Staff Picks: Favorite Albums of September 2023

Great music comes out every month of the year, but September just happened to be extra stacked this year. There were big returns from Slowdive, Olivia Rodrigo, and Mitski, surprise releases from Zach Bryan and Kim Petras, and several more statement pieces from the likes of Romy, Jeff Rosenstock, and Nation of Language. In alphabetical order, here are what our Consequence writers and editors think are the best albums from September 2023.

Zach Bryan — Boys of Faith EP

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For many artists, the EP that follows the album is full of leftovers, but Zach Bryan has staked out his shorter projects for some of his best songwriting and most vital experimentation. Last year’s Summertime Blues gave us “Quittin’ Time” and the stone cold banger “Oklahoma Smokeshow,” and Boys of Faith might be even better: “Nine Ball” is a twist on the themes of “Open the Gates,” with a warped relationship between father, son, and sporting competitions; “Deep Satin” has an irresistible foot-stomping build; and on “Sarah’s Place” he joined with Noah Kahan for a ripping good time.

But that’s not the most exciting part. Whereas the August self-titled album Zach Bryan included deeply personal songs in the same country and southern rock traditions that fans have come to love, Boys of Faith finds Bryan expanding his sound, most noticeably on the title track featuring Bon Iver, which wouldn’t have been out of place on 2011’s Bon Iver. With lush strings and richly textured arrangements, “Boys of Faith” and the EP of the same name hint at exciting possibilities for Bryan’s future. — Wren Graves

Ralphie Choo — SUPERNOVA

Ralphie Choo Supernova Album Artwork September 2023 Staff Picks

Blending Latin trap, vibrant pop, dreamy R&B, and instrument-forward jazz, SUPERNOVA is a fascinating collection from Madrid-based artist Ralphie Choo. This is his first studio album, and it’s a doozy; over the course of 14 very different, expansive tracks, Choo takes the listener on a journey through an expertly produced soundscape. It’s one of September 2023’s most interesting offerings. — Mary Siroky

Deeper — Careful!

Deeper Careful Album Artwork September Staff Picks 2023

Chicago post-punk group Deeper returned this year with Careful!, an album that strikes a unique balance between crushingly tense and wholly liberating. Fans of The Cure and The Smiths — as well as newer post-punk staples like Interpol, Foals, IDLES, and Fontaines D.C. — will feel right at home in Deeper’s guitar-forward experiments, with plenty of awe-striking moments packed into each song. There’s a fascinating self-interrogation happening on Careful!; Vocalist Nic Gohl often references mirrors amidst anxiety-ridden lines and charged musings. Tracks like “Glare,” “Build a Bridge,” and “Sub” are driving, powerful presentations, taking a uniform post-punk sound and elevating it to new heights. — Paolo Ragusa

Mitski — The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

Mitski The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We Album Artwork 2023 September Staff Picks

In comparison to the wild catharsis of her early work and the disco-influenced more recent projects, Mitski’s The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We is warm, gentle, and even comforting. Of course, there’s plenty of sadness to be had — it is Mitski, after all — but The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We offers too much hope and love for it to be a soundtrack for wallowing in despair. Instead, the record comes across as an honest, understanding overview of what it’s like to be simply making it through this life. Recency bias be damned, the album ranks among her bes and will undoubtedly stand out in her already impressive discography. — Jonah Krueger