September gurls may have it bad, but the rest of us have nothing to worry about in the ninth month of 2010, musically speaking. Check out the albums below as proof that this month of song is going to be a great one. Also, don’t forget that September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. That fact doesn’t really have anything to do with the music below; I just thought you’d appreciate the reminder.
The Thermals – Personal Life [Kill Rock Stars, Sept. 7]
Paste review (8.8/10) excerpt: “The Portland trio is grappling with heady and life-altering stuff here—namely, falling in love. It’s a sea change, in terms of the band’s sound; their previous albums’ hyper-political, sturm und drang punk fury is almost entirely gone, replaced by easygoing power-pop more akin to fellow Pacific Northwesterners Built to Spill.”Michael Saba
Robert Plant – Band of Joy [Rounder, Sept. 14]
For his latest solo record, the Former Singer of Led Zeppelin asked Americana fixture Buddy Miller to recruit a literal band of joy for roots-music fans consisting of Darrell Scott and Patty Griffin. The follow-up to his platinum collaboration with Alison Krauss finds Plant & Co interpreting the songs of Los Lobos, Richard Thompson, Townes Van Zandt, Low and more.
The Vaselines – Sex With an X [Sub Pop, Sept. 14]
Quick: How many bands can you think of that put out an awesome album, waited 20 years and put out another awesome album. That’s right, just one.
Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues [Bloodshot, Sept. 14[
Paste review (8.9/10) excerpt: “One can imagine a slightly-more-distant future—say, 10-12 years from now, and, at his current rate, 10-12 more releases—where it’s the younger Earle getting name-checked in stories about the day’s new talent, his three names cozied up against those of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, George Jones and the other all-time greats.” Austin L. Ray
Mavis Staples – You Are Not Alone [Anti-, Sept. 14]
Paste review (9.1/10) excerpt: “Though now on the far side of 70, Mavis Staples remains one of American music’s national treasures, with a smoldering voice that’s as compelling today as it was 40 years ago. This time around, Jeff Tweedy is the lucky guy at the helm, and he’s done Staples justice, giving the album throwback flourishes and a modern aesthetic.Whatever your beliefs, it’ll lift your soul.” Jon Young
Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky [Young God, Sept. 21]
As founder of Young God Records, Michael Gira has introduced the world to acts like Akron/Family and Devendra Banhart. As frontman of noisy post-punk band Swans, Gira is alternately a malevolent singer and maker of beautiful sound. For the band’s first album in close to 15 years, he plays a little bit of both those roles. The result is a pummeling record that Liars no doubt wish they had made.
The Roots/John Legend – Wake Up! [Sony Music, Sept. 21]
Paste review (8.0/10) excerpt: “At this point, it’s no trouble for the Roots—with Legend or anyone—to train their never-sharper skills on the dark side of the street at night, and on the sun-kissed side in the morning.” Jeff Vrabel
Laetitia Sadier – The Trip [Drag City, Sept. 21]
Paste review (8.0/10) excerpt: “With her distinctly ethereal voice, it’s hard to imagine Laetitia Sadier operating outside the dreamy electro-pop of her longtime band Stereolab or her side-project Monade. What sets her solo debut apart from her past work is its emotional frankness. A good dose of electro bossa nova balance out this stunningly candid first offering.” Gwendolyn Elliott
Hank Williams – The Hank Williams Complete Mother’s Best Recordings…Plus! [Time Life, Sept. 28]
Paste review (9.1/10) excerpt: “These raw and gritty recordings do their subject true justice by not only elevating Williams’ legacy, but offering a glimpse of a man so stricken by a grueling tour schedule and wracked by congenital spinal problems that he recorded most of this material sitting down. In offering this fly-on-the-wall perspective, Mother’s Best humanizes a mythological figure in the country music tradition.”Michael Saba
No Age – Everything in Between [Sub Pop, Sept. 28]
Paste review (8.2/10) excerpt: “Everything in Between is not as initially enrapturing as its predecessor, but while the hooks aren’t as sharp, the sonic collage is as rich and satisfying as ever. Like their music, No Age piles on meaning in incongruous layers.” Mario Aguilar