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The best albums of September 2011

BBC Album Reviews editor Mike Diver selects his favourites of September 2011.

After a fairly barren summer, September was stuffed to the proverbial gills with great new albums. Here are 10 of them.

- - -

My album of the month...

Mastodon The Hunter album cover

Mastodon - The Hunter
(Roadrunner, released 26 September)
Recommended by: Zane Lowe, Rock Show with Daniel P Carter

"The Hunter only furthers this Atlanta-based band's impressive reputation for widening heavy metal's horizons. The towering riffs of All the Heavy Lifting cut through cleanly, and the stoner-rock crunch of Curl of the Burl is mightily satisfying. At times the themes seem lifted straight from the swords and sorcery of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings; but one look at them surely makes it clear that these are not men of our time. Don't like metal? You might just love Mastodon."

Read the full BBC review
Read an Album Reviews Q&A with Mastodon
Watch the official video to Curl of the Burl (external YouTube link; warning: contains scenes of simulated drug use, violence and partial nudity which may offend)

- - -

The best of the rest...

A Winged Victory for the Sullen album cover

A Winged Victory for the Sullen - A Winged Victory for the Sullen
(Erased Tapes, released 12 September)
Recommended by: N/A

"The grandiloquently named project of a pair of blue riband mood-casters, A Winged Victory for the Sullen combines the talents of Italophile Californian pianist Dustin O'Halloran and Stars of the Lid's ambient drone-meister Adam Wiltzie. True to their chosen moniker, the music that this cosmopolitan duo fashion regularly takes wing and it's certainly a victory for subtlety, sensitivity and judiciousness over broad, flashy musical brushstrokes."

Read the full BBC review
Watch an unofficial video for the track We Played Some Open Chords and Rejoiced (external YouTube link; no official video available)

Gazelle Twin album cover

Gazelle Twin - The Entire City
(Anti-Ghost Moon Ray Records, released 5 September)
Recommended by: Tom Robinson

The debut album from Brighton-based musician Elizabeth Walling, aka Gazelle Twin, The Entire City is a striking collection that, at its best - the haunting Changelings, where she whispers and sighs into the listener's ear like an uncomfortably forward first date; and the Glasser-in-full-flight splendour of Concrete Mother - is uncommonly captivating. If album two is a progression still, the Mercury Prize panellists should probably pencil her in for 2013's shortlist today and use the time saved to consider some metal."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video to I Am Shell I Am Bone (external YouTube link)

Peggy Sue Acrobats

Peggy Sue - Acrobats
(Wichita, released 12 September)
Recommended by: Marc Riley, Huw Stephens, BBC Introducing in Wales

"A significant step onwards from their acoustic debut, Acrobats finds the trio developing a taste for the electric, which adds miles to their creative horizons. This is a record that withstands listen after listen, each element holding its own against the other. Peggy Sue have not only created an appetite for what lies next, they've cemented themselves as a group deserving the same accolades as those far beyond their years."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video to Song & Dance (external YouTube link)

Boom Bip Zig Zaj cover

Boom Bip - Zig Zaj
(Lex, released 26 September)
Recommended by: N/A

"For the critic, Bryan 'Boom Bip' Hollon is at once exhilarating and exasperating - exhilarating in his straddling and meddling of a range of styles, exasperating in that he plays havoc with any attempt to contain or define him with overarching statements as to what he's about. John Peel dubbed him a "modern day Captain Beefheart", and Zig Zaj is predictably unpredictable - it's the sort of album that makes you realise that, texturally, these are the richest pop times of all."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official trailer for Zig Zaj (external YouTube link)

Remember Remember The Quickening

Remember Remember - The Quickening
(Rock Action, released 26 September)
Recommended by: Vic Galloway, Bethan Elfyn

"Remember Remember is primarily the work of Scotsman and multi-instrumentalist Graeme Ronald - but for The Quickening, they have become a formidable band rather than just one man in a studio. There's a brooding melancholy to most of these songs, particularly Scottish Widows and A Larger Demon, that was absent on RR's playful debut; but there's no doubt Ronald and his cohorts are making fascinating music."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video to Scottish Widows (external YouTube link)

Wilco the Whole Love album cover

Wilco - The Whole Love
(Anti, released 26 September)
Recommended by: 6 Music Album of the Day, Another Country with Ricky Ross, Dermot O'Leary

"It's pleasing to be able to report that Wilco seem both relaxed and reinvigorated on The Whole Love, which is equally at home spinning into stormy electric guitar crescendos as it is offering up deft acoustic numbers. Throughout, the band's core creative force Jeff Tweedy is ready and willing to embrace some of the complexities and strangeness that have made their best work so enthralling. The result is their most adventurous, confident and engaging record in years."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video to Born Alone (external YouTube link)

The Horrible Crowes Elsie album cover

The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
(SideOneDummy, released 5 September)
Recommended by: Another Country with Ricky Ross, The Late Show with Stuart Bailie, Mike Davies

"What Elsie isn't is a Brian Fallon solo album. Neither is it a Gaslight Anthem record. Certainly, Fallon's distinctive vocals - heartfelt and bruised, ragged and raspy - will recall the band that, in the last couple of years, has made his name. But really, these songs define themselves as the product of two fertile, fabulous minds. It's a touching, tragic album, one which celebrates of all the people you've loved and lost."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video to Behold the Hurricane (external YouTube link; warning: contains scenes of alcohol use and violence which may offend)

Laura Marling A Creature I Don't Know album cover

Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know
(Virgin, released 12 September)
Recommended by: Lauren Laverne, Jo Whiley, 6 Music Album of the Day

"Bob Dylan had barely put miles on his 23rd year when he wrote My Back Pages, his gleeful kiss-off to finger-wagging folk turning on his political idealism, its key lines: "But I was so much older then / I'm younger than that now". Laura Marling is only 21, but the Hampshire-born starlet shows no sign of reversing the ageing process with A Creature I Don't Know, her third album which picks up where the meandering, lips-pursed folk of 2010's I Speak Because I Can left off. Her worldly-wise tone can come over a little smug, but give her time - she'll grow younger than this yet."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video to Sophia (external YouTube link)

Thrice Major/Minor album cover

Thrice - Major/Minor
(Vagrant, released 19 September)
Recommended by: Rock Show with Daniel P Carter

"The relaxed yet powerful vibe throughout Major/Minor, Thrice's seventh studio album, is constant and comfortable, and a sign that this group continues to get better and better. This is the sound of a band hitting their stride and just running with all of their strengths on show - and there can be no complaints about that."

Read the full BBC review
Listen to an official stream of album track Anthology (external YouTube link)

- - -

What were your favourite albums of September 2011? Surprised there's no room here for Kasabian, or Tori Amos, or even The Kooks? Let us know by commenting below, or tweet us on @bbcalbumreviews.

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