September albums hold dire titles hiding deep-seated delights. From renegade poet YOKO ONO’s casually astral blues-rock odysseys, “Take Me to the Land of Hell,” to sharp-tongued Amazons POTTY MOUTH’s fiercely delirious, “Hell Bent,” fall descends upon us in more ways than one. Add precocious folk-pop wordsmith ANDREW ST. JAMES’ melodic travelogues, “Doldrums,” and assault-rocker TERRY MALTS’ controlled punk explosions, “Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere,” and damnation never sounded so inviting.
Deer Tick - Negativity
Album title: Negativity
Record Label: Partisan Records
Full-throttled trots and somber romps collide in rambunctious shanty-town rock as, “Negativity,” sizzles in rootsy, bluesy, barn-burning head-turners offset by tender, moon-lit, road-warrior ghost-stories and grizzled, chiseled, late-night heartaches. Sketched in five o’clock shadows and broken-promise honesty, Deer Tick’s savage alt-country jamborees expose a ravaged poet’s soul confessing pressing honky-tonk sonnets. The Rhode Island vagabonds play Madison’s Majestic October 13th.
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Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
Album title: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
Record Label: Anti
A passionate maverick whose nurturing assertions examine family abandonment, Case’s boldly told tales are iconic tonics spiked with intimate mysteries. Misfit gifts of casual confidence, strident kindness and placid tenacity dissect complex connections with strong-wills routed through militant resilience. Framed in twang and free-ranging harangues, “Harder,” harbors liberated fables; lean, dreamy, indie-pop thoughtfully pieced from personal concerns stirring incendiary insights.
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múm - Smilewound
Album title: Smilewound
Record Label: Morr Music
Vagrant angels float and sing, tangled in cheeky beats sugar-coated in covert emotions and catchy treachery; harnessing harmonious carnivals, deceptive fairy-tale affections and funky bungee-jumped productions, “Smilewound,” sprinkles slinky electro-pop trinkets in insect textures, painting dainty restraint beneath lively, spiraling strings. Coy, punch-card marvels orbiting chamber-pop concoctions, múm’s squeaky-clean demons dance between fleeting Mona Lisa teasers and sleepy deep-space complacency.
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Chelsea Wolfe - Pain is Beauty
Album title: Pain is Beauty
Record Label: Sargent House
Unsparing prayers coiled in bewitching contrition, Wolfe’s murky voodoo dirges assemble hemorrhaging memories from heathen dreamers; rapturous magic meets claustrophobic moments drenched in digital dissidence and adrift in subterranean refrains. Pursued, seduced, imprisoned and let loose, “Pain,” remains positively aloof veering from maddening ballads tackling shrouded doubts to mermaid serenades baited with dusky percussion and cloaked in lush post-apocalyptic concussions.
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Trentemøller - Lost
Album title: Lost
Record Label: In My Room
Techno-driven symphonies spawn slippery epiphanies as skulking sonics apply jungle cunning to withering rhythms; “Lost,” offers grueling subterfuge hidden in subversive interludes, electric tempests ripe in cyborg orchestras exploring shrewd grooves. Insidious, sumptuous and irresistible, Trentemøller’s rumbling trance-rock earthquakes and chilled reptilian soundscapes deliver beautifully kinky delinquency; elaborate labyrinths built beneath elastic theatrics unmasking minor-key majesty trimmed in baffling catastrophes.
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Hellsongs - These Are Evil Times
Album title: These Are Evil Times
Record Label: Tapete Records
Known for turning devilish metal into heavenly pop, Sweden’s ingenious Hellsongs expand their repertoire on the deep-feeling, musical chameleon, “Evil,” dispersing perky yet prickly originals beside subtly cuddly covers of Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Entombed. A smart, impish mix of wicked rock-pop chart-toppers and fanciful dance-able folk-rock anthems, the trio’s mid-tempo brio serve wholesome potions slyly seasoned in playful treason.
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While it’s harder to hit a moving target, take aim at brash DIY party-crashers THE JULIE RUIN’s delicious lip-stick garage-rock blitz, “Run Fast,” then catch up to frolic-pop polyglots SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELSTIN’s blithe diet of gentle remembrance and literate experiments, “Fly By Wire,” and silky smooth synth-minxes AU REVOIR SIMONE’s foxy, glossy pillow-talk, “Move in Spectrums.” Finally, you just can’t stop carousing R&B thieves, KING KHAN & THE SHRINES’ revved-up soul-drenched working-class masterpiece, “Idle No More,” or sleek, beat-weaving blue-eyed beasts HOLY GHOST!‘s eighties-lasered dance maze, “Dynamics.”