After the bumper release schedule in September, the music industry seems to be starting its slow pre-Christmas wind-down this month — but even though there’s not quite the surfeit of quality new records that there was last month, there’s still plenty of interesting new releases in October. As we do at the start of every month, we’ve sat down and picked out the 10 albums that we’re most interested to hear over the next four weeks — and just for posterity, this doesn’t include the albums we covered last month which had their release dates sneakily pushed back (yes, Zola Jesus and Björk, we mean you). What’s on your listening schedule in October?
Bonnie “Prince” Billy — Wolfroy Goes to Town (October 4)
This release has rather snuck under the radar, largely because there’s been pretty much zero publicity about it — the existence of a new Bonnie “Prince” Billy album was only announced a month ago, and the curious desert island video for lead single “Quail and Dumplings” (which features the ever-excellent Nina Nastasia, incidentally) has only got about 4,500 views on YouTube thus far. This is a shame, because the album is excellent, and worth getting hold of.
DRC — Kinshasa One Two (October 4)
Today’s other fascinating and somewhat under-exposed release is Kinshasa One Two, a fundraising effort for Oxfam that manages the rare feat of raising money for a good cause while also containing some pretty fantastic music. The project’s acronymic title stands for “Democratic Republic of Congo,” and it involves pairing Western producers with Congolese musicians. The producers in question include Damon Albarn, Dan the Automator, and XL boss Richard Russell. There’s a bunch of tracks from the album streaming via Soundcloud. Kinshasa One Two is out today digitally — if you want a physical copy, you’ll have to wait until November (but you can pre-order now via the project’s website)
Matthew Herbert — One Pig (October 11)
A few years back, Matthew Herbert produced an album called Plat du Jour, which was created from a smorgasboard of all sounds food-related (everything from a tank driving over a plate of food to the sound of 3,500 people biting apples simultaneously). The record was a fascinating piece of work, recalling Eric Schlosser’s seminal Fast Food Nation in its examination of the way our food reaches our plates. Herbert returns to the theme with One Pig, an album that traces the life of a single farmed pig from birth to death. From what we’ve heard thus far, it’s as unsettling and thought-provoking record as you might imagine — we don’t suppose the finished product will exactly make for easy listening, but listen we shall.
Ryan Adams — Ashes and Fire (October 11)
We discussed Ashes and Fire briefly last week in our regular wrap-up of the week’s streaming albums. Having now had plenty of time to digest it via its pre-release stream at NPR, we’re ready to confirm our real impressions: we really like it. While Adams has always been a spectacular talent, he’s also been an unruly one — on this album, he seems both more restrained and more focused, and his songs are better for it.
High Places — Original Colors (October 11)
We’ve generally enjoyed the work of NYC duo High Places, and we’re glad to see that their recent move to LA hasn’t undermined their mojo. They’re definitely embracing their new surroundings, though — the above video for new song “Altos Lugares” (which does indeed translate as “High Places,” Spanish speakers) was shot at the ranch once owned by Charles Manson and his Family. Anyway, both this song and the single that preceded it (“Year Off,” which you can hear here) sound great, and we’re looking forward to the album.
M83 — Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (October 18)
While we liked Saturdays = Youth, we do prefer Anthony Gonzalez’s earlier albums (particularly the majestic Before the Dawn Heals Us) to his more recent M83-goes-pop efforts, so we’ve been rather gratified to read that he’s been saying this epic double record will incorporate more of the atmospheric, ambient sounds that made his early work so beautiful. Also of interest: Zola Jesus sings on one of the tracks.
I Break Horses — Hearts (October 18)
While we’re not given to lumping artists in with “scenes,” there’s a definite witch house-y vibe to this Swedish duo’s music — the big synths, the reverb-laden beats, the atmosphere. Of course, as we’re big admirers of Balam Acab, Salem et al, we’re definitely all for this, particularly when the songs are as good as “Winter Beats” and “Hearts.” The latter is the title track for I Break Horses’ debut album, which is out right now if you’re happy with some MP3 action — if you want a physical copy, you’ll have to wait until October 18.
Psychic Ills — Hazed Dream (October 18)
Here at Flavorpill, we really, really, really like heavy psychedelic music. Which makes this choice pretty much self-explanatory. Drooooooooooooooooooooone.
Tom Waits — Bad As Me (October 25)
And while we’re on self-explanatory, we might as well mention the release of Tom Waits’ 17th studio album, and his first since his fantastic 2004 record Real Gone. His record label, Anti-, are playing their cards very close to their chest with this one, so we’ve heard exactly as much as you have — but we’re pretty confident in assuming that it’ll be amazing. Again.
Justice — Audio, Video, Disco (October 25)
Latter-day superstar DJs Justice are back toward the end of the month with a new album — and since it’s over four years since the release of Cross, it’s a release that truly deserves oft-abused music industry clichés like “long awaited” and “highly anticipated.” The fact that the duo have described the album as “a progressive rock record, played by guys that don’t know how to play” doesn’t exactly bode well, but still, this is definitely shaping up to be one of the most notable electronic releases of the year, and we’re looking forward to hearing it.
Also out this month:
Zola Jesus — Conatus (October 4) YES.
Björk — Biophilia (October 4) Finally.
Future Islands — On the Water (October 11) Now that Double Dagger and Ponytail are breaking up, it’s up to this fantastic synthpop trio to keep flying the Baltimore flag.
Mayer Hawthorne — How Do You Do (October 11) We’ve always rather liked the cut of this Stones Throw-approved neo-soulster’s jib.
Cymbals Eat Guitars — Lenses Alien (October 11) Indie pop par excellence.
Noel Gallagher — High Flying Birds (October 17) Guaranteed to be a) better than Beady Eye and b) not as good as what Damon Albarn’s doing.
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis — Smoking in Heaven (October 18) Surely they’re too young to be smoking??
Coldplay — Mylo Xyloto (October 25) We don’t know what the title means, and frankly, we don’t really care.
Deer Tick — Divine Providence (October 25) For just $99.98, you can order this with a t-shirt and 27 photos taken on a disposable camera! Um.
Surfer Blood — Tarot Classics EP (October 25) They’ve been supporting the Pixies of late, which can only be a good thing.
She & Him — A Very She & Him Christmas (October 25) We don’t care how cool or cute or hip or ironic you are, there’s no excuse for a Christmas album. None.