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Whatever Man

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Top 5 Albums of October

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October was a hotbed of new music. Pop superstar Jessie Ware released a new album. SUPER SLIMEY, the saccharine collaboration between Future and Young Thug slinked into the internet. Prolific Indie bigshots St. Vincent and Beck both put out new records. Even Weezer gifted us with a unsurprisingly subpar LP. There were new singles from throwback artists to the mid ‘00s (Franz Ferdinand, MGMT), and a plethora of indistinguishable and forgettable EDM tracks. So to save you some time, I’ve trudged through the charts to find the 5 best new albums of October.

5. Bully – Losing

For fans of: Hole, Fugazi, Sleater-Kinney

Nashville’s blistering punk quartet Bully released their second full length album Losing through Seattle trendsetters label Sub Pop. Losing is honest, brittle, angry, dissonant, while occasionally  melodic and approachable. Frontwoman and producer/engineer Alicia Bognanno, a former understudy of legendary audio engineer Steve Albini, roots her experiences of apathy and anxiety into Bully’s raucous grunge-flared punk rock to create a confessional catharsis, a departure of the generally avant-garde lyricism of grunge, and the frequent destructiveness of punk. Though mostly high-intensity, the music of Losing flirts with the roaming sensibility of post-hardcore, the sound of curious punk-rockers deciding to take a breath and play some new notes.

4. Warhaus – Warhaus

For fans of: Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Portishead

Warhaus is the alter-ego of Belgian musician Maarten Devoldere, formerly of the indie rock band Balthazar. Warhaus, the eponymous second album released through PIAS Recordings, could easily moonlight as a film noir soundtrack; it’s equal parts intoxicating and fatalistic. Devoldere’s casual speak-sing mumble is a similar growl to that of Leonard Cohen, but where Cohen’s seduction comes from despair, Devoldere’s comes from nonchalance. Displayed on the album’s ten tracks is the classic instrumentation of a French sound stage in the 1960s: vibraphones, classical guitars, a string section, an array of percussive instruments, and a mysterious femme fatale counterpart (Sylvie Kresuch) featured on many of the album’s tracks. Warhaus captures the essence of a bohemian dinner party in the postwar era: cigarette smoke, vodka cocktails, and an imminent sense of danger… or pleasure.

3. Circuit Des Yeux – Reaching For Indigo

For fans of: Nico, Philip Glass, Robert Plant

Chicago based musician Haley Fohr, aka Circuit Des Yeux, had a life-altering moment in early 2016. Inexplicably, Fohr collapsed in her home, vomiting and convulsing on the floor. She subsequently took that moment as a sign of change, and moved from her home with an inexplicably heightened sense of sound and colors. Reaching For Indigo is a telling of this tale, as well as a dedication to Fohr’s overwhelming spiritual shift. Indigo is rich with texture and emotion, ranging from minimally avant-garde, Philip Glass inspired compositions to psychedelic-folk numbers, similar to the recent works of Robert Plant. Fohr’s tenor howl is nearly identical at times to Nico’s iconic voice, but while Nico tends to lack emotional weight, Fohr explores and expresses every crevasse of her inner being, some of which many of us have yet to discover.

2. Curtis Harding – Face Your Fear

For fans of: Charles Bradley, Marvin Gaye, Gnarls Barkley

Curtis Harding made his first splash into the popular music world as a background singer and collaborator for CeeLo Green. Harding’s interest in underground soul music lead him to pursue a solo career and further indulge his interest in the rawness of garage music. Face Your Fear, co-produced by Gnarls Barkley’s Danger Mouse, is a precise representation of the underground sound of 70s soul music, from the groove-centric, horn-laced songwriting to the obscure production methods associated with the peculiar LPs found in the bottom of the 70s record bins (tape delay, monologues, found sound recordings). Harding allows us to have fun with Face Your Fear while simultaneously satisfying his own reverence to the artform that so prominently fuels his work.

1. King Krule – The Ooz

For fans of: Lounge Lizards, Ariel Pink, Mount Kimbie

For being only 23 years old, King Krule’s Archy Marshall has a tremendously compelling catalogue. Following King Krule’s evocative 2013 debut 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, The Ooz capitalizes on the poignant world of Archy Marshall. The Ooz sounds like what it is; the music ebbs and flows, trickles, and exudes Marshall’s characteristically moody attitude. When chaos does ensue within The Ooz, Marshall, instead of attempting to control it, runs with it, digging deeper into the artistry that lies beneath insanity. With parts punk, parts jazz, parts trip-hop, and parts spoken-word, The Ooz is the eerie, captivating discharge of the rather lifeless zeitgeist that is popular music.

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