3 Great Albums from September 2022

Updated: Oct 26


Keep on Smiling - Two Door Cinema Club

This is such a stylish album. From the opening synth instrumental, “messenger AD (intro),” to the closing distorted track “Disappear,” which has a Tears for Fear feel, the album is a well-produced upbeat listen.


The second track, “Blue Light,” strongly channels the Talking Heads. I do mean strongly. There is a rhythm guitar reminiscent of cuts from the 77 album, synths, and some very David Byrne vocals. The third track, “Everybody’s Cool” has many of the same elements and is catchy as hell. This is my favorite track on the album.


There are so many positively buoyant tunes on this album. The synths really work well on these songs. “Lucky” has that Eighties Second British Invasion sound while “Millionaire” is a straight-up dance track. Both songs work well. The back half of the album is anchored by the earworm “Wonderful Life” which is heavy on synths and like most of the album unapologetically upbeat. I find this very refreshing.


2nd Grade – Easy Listening

I first discovered the Philadelphia-based band 2nd Grade during the pandemic when I came across the Eighties style power-pop song “Velodrome.” It was one of those songs I kept on my playlist despite trying to keep a heavy rotation of new music. The band’s new album, Easy Listening, made our list because I found charm in every cut on the album. There simply isn’t a song that I skip when I sit down to listen to the album. Of course, 16 songs in 35 minutes mean most of these are quite short.


There is a DIY feel to this album. “Hung Up” and “Which Itch Are You Scratching Today” have garage band vibes while “Poet in Residence” and “Planetarium” come across as bedroom DIY. All of the tracks are good listens, but it’s the combination of raw instrumentals with well-produced vocals that make the best songs stand out. “Beat Of The Drum” and “Controlled Burn” are examples of this. I really dig the tune “Strung Out On You.” It has that power-pop sound that first caught my ear with this band. I’ve already got this one in rotation.


The cheeky pop-punk tune “Teenage Overpopulation” opens with the lyrics “There are too many teens in the world ruining the human experience.” There are clever lyrics throughout the album. I also like the song “Hands Down” which takes a bit of the edge off of the instrumentation to deliver a sweet pop tune.


Admittedly, I’ve been waiting for this album and I’m glad to report it was worth the wait.


Expert In A Dying Field – The Beths

Another great album from New Zealand rockers The Beths. This one is a little less pop-punk, a little more pop-rock, and that murky place where you’re trying to figure out how to feel about a relationship that didn’t work out. The opening track, “Expert in a Dying Field,” is catchy and the breathy chorus signals early there is a different feel to this album from the guitar-heavy 2020 release Jump Rope Gazers or the pop-punk 2018 album Future Me Hates Me. The second track “Knees Deep” is full-on pop-rock and so easy to get lost in. It’s a great tune that I keep playing over and over.


But before you get too comfortable the third track reminds you that this is The Beths and edgy pop-punk is in play. “Silence is Golden” opens with punk guitar licks, a driving beat, and Elizabeth Stokes vocals being the only thing that takes the harsh edge of the guitar, bass, drums, and lyrics like “maybe I'll break, just shatter, disperse like cracks in a glass.”


The album swings between pop, punk, and rock. The genre seems less important on this album. The gem in this album is “When You Know You Know” with its retro-pop vibe. As much as any other song on the album it shows just how diverse this band can be going forward. As for now, Expert In A Dying Field is one of our favorite albums for September 2022.

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