Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for September 26, 2022: Sylvan Esso, Daphni, Amanda Sum

Photos (clockwise from top left): Amanda Sum by Belen Garcia, Sylvan Esso by Brian Karlsson, Rachika Nayar by Yulissa Benitez, Daphni by Thomas Neukum

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Sep 26, 2022

Since that first leaf ceremoniously fell last week, we've found ourselves a little preoccupied by contemplating what constitutes a perfect fall album — but what of those late-summer, early-fall new releases, right on the cusp of the turn? As the weather begins to toggle from continuously sweaty to the occasional chilly swing, there's something markedly fit to burst. This week's round of fresh, staffer-approved recommendations for Exclaim!'s Staff Picks embody that simmering unpredictability of change's slow beginnings.

Don't forget to check out our album reviews section for in-depth dives into more of the season's finest to (pumpkin) spice up your autumn rotation.

(Midwest Debris)

Booter's debut album 10/10 brings rough-and-ready indie pop via Winnipeg, combining the muscle of '90s alt-rock with a twee sweetness that would make these New Faves alums at home on legendary labels like Flying Nun, Sarah or Slumberland. "Call Me Upset" effectively hints at the gloomy skronk of the flannel-wearing set, but they sound even better when living up to the title of "Breezy" with jangling guitars and lovestruck lyrics.
Alex Hudson

The Callous Daoboys
Celebrity Therapist

"Partyviolence" is the best of the Bandcamp tags ascribed to Celebrity Therapist — the follow-up to 2019's Die on Mars — from Atlanta's Callous Daoboys, who wear their influences well in shaping only the most foundational, funny elements of math- and metalcore. Clocking in at just over a half-hour, the result is powerful, but never outright predictable. The seven-piece don't shy away from balancing their brutal attack with strong melody and brighter bits of pop and jazz; if their daring arrangements don't manage to catch your ear, the textural electric violin, cello and tenor saxophone just might.
Calum Slingerland


Like all Dan Snaith creations, his latest bite from Daphni's Cherry is most exquisitely savoured in the bright morning light. "Arrow" marks the fifth portion of his new record, and it's a sweet, atmospheric sketch of hyperactive and repetitive beats — something light and bouncy to absorb with your first cup of coffee. Or, as Snaith describes, it's like "staring at a Magic Eye picture as everything clicks into focus."
Allie Gregory 

Rachika Nayar 
Heaven Come Crashing 
(NNA Tapes)

Flooding the ambient pools of her debut with swells of ecstatic rave music, Rachika Nayar's Heaven Come Crashing is the kind of record that fosters dancefloor revelations, made for sweating out life's weight and losing yourself, if only briefly, to oblivion. Threading her heavily-manipulated guitar through enormous neon drops, great washes of humid keys and stuttering hi-hats, Heaven Come Crashing's body-shaking euphoria feels like escape. 
Kaelen Bell

Amanda Sum
New Age Attitudes

Amanda Sum champions "Meticulous Articulation" on New Age Attitudes, weaving vivid vignettes of growing pains over jazz piano chords, folksy strings, and tape-hiss crackles. Recorded with a production and engineering team consisting entirely of women (including Elisa Pangsaeng and the late Olivia Quan), the Vancouver artist's good-humoured debut album likewise features a backing band of all-Asian women to bolster her tactful interrogation of generational ennui. Acoustic ballad "Sorry" is a particularly moving reflection on guilt for taking up space in a nonconforming way: "You're not sorry, so I said it instead / And I let the blame get to my head."
Megan LaPierre

Sylvan Esso
No Rules Sandy
(Loma Vista)

I'm admittedly a pretty casual Sylvan Esso fan, but No Rules Sandy has crept its way into soundtracking many of my work days. The electronic duo's latest effort is grounding in its softness, reminiscent of freshly washed sheets on a rainy afternoon. The album's 16 tracks rip across 34 minutes, speaking to its airy and non-committal feel. By the time it reaches its end, the Free Love follow-up surprises with acoustic ballad "Coming Back to You" to cap itself off. While somewhat out of left field, it acts as a gently sweet companion to the melancholy of cooler days.
Sydney Brasil

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