The September Gauntlet
Updated: Nov 4
Releases from The Killers, IDLES, Angel Olsen & more kick off a new round-up feature on Either/Or this month.
As part of a brand new feature here at Either/Or, I'm going to be dissecting each month with a series of short form album reviews in addition to the usual full length write ups. The idea is to cover everything I'm listening to and get as many reviews and recommendations out to you lovely people as I possibly can, so if there's something you'd like covered in any given month - just give me a shout!
This will be a regular feature going forward and in addition to featuring condensed takes on new albums, I'll be including a playlist of the best tracks for each month and some releases to look forward to that will be covered on site in the coming month. Sound good? Well, without further ado...
September Album Reviews
Only For Dolphins - Action Bronson
Everybody's favourite hip-hop chef is back with a reliably impressive number of cuisine inspired bars, served atop a silky smooth set of jazzy beats courtesy of Bronsoliño himself and a line up featuring The Alchemist and Samiyam amongst others. It's Bronson's most diverse and consistent work since 2015's Mr Wonderful, and while perhaps lacking the accessibility and commercial appeal of that album, Only For Dolphins is a reminder that Bronson is still a unique and wholly entertaining personality when on form.
Best Tracks: 'Splash'/'Sergio'/'Cliff Hanger'
Whole New Mess - Angel Olsen
As a completely reimagined version of Olsen's stunning 2019 break-up opus All Mirrors, Whole New Mess takes one of last year's best albums and boldly reinvents it by throwing out the anthemic synth orchestration of its predecessor and presenting its tracks in a strikingly bare and intimate style. Originally recorded in 2018 across ten days in a converted church before these raw sketches evolved into All Mirrors, the echoes of Olsen's poignant vocals mixed with the tender acoustics of these newly envisioned ballads make for a freshly captivating, starkly different take on Olsen's sorrowful reflections on love and loss.
While admittedly not as essential as the record it would eventually become, Whole New Mess stands as a fine record on its own and finds a way to breathe intoxicating new life into Olsen's finest album less than a year after its release, while perhaps introducing an intriguing concept for other artists to consider toying with in the coming years.
Best Tracks: 'Whole New Mess'/'(We Are All Mirrors)'/'Waving, Smiling'/'Lark Song'/'What It Is (What It Is)'
SUGAREGG - Bully
Alicia Bognanno returns a solo act on Bully's third studio album, but it doesn't sound like much else has changed - the riot grrl act and throwback grunge rock of Feels Like and Losing remains an easily identifiable shtick in 2020. Bognanno rips through these thirty eight minutes with her familiar howl and a solid collection of earwormy power chord riffs. It's perfectly decent alternative rock for those seeking a Sleater Kinney fix in 2020, but if you're not already converted to Bully it's unlikely that SUGAREGG will do the trick.
Best Tracks: 'Add It On'/'Where to Start'
Ultra Mono - IDLES
The red-blooded punk of IDLES encounters diminishing returns on Ultra Mono as the Bristolians clumsily attempt to get political on their uneven third record. The result is a protest album that’s about as subtle as a brick, and while there’s still plenty of grit and skill in the throttling guitar riffs of Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan, the thrilling shockwave of the band’s high octane instrumental work wears thin when coupled with Joe Talbot’s obnoxious, ultra-woke sermonizing.
Best Tracks: 'Model Village'
Imploding The Mirage - The Killers
The Killers are well aware of what they do best, and on Imploding the Mirage they lay down a fantastic set of synth rock bangers with the assured skill befitting a band of their now veteran status. Brandon Flowers and co. have not so shyly leaned into the showier elements of their image in recent years, and this self-aware extravagance translates surprisingly well to record as the Vegas quartet go balls out on a bombastic, stadium sized Springsteen tribute across ten barnstorming tracks.
Best Tracks: 'Dying Breed'/'Caution'/'My God (feat. Weyes Blood)'
Either/Or's September Playlist
From The xx's Romy Madley Croft's delirious rave pop debut to SZA's glorious Neptunes collab, Avalanches' funky disco celebration and beabeadoobee's infectious indie rock snippets, here are the best songs of September 2020 all in one conveniently arranged playlist for your listening pleasure.
'Lifetime' - Romy
'Over Now (with The Weeknd)' - Calvin Harris
'Strange Timez (feat. Robert Smith)' - Gorillaz
'Heartbreak' - Bonobo & Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
'Dying Breed' - The Killers
'anything' - Adrianne Lenker
'Ohms' - Deftones
'Midnight Sky' - Miley Cyrus
'Godspeed' - James Blake
'FRANCHISE (feat. Young Thug & M.I.A)' - Travis Scott
'Hit Different' - SZA, The Neptunes, Pharrell Williams & Ty Dolla $ign
'Worth It' - beabadoobee
'Music Makes Me High' - The Avalanches
'feel away (feat. James Blake & Mount Kimbie)' - slowthai
'Splash' - Action Bronson
'Birthday' - Disclosure, Kehlani & Syd
'Sunblind' - Fleet Foxes
'What It Is (What It Is)' - Angel Olsen
October's Most Anticipated Releases
My most anticipated releases of the spookiest month of the year, here's just some of the albums I'm looking forward to in October and what you can expect to be reading about in the coming weeks!
If there's something I've forgotten, or something you want to see covered that's not here - get involved and let me know.
Deftones - Ohms [Alternative metal/Shoegaze/Experimental rock]
Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension [Art rock/Electronica]
BLACKPINK - The Album [K-pop]
Corey Taylor - CMFT [Metal]
Jonsi - Shiver [Post rock/Ambient pop]
Roisin Murphy - Roisin Machine [Disco/House]
Future Islands - As Long As You Are [Synthpop/Alternative rock]
Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary Edition [Nu-metal/Alternative metal]
beabadoobee - Fake It Flowers [Lo-fi/Indie rock/Bedroom pop]
Matt Berninger - Serpentine Prison [Alternative rock]
Adrianne Lenker - songs [Freak folk/Indie]
Adrianne Lenker - instrumentals [Freak folk/Indie]
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Letter to You [Rock]
Gorillaz - Song Machine Season 1 [Hip-hop/Electronic]
Eels - Earth to Dora [Indie rock]
Oneohtrix Point Never - Magic Oneohtrix Point Never [Electronic/Experimental/Ambient]