On the first day of primary school I cried my eyes out. The principal picked me up and asked me what my favourite dinner was. I brushed away the curls that were pasted to the tear tracks on my rosy cheeks and with a sniffle I composed myself to answer earnestly, “Fish fingers.” I also got a little bit sick and required a red plastic basin to be place beside my miniature schoolbag. On the last day of my first week at secondary school I broke my wrist and was forced to spend two months making new friends with a blue cast. Completing the educational trinity and once again demonstrating my lack of thinking-things-through, in my first history tutorials of college we were asked to name an historical figure that we found interesting. My response to the room of strangers that I would invariably share lectures with over the next three years? Adolf Hitler. Naturally.
September brings a season of fresh starts and first impressions. It is also a month where people switch off the snooze button, and put on the motivation to work hard on projects and ideas that were put into hibernation over the summer. That ‘back to school’ never really leaves us, fortunately I’ve gotten better at making first impressions, I think. This mode of being productive and hard work is just as relevant to the music industry. So far, this month has been and will continue to be an overwhelmingly fruitful time for new music. We are not even two weeks into September and yet we have been spoilt with albums by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Angel Olsen, Wilco, M.I.A., and have a matter of days to wait to hear new material by Danny Brown, Warpaint, Devendra Barnhart, Van Morrison, Bon Iver, and Pixies, to name but a few.
BadBadNotGood – ‘Chompy’s Paradise’ (Innovative Leisure)
Leland Whitty and his saxophone officially joined Canadian experimental-hip-hop-jazz ensemble, BADBADNOTGOOD in January of this year. The presence of the saxophone in their latest album IV gave the songs a distinct sophistication which shines through in ‘Chompy’s Paradise’, a 1960s arrangement that would sonically transport you to a cool lounge bar. In the video, Whitty has 59 seconds to decipher which colour wire he needs to cut to save his beloved saxophone which has been dressed in a belt of explosives. The stress of the situation (“Nuts nuts nuts nuts nuts nuts.”) kicks in as the sax line lures you into the song, it is as though the instrument is a vocal communicating to calm his musical master. There is nostalgia to intensify the bad between the two shown through a series of home-movie style vignettes between Leland and the musical extension of his body whether posing by a car or playing by a lake. As the story unfolds we see that the saxophone is corrupt and has bad (badnotgood) intentions to eliminate his counterpart. It’s a shocking end but one not without a sense of humour.
ANOHNI – ‘CRISIS’ (Rough Trade)
ANOHNI’s lyrics are politically charged in ‘CRISIS’, the latest single to come from her Mercury nominated debut solo album, Hopelessness. The British born musician has lived in the United States since she was a teenager and has grown increasingly dissatisfied with how her adopted home has shrugged off responsibility and embraced a culture of entitlement. Anohni released a statement to explain the premise of both the song and video. She explained that, “De-escalation cannot occur until we truly account for what the United States has done. [She] wanted to model what that might look like on a personal level as an American Citizen. There is an unspoken sense that the atrocities our country has committed in the Middle East are too grave to really acknowledge or account for. And Yet for peace to really take hold, there is no other road forward.”
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Jesus Alone’ (Bad Seed Ltd.)
Nick Cave’s sixteenth studio album with The Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree has received more media attention than any of their previous records for a number of reasons, mostly surrounding the tragic death of Cave’s son which happened in the middle of the recording sessions, lasting from 2014 until 2016. To coincide with the release of the album and to avoid answering questions regarding his son’s death Cave chose to make a documentary with friend and filmmaker Andrew Dominik entitled One More Time With Feeling. The film is full of interviews and performances of the eight songs. This video for ‘Jesus Alone’ comes from the documentary and it is nothing short of perfection.
Haley Bonar – ‘Called You Queen’ (Memphis Industries)
A young, beautiful girl with a love for Elvis Presley and a host of mannequin heads wins a competition and skates her way into a technicolour bar with glittery walls and old men wearing inventively colourful hats as they sit on stools and sip their drinks. Then there’s cake, lots of cake. This is just a very brief summary of Canadian singer, Haley Bonar’s video for the indie-pop single, ’Called You Queen.’ This aesthetic seems to be a prominent feature of Bonar’s latest album, Impossible Dream (see album artwork).
PARTY ANIMAL – ‘Saving All My Money (Just 2 Buy a Gun) (DUM SHINY)
I mentioned earlier that September is a perfect time to dust away the cobwebs that have gathered on your brain and self-motivation to get stuff done. American rapper, Kool A.D. has been solidly writing and releasing an immensely impressive volume of new material since the start of the year. Thus far he has dropped six EPs (over one hundred songs) under the Kool A.D. moniker and continued to work on several side projects like writing a bi-weekly column for Vice about parenting which ceased in February and drumming with Party Animal, a hardcore punk band that he has played with since 2011. Avant Garbage is Party Animal’s second album and it is home to their latest single, ‘Saving All My Money (Just 2 Buy a Gun).’ The majority of Kool A.D.’s lyrics are regarded as ‘joke rapping’ due to their mockery of the ridiculousness of modern society and culture. The video for this song is the visual answer to this kind of social satire as it is a five-minute collage of short gifs and Vine-like scenes that have become such an intrinsic part of our everyday consumption. My personal favourite is the long haired chihuahua being unravelled from a roll of bubble wrap.