50 great tracks for September from BTS, Marie Davidson, Boygenius and more

From Empress Of’s modern classic to the magnificent angst of Boygenius, here are 50 new tracks you shouldn’t miss – read about our 10 favourites below, and subscribe to the playlists


BTS – Idol (feat. Nicki Minaj)

The biggest K-pop band in the world inch towards being the biggest global pop act full stop – the video for this latest single was played 45m times on YouTube in the first 24 hours of release, which is a new record. And with good reason: it is an absolute juggernaut, with a terrace chant chorus, Eurovision-level saxophone, and a surprisingly welcome return for Nicki Minaj to pop-dance beats. The group are folding ever more English language into their tracks as their star rises in the west, resulting in a dizzying bilingual hybrid.

Empress Of – When I’m With Him

Quite simply the best track yet from Empress Of, AKA LA singer-songwriter-producer Lorely Rodriguez. Her 2015 debut album was head-turning for its sensual, impulsive pop smarts, but not all the choruses totally connected. No such problem here – the central melody is riveting: feathery and near-falsetto, it drops into a heartwrenching final line as as Rodriguez laments her disconnection from the man she’s with. Shades of Jessie Ware and her regular collaborator Dev Hynes, perhaps, but outshining both with a song that already feels classic.

Theophilus London.
Breaking boundaries … Theophilus London. Photograph: Ryan Cardoso

Theophilus London – Bebey (SN1 Road Mix feat. Giggs)

He has never truly broken into the mainstream, seen sometimes as a mere curio or clotheshorse, but Theophilus London is a valuable MC, announcing earlier than most that rap should think bigger when it comes to genre boundaries. Everyone from Tegan and Sara’s Sara Quinn and Leon Ware to Kanye West have appeared on his tracks; now he recruits Giggs for a remix of his track Bebey. The bright, funky, loping beat draws out the puckish side of his London guest, his phone blowing up as he announces his greatness and does a spot of shopping on Bond Street.

Marie Davidson – So Right

Marie Davidson’s voice is one of the biggest pleasures in contemporary electronic music. French-accented, often drily amused and given to rants, declarations and snatches of internal monologue, she continues the grand style of talky electro on from the likes of Miss Kittin. On So Right, the first track from forthcoming album Working Class Woman, a quiet side-of-the-dancefloor reverie (“He’s got me feeling so high / man this is so nice”) builds into a full house diva performance, over a classic Chicago bassline. The result is a track that essays the body high of club music and shows how close that feeling is to the erotic. It’s gloriously populist, but still retains Davidson’s indelible stamp; expect to hear this everywhere.

Boygenius – Stay Down

A new supergroup that is quite formidable in its collective angst: Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus are all experts at emotional torpor, articulated with pin-drop clarity amid moping guitars, but thankfully don’t cancel each other out when they come together. Three tracks from their forthcoming EP have been released, all excellent. Stay Down is simultaneously the most morose and the most uplifting, Baker taking the lead vocal for a song of compromised romance that builds to a stunning arena-indie climax.

Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, aka Boygenius.
Indie supergroup … Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus, aka Boygenius. Photograph: PR Company Handout / noam@matadorrecords.com

Kenzie – Dark July

Downbeat, understated R&B might look easy on paper – smoky vocal, minimalist drums, job done – but the patchiness of, say, the Jorja Smith album shows how tough it is to pull off. Kenzie, a Bostonian singer-songwriter now living in London, is managing it, though, with her debut tracks. Over Dark July’s softly pattering breakbeat, she sings a beautiful, fragmentary summer love story with perfect huskiness, speeding from meet-cute to crying breakup in the space of a chorus. Its nagging melody is deceptively simple, but will set up shop in your brain if you’re not careful.

Kurt Vile – Loading Zones

You can take comfort, in this mixed-up world, from the fact that every year there’ll be a new Kurt Vile record: it won’t be very different from the last, and it’ll be great. On this one there is the usual bold and beautiful Neil Young-ish strumming, the glittering yet unshowy solos, and the drily amused slacker vocals. “How beautiful to take a bite out of the world,” Vile muses as he kicks around his home town on the way to a long psychedelic outro.

Island Fox – Comrade

Beautiful and beguiling bedroom pop here, from rising London-based producer Jess Bartlet. The other two tracks from her Comrade EP flirt with a 4/4 techno pulse, but the title track has sweet and subtle syncopation under a glittering curtain of multitracked harp. It could have been twee in its sheer prettiness, but the jazzy sax and trumpet solos keep it cutely idiosyncratic, and Bartlet’s vocal in the chorus – “I’ll be there when you need me” – is powerful in its calm certainty.

Island Fox, AKA Jess Bartlet.
Beguiling … Island Fox, AKA Jess Bartlet. Photograph: Kalina Pulit

Thou – Elimination Rhetoric

Love blokes screaming their larynxes out in near-unintelligible roars but can’t get on board with the double kick-drums of straight metal nor the pomposity of the doom scene? Thou are your new favourite band. Despite being from Louisiana they dress like a group of Transylvanian vampires going to a cabaret evening, and have a great interplay between giant doom chords, stirring melodic progressions, and quite splashy, punkish drums. Elimination Rhetoric has the added bonus of an uplifting bit of soloing, segueing into a passage of joyous headbanging. “I can’t help myself, don’t talk to me!” Bryan Funck declares through his apparently rotted throat.

Don’t DJ – Veles

One of the year’s best and creepiest 12ins has been released: Don’t DJ’s All Love Affairs Fail But They Never End, a dub-techno epic that kicks off with Veles. Created by Berliner Florian Meyer, it has a tiny whisper of his earlier work with “exotic” sounds such as marimbas and flutes, in the subtle pan-pipe pattern on the offbeat. But that is met with absolute menace in the form of what sounds like a detuned, timestretched monastic chant. Its restless beat never quite finds its footing, and what is that scurrying and creaking at the back of the mix? This is a whole universe of glorious disquiet.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
50 great tracks for October from Noname, Julia Holter, Objekt and more
From Behemoth’s satanic metal to a triumphant return from Lana Del Rey, here are the tracks you need this month – read about our ten favourites, and subscribe to all 50 in our playlists

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

01, Oct, 2018 @9:59 AM

Article image
50 great tracks for March from Chvrches, Riko Dan, Machine Head and more
Check out Angolan kuduro, fluffy disco-funk and whimsical fingerpicking in this month’s roundup of the best new music. Subscribe to the playlist of all 50 tracks and read about our 10 favourites

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

07, Mar, 2018 @10:00 AM

Article image
50 great tracks for July from Drake, Ebony Bones, Low and more
From Nicki Minaj’s sex chat to Blawan’s masterful minimal techno, here are 50 great new tracks from across the musical spectrum. Read about our favourite 10 and subscribe to the playlist

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

10, Jul, 2018 @9:58 AM

Article image
The month's best music: Jonghyun, Marmozets, Peggy Gou and more
Our monthly playlist has camp country by Kylie, freaky funk by George Clinton, a dub odyssey by Leslie Winer & Jay Glass Dubs and more

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

05, Feb, 2018 @10:00 AM

Article image
50 great tracks for May from FKA twigs, Sunn O))), Stormzy and more
From Bruce Springsteen’s return to Dorian Electra’s magnificent electropop – read about 10 of our favourite songs of the month and subscribe to our 50-track playlist of the best new music to start summer

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

08, May, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
50 great tracks for November from Sheck Wes, Ider, Architects and more
Deerhunter return, Bruce delivers the techno track of the year and Pistol Annies brilliantly sketch a loveless marriage – read about 10 of our favourite songs of the month, and subscribe to the 50-track playlist

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

05, Nov, 2018 @12:19 PM

Article image
50 great tracks for July from TisaKorean, Trash Kit, Ellen Arkbro and more
From Lifted’s new age jazz to Flume’s best track yet, here are 50 new tracks to check out this month – and read about our 10 favourites

Ben Beaumont-Thomas, Laura Snapes and Sarah Staniforth

09, Jul, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
50 great tracks for November from Dua Lipa, Destroyer, Selena Gomez and more
From Selena Gomez’s devastating balladry to Lanark Artefax’s squirming electronics, check out 50 new tracks and read about our ten favourites

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

04, Nov, 2019 @10:00 AM

Article image
50 great tracks for March from Tierra Whack, Hayden Thorpe, Squid and more
Punk-funkers Squid step on the gas, Jessie Ware moves left of centre and Tierra Whack breaks the one-minute mark – read about 10 of our favourite songs of the month, and subscribe to the 50-track playlist

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

13, Mar, 2019 @11:30 AM

Article image
50 great tracks for May from Florence + the Machine, Christina Aguilera, Deafheaven and more
From Róisín Murphy’s erotic disco to Onyx Collective’s post-bop jazz and Deafheaven’s soulful metal, here’s our roundup of the best new music

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

10, May, 2018 @8:00 AM