The last day of September and what a month it’s been – Aphex Twin and Death From Above 1979 both making triumphant comebacks, Zeus and Perfume Genius came out with what have become a majorly under-appreciated records, and alt-J was critically panned for what was a pretty solid record – ultimately this is par for the course for the first of the last 4 months of the year. Here’s to a even better October!
Prince | Art Official Age
I’m hesitant to say that Prince is back as his official record count reaches into the 30’s. Naturally, Prince aficionados and pedants out there will argue this point, however it has been about 4 years since the 54 year old’s last ‘official’ release. The difference here is not only has he again dropped another incredible P-funk/Pop album that would be the magnus opus of the career of anybody else, but he’s released TWO of them – for our purposes we’ll be focusing on Art Official Age. Honestly, I don’t know what else I expected from this record, it’s sexy, funky, relentless, a throwback and a modern record all in one. Sometimes mid-90’s R&B and modern electro-soul find an absolutely perfect blend. ‘Breakfast Can Wait’ the lead single off this album, is the best representation of what this record is.
Gerard Way | Hesitant Alien
It’s a huge risk to disband a popular and very much established band and go out on your own – colloquially, the idea of “going solo” is pretty tough to actually put into practice and rarely does it ever work out for the best. There have been a few recent cases of note where the artist that breaks away from their group have been received well critically (Thom Yorke, Damon Albarn) however, to creatively separate themselves from their former groups (Radiohead and Gorillaz/Blur, respectively) proved to be a tougher task. This pattern repeats itself with Gerard Way (formerly of My Chemical Romance) and his solo debut Hesitant Alien. I want to say that “he has found his own voice away from the distractions of the group” and possibly “grown more as an artist and musician”, adding that “he has become more than the sum of all the parts of My Chemical Romance”, but I’d be lying to you. One of two things are obvious here, either 1) he was the main creative voice behind the band and carrying the rest of the members along was just too much of a burden to continue, or 2) he’s become so enveloped in that particular sound that even when he attempts to break away from it he becomes exactly what he left behind. Hardcore My Chemical Romance fans will love this album, anybody who really didn’t like his former band in the first place will not.
Jamie T | Carry on the Grudge
Ah..teenaged angst… in my day is was Cat Power, Belle and Sebastian, Khonnor, and Beck among others. These days the headphones of the disenfranchised high school art student is more likely to be crooning the sounds of 2007 Mercury Prize Nominee Jamie T. After stepping aside following his 2009 release Kings And Queens the Wimbledon native has put all rumors of an early retirement to rest with this, his most recent release, Carry on the Grudge. Not the same man that he was in 2007 when he hit the scene, this record is much more mature while still (sort of) hanging on to the sound that made him famous in the first place. It’s a solid record – but I bet kids in high-school will still be having their first cigarette to his first, and much cooler record for much longer.