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Listening Ahead: Upcoming Releases for September 2014

Matthew Fiander and Arnold Pan

September's slate of releases features numerous living legends and big names, but "Listening Ahead" is focusing its attention on artists whose time has come, like Hiss Golden Messenger and Perfume Genius.

With upcoming efforts from Interpol, Julian Casablancas, Karen O, Ryan Adams, and Weezer, September's record release schedule could be one of the year's most anticipated -- well, maybe if that year came around about a decade ago. But more seriously, September 2014's slate of releases is one that's brimming over with intriguing albums, ranging widely from new work by all-timers Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and John Mellencamp, to the returns of underground heroes Jeff Tweedy and Steve Albini (with Shellac), to next acts by up-and-comers like alt-J and Banks. "Listening Ahead", though, is focusing less on the big names and chart-toppers this month and turning our attention to artists whose time has come, inspired eccentrics, and vets who keep on keeping on.

September 9

Artist: Hiss Golden Messenger

Album: Lateness of Dancers

Label: Merge

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Display as: ListHiss Golden Messenger
Lateness of Dancers

Hiss Golden Messenger delivered hushed intimacy on Bad Debt and sweet exhaustion and hard-earned truths on the band's breakout album Haw. Now, the group is back with Lateness of Dancers, the band's first record for Merge. Main players M.C. Taylor and Scott Hirsch have surrounded themselves with friends and great musicians -- like William Tyler and Megafaun's Phil and Brad Cook -- to record the new album, and it's a collection that shows the Hiss Golden Messenger catalog as a progression, a beautiful evolution. If Haw was about, in part, emerging from darkness - Lateness of Dancers is about the hope that comes with that nascent light. This isn't worry free music, but it documents voices ready to deal with the worry, sift through it, leave behind what doesn't matter and take with you what you need. "Lucia" is both bittersweet and celebratory when Taylor wails, "She was beautiful / It was circumstance." And if "Day O Day (Love So Free)" catalogs shadowy days past, it also settles, swaying with freedom, on that parenthetical love. On the powerful piano-and-guitar piece "Chapter & Verse (Ione's Song)", Taylor sings to his daughter, admitting, "All I've got to give you are these songs I sing." But to hear Lateness of Dancers is to realize he's giving quite a lot. This album is rollicking and hopeful, rare in its honesty, and opens up its self-searching to let us in. The players roll through the country-funk of "I'm a Raven (Shake Children)" or the swampy hooks of "Southern Grammar" with a control and reverence that surely calls to mind classic bands like the Grateful Dead (seriously). Taylor and company prove you don't need to reinvent to surprise, and in doing so create one of the best records of the year. Matthew Fiander

Artist: PC Worship

Album: Social Rust

Label: Northern Spy

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PC Worship
Social Rust

PC Worship, an experimental rock act fronted my multi-instrumentalist Justin Frye, has made three albums of skronky, DIY, noisy exploration. Social Rust, PC Worship's first record for Northern Spy, ups the ante by honing the band's brash eccentricities. Recorded at a Brooklyn studio, the album doesn't shine up the band's sound with production so much as it sharpens PC Worship's edge so finely and dangerously that it wouldn't even hurt if it slipped between your ribs. There's something cut-free and exuberant about the punishing rhythms of "Odd" or the not-quite-free-jazz freak-out of "Behind the Picture". There's also, somewhere in the sneering rumble of "Rust" or the overcast, acoustic rattle of "Baby in the Backroom", something effortless, even catchy about these songs. The album opens up into spatial and textural explorations like the excellent "Public Shrine" without losing an ounce of feral energy. Social Rust is a challenging record, but also a rewarding one whose dense layers open up as you revisit the record. And in spending time with this dark buzzsaw of an album, you'll hear what first seemed shapeless noise is actually finely shaped sound. It's you, not the players, that may come unhinged in the best way possible. Matthew Fiander

September 23

Artist: Goat

Album: Commune

Label: Sub Pop

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Display as: ListGoat

The real deal about Swedish psychedelic act Goat isn't its myth-like bio. Instead, it's how the group's second full-length Commune makes you believe that you really are listening to a mysterious multi-generational collective of performers from a remote village above the Arctic Circle, as the press release has it. Indeed, Commune casts such an entrancing spell that you can't tell what's an illusion and what's not, as the music's omnivorous, polyglot styles come together in a stream-of-consciousness trip. Reminiscent of Japanese ruins-dwellers Ghost, Goat carves out mind-expanding room for all kinds of far-flung vernaculars, in this case acid-rock, Krautrock, folk, metal, free jazz, and Afropop. But Goat also assimilates more contemporary components that add currency and weight to the mix to make it uniquely theirs, with droning effects that get shoegaze-y and ecstatic electro elements. On "Words", jammy improvisation and unrelenting, factory-line electronics somehow find a natural synthesis, while "Goatslaves" brings to mind the Stone Roses' most far-flung guitar explorations, just if they had gone tribal. Layering on all these various influences to create depth and richness, the multi-dimensional, interstellar journeys on Commune aren't ones that lose you, but ones to get lost in. Arnold Pan


Artist: Perfume Genius

Album: Too Bright

Label: Matador

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Display as: ListPerfume Genius
Too Bright

Mike Hadreas, better known as Perfume Genius, set out to make a pop album for his third outing, an obvious enough next step for a songwriter with a growing profile and a knack for dramatic melodies. And while Too Bright does turn out to Hadreas' boldest and ambitious recording to date, you'd be hard pressed to describe Perfume Genius' latest as pop, not when what's on it feels darker and more imposing than anything he's done before. Opting to craft an even more personal document instead of a market-oriented product, Hadreas made an album of heavier textures and more haunting moods, bringing on board Portishead's Adrian Utley as producer and long-time PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish to set that kind of tone. In turn, Too Bright is a varied and complex piece that reflects Hadreas' progress as an artist by showing the different facets of his ever developing musical persona. On the single "Queen", Hadreas takes on homophobic stereotypes of gay men, then turns them on their head, with assertive synths and confidently mocking lyrics ("No family is safe / When I sashay"). With Hadreas' broader musical vocabulary here, Too Bright runs a fuller gamut of feeling, from sounding his most imposing on the distorted "I'm a Mother" to approaching something like transcendence on the elegiac piece, "No Good". Maybe Hadreas didn't figure out how to become a pop artist on Too Bright, but he accomplished something more challenging with it, creating bigger, bolder soundscapes that are also able to convey a more vulnerable side of Perfume Genius. Arnold Pan

Artist: Purling Hiss

Album: Weirdon

Label: Drag City

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Purling Hiss

Water on Mars, the last full-length from Purling Hiss, was a rock record with weight. It had the kind of psychedelic layering that felt physical, often heavy. Weirdon continues to show us the ever-expanding guitar talents of Mike Polizze, but it takes us through a much brighter and immediately catchy set of tunes. Opening track "Forcefield of Solitude" is all about getting lost in the radio, and glides along sunburst hooks. But the album that follows isn't about isolation, rather music as connection. And you'll link right up with the earworm riffs and rock muscle of "Learning Slowly", the big, dusty spaces and gliding solos of "Another Silvermoon", and the driving power-pop of "Aging Faces". On Weirdon, Purling Hiss taps into a series of variations on rock themes and each one is as catchy and intimate as the last. That you can sift through the hazy layers here and get to the voice at the center of it, get at the feelings of both worry and freedom that spin and fall around each other, only makes the record stronger. As we ease into fall, if you missed out on a hazy-day rock record, Purling Hiss has you covered. Matthew Fiander

Artist: Laetitia Sadier

Album: Something Shines

Label: Drag City

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Laetitia Sadier
Something Shines

Revolutions are supposed to imply radical change, but they also require that you stick to your principles for the long term and follow through. So while Laetitia Sadier has been in the vanguard of the agit-pop struggle, it might be more impressive that she's still fighting the good fight even after Stereolab has come and gone. On Something Shines, her third proper solo outing, Sadier is working on a treatise that'll stand the test of time, as she continues to meld '60s futurism, '70s space-age funk, and an eternal pop cool all her own. Maybe the shock of the new can make a more visceral impression, but it sometimes takes a more familiar voice to get a message across, which Sadier does as she rails against social inequality and an alienated consciousness. Indeed, the album's opening pieces feel like a career compendium of Sadier's best rhetorical gestures: patient leadoff track "Quantum Soup" works sublimely and subliminally with its cocktail of lite jazz and space-rock, while first single "Then, I Will Love You Again" picks up the pace with her patented intergalactic pop moves. But it's the sparse "Oscuridad" that's Sadier's most profound statement on the album, coming off at once comfortable and scathing, atmospheric and pointed, as she ponders class relations, "Do the rich need the poor to be rich?" Indeed, such a question is timeless and yet more current than ever, which is something that might be said for Laetitia Sadier's music too. Arnold Pan


Selected Releases for September 2014

(Release dates subject to change)

September 2

Amber Pacific - The Turn

Big Boss Man - Last Man on Earth (Blowup)

Blonde Redhead - Barragán (Kobalt)

The Canyon Rays - West Coast Babes

Jennifer Castle - Pink City (No Quarter)

Child Actor - Never Die

Code Orange - I Am King (Deathwish Inc.)

Dark Sky - imagin (Monkeytown)

Deep Sea Diver - Always Waiting EP

Anthony D'Amato - The Shipwreck from the Shore (New West)

Ben Glover - Atlantic (Carpe Vita Creative)

Grey Gordon - Forget I Brought It Up (No Sleep)

The Gotobeds - Poor People Are Revolting (12XU)

Half-Japanese - Overjoyed (Joyful Noise)

Happyness - Anything I Do Is All Right EP

Helado Negro - Double Youth (Asthmatic Kitty)

Hustle & Drone - Holyland (Red Bull Sound Select)

The Kooks - Listen (Astralwerks)

Maroon 5 - V (Interscope)

Stuart Murdoch - God Help the Girl original soundtrack (Milan)

Mutual Benefit - The Cowboy's Prayer EP reissue (Other Music)

Myriad3 - The Where (Alma)

Ratos De Porao - Seculo Sinistro (Virus)

Rotem Sivan Trio - For Emotional Use Only (Fresh Sound New Talent)

Sinkane - Mean Love (DFA)

Sinoia Caves - Beyond the Black Rainbow (Jagjaguwar)

Joe Jack Talcum (Dead Milkmen) - Home Recordings Vol 2 1993-1999 (HHBTM)

Lily Taylor - The Ride (Pour le Corps)

TOPS - Picture You Staring (Arbutus)

Trentemøller - Lost Reworks (In My Room)

The Vines - Wicked Nature

Zammuto - Anchor (Temporary Residence)

Zemi17 - Impressions EP (The Bunker New York)

Zeus - Classic Zeus (Arts & Crafts)

September 9

Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams (Pax-Am)

Afro Bop Alliance - Angel Eyes (Zoho)

American Hi-Fi - Blood and Lemonade (Rude)

Rich Aucoin - Ephemeral

Avi Buffalo - At Best Cuckold (Sub Pop)

Ballet School - The Dew Lasts an Hour (Bella Union)

Banks - Goddess (Harvest)

David Bazan + Passenger String Quartet - David Bazan + Passenger String Quartet, Vol. 1

Lee Brice - I Don't Dance (Curb)

The Britanys - It's Alright EP

Brooklyn Shanti - Bedstuyle (Someplace Called Brooklyn)

Busdriver - Perfect Hair (Big Dada)

Billy Childs and various - Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro (Masterworks)

Paul Collins - Feel the Noise (Naturalsound)

Cookies - Music for Touching

Death from Above 1979 - The Physical World (Warner Bros.)

Delta Spirit - Into the Wide (Dualtone)

Duologue - Drag & Drop

Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers (Vagrant)

Flowers - Do What You Want to, It's What You Should Do (Fortuna Pop!/Kanine)

Valery Gore - Idols in the Dark Heart

Greensky Bluegrass - If Sorrows Wim (Thirty Tigers)

Holiday Friends - Major Magic

Interpol - El Pintor (Matador)

Jonly Bonly - Put Together (12XU)

Judah & the Lion - Kids These Days (Good Time)

Diana Krall - Wallflower (Verve)

Let It Happen - Cause + Effect (InVogue)

Lewis & Clarke - Truimvirate

Rüdiger Lorenz - Invisible Voices (Anthology)

Love Inks - Exi (Republic of Music)

Lera Lynn - The Avenues

Jesse Marchant - Jesse Marchant (No Other)

Ruane Maurice - Ruane Maurice (Stars & Letters)

Meek Mill - Dreams Worth More Than Money (Atlantic/Q)

Karen O - Crush Songs (Cult)

The Ocean Blue - Waterworks (Korda)

Odessa - Odessa EP (Chop Shop/Republic)

Orlando Julius & the Heliocentrics - Buje Buje (Strut)

Oscillator Bug - Bursts of the Million (Dymaxion Groove)

Pere Ubu - Carnival of Souls (Fire)

Robert Plant - lullaby and...the Ceaseless Roar (Nonesuch)

Josef Salvat - In Your Prime EP

Louis Sclavis - Silk and Salt Memories (ECM)

Sealions - Number One Lover EP (Deer Bear Wolf)

Seatraffic - Beauty in the Night

A Shoreline Dream - The Silent Sunrise (Latenight Weeknight)

Simian Ghost - Youth reissue (Red Eye Transit)

Sloan - Commonwealth (Yep Roc)

Slow Magic - How to Run Away (Downtown)

The Stroke Band - Green and Yellow (Anthology)

Tennis - Ritual in Repeat (Communion)

Mick Turner Quartet - Lathe of Heaven (ECM)

Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer - Bass and Mandolin (Nonesuch)

Tricky - Adrian Thaws (False Idols)

The Ukiah Drag - In the Reaper's Quarters (Wharf Cat)

YAWN - Love Chills (Old Flame)

September 16

Allah-Las - Worship the Sun (Innovative Leisure)

Anjou (ex-Labradford) - Anjou (Kranky)

Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas, and Rob Ickes - Three Bells (Rounder)

Black Moth - Condemned to Hope (New Heavy Sounds)

Broncho - Just Enough Hip to Be Woman (Dine Alone)

Camera - Remember I Was Carbon Dioxide (Bureau B)

Cancers - Fatten the Leeches (Kandy Kane/Dead Broke)

Mario Castro Quintet - Estrelle De Mar (Interrobang)

Control Group - Hot Swap

Crushed Out - Teeth (Cool Clean Water)

Mike Doughty - Stellar Motel

Mike Farris - TBD (Compass)

The Fauntleroys - Below the Pink Pony EP (Plowboy)

Free Throw - Those Days Are Gone (Count Your Lucky Stars)

Lee Gamble - Koch (Pan)

Generationals - Alix (Polyvinyl)

Glass Ghost - Lyfe (Western Vinyl)

GRMLN - Soon Away (Carpark)

Have a Nice Life - Deathconsciousness reissue (The Flenser)

Hostage Calm - Die on Stage (Run for Cover)

Lia Ices - Ices (Jagjaguwar)

impLOG (Don Christensen of the Contortions) - Holland Tunnel Dive 12" reissue (Dark Entries)

Iron Reagan - The Tyranny of Will (Relapse)

Jigsaw Seen - Old Man Reverb (Burnside)

The Juan MacLean - In a Dream (DFA)

Eg Kight - A New Day (Blue South)

Hamish Kilgour (The Clean) - All of It and Nothing (Ba Da Bing!)

Kirlian Camera - Uno reissue (Dark Entries)

Le Butcherettes - Cry Is for the Flies (Ipecac)

The Lees of Memory - Sisyphus Says (SideOneDummy)

Lowell - We Loved Her Dearly (Arts & Crafts)

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood - Juice (Indirecto)

Yael Meyer - Warrior Heart (Via Kli)

Blake Mills - Heigh Ho (Verve/Record Collection)

Moon Hooch - This Is Cave Music (Hornblow/Palmetto)

Moonface - City Wrecker EP (Secretly Canadian)

Jason Moran - All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller (Blue Note)

My Brightest Diamond - This Is My Hand (Asthmatic Kitty)

Nick Hakim - Where Will We Go Pt. 2 EP (Earseed)

Obey the Brave - Salvation (Epitaph)

Octave Minds - Octave Minds (Boysnoize)

She Keeps Bees - Eight Houses (Future Gods)

Shellac - Dude Incredible (Touch & Go)

So Cow - The Long Con (Goner)


Spanish Harlem Orchestra - Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Steelism - 615 to Fame (Single Lock)

Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places (Evil Ink)

This Will Destroy You - Another Language (Suicide Squeeze)

Tweedy - Sukierae (dBpm)

Various Artists - Dead Man's Town: A Tribute to Born in the U.S.A. (Lightning Rod)

Various Artists - Temporary: Selections from Dunedin's Pop Underground, 2011-2014 (Ba Da Bing!)

Vessel - Punish, Honey (Tri Angle)

Witch Mountain - Mobile of Angels (Profound Lore)

Natalia Zukerman - Come Thief, Come Fire (Talisman)

September 23

The Aislers Set - Terrible Things Happen and The Last Match reissues (Slumberland)

AJR - Infinity EP (Warner Bros.)

alt-J - This Is All Yours (Canvasback/Infectious)

Anenon - Sagranda (Non Projects)

Arp - Pulsars e Quasars EP (Mexican Summer)

Asteroid No. 4 - Asteroid No. 4 (Bad Vibrations)

Jon Bellion - The Definition

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga - Cheek to Cheek (Streamline/Columbia Interscope)

Kasper Bjørke - After Forever (hfn)

Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades of Blue (J&R Adventures)

Otis Brown III - The Thought of You (Revive/Blue Note)

Julian Casablancas + the Voidz - Tyranny (Cult)

Charlotte OC - Strange EP

Kenny Chesney - The Big Revival (Blue Chair/Columbia)

Leonard Cohen - Popular Problems (Columbia)

Dan'l Boone (with Neil Hagerty) - Dan'l Boone (Drag City)

The Drums - Encyclopedia (Minor)

Ennui - Telepathic Beat (Mush)

Erasure - The Violet Flame (Mute)

Fiancé - EP1 (SQE)

Marc Ford - Holy Ghost (Naim Edge)

Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic (Orchid Tapes)

Girl Tears - Tension (Sinderlyn)

Groundislava - Frozen Throne (Weddit)

Woody Guthrie - My Name Is New York 3-disc set

Kim Hiorthøy - Dogs (Smalltown Supersound)

Holy Sons - The Fact Facer (Thrill Jockey)

Jack + Eliza - No Wonders EP (Yebo)

King Tuff - Black Moon Spell (Sub Pop)

Nicholas Krgovich - On Sunset

Mary Lattimore & Jeff Ziegler - Slant of Light (Thrill Jockey)

Sondre Lerche - Please (Mona/Yep Roc)

Lights - Little Machines (Warner Bros.)

Brian Lopez - Static Noise (Funzalo)

Lower Plenty - Life/Thrills (Mexican Summer)

Carmen Lundy - Soul to Soul (Afrasia Productions)

LVL UP - Hoodwink'd (Double Double Whammy/Exploding in Sound)

Rob Lynch - All These Nights in Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul (Xtra Mile)

John Mellencamp - Plain Spoken (Republic)

Andy Milne & Dapp Theory - Forward in All Directions (Contrology)

Mr. Twin Sister - Mr. Twin Sister (Twin Group/Infinite Best)

Chuck Prophet - Night Surfer (Yep Roc)

Redinho - Redinho (Numbers)

S - Cool Choices (Hardly Art)

SBTRKT - Wonder Where We Land (Young Turks)

Sarah Silverman - We Are Miracles (Sub Pop)

sleepmakeswaves - Love of Cartography (Bird's Robe)

Terry Malts - Insides EP (Slumberland)

Three Minute Tease - Bite the Hand (Idiot)

TOKiMONSTA - Desideratum (Young Art)

Various Artists - Hyperdub 10.3 (Hyperdub)

Weird Womb - Laziness EP (Midriff)

Whirr - Sway (Graveface)

White Violet - Stay Lost (Normaltown)

Wings - Venus and Mars and At the Speed of Sound (MPL/Concord)

Mac Wiseman - Songs from My Mother's Hand (Wrinkled)

Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa - Savage Imagination (Thrill Jockey)

Young Rebel Set - Crocodile (New West)

Youth Code - A Place to Stand EP (Dais)

September 30

Herb Alpert - In the Mood (Shout! Factory)

Austmuteants - Order of Operation (Goner)

Aven de Soleil Sortant de Sa Bouche - Zubberdust! (Constellation)

Boothroyd - Idle Hours EP (Tri Angle)

Gui Boratto - Abaporu (Kompakt)

Buck 65 - Neverlove

Colbie Caillat - Gypsy Heart (Republic)

Ry Cooder - Soundtracks (Rhino)

Dive Index - Lost in the Pressure (Neutral)

Kat Edmonson - The Big Picture (Sony Masterworks)

Electric Youth - Innerworld (Secretly Canadian)

Melissa Etheridge - This Is ME (Caroline)

Francisco the Man - Loose Ends (Small Plates)

The History of Apple Pie - Feel Something (Marshall Teller)

Hot Rize - When I'm Free (Thirty Tigers)

Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds (Island)

Hudson Mohawke - Chimes EP (Warp)

Montibus Communitas - The Pilgrim to the Absolute (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond)

Nightbringer - Ego Dominus Tuus (Season of Mist)

Nick Oliveri (QOTSA, Kyuss) - Leave Me Alone (Schnietzel)

Oasis - What's the Story (Morning Glory)? (Big Brother)

Christopher Owens - A New Testament (Turnstile)

The Pine Hill Haints - The Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints (K)

Populous - Night Safari (Bad Panda)

Eileen Rose - Be Many Gone (Holy Wreckords)

Sterling Roswell - The Call of the Cosmos (Fire)

Ruby Fray - Grackle (K)

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Mended with Gold (Saddle Creek)

Sea Oleena - Shallow (Lefse)

Touche Amore - Live on BBC Radio One: Vol. 2 EP (Deathwish Inc.)

Trigger Hippy - Trigger Hippy (Rounder)

Ugly Kids Club - Head Games EP

Various Artists - The Rough Guide to Bollywood Disco (Rough Guide)

Various Artists - The Rough Guide to Fado Legends (Rough Guide)

Gerard Way - Hesitant Alien (Reprise)

Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End (Republic)

Paul White - Shaker Notes (R & S)

Luke Winslow-King - Everlasting Arms (Bloodshot)

Yelle - Completement Fou (Kemosabe)

yMusic - Balance Problems (New Amsterdam)

* * *

Photo: Composition of headphones. Image via Shutterstock.

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