September heralds the end of summer, whether you’re going back to school or getting back into a routine at work after a summer filled with holidays, festivals and general merriment. While you reminisce of sunnier days gone by, fear not, there’s plenty of great new music to get you through these Autumn blues, such as Disclosure’s ‘Jaded‘ and KDA’s infectious single ‘Rumble‘ with Katy B and Tinie Tempah jumping on the vocals. But first up, let’s have a look at all that’s been happening in the music world this September!
BBC Radio 1 kicked off September in style with Live Lounge Month! Yes, a whole month dedicated to 30 live performances from the likes of Hozier, James Bay, Muse, Slaves, Florence + The Machine, Disclosure & Sam Smith, and 24 other incredible acts; something for everyone. As with tradition, the acts perform a cover song of their choice. Highlights include Demi Lovato’s version of Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’, James Bay covering Flo’s ‘Shake It Out’, Rhode’s stunning take of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Love Me Like You Do’, Disclosure & Sam Smith’s incredible version of Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’, Jack Garratt’s mellow cover of Disclosure & Sam Smith’s ‘Latch’, Florence & The Machine’s exceptional take of Jack U & Bieber’s ‘Where Are You Now’… I could go on. Best to check out all the highlights here and decide your favourite. The iTunes Festival, usually runs in conjunction with this, with 30 live performances at London’s Round House. However this year, the newly named ‘Apple Music Festival’ performed just 10 dates, with performances from One Direction, The Chemical Brothers, Disclosure and The Weeknd… I feel a bit cheated this year! Come one Apple, you launch a brand new music streaming platform, yet cut down the amount of performances? Radio 1Xtra announced Flo Rida and Lethal Bizzle as the first acts joining them at 1Xtra live in Leeds next month, while fellow Radio 1/1Xtra Dj Toddla T, announced details of his Winter Carnival featuring Jus Now, The Heatwave, Wookie and more. Watch out for the Soca Police!!
There were some pretty big album and EP releases this month, including Disclosure’s highly anticipated ‘Caracal’, Ryan Adam’s complete cover album of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’, Eric Prydz’s Pryda 10, Vol III series, and Drake x Future’s surprise album ‘What A Time To Be Alive’. Queen of Dance, Annie Mac, unveiled details of her latest AMP compilation album; a two track CD with the very best of #Raving and #Behaving hits, while Ricky Gervais’ David Brent, is set to release an album for this upcoming film ‘Life On The Road’. And last but not least, (get ready for this one) Bieber and Taylor better watch out, cause Pope Francis has released his new single ‘Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward’ available now via iTunes, with a full album to follow November 27th. Christmas no 1 contender perhaps? With the latest Bond film ‘Spectre’ set for release Oct 26th, Sam Smith finally unveiled his Bond theme ‘Writing’s On The Wall’, co-written by Smith and Jimmy Napes. While the single divided opinions online, ‘Writings On The Wall’ went on to claim no 1 in the charts, and to this day, is the only bond theme to do so! Nope, not even Adele or Shirley Bassey have achieved this. Queen B unveiled her first new material in almost a year, jumping on Naughty Boy’s new single ‘Runnin’ (Lose It All) along with Arrow Benjamin. Other collaborations happening this month include Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott with their new single ‘Burn It Up’ from Jackson’s forthcoming album ‘Unbreakable’.
I always have a few stats for you each month, and this month is no different. ‘Uptown Funk’ has been named as the 5th biggest single in UK history, with Elton John’s ‘Candle In The Wind’, Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Pharrell’s Happy, completing the top 5. Any guesses for who topped the most first-week streams on Spotify? Begrudgingly, it’s Justin Bieber, with ‘What Do You Mean’. 21 Million streams in 5 days ain’t too shabby! Bieber also managed to score his first number 1 single in the UK. Elsewhere in the charts, Stereophonics claimed their sixth number one album ‘Keep the Village Alive’ , while Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour secured his second-ever solo chart-topper, with ‘Rattle That Lock’.
There’s always space for more festivals and that’s exactly what Reading and Leeds Festival organisers have done. Their new festival ‘Community’ will take place in Shoreditch and Hoxton this November (3-5), showcasing emerging talent across 11 East London Venues. Acts include The Japanese House, Petite Meller and Blonde. Red Bull presented Future Underground this month, with headline performances from Hudson Mohawke, Charlie XCX and Skepta. With the headline acts only announced 24 hours in advance, the underground event was supposed coincide with the launch of TFL’s 24 hour tubes (Damn you strikes!) Thankfully Future Underground went ahead, featuring guest performances from Action Bronson, Lionbabe, Giggs and more. The event raised money for charity ‘Wings For Life’ and took place in the incredible underground venue at Collins Music Hall in North London. Check out my Instagram for some highlights of the night. The United Nations launched an exciting Campaign this month called ‘Global Goals’. World Leaders have committed to 17 Global Goals, with the aim of ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and fixing climate change by 2030. To launch the Global Goals Campaign, The Global Citizens Festival took place in Central Park, NY, with headline performances from Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Coldplay and Pearl Jam. Check out some of the highlights, include Ed joining beyonce for an acoustic version of ‘Drunk in Love’, while Coldplay collaborated with Ed on ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and ‘Yellow’. The EMA nominations were unveiled and unsurprisingly, Swifty leads the pack with 9 nominations. Ed Sheeran is set to take on hosting duties with Orange Is The New Black’s Ruby Rose at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan on October 25th. Get voting here! Here in the UK, the MOBO awards nominations were announced with top nominations for FKA Twigs, The Weeknd and Mark Ronson, while Lethal Bizzle and Skepta are up for Best Grime Act. The 20th MOBO Awards ceremony is set to take place in The First Direct Arena in Leeds. (Nov 4) Cast your votes here.
In music streaming news, Jay Z’s Tidal has hit 1 million subscribers. To mark the occasion, Jay Z is set to perform at Tidal X in Brooklyn (Oct 20) with Beyonce, Usher and a host of other acts. Google Play Music hit back at Spotify and Apple with their very own family plan set for release later this year. (6 people for $14.99 pm, £TBC) Chromecast unveiled plans to rival Sonos, with Chromecast Audio; turning any speaker into a connected device. Chromecast are working on further app integration including Spotify and iPlayer Radio. At £30, it’s a bit of a steal! Former Radio 1 DJ, Chris Moyles, kicked off his new breakfast show on Radio X (formerly XFM) this month. He joins the new lineup of DJ’s including former Radio 1 DJ Vernon Kay, Dan O’Connell, and Kaiser Chief’s very own Ricky Wilson. Comedy Dave won’t be joining Moyles, but newsreader Dominic Bryne will be part of the Breakfast show. Anyone still missing ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks? Sky 1 has announced details of their very own comedy-music-panel show titled ‘Bring The Noise’, featuring Ricky Wilson, Nicole Scherzinger, Tinie Tempah and comedian Katherine Ryan. Elsewhere on TV, comedy duo Ant & Dec, are set to host the Brit Awards for a second year running. What will PJ & Duncan have in store for us Feb 24, 2016. In more serious news, Dubstep pioneering producer & DJ Benga, took to Twitter to open up about his mental health issues, which resulted in his early retirement from Djing in 2014. He explained how his bipolar was ‘Brought on by drugs’, while his schizophrenia was ’A result of excessive touring’. While Mental Health issues are still met with prejudice, ignorance and fear, it’s great to see Benga being so open about it and raising much needed awareness for others.
Booking crew assembled – check. Laptops ready – check. Multiple tabs and browsers open – check. Refreshing finger primed and ready to click for your life – check. Yes, it can only mean one thing … Glasto!! Legendary Festival ‘Glastonbury’ announced it’s ticket sale for 2016. Tickets go on sale October 1 (Coach package) and October 4 (Standard weekend tickets) and will cost £228 + bf. Don’t forget to check out the usual banter on twitter and watch your timeline fill with mutual hatred for the ticket provider and those lucky ticket holders. Anyone planning a trip to Vegas soon? Then you’re in luck! Lionel Richie has announced plans for a residency at Planet Hollywood in April/May and September/Oct 2016. Be sure to pop in and say ‘Hello’. After the success of his Glastonbury performance, you’ll be ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ ‘All Night Long’… what a ‘Truly’ perfect venue for Lionel.. ok I’ll stop with puns now. I just have such ‘Endless Love’ for him. Muse announced details for their Drones World Tour, which will see the band perform in the round from the centre of the arena. The Maccabees have added further London dates to their tour, which sees them play 3 nights at Brixton Academy. The group are also preparing for their feature-length documentary ‘Elephant Days’, focusing on the writing and recording of their latest album.
With Halloween just around the corner, you can look forward to some Halloween themed events, such as Vevo’s Halloween in Manchester, featuring James Bay, Little Simz, Wolf Alice and Years & Years. Knife Party are set to take to take over Brixton 02 Academy on Oct 31st with Sleepy Tom, Jacob Plant and Shift K3y, only to return Nov 2nd for the Haunted House extravaganza with Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus and Monsta.
Ok, after that rather lengthy roundup, let’s get on with the music. Check out my September Selections below:
1) Flux Pavilion – What You Gonna Do About It’
Pioneering Dubstep producer/DJ Flux Pavilion (AKA Josh Steele), unveiled his debut album ‘Telsa. The 13-track LP is co-written by Isa the Machine (Florence + the Machine) and Arthur Baker, and features collaborations from artists such as Riff Raff, JakkCity, and Soulsonic Force. ‘What You Gonna Do About It’, serves up a nasty, bassy-heavy thumper of a track, with its eerie synth motifs and chiptune style elements. Telsa serves as the follow up to his previous 3 EP’s in 2013, followed by various remixes in 14/15, including Skrillex’s ‘Recess’. The UK producer is kicking off his US tour in NY in October, before heading to the UK for 4 dates. Flux makes a welcome return and progresses his sound with such force and style. Telsa is availble now on iTunes.
2) SG Lewis – Shiver (Honne Remix)
Yes, Honne featured in last month’s favourites too with ‘Loves The Jobs you Hate’, but they seem to be on a roll at the moment, so just go with it and enjoy their impeccable production work. The London based duo (Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatch) unveiled their latest reworking of SG Lewis’ single ‘Shivers’, which sees Honne infuse such ambience and groove into the already mellow track. Keeping JP Cooper’s effortless vocals intertwined throughout, Honne’s production creates an ethereal state of mind with their smooth synths and chilled house vibes; futuristic soul at it’s finest. Their latest EP ‘The Over Lover’ is available now , while upcoming dates include Patterns in Brighton and Deaf Institute in Manchester, with a headline performance at London’s Oval Space.
3) Florence and the Machine – Queen of Peace (Hot Chip Remix)
UK electronic band, Hot Chip, have remixed Florence + The Machine’s ‘Queen Of Peace’, taken from her recent album ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’. Premiering as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record, the reworking gives the single a funky, house-driven electro vibe with striking synths, while still retaining Flo’s commanding vocals. Hot Chip’s remix is available now while upcoming dates for the group include 02 Academy Bristol (Oct 13) and 02 Academy Brixton (Oct 22-23)
4) Icarus – Ride This Train ft Aniff Akinola
Bristol brotherly duo Icarus (Tom and Ian Griffiths), unveiled their latest single ‘Ride This Train, which premiered with Pete Tong on Radio 1. ‘Ride This Train’ serves as the follow up to previous singles ‘Gold’ and ‘Cassia’ and delivers a thoroughly rousing single with infectious horns, driving bass lines and smooth, captivating vocals from Aniff Akinola. ‘Ride This Train’ is available now, via their own Fly Boy label.
4) Alex Metric – Drum Machine ft The New Sins
Alex Metric unveiled his new single ‘Drum Machine’, taken from his forthcoming EP, Ammunition Pt 4. Featuring the vocals of Lou Hayter from The New Sins, ‘Drum Machine’ serves up a wonderfully minimalist approach, filled with infectious vocals and beats, or as Metric refers to it when speaking to Noisey – ‘An experiment in limitations’, considering he only used 1 drum machine throughout. The 4-track Ammunition EP, features collaborations from AMTRAC and The Knocks and is available via iTunes October 9. Metric is currently on tour in the US with Zedd and Dillon Francis.
5) ZHU x AlunaGeorge – Automatic
Producer Stephen Zhu, (AKA ZHU) who brought us that infectious single ‘Faded’ in 2014, has teamed with AlunaGeorge for his new single ‘Automatic’. Automatic delivers a hypnotizing single, with Alunas vocals as enthralling as ever, and slick production throughout from Zhu. Taken from Zhu’s forthcoming and cryptic Genesis Series Project, other artists set to feature include Skrillex, A-Trak, Gallant and more. Upcoming dates for ZHU include Voodoo Music & Arts Experience in New Orleans, while AlunaGeorge are touring North America.
6) Bonzai – KBG (Knicker Bocker Glory)
Introducing 19 year old artist Bonzai, who has released her debut single KBG via Mura Masa’s label Anchor Point. While not much is known about Bonzai, except for the fact she’s half Irish/half American and was raised in Dublin, she certainly makes an impact with the unique sounding KBG; a playful track, with distorted vocals and quirky, edgy production. Upcomings dates for Bonzai included support Mura Massa at Patterns in Brighton (Oct 19) and Village Undergound in London. (Oct 20) ‘KBG‘ is set for release October 2nd via Anchor Point.
7) Frances – Let It Out
Berkshire-born Frances , made a strong impact with her debut single ‘Grow’ back in July. Now, the talented singer/songwriter has unveiled her latest single ‘Let It Out’, serving up a wonderfully personal and fragile song, showcasing Frances’ melodic ability and tender vocals. Having recently appeared in Radio 1’s September Live Lounge Month, the 21 year old shares management with Disclosure and Sam Smith, firmly positioning herself as a rising star with plenty of promise. The ‘Let It Out’ EP is available Oct 16 via iTunes, while upcoming dates for Frances can be found here.
8) Tame Impala – Let It Happen (Soulwax remix)
What.A.Remix!! Yes Belgian groove gurus Soulwax have superbly remixed Tame Impala’s ‘Let It Happen’, propelling it to even greater heights than the already captivating original. The stirring synths add to the rousing atmosphere, while frontman Kevin Parker’s echoed vocals are kept intact above some funky bassline and uptempo grooves throughout. Be prepared to get thoroughly lost in the beauty of this 9-minute track, available now on iTunes. Upcoming dates for Tame Impala, include Manchester Arena (Feb11), while their London date will take place at Alexandra Palace (Feb 12). No dates announced as of yet for Soulwax, but a remix like this one will keep us going for a while!
9) Swindle – Mad Ting ft JME
Major Oof Alert! Yes xx Swindle has collaborated with JME on his latest single ‘Swindle’ and serves up an absolute monster of a track, mixed with a bit of strings, brass, jazz and Grime… what’s not to love? Swindles beats are gritty and infectious, while JME’s flow is as skillful as ever.Swindles use of instrumentation, pitted against some heavy-weight Grime, makes ‘Mad Ting’ an absolute stand out track. Taken from Swindles album ‘Peace, Love and Music’ and released via Butterz, the album also features collaborations from Flowdan, JME and TC. Upcoming dates for Swindle include Band On The Wall in Manchester (Nov 6) and Rich Mix in London (Nov 26), while JME has just announced plans for his headline gig with Skepta in O2 Academy Brixton (Dec 18)
10) The Fog vs Chus & Ceballos – Been A Long Time (Mark Knight Remix)
Mark Knight has reworked ‘The Fog vs Chus & Ceballos ‘Been A Long Time’. While the original vocal from The Fog dropped way back in ‘93, it’s safe to say Knight has breathed new life into the track, infusing a pulsating and infectious bassline, with plenty of groove throughout. The single serves as the follow up to ‘Second Story’; a previous Essential Tune for Pete Tong, and certainly lives up to that caliber as he blazes through with this fist pumping smash. ‘Been A Long Time’ is available now via Stereo Productions.
11) Special Request – Amnesia
Paul Woolford returns under his moniker Special Request, with his new Jungle inspired body of work, titled ‘Modern Warfare’. Single ‘Amnesia’ premiered with Annie Mac as her hottest record and delivers a throwback to dance music, as it dips in and out of ‘ravy’ dance breaks, eerie undertones and mesmerising bass heavy vibes, mixed with some lighter vocal hooks and infectious house piano. Upcoming dates for Special Request include The Warehouse Project in Manchester (Oct 16, Nov 7), Village Underground in London (Nov 6) and In:Motion, Bristol (Dec 4).‘Modern Warfare’ is set for release Oct 30 via XL Recordings in a series of 3 EP’s.
12) Jimmy Edgar – Let Me Tell You
Berlin-based Detroit producer Jimmy Edgar, unveiled his new single ‘Let Me Tell You’, taken from his forthcoming 5-track ‘Shine’ EP. With his pulsing house-style chords, infectious vocal loops and industrial, futuristic vibes throughout, ‘Let Me Tell You’ delivers on all fronts with such creativity and skill. Check out his FB page for a Q&A on his production techniques. The ‘Shine’ EP is available now via his own Ultramajic label and gives us a taste of what’s to come for Edgar in 2016. Upcoming dates include Tribal Sessions at Fire, London (Dec 11)
Check out the full playlist below with over 70 minutes for your listening pleasure!