. The Sheepdogs – The Sheepdogs: Canada’s breakout brood of scruffy rockers are back with their third self-titled release on September 4th, featuring the first single “The Way It Is.” This soulful revival-rock track follows suit with the rest of the Rolling Stone Cover Contest band’s winning yesteryear sound – only this time they vocally move away from Fogerty and into Morrison territory with lead singer Ewan Currie’s psychedelic baritone howl. “You look good when you’re shaking my way, let me think of something awful to say,” he bellows; fulfilling the cool, sexualized classic rock genre expectations and leaving us curious what else they have up their chambray sleeves.
2. The XX – Coexist: In 2009, it seemed as if the world halted to listen to – and heavily praise – the first ethereal indie-rock release from this boy-girl fronted Brit band. Amidst waves of critical acclaim, a spot on every “best of” list that year and a consequently heightened anticipation of future releases, the foursome took a hiatus as quiet as their mellow sounds for nearly three years. Now, with “Angels” and “Chained” leaked – two sleepy indie-pop jams as enticing, and pretty, as those on their debut – it’s simple to see that XX has marked the spot again.
3. A$AP Rocky – LongLiveA$AP: “Got rich off a mixtape,” said Drizzy. “Which b**ch you know made a million off a mixtape?”said Nicki. Rocky’s hip-hop pals have said it, and he’s lived it – after being welcomed with open arms and critical acclaim to the rap game last year when he released his debut mixtape LiveLoveA$AP. On September 11th, the famed soft-spoken rhymesmith (who’s the same age as us five nuts) is trying out the full-length gig beginning with his slow-mo “Purple Kisses” – an explicit, thick-bassed release that samples piano acid jazz underneath his quick verses and a snail-slow hype man chorus. Check it out, but maybe don’t listen with a parent nearby.
4. Dave Matthews – Away From the World: Well, this September 11th release will be perfection. I have so much timeless love for roots-rock guru Dave Matthews and his versatile, instrument-laden Southern collective. The thing about Dave is despite his longstanding spot in the rock world – his prolific melodies, song poetry and live persona never diminish. Sure, he’s reached that place in his personal life and career where he chooses to push aside the complications and soul-searching that decorate a young musician’s pages and instead point out the silver lining – writing about the bliss of aging and just choosing to get along. Maybe it isn’t deep enough for those seeking knotty questions or youthful angst, but I can’t think of anything as intriguing as a rock prophet who has more perspective than most others out there. You’ll hear this on his latest, “Mercy.” Having a bad week? Listen from 3 minutes onward.
5. Mumford & Sons – Babel: Despite the wild hip-hop kick I’ve been on as of late, the first single “I Will Wait” has played an integral role in my late summer playlists. Exactly what you would expect, exactly how it should sound, and exactly what every woman hopes to have sung to her. Something about Mumford & Sons’ romance folk-rock remains so incredibly believable; it never seems like a crock of musical fluff – it feels genuine, it feels like a big breath of fresh air. Even if we’ve heard variations of it before. Maybe it’s the harmonic excellence, charming accents or jostling banjos that never fail to send chills up my spine – or maybe it’s the real truth in Marcus’ lovelorn pleas. This has been worth the wait.
Other artists releasing albums in September: Lupe Fiasco, Two Door Cinema Club, Bob Dylan TI, Animal Collective, The Avett Brothers, Ne-Yo, Nelly Furtado, The Killers, Aimee Mann, Ben Folds Five, No Doubt