Here we have counted down the ten best albums of September according to PlayGround. The start of a new season never disappoints us, and this time there were a handful of important titles, most of which we are likely to see again, among the contenders for the top albums of the year.
September is the month when things start back up after the summer, and so it is always full of anxiously-awaited titles, some of them highly creative works that will be contenders for the lists of the best of the year. And in 2012, the September crop has lived up to our expectations: it has brought us indispensable titles like The xx’s second album and the return of Grizzly Bear, among many other gems in the top 10 that we’ll be counting down here from 10 to 1.
10. Dusk + Blackdown: “Dasaflex” (Keysound Recordings)
Dusk + Blackdown’s second adventure takes them into territory very close to that of “Margins Music”: London and its underground tradition, grime, garage and dubstep; this time with a more abstract, encyclopaedic, less geographical intention.
9. Ricardo Villalobos: “Dependent And Happy” (Perlon)
Ricardo Villalobos has divided his new album into five pieces of vinyl with a total duration of two hours, fluctuating between comatose club rhythms and the most experimental side of house, but without ever losing the strange groove that characterises all of his work.
8. Mala: “Mala In Cuba” (Brownswood)
Mala debuts in an unusual manner, interweaving Cuban musical folklore with the pure, cavernous dubstep that he is so well known for. The result, besides being an interesting, enjoyable exercise in combining sounds, may also mark a turning point in the producer’s career.
7. Loscil: “Sketches From New Brighton”
True to his style, Loscil once again shows he's one of the most solid artists in modern ambient. His new album, born from the contemplation of ships in a harbour, recovers the beat and sculpts brittle textures full of autumn melancholy.
6. Animal Collective: “Centipede Hz” (Domino)
Without reaching the heights of “Merriweather Post Pavilion”, the new full-length from Animal Collective maintains the group’s radical features, with an advanced attack of heavy psychedelics that plays with concepts like home, family and distance. It’s an attack aimed at the depths of the brain.
5. Cat Power: “Sun” (Matador)
We were eager to hear new work by Chan Marshall, after four years of silence: with “Sun”, the artist makes an unexpected U-turn and surprises us with a record that sounds much brighter than its predecessors.
4. How To Dress Well: “Total Loss” (Acéphale Records)
Tom Krell reinforces the voice, disperses the broken beats of his first album and comes up with a follow-up set of songs on which his aesthetic mission is clear: to renovate R&B through ghostly production and deeply emotional poetry.
3. Jeremih: “Late Nights with Jeremih” (mixtape)
Without artistic impositions or sales expectations, Jeremih invites us to spend the night frolicking with him. “Late Nights With Jeremih” is an almost perfect R&B mixtape, on which the genre recovers timelessness, and on which the young Chicago artist challenges The-Dream for the title of record of the year.
2. Grizzly Bear: “Shields” (Warp)
It's not as sumptuous and complex as “Veckatimest”, but it does sound like an evolved and fascinating version of “Yellow House”, possibly the perfect fusion of modern psychedelia and the avant-garde rock of Radiohead. Grizzly Bear nailed it again.
1. The xx: “Coexist” (Young Turks)
The xx's second album follows the path set out on their debut. Seeing as reinvention was impossible, with a sound as iconic and singular as theirs, they chose to fine-tune their technique, going for minimalism and occasional stabs of electronica.