New Music Sunday

The Best Songs Released in September 2023

Happy Libra season and the official start of Q4!!! Anyone else terrified we’re in the last three months of the year?

September album releases:
Diving Lessons, Addison Grace
Halo, Bakar
Blame My Ex, The Beaches
Ultrapure, Briston Maroney
Little Demon Boy, Boyish
The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, Chappell Roan
I Don’t Want You Anymore, Cherry Glazerr
Gold, Cleo Sol
Black Rainbows, Corinne Bailey Rae
I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet, Del Water Gap
Scarlet, Doja Cat
Suburban Legend, DURRY
The Lost Petals, d4vd
Wisecrack, Hailey Blais
GOING…GOING…GONE!, Hemlocke Springs
A Grey Area, JP Saxe
MONO, K.Flay
Problématique, Kim Petras
Playing Robots Into Heaven, James Blake
falling or flying, Jorja Smith
A Grey Area, JP Saxe
Bewitched, Laufey
Silence Between Songs, Madison Beer
The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We, Mitski
Daydreamer, Molly Burch
Laugh Track, The National
If This Is The End, Noah Gundersen
Alone in A Crowd, Oliver Tree
Guts, Olivia Rodrigo
USA, Petey
Rick, Ricky Montgomery
Mid Air, Romy
Embrace, Roosevelt
High Concept, salem ilese
Cheap Grills, Sincere Engineer
Angel Face, Stephen Sanchez
Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling, Slaughter Beach, Dog
Yard, Slow Pulp
Sorry I Haven’t Called, Vagabon
Toward a Never Ending New Beginning, Yoke Lore
Boys Of Faith, Zach Bryan

In chronological order:

Easy Violence” – Sun June
Release Date – September 6

“Had the bad dream of the jaguar, come to kill me, yeah it’s been a while,” is such a surreal opening line but it’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from the Austin based band, Sun June. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a few years, anxiously awaiting the follow-up to their 2021 album, Somewhere, which is a rare indie folk album that’s skipless.

There is a sonically distinct current in their music that has made its way into the new singles, while they still show signs of growth between projects. The folky riff that picks up after the first chorus brings a balanced lift to the mellow track.

Lyrically, “Easy Violence” sounds like a stream of consciousness voice memo taken in a daze immediately after waking up. It’s an attempt to remember this strange nightmare and make sense of the bad things happening so casually in the subconscious. It’s a relatively short song, coming in at 2:21, it’s not strained to be something more than it needs to be. The allegory of the bad dream explored in this song seems to be threaded throughout the album, which is aptly titled Bad Dream Jaguar and is due out October 20. I’m looking forward to digging deeper into this wild dream. – Meleah

I Think I Lost Your Number Can I Have Yours” – milk.
Release Date – September 7

For The 1975 fans like myself, Dublin-based quartet milk. is a love it or hate it kind of case. They’re severely influenced by Matty Healy’s band, a lot of people consider them some sort of tribute band—but with each release they seem to be becoming their own amazing thing. Although this track still sounds like it could belong in Notes On A Conditional Form or even Being Funny in a Foreign Language, Mark McKenna’s silky voice makes a difference and makes the genre-bending sound his own.

The lyrics also just make sense for where the band is at in their career: they’re in the middle of a reinvention, trying to find their sound and make a name for themselves. The entire song gives out a feeling of existential crisis with phrases like “Can someone with an opinion give it to me?” and ““Well I’m too scared of changing, so I’m thinking about rearranging,” but in an extremely calm manner, almost like they’re accepting that that’s just how things go. milk.’s entire discography scratches my brain in all the right places, it makes me wish they had more songs, and with a recent tour announcement and this amazing new single, I’m assuming there’s a lot more to come and I cannot wait. – Javi

“Kismet” – The Beaches
Release Date – September 15

The Beaches have quickly become one of my favorite groups to land on the indie pop scene this year, and I don’t think I’m alone in that statement, considering they’re about to embark on a slew of sold-out headlining performances this year and into next (they sold out two shows at LA’s legendary Troubadour in just a few minutes). I had the privilege of seeing the Canadian rockers at Lollapalooza this year, and I had a blast. Their debut album Blame My Ex is likely to land somewhere in the top of my albums list this year, and “Kismet” is probably my favorite off the project. 

There’s something so freeing about meeting someone out in the wild, as I like to call it, and connecting with them as though it was meant to be, “no Bumble, just organically.” In a world where we’re continually more and more enthralled with our internet personas, feeling pressure to match with your future partner with every “right” swipe on a dating app, “Kismet” explores the simple pleasures of meeting someone you could fall in love with on the street. – Kristin

“Body” – Haley Blais
Release Date – September 15

Haley Blais put out her album, Wisecrack, this past September, and it has gone criminally under the radar. I’m highlighting “Body” but I could easily pick a number of other tracks on this release. The project deserves a listen top to bottom, because there’s something in it for you, I promise. It’s full of confessions and self-effacing qualms that at times sound like folk tales, exploring modern crises of morality and nihilism. 

I’m continuing to be struck by a new feeling upon each listen of “Body;” Blais has that quality as a songwriter. The song carries a wry sense of self-acceptance; Blais confesses, “I am the hardest person I can care for.” Coming in at 5:18, it’s the longest track on the album. Blais takes her time building a soundscape. It opens with a tender, plucky guitar and by the end, we’re immersed in an expansive, distorted electric guitar solo, before Blais makes one last attempt to be heard, yelling “Don’t ask me any questions.” The song is an impressive journey through stages of shame and acceptance in the face of a budding relationship. – Meleah

“My Love is Mine All Mine” – Mitski
Release Date – September 15

When I had the privilege of early access to Mitski’s album, The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We, a week before its official drop, I found myself instantly enamored with “My Love is Mine All Mine.” In my review, I dubbed it my new favorite love song. I’d like to think I knew it would blow up, seeing that as of right now, there are 70.3k TikTok videos syncing up with its rhythm and over 14.5 million Spotify streams of the song.

What really makes this song stand out is how it marries that familiar cabaret ballad vibe with straightforward lyrics that hit you right in the feels. Plus, any song that brings in the moon as a motif instantly earns some classic points in my book. The chorus is incredibly catchy, adorned with straightforward yet universally relatable lyrics: “‘Cause my love is mine, all mine/I love, my, my, mine/Nothing in the world belongs to me/But my love, mine, all mine, all mine.”

The concept of love is as diverse as the human experience, and this song does a masterful job of capturing its essence. Mitski herself, in a candid Instagram video, expressed how loving ranks as “the best thing she ever did” and voiced her desire to leave a legacy of love behind. I firmly believe that “My Love is Mine All Mine” possesses a timeless quality; and Clairo’s beautiful rendition is a testament to its enduring impact.

Moreover, this track serves as the thematic linchpin of the entire album. With a runtime just shy of two and a half minutes, it leaves listeners with a celestial, lasting sense of romance.  – Jesse 

Exploding” – Angie McMahon
Release Date – September 21

I find it hard to come across as sincere when I say that I’ll spend my life chasing the feeling I felt seeing Angie McMahon live. I was lucky enough to attend the Australian artist’s sold out Sultan Room show, and I was fully prepared to be moved. I wasn’t, however, expecting to come away with a reimagined idea of what it means for music to be a tool for healing. 

McMahon has such a familiar and omnipotent presence in a room and in her music. She’s gifted with the ability to guide listeners through feelings that are otherwise entirely too massive to translate into music. During the performance, she shared songs from her upcoming record, Light, Dark, Light Again, and one of the standouts was the exhilarating “Exploding,” in which McMahon builds her power to a height that has gone previously unexplored.

In her introduction to the song she opened up about being around a lot of volatility growing up, and feeling like she had to hold in her more intense feelings. As she’s come into herself, she has learned that her expressions and feelings are cosmic in nature and she has a power that cannot be tightly wound inside her anymore. With a lung-filling bass line and electrifying guitar riff, McMahon bellows, “I am wild, I am hoping I am wide awake now I’ve been shaken open.” There’s a kick drum beat throughout the song that acts as a quickened heartbeat, which continues after the song fades out. 

McMahon has a talent for finding the most evocative and sonically cathartic means of expressing powerful and deeply human feelings. I can’t wait for this album. Light, Dark, Light Again is due out October 27. – Meleah

“Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl” – Chappell Roan
Release Date – September 22

I think it’s safe to say that Chappell Roan’s debut album has been the one I have been most anticipated to hear this year, and she absolutely did not disappoint. Despite the majority of the project having been released already as singles, Roan certainly saved some of the best for last, including my pick for the song of the album, “Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl.” She teased the track on TikTok, so I was amped to hear it, but I couldn’t have imagined the song to be as fantastic as it truly is.

This song is so unbelievably fun, sexy, catchy, AND radio friendly: an ode to queer love, self-love, and the confidence to raise your standards to what you truly deserve. Co-written by Nigro, Roan, Annika Bennett (who has worked with artists like Allison Ponthier and Katelyn Tarver) and Jonah Shy (Shawn Mendes, Dermot Kennedy, Fletcher), “Super Graphic…” laments Chappell Roan as a pop artist ready to take over the airwaves in 2024: featuring elements of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Charli XCX. – Kristin

“Blonde” – Lxandra
Release date – September 22

Lately I’ve been looking to fill a void of European pop stars. It often feels like there are artists overseas that never break into the American mainstream, despite their talent and appeal. I’m hoping Lxandra’s fate is different. “Blonde,” Lxandra’s lead single off their Might Not Wanna Wake Up EP due out November 17, is a pop ballad filled with melodramatic lyrics and haunting strings.

The Finnish artist sings of a love that’s no longer recognizable. There’s a rawness in their voice, accentuating the pains and pleasures of love. They’re coming to terms with the ending of a relationship, while allowing room for humanity and understanding. The bridge is a vulnerable display of reflection; they sing “I saw sun and rainbows, I saw you framed in gold,” before layering in personal voice memos behind ethereal vocals.

If Sigrid’s “Strangers” or LÉON’s “Hope Is A Heartache” ever meant anything to you, this song might just be your new obsession. – Meleah

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