Music Of The Month: The Best Albums And Tracks Of September 2022

Here are eight essential albums and ten unmissable tracks released in September 2022, compiled for your listening pleasure by tQ's house staff

My September began at End Of The Road Festival’s wonderful sixteenth edition (my first), and has ended in self-imposed isolation due to having finally caught the coronavirus after two and half years on the run. In between, a member of an experimental band based out of a church dedicated to clowns informed me halfway through our drunken interview that The Queen had died, and then played me their deranged new single. When I left the interview, a woman was in tears in the middle of the street.

I am not a royalist, so seeing the mass outpourings of grief has made me feel a bit like an alien observing a strange planet to which he does not belong. But even had there been no state funeral, no five mile queue severing my home city, no hastily printed out portrait of the dead queen sellotaped to the scaffolding of the building site around the corner, it would have been a weird, unsettled month nonetheless. As a borderline discalculic I have never quite understood economics, for instance, but even I can tell how catastrophically fucked we are on that front.

In short, everything feels untethered at the moment. Perhaps that’s why the only music I’ve been able to hold onto this month has been repetitious – The Bug’s new record in which he explores the same beat 17 times (more on that below), for example, or an obsession with singles to be blasted on repeat over and over again (perhaps its no coincidence that this month’s round-up is by far the most singles-heavy I can remember). I once read that anxious people are more inclined to consume the same media over and over again because it gives them a sense of stability and structure. I used to think that fact was apocryphal TikTok psychology, but this September I’ve been thinking again.

Perhaps you’ve been listening to music in the same way in these untethered times. Perhaps not. Either way, we hope that in the array of brilliant records that we’ve compiled for your listening pleasure below, you find something that helps ease the weirdness.

All the below, as well as all the other excellent music we’ve covered at tQ this month will also be compiled into an hours-long playlist exclusive to our subscribers. In addition, subscribers can enjoy exclusive music from some of the world’s most forward-thinking artists, regular deep-dive essays, a monthly podcast, specially-curated ‘Organic Intelligence’ guides to under the radar international sub-genres and more.

To sign up for all those benefits, and to help us keep bringing you the kind of music you’re about to read about below, you can click here. And read on for the best of the best from September 2022.
Patrick Clarke


The Bug – Absent Riddim

At this point, there is no doubting that a new album from The Bug will be killer. His last record Fire was our album of the year last year (as was London Zoo in 2008) for starters. Absent Riddim, however, is a risky move. Partly a tribute to the Jamaican dancehall riddims that inspired him as a young man, the album is essentially the same beat performed seventeen times in a row, each with a different MC or vocalist. That beat itself is built like a black hole. It is vintage Kevin Martin heaviosity, an invincible noise that flows like lava spilling slowly down a volcano, disintegrating everything in sight.

The concept behind the record might be a straighforward one, but the execution is anything but lazy; close listening reveals the ways in which Martin has subtly tweaked the beat each time to maximise the individual potential of each performer he’s working with. The record’s opener ‘Satan’ for instance, sees dub poet Nazamba unfurling a gruff, slow and low vocal, so the beat plunges deep down with him. When ‘Shamed’ follows with Justin K Broadrick in full screaming grindcore mode, the beat frays and frazzles at the edges. From Moor Mother’s spiky charisma to a whacked-out psychedelic turn from the late, great Jaimie Branch, the record is a staggering flex of Martin’s beatmaking muscles. It might be one of The Bug’s simplest releases to date, but it is also among his most intricate.
Patrick Clarke

Sarah Davachi – Two Sisters
(Late Music)

Sarah Davachi’s new album is ninety minutes of serene chamber drone bookended by the pitched percussive tolling of the University of Michigan’s fifty-three bell carillon, the third heaviest in the world. Through grainy, muscular and textured pieces, cleaved from violin, viola, cello, and an array of organs, brass, and flutes, she burrows into mournful sounds that are held for so long that they move right through you, sinking into your body by way of flapping eardrums and emanating out through your cells, capillaries, and veins. It’s a molecular transformation. One that could deftly change the feeling of a room via a single resonating note.
Jon Buckland – read the full review here

Coby Sey – Conduit
(AD 93)

Coby Sey’s debut album, Conduit, begins with the Lewisham musician and master improviser’s isolated, echoing words before a swirling pit of distortion gradually envelops. Throughout the record, the atmosphere is built up around contrasts and dichotomies: dizzying loops and glitching sounds coupled with eerie, spaced-out electronics; soul and jazz melded with grime and techno; bold and abrasive verses peppered with hopefulness and truth. The opposites – of light and dark, rousing and reflective, intimate and all-encompassing – are what allow this record to soar, simultaneously taking you along for the ride.
Arusa Qureshi – read the full review here

Alvin Curran – Drumming Up Trouble
(Black Truffle)

Alvin Curran is known for many things, but block rockin’ beats generally isn’t one of them. In his roughly six decades in creative music, he has been party to a wealth of heady improv, exploratory synth work, dense collage, and more besides, but Bohannon he ain’t. Drumming Up Trouble won’t help Curran find purchase in any corner of the dance music world. But as the title implies, it is his first album-length foray into the drum (both acoustic and machine-oriented) as primary vector. It’s a wild ride, sometimes chaotic to the point of being comical, sometimes patient, and still other times veering somewhat close to a mutant form of body music.
Dustin Krcatovich – read the full review here

Oren Ambarchi – Shebang
(Drag City)

Alongside Oren Ambarchi on new album Shebang is a characteristically star-studded ensemble of collaborators: Chris Abrahams on piano, Johan Berthling on bass, BJ Cole on pedal steel, Sam Dunscombe on bass clarinet, Jim O’Rourke on synthesisers, Julia Reidy on twelve-string guitar and Joe Talia on drums. Each of their lines seamlessly weave together, foregrounding an ever-present, ever-changing groove that often feels quiet yet beaming. It’s similar to Ambarchi’s previous 2022 album, Ghosted, which also played with repeating melodies but embraced the spontaneity of live performance, and draws from styles established on his previous albums Quixotism and Hubris, piecing parts together like a puzzle and watching the gradual transformation of sound over time. But like much of Ambarchi’s shapeshifting work, there’s not much to pin it down – instead, it’s a quest that uncovers treasures along the way.
Vanessa Ague – read the full review here

Suede – Autofiction

If Suede’s last album, The Blue Hour was the final part of a trilogy where Suede defined ‘Suedeworld’, then this new record, Autofiction, sees them standing firmly in it, facing defiantly outwards. The album has everything you expect from Suede: Brett Anderson’s astonishing voice, those pulsing baselines, the violins, the rangy impossible guitars, and the powerful drums. But it’s also a more mainstream record than they have made in years. Without losing what is wonderfully difficult about their music, they are bringing us what they are best at and offering something for people new to the band.
Amah-Rose Abrams – read the full review here


Concentration – Aren’t You Gonna Introduce Me To Your Friend?
(Avon Terror Corps)

Concentration’s last record, I’m Not What I Was, owed a lot to the shouty Aussie vocals and hysterical lyrics of the trio’s Zacariah Kupferminc. Overall, his presence on their latest album is more backgrounded than on previous Concentration releases, but ‘Diet Of Worms’, which closes the album, is his time to shine, like the proverbial black hole sun. The person we encountered previously, a provocateur at war with his own Jewishness, has been refined on Aren’t You…, into a guy some call ‘the biggest arsehole you ever met’. It is a performance, of a character – probably best to have that clarity – but the performer succeeds in possessing the character, like Jerry Sadowitz, or Slim Shady-era Eminem.
Noel Gardner – read the full review here

Jockstrap – I Love You Jennifer B
(Rough Trade)

The enigmatic quality of Jockstrap’s music doesn’t prevent it from being a suitable soundtrack to life within a particular place. Heterogenous as it is, the architecture of London is often brought to mind. ‘Concrete Over Water’ conjures up the gloomy grace of the Barbican estate; both Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye had studied at Guildhall not long before the track was produced. With the lyrics addressing particular places such as Italy and Spain, there is seemingly one particular and non-existent place, a memory in the head of the lyrical hero. The song starts with calliope-like keyboards and Ellery’s vocals, giving a sort of a recollection of events that might be either pre-pandemic, pre-Brexit or pre-whatever: "I live in the city / The tower’s blue and the sky is black / I feel the night / I sit, it’s on my back / On my back / It makes me cry / This European air, I swear it does."
Irina Shtreis – read the full review here


Kelela – ‘Washed Away’

Kelela might have promised that "the bangers are on the way" when she unleashed her first solo single in five years earlier this month, but the alternative isn’t too shabby either. Centred around elegant pads that allow the US artist’s breathtaking vocal to take centre stage, the ambient ‘Washed Away’ underlines just why so many people have been desperately awaiting Kelela’s return in recent years.
Christian Eede

Shit & Shine – ‘Annoyed’

When Craig Clouse’s Shit & Shine are on form like this, there is no other music on earth that has the same effect. This fucked-up stretched-out banger is first taste of a career-high new LP whose press materials promise "Tropicalia melting in the sun," "J Dilla trapped in a K-hole with Butthole Surfers," and "Ming The Merciless screaming with rage at his internet service provider."
Patrick Clarke

ALMA – ‘Summer Really Hurt Us’

ALMA’s latest single is a near perfect melancholy pop banger, as if Avril Lavigne joined OMD immediately after the death of a much-loved pet.
Robert Barry

Rhyw – ‘Honey Badger’

The latest release on Blawan and Pariah’s ever-reliable Voam label, from Rhyw, is a monstrous techno thumper. Built around mutated, metallic drums and head-spinning snare fills, it’s been doing the damage on dancefloors throughout the summer months.
Christian Eede

Heartworms – ‘Consistent Dedication’

Yet another astonishing new talent to come through the Speedy Wunderground stable, Heartworms’ debut single for the label is a magnetic and tightly coiled cut delivered with rare charisma.
Patrick Clarke

Shanti Celeste – ‘Cutie

Shanti Celeste’s debut on Hessle Audio is a charming slice of characteristically bouncy, speedy house that is sure to put a smile on your face.
Christian Eede

Björk – ‘Atopos’

When Björk promised a gabba influence on her fungus-inspired new album, Fossora, it was never going to be straightforward. Rather than put a donk on it and leave it at that, on first single ‘Atopos’, she instead plays the beats off against organic oboe texture. The result is one of the finest singles of her career.
Patrick Clarke

LUCI – ‘Gnarly’

John Coltrane’s great-granddaughter chucks the sound of ’90s trip hop through a thunderous distortion pedals with results that are, quite frankly, pretty damn gnarly.
Robert Barry

Persher – ‘Man With The Magic Soap’

Not content with putting on one of the best techno live shows you could hope to see at the moment – and releasing some killer music to boot – under their Karenn alias, Blawan and Pariah have now started a new project devoted to their shared love of metal, punk, hardcore and other "heavy sounds." Introducing the world to their debut album as Persher, the record’s title track bridges the gap between some of the gnarlier electronic elements of recent Karenn material and the "heavy" sonics that they first bonded over when they met in 2009. Oh, and it includes some pretty monstrous vocals from Blawan too.
Christian Eede

Miss Grit – ‘Like You’

Celebrating their signing to Mute, the latest single from New York-based Miss Grit is a slow-burning banger, a whirring ice-cold beat through which they explore the endless wrestling with one’s inner voices.
Patrick Clarke

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today