September — What’s Dropped?
Albums & Artwork

Ellis | What’s Dropped | #004

September has seen plenty of established artists shoot to the top of the album charts with new releases. Manchester’s finest, Liam Gallagher finished the month at the number one spot with ‘Why Me Why Not’ and Keane are back, 6 years after their last album charted at No 2.

Many other household names are also dominating the album charts, such as Post Malone, Ed Sheeran, Sam Fender, Lewis Capaldi and Taylor Swift. However, this month I decided to look beyond these well-known industry giants and focus on some of this year's breakthrough artists. Here’s ‘What’s Dropped’ this September:

Love & Compromise by Mahalia album cover

Mahalia Burkmar, better known as just Mahalia, has been musically inclined from a very young age. At just thirteen, Mahalia signed her first major label deal, and now, at 21, she has released her debut album, titled ‘Love and Compromise’. After a handful of successful singles, such as ‘Sober’, Mahalia has built relationships with other UK-based artists such as Little Simz and Rudimental, and her album, contains features with Burna Boy and Ella Mai.

The album cover is a beautiful photograph from Kanya Iwana, an Indonesian-born, Los Angeles-based creative. Iwana’s portrait work often features soft, warm and hazy scenes that create a feeling of nostalgia and romance. These film photographs fit hand-in-hand with Mahalia’s aesthetic and sound, Iwana has definitely succeeded in capturing the aura of Mahalia and her work.

Mahalia artwork
Mirrorland by Earthgang album cover

Earthgang’s Mirrorland is their third studio album, and their first under J. Cole’s record label ‘Dreamville Records’. Earthgang (EG) are a hip-hop duo from Atlanta, Georgia who take inspiration from southern soul, funk and hip-hop, and often are complimented with comparisons to OutKast.

Venus explained in 2011 that: "The name came to me abruptly one day. It represents what we're made of and why we do what we do. It's for the people by the people. Our music is influenced by the conscious and subconscious, and we create it to influence the like.”

Artwork by Gordon Rowe

Gordon Rowe is a Toronto-based artist with a large body of digital painting work based around black artists, musicians, actors and general pop culture icons. His style has developed over the years, as can been seen by scrolling through his Instagram posts. It is obvious Rowe has spent countless hours mastering his trade and the tools that come with digital painting.

His style has been defined by current black culture, especially hip-hop, with his large collection of portraits that often depicts rappers using style choices that have been inspired by the scene, as well as urban themes depicted through street art and mural paintings.

Stars Are The Light by Moon Duo album cover

American psych band, Moon Duo released their seventh album this September. This release is shift from Duo’s previous psych-rock work, floating towards a more synth-psych vibe. Their dreamy sound hints at 70s psychedelia and funk, with elements of 80s synth and 90s trance rave.

Additional artwork by Ardneks

The album artwork was produced by Kendra Ahimsa, or by his more widely known moniker, Ardneks. Ahimsa’s work oozes psychedelic themes, beautiful symmetry, and his signature saturated colour palette, allowing anyone who knows of him to spot his work immediately. His unique styles and palettes have opened doors within the psych music scene popularised by artists like Tame Impala, Khruangbin, and Mac Demarco Kikagaku Moyo. Ardneks style suits this scene perfectly. There’s no doubt, given the body of work in this area, that his popularity continues to rise.