We missed it. August flew by before we realised and, in a flash, we were well into September. So, here’s a round-up of the releases that have impressed us most through August and September in our latest On Rotation.

RotationAmyl And The Sniffers
Comfort To Me
(Rough Trade)
They’re back, leaner, more muscular, stalking with a beefed-up sound that focuses with an intense gaze that propels Amy Taylor’s vocals to the fore. It’s everything that the band were promising through their first EPs and that great debut dialled up and doubled down on. But through the vehemence, there are moments that feel more personal, a looking glass to the internal, the expression of a desire for acceptance heard in many great punk songs. Amyl And The Sniffers expertly walk the tightrope between a passionate in-your-face battering of resistance and an introspection held together by a cracking hardened exterior.

On Rotation: Our pick of August’s and September’s releasesThe Shadracks
From Human Like Forms

(Damaged Goods)
The Shadracks music is sharp and smart and vibrant, but their songs seem to me to contain an ennui (profound sadness) in the lyricism – which is what makes them twice as fascinating as most other garage bands. The influence of punks mavericks and thinkers Devoto, Vic Godard, Wire and Mark Perry is all over this album… which shows the band have great taste and are twisting and adapting old ideas in new and interesting shapes. It has a dark, oppressive, bone-dryness to it. An aloofness and detachment personified by the main vocal sounding almost-bored at times.

On Rotation: Our pick of August’s and September’s releasesThe Bug

(Ninja Tune)
The album tackles some heavy subject matter, but it would be misleading to call it ‘dark.’ Fire is a reflection of and reaction to the world we live in, the floor-shaking dub designed to snap you out of complacency and instil a little fire in your soul. In times of division, we need music like this more than ever. The Bug’s work may be confrontational, yet there’s an underlying unity here that draws dub heads, noise freaks and hip-hop fans together under one roof. It isn’t the kind of music that should be greedily hoarded by underground aficionados. Fire is a gift to the world.

On Rotation: Our pick of August’s and September’s releasesJim Bob
Who Do We Hate Today?
(Cherry Red)
The bug of writing clever songs has never left old J.B. Morrison. Almost exactly to the year from his last solo outing, he delves into the observations of a Britain that has been battered by a pandemic and left impressions on his mind that only he can get out to the indie punk loving public. Just over 37 minutes of wit, sarcasm and sadness that makes you laugh and cry at the same time.Excellent yet again from a clever guy who keeps on giving and is probably one of the best storytellers around. A master of lyrics and a songwriting treasure.

RotationJosienne Clarke
A Small Unknowable Thing
(Corduroy Punk)
The fourteen tracks are packed with powerful and lucid emotions, the sort of huge feelings that can be almost impossible to comprehend initially, as they maraud through your consciousness. You can sense the intensive thought processes, the mental life laundry that Josienne Clarke has been through over recent years to reach this point. In detaching herself from restrictive people, places and life contexts, there’s also strong anger that accompanies liberation.

On Rotation: Our pick of August’s and September’s releasesLittle Simz
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
(Age 101)
On her new album, Litte Simz takes things to an entirely different level altogether. It’s just the sheer magnitude and ambition of it, as though Simz has stepped through a portal from inner-city to the great plains, such is the expanse of colour and vibrancy and never-ending sky. Possibly this introvert knows, deep down, that she is on the cusp of world domination with this collection. Album of the year? There’s a debate to had there, but in my mind, at this moment in time, it probably is. What is not debatable is the certainty that Little Simz ain’t your typical rapper. And Sometimes I Feel Introvert ain’t your typical rap album.

Daydreams & Stars
(Stoned Gospel)

Singer Louise Turner has clocked up session appearances with well-known artists like Elbow and Edward Barton, but she now takes centre stage on her first full-length collection. Daydreams & Stars ebbs and flows to its own individual pattern, meandering attractively along the way. As a result, it has the feel of a set of songs that just belong together. They build into a great whole and that is despite representing a range of tempi, sounds and feelings along the way. It adds up to an excellent record from Turner, an artist who deservedly steps out of the background and into the bright daylight on this fine collection.

On Rotation: Our pick of August’s and September’s releasesManic Street Preachers
The Ultra Vivid Lament
Relevance is still critical to Manic Street Preachers, although long gone are the brash predictions and the incessant slagging of other artists to garner column inches. Today, older and wiser, they crave a different kind of relevance and seek validation by letting the tunes do the talking. And by God, can those tunes talk. Rest assured, The Ultra Vivid Lament, the fourteenth studio album of a glittering career, is categorically relevant. Like so many Manics’ albums, The Ultra Vivid Lament once again redefines the band, taking them forward another significant leap.


For all our album reviews, head over here.

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Nathan has been writing for Louder Than War since 2012. Before that, he wrote for manchestermusic.co.uk. Now living in Spain, he also writes for the Spanish magazine Ruta 66.


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