September 2021

September has been another month of fantastic musical output. With an array of outstanding records from artists both new and returning, we’ve had the tough task of narrowing it down to five.

Ashley Shadow – Only The End

Secret Meeting says:

The half-decade gap between albums has allowed Ashley Shadow to create a record that is a fully-formed, nuanced commentary on the complicated emotional rollercoaster humans experience throughout their lives. This isn’t a depressing album, but there is plenty of melancholy. Only The End isn’t a joyous album, but there is plenty joy. Each despairing moment is levelled with a sense of hope elsewhere. And the glue holding it together is a voice that injects it all straight to your veins.

Bess Atwell – Already, Always

Secret Meeting says:

Spend any time with Bess Atwell’s long awaited new album, Already, Always, and it soon becomes apparent that every single moment of her life to date has fed into and shaped its tales. Opener, Co-Op, is the perfect contemporary, indie pop song – time and place is established at a ‘Blondie tribute concert’, but Atwell could be anywhere. Her emotions are what keep her company – and through the highs and lows of loving someone, being in love with someone, in fact, just life itself, she turns out to be the one person she can always rely on.

Ada Lea – one hand on the steering wheel, the other sewing a garden

Secret Meeting says:

Even if a certain darkness is close to the surface throughout one hand… it doesn’t fully prepare listeners for the emotional gut-punch of the album’s closing brace. violence and hurt dwell on the messy aftermath of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship: ‘Somebody hurt me badly, now I’m stuck in a rut, now I don’t know my body,’ she rues, vowing to harness the concept of ‘resilience’ should she ever face violence again. It is a brave, searingly honest conclusion to an album whose heart-on-sleeve writer leaves the listener simply hoping a well-sewn garden and the redemption hinted at on my love 4 u is real both materialise for its protagonist. ‘All is forgiven in time, all is forgotten in time; and when the music stopped, I heard an answer.

Andy Shauf – Wilds

Secret Meeting says:

Wilds finds Shauf ploughing into the psyche of his characters. It’s an album that’s disembodied from the nuts and bolts of how a situation has unfolded, and instead concerns itself with the emotions that are dredged up. It’s a more subtle affair in every sense – the melodies on his previous records linger like the outline of a neon sign against the inside of a shut eyelid, whereas Wilds sees those same melodies make their mark more gradually. Wilds may not be the perfect place to start for those not familiar with Shauf’s music, but, given time, it’s every bit as arresting, affecting, and hummable as his previous work.

Mini Trees – Always in Motion

Secret Meeting says:

Mini Trees’ debut album is the perfect mix of elegantly written pop songs, crystalline production, and just enough genre-shifting to keep things interesting without becoming forced. Fans of the aforementioned acts are likely to love this record, while others will still unearth some interesting, heartfelt pop gems in amongst Always In Motion.

If you’d like to support us by subscribing to our zine, click here – it’s just £6 a year for four copies (inc p&p).


Want to keep up to date with all our latest pieces? Follow us on social media…