September: 18 albums you need to hear this month - Albums - Mixmag

September: 18 albums you need to hear this month

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  • Mixmag Crew
  • 1 September 2017

Album of the month

LCD Soundsystem 'American Dream' (dfa/columbia)

When James Murphy did a Phil Collins and abruptly returned from self-inflicted semi-retirement, naysayers were quick to suggest that LCD did the one thing they swore they’d never ever do: get the band back together. Murphy then wrote a long and anguished Facebook post detailing his angst over the decision; he was well aware of what the ramifications were. But then they performed at Lovebox and Glastonbury and released a two-part return salvo, ‘Call The Police’ and ‘American Dream’ (both brilliant and both included here), which channelled Kraftwerk, U2 and Talking Heads (naturally) and somehow sounded more relevant than ever. So the signs were good. But how does the album measure up to ‘Sound Of Silver’, the record some (us included) might say is their defining moment? Well, the good news is ‘American Dream’ rocks, rolls, pops, fizzes and snaps. The energy is still there, no two songs sound the same and the ambition is somehow even more future-retro than before. On ‘How Do You Sleep’, James could be in a Simple Minds video in 1984 with The Cure’s Robert Smith on vocals (“I can’t hear you any more,” he wails). But then comes ‘Tonite’ which, if it was 2003, would be the first single: it’s all bleep and rhythm and killer lines such as “rattling off limited-edition truths” and “luck is always better than skill it seems, good gracious I sound like my Mom.” It really is one of the best things they’ve ever done. ‘Emotional Haircut’ updates ‘Drunk Girls’ nicely for summer ‘17., while the closing ‘Black Screen’ is slow, mournful and enigmatic. All that’s lacking is a cover of Jackson 5’s ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’. Great to have them back. Ralph Moore


Mount Kimbie 'Love What Survives' (Warp)

Mount Kimbie are at their best when they evoke pleasurable melancholy, as they did with ‘Carbonated’ on their first LP and ‘Made To Stray’ from their second. In essence, they conjure the same feeling of comfort as pulling on a warm jumper after a cold swim. They do it again with ‘Marilyn’, a Micachu collab from ‘Love What Survives’: just one line (“We could drive into the sea, I saw you looking up at me”) and soft pianet is enough to confirm they’ve not lost their gift. Here, they sound comfortable as a band rather than an electronic duo who use guitars, with off-kilter songs that nod towards Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine and are full of fizzing synths and weeping accordions confirming their status as one of alternative pop’s finest acts. S Wheeler


Tony Humphries 'Running Back Mastermix' (Running Back)

“It’s truly an honour to partake in this special anniversary,” says Tony Humphries, the former resident at The Zanzibar and one of the greatest DJs in the history of house. “Gerd Janson’s extraordinary palette of releases are unique.” It’s fantastic to see Humphries giving props to the German DJ on this celebratory comp – mainly because at the back of his head, Gerd is surely mouthing the words: ‘No, thank you’. Opening with arguably the greatest Running Back release to date (‘Ragysh’, by Todd Terje), the energy doesn’t dip once, with key catalogue jams from Roy Comanchero, disco citizens Tiger & Woods and Leon Vynehall all present and correct. An absolute blast from start to finish. Ralph Moore


Various 'Total 17' (Kompakt)

The 17th iteration of Kompakt’s ‘Total’ series is typically solid and filled with regulars from the legendary Cologne label’s roster, like co-founder Michael Mayer and Superpitcher. Recent highlights include Sasha’s return to big-room, breakbeat house glory on ‘Out Of Time’ and the frantic machine-gun chatter of Patrice Bäumel’s ‘Sorcery’. A clutch of new offerings is headed up by Tobias Thomas & Michael Mayer’s ‘25’, with chiming handbells and wood blocks adding a quirky touch to its squelchy bass, and some dreamy neo-disco on Jürgen Paape’s ‘Always Disko’. The ‘Total’ franchise remains as reliable as a Swiss watch but, thankfully, somewhat more exciting. Stephen Worthy


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