Best of September

  • September 29, 2023
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We're falling in love with music all over again this month. Here are some of our fall favorites. Added bonus: Many of these artists are scheduled to play in Salt Lake City soon! Read all about them, listen in to the playlist below and get out there and enjoy some new tunes.

Wilco / Cousin
Wilco's last album, the country inspired double record Cruel Country, came out just last year, but as it turns out, the band was already hard at work on their next record, Cousin, long before they even released the previous album. Cousin, their thirteenth studio album, was produced by Cate Le Bon, and marks the first time in at least a decade that the band has worked with an outside producer.

They met Cate Le Bon at their Solid Sound Festival in 2019, leading to Jeff Tweedy inviting her to the band’s Chicago studio, The Loft, to start work on Cousin. It took them two years to finish the album. Cousin finds Wilco returning to familiar territory. Full of songs about mortality, grief, regret and even some hope shining through. - Ebay Hamilton

Check out: Evicted, Meant to Be, and Cousin
Catch Wilco live at the Eccles Theater on Oct 20.

Jalen Ngonda / Come Around And Love Me
Jalen Ngonda is a time-traveler who sounds like he just stepped out of the late 60's Motown era. The 28-year-old Soul Singer, raised in Washington DC and now living in Liverpool, is one of Daptone Records latest signees. He grew up listening to his dad's CD collection of Soul music and you can hear many of those influences in his sound; Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, The Temptations and Four Tops.

While some may call modern day retro soul too derivative of artists of the past, I say Jalen Ngonda's Come Around And Love Me is a welcome addition to the continued evolution of Soul music, and wow, does he have a great voice. - Ebay Hamilton

Check out: If You Don't Want My Love, Come Around And Love Me, and Just Like You Used To

Allison Russell / The Returner
Multi-instrumentalist Allison Russell may feel like a rising star, but the 4x Grammy nominated artist has been making music since the early 2000's as part of the bands Po' Girl, Birds of Chicago, Our Native Daughters (with Rhiannon Giddens, Amythist Kiah and Leyla McCalla) and was part of the legendary 'Joni Jam' (Joni Mitchell's suprise return to the Newport Folk Festival led by Brandi Carlile.) Her first proper solo album, Outside Child, revealed a not-so-secret secret: she a brilliant songwriter, poet and musician who can turn pain and trauma into joy.

For this sophomore solo album, Russell said that she needed to shake off the heavyness of Outside Child, and approached The Ruturner from the rhythm section first, building the songs from improvisation. "My goal with The Returner - sonically, poetically and spirtually - is a radical reclamation of present tense...In just a word it's funkier. But, as in the history of anything funky, it's never just a party. It's a multiverse of energies that merges the celebration and the battle cry."

This is a record of joy, soul, roots and action. Put it on and turn it up for stirring anthems delivered by your new favorite artist. - Eugenie Jaffe 

Check out: Stay Right Here, The Returner, All Without Within, Springtime
See Allison Russell live at The State Room on November 13.

Say She She / Silver
Say what? Say She She! The New York vocal trio shine like disco ball on a Saturday night. Piya Malik (of El Michels Affair, and former backing singer for Chicano Batman), Sabrina Cunningham and Nya Gazelle Brown deliver a modern, funky, disco sound with a roster of musicians that include former members of The Dap-Kings, Twin Shadow, Chicano Batman and members of underground cult-funk band Orgone.

Their sophmore album Silver continues where the debut, Prism, left off. It's a 70's party with songs like "Reeling," and "C'est Si Bon," which translates to "It's So Good," and it is. But for all of the retro influences, the album's message is set firmly in 2023. The song "Norma," written on the eve of the Supreme Court reversing Roe v Wade, has the defiant chorus of "We will not go back / Write a letter to the state," while maintaining a disco vibe. Silver shimmers just like its title and is ready for your next late night party. - Eugenie Hero Jaffe

Check out: Reeling, Blow My Mind, Norma, C'est Si Bon, Astral Plane
Say She She plays live at The State Room, Friday, October 6

Gabriel Teodros / From the Ashes of Our Homes
One of the realest records you’ll hear all year and an immediate entry in my top 10 of 2023. Such intimate glimpses of an artist’s infinite inkwell are truly rare.

Gabriel Teodros is a longtime lyricist and community builder in Seattle’s multicultural salad bowl, known colloquially as the Southend. Listening to his releases has always felt like accidentally stumbling upon a cypher of friends and neighbors gettin’ down at a backyard barbeque. In that tradition, From the Ashes of Our Homes features more than a dozen collaborators. But he’s digging deeper than ever here into coping with loss and healing from pain. Powerful messages and tight productions are no surprise given his career-spanning knack for fearless meditations on struggle over soulful beats.

Teodros’ writing often channels relatable, grounded Octavia Butler sci-fi. On the veteran MC and late-blooming beatmaker’s sixth proper solo album, he is calmly spitting insights from a safer perch in a new studio, looking back at his own lived experiences. “After the Fire” for example is pure nonfiction. “After the fire, when the ashes were gone, it took time to build desire up to write a new song.” He and his partner, the celebrated author and speaker Ijeoma Oluo, escaped with their lives from a rental house that burned down, robbing them of everything they owned. If there is a theme to these reflections, it’s that love is always there for you. Written for Oluo, “You and Me” is another highlight. One of the most unforgettable lines is a reminder of his talent for blending sweet, earnest conviction with a highly evolved, feminist world view that feels like an overdue trademark in hip-hop. “We’ve been tested by so much, but at the end of it all, home is your touch.” - Gavin Dahl

Check out: You and Me, Spacetime, Dust, After The Fire

Other Notable Releases from September:

Bahamas / Bootcut
Bibio / Sunbursting EP 
DROELOE / The Art of Change 
James Blake / Playing Robots Into Heaven
Jorja Smith / Flying or Falling
Mitski / This Land In Inhospitable and So Are We
Nation of Language / Strange Disciple 
The National / Laugh Tracks
Oh He Dead / Pretty 
Pretenders / Relentless
Slowdive / Everything Is Alive
Vagabon / Sorry I Haven’t Called 
Various Artists / A Song For Leon
Willie Nelson / Bluegrass