This September is a big month in the world of music; Aphex Twin, Karen O., Kenny Chesney and Alt-J all have new releases to get excited for.
Alt-J, or ∆ as it’s sometimes stylized, are an indie rock group from West Yorkshire, England. Their first album, “An Awesome Wave,” hit number 80 on the Billboard top 200 list and featured the hit singles “Breezeblocks” and “Tessalate.” Their new album, “This All Yours,” is slated for a Sept. 22 release.
Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is also releasing an album Tuesday, Sept. 9, her first solo project titled “Crush Songs.” The first single, “Rapt,” (NSFW: Language) features an ethereal video in which Karen O. drearily lounges underwater to the tune of her new track.
In the past, Karen O. has worked with Michael Gira and Swans on the track, “Song for a Warrior,” which featured a much more reserved version of Karen O., with her lazily singing over sparse guitar and piano. Karen O.’s unique vocal style and past experience with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is shaping “Crush Songs” to be one of this year’s greats.
Earlier in August, a blimp emblazoned with “2014” with [the Aphex Twin logo] appeared, as the 0 was spotted by fans in places around the world, in London and New York City. This is interesting and exciting, because ambient producer Richard D. James hasn’t released a proper full-length album under the Aphex Twin pseudonym since 2001’s “Drukqs,” and James’ 1992 project “Selected Ambient Works 85-92” is one of most critically acclaimed and significant works in the electronic and ambient genres.
James is also known for incorporating strange images into his music that can only be seen when you play the songs through a spectrogram, or a program that displays what a song would look like if you could see all the frequencies of the sounds. James’ song “[Equation]” is the most shining example of this. [Skip to 5:30 to see the hidden image.] Aphex Twin’s new album “Syro” is set for a Sept. 23 release date.
Both Ariana Grande and Wiz Khalifa had releases this August that you may have missed, as well. Ariana Grande’s “My Everything“ was released on Aug. 25. It featured guest verses from Big Sean, Iggy Azalea, A$AP Ferg, The Weeknd and Childish Gambino and sported production from Zedd and Key Wane. Bonus video: If you want to watch Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj [performing a medley of songs at the VMA awards] last Sunday, go check out my VMA highlights story: http://www.theallstate.org/2014/08/26/highlights-of-2014-mtv-video-music-awards/.
Wiz Khalifa’s newest LP, “Blacc Hollywood,” was released Aug. 18 and had a laundry list of guest verses. Most notably, though, were Nas, ScHoolboy Q, Curren$y, Juicy J and Ty Dolla $ign. With production from Juicy J, DJ Mustard and Sledgren, “Blacc Hollywood“ showed a marked improvement over Wiz Khalifa’s 2012 effort, “O.N.I.F.C.”
Other artists who have releases this September are producer Hudson Mohawke with “Chimes” on Sept. 30, Bishop Nehru and veteran rapper MF DOOM with their collaborative project “NehruvianDOOM” on Sept. 23, The Kooks with “Listen“ on Sept. 9, MMG rapper Meek Mill with “Dreams Worth more than Money” also on Sept. 9, producer SBTRKT with “Wonder Where We Land” on Sept. 22 and country artist Kenny Chesney with “The Big Revival” on Sept. 23.
And to add just a little bit more to September’s hype, Cage the Elephant is going to be at Live on the Green Thursday, Sept. 4. If you’re unaware of Live on the Green, check out last week’s blog about The Head and the Heart’s performance.
All you really need to know is that Live on the Greenis a free concert, and that Cage the Elephant is going to be playing it and you should be excited. And what’s even more is that Radiohead is hitting the studio again this September. And if that doesn’t make you happy, then here is a video of Thom Yorke dancing like only white men can.
Have a fantastic Tuesday. TAS