A look at the month's essential releases...

Despite our ongoing travails, time moves forward and the seasons change.

We're now rapidly moving into Autumn, the opening weeks of October bring a flurry of huge releases.

It's apt to take a quick look back, though, and catalogue the best albums that September brought us.

From surprise releases to huge comebacks, mystery projects to stellar pop names, it's a huge countdown...

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Marie Davidson And L'Œil Nu - Renegade Breakdown // REVIEW

On the whole, it functions as a reminder of the virtues of going against the grain and not playing it safe. On the title track, she explores ‘the loser’s point of view’ but elsewhere sounds justifiably triumphant about the outcome of the group’s experimentation.

The album has an emotional heft that comes from singing about what’s near to the heart (love, loneliness, globe-trotting) and is a fun listen to boot: ‘C’est parce que j'm'en fous’ (‘Because I don’t care’) and single ‘Worst Comes To Worst’ are catchy, sophisticated takes on dancy euro pop.

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Róisín Murphy - Róisín Machine // REVIEW

'Roisin Machine’s ten tracks merge the ordinary with the dancefloor and the ego with companionship. ‘Roisin Machine’ is an introspective display - our persona is open with us and shares her deepest worries, but she knows where to stop, and she knows her worth. Paired with Roisin’s talent for house, funk, and experimental grooves, this is a bold and confident record with nothing to lose.

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Pillow Queens - In Waiting // REVIEW

This is a debut album packed full of songs to love and adore. ‘In Waiting’ is perfectly crafted. Their songs are honest and gripping but with a positive twist on them. You can’t go wrong by giving ‘In Waiting’ a spin.

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Action Bronson - Only For Dolphins // REVIEW

Immersing himself in the global music sphere, the production moves from Brazilian culture through the Caribbean before landing at old school funk, a palette that seems to match the twists and turns of his lyrical flow.

Guest producers include some heavy-hitters, with DJ Muggs, Samiyam, and Tommy Mas supplying beats, while regular collaborator The Alchemist also dropped past the studio. Single ‘Latin Grammys’ sets the tone with its crunching guitar line, while ‘Capoeira’ - the name of a South American dance-driven martial art – is blessed with the light of summer.

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Bob Mould - Blue Hearts // REVIEW

It’s a reminder that a great punk record may not be a cure-all for the world’s ills, but it can sure feel like a shot in the arm for your optimism.

While it may feel bleak at times ( opening line ‘the West Coast is covered in ash and flames’ is particularly haunting given the wildfires laying waste to California right now), ‘Blue Hearts’ wants you not only to believe that things can be better, but to demand it. Now that’s a good idea.

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Deftones - Ohms // REVIEW

Where does it stand in their discography? It's hard to say when they've been on a latter-day high, but it'd be fair to say this is their most impactful set of songs since 2010's 'Diamond Eyes.' A must-listen for those who like their metal with depth and mystery.

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Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension // REVIEW

Though ‘Ascension’ swoops to heaven’s heights, ‘America’ takes us deep into hell. Early Sufjan was once so entranced by his country, he threatened to write an album for every state. That this dead-eyed state of the nation came from him could crack your heart in two.

Twelve minutes of dystopian dread, he mourns the land he’s lost (“I have loved you, like a dream/ I have worshipped, I believed”) while a six-minute outro of electronic explosions sound the future’s cold blank page. Some feelings are too big to put into words.

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Fleet Foxes - Shore // REVIEW

It’s a record that sets its shoulder to the wheel, a blast of light in the darkest of times. Whether that’s the simple choral unison of Medieval miniature ‘Thymia’ or the agonised emotion of ‘Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman’ this is a collection of songs that dominate their role in emphatic fashion.

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Sault - Untitled (Rise) // REVIEW

A portrait of a project in perpetual motion, ‘Untitled (Rise)’ taps into the cultural conduits that have framed 2020 – the grief, the paranoia, the endless stunted anger, unable to be fully expressed. It’s a phenomenal record, undoubtedly one of the finest to be released this year – in its mood, kineticism, and an adorned darkness, ‘Untitled (Rise)’ captures something truly remarkable about this chaotic era.

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A. G. Cook - Apple // REVIEW

Perhaps it’s Cook himself who describes it best on the single “Beautiful Superstar”: “I’ve run out of ways to define you / No I don’t want to use / The same old words”.

When the ridiculous and sublime are collapsed into one unintelligible singularity, words fail to encapsulate what’s good and what’s not. If Cook is straddling the line between force and farce, he gets away with it since his tongue isn’t in his cheek but lolling out his mouth with a wink.

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Andrew Wasylyk - Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation // REVIEW

A record brave enough to stand on its own, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ completes a marvellous trilogy from the Scottish composer, while asserting a highly individual sonic palette. It’s truly a record to savour slowly.

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Doves - The Universal Want // REVIEW

Title track ‘Universal Want’ is a moment of substance. In a critical voice, it questions consumerist trends and asks, “How long til we see what I really want/’til we see what we really need/The universal.” An undeniable win, the outcome of Doves’ return to the studio is more than worth the paper it is written on.

A long-awaited treat, it deserves a warm welcome.

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