Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for September 6, 2022: Hudson Mohawke, Kiwi Jr., Megan Thee Stallion
Published Sep 06, 2022As the well-known mnemonic goes, "Thirty Days Hath September," and we have another round of Exclaim!'s Staff Picks freshly picked for the latest flip of the calendar — not quite 30 of them, but we have a whole month to get there. This week's batch spotlights some fearless, freaky electronica, a star's reflective raps, an exceptionally smooth cross-border collab and the sweet, sweet sound of consistency.
As per usual, see our album reviews section for more of the latest and greatest new music.
Montreal-based Ev Bird, a new Royal Mountain Records signee, previews his forthcoming EP Puff Piece with "The Ring" — a seamless team-up with Detroit rapper Boldy James. Masquerading as a genre-bending Dent May, Bird offers pure vibes on the track, serving up a bouncy guitar line and groovy lyrics that aim to get listeners on the train to relaxationville.
Picking up where she left off with "July" on last year's The Art of Pretending, Edmonton's Laur Elle flips the calendar to the emotional flurry of summer's tail-end. Her brand of tightly coiled, driving indie pop is deeply affected and laden with a drum machine heartbeat while sounding as breezy as those final moments of widows-down, open-road euphoria — her lobelia-perfumed lilt softly preoccupied by the nostalgia to come, even for moments tainted by shitty exes, self-criticism or a Freudian slip.
What's most remarkable about Toronto's Kiwi Jr. isn't what they sound like, but their level of consistent excellence. Following Cooler Returns and Football Money, Chopper is the indie rockers' third album since 2019 and they've yet to release a bad song, with the latest adding nocturnal synth textures for their best yet. Read our interview with the band and producer Dan Boeckner.
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion has opened up on her sophomore record, but she's made sure to do so on her own terms. While Good News follow-up Traumazine contemplates reductive headlines undermining both her successes and struggles more deeply, it maintains the rapper's signature cutthroat disses and delivery. Despite her unique experiences, she's able to relay her message to her extremely wide audience; a not-so-gentle reminder that even a "bad bitch can have bad days" is exactly what the everyday Hot Girl needs, right?
(Warp / Luckyme)
If the music of Hudson Mohawke is a must-have on your bedroom playlist, we're inclined to believe the Glaswegian producer when he says that new album "Cry Sugar is better for sex." No matter your listening aims or environment, there is much to love about Mohawke's latest, a prismatic romp through tones smooth and strident, reverent and irreverent. Let it carry you like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man that adorns its cover.
Beth Orton's "Friday Night" isn't the debaucherous blur that its title might suggest. Instead, the legendary British songwriter kicks off her weekend in a state of tender contemplation, recounting dreams of Proust and listening to the rain as she mourns the loss of an old friend. "Now the measure of your absence / Is the presence that you leave," she sings in her cracked warble, ghostly hums and a gently martial drumbeat accompanying her reminiscence — and sometimes a memory is enough to carry you through the night.