The 15 Albums You Need to Hear in October


After a bumper month in September, the good news is that there’s a heap more good albums due in October — especially tomorrow, which is shaping up as one of the busiest/best release dates of the year. Hurrah! As we do every month, we’ve devoted ourselves to poring over the release schedule and separating the proverbial wheat from the chaff and all such things. After the jump you’ll find our tips on the 15 albums we reckon you absolutely need to hear this month. There’s also a roundup of everything else that’s out, encompassing the good, the bad, and the Barbra Streisand.

John Cale — Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (October 2)

A couple of weeks back we discussed how Auto-Tune isn’t necessarily the spawn of the devil, but it’s still a surprise to hear it getting its robotic clutches on John Cale’s voice. The effect surfaces several times over the course of Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood, and it’s just one of many surprises on Cale’s strongest record in years — the more we listen to this, in fact, the more we’re growing to love it. It’s got perhaps the year’s worst title, and it’s not quite as good as late-career stroke of genius HoboSapiens, but it’s still a thoroughly good piece of work from one of music’s most enduringly fascinating characters. (And it’s a shitload better than Lulu, too.)

Taken by Trees — Other Worlds (October 2)

More faux-tropical balladry from ex-Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman, who’s followed up the trip she took to Pakistan to record the wonderful East of Eden with a trip to Hawaii to make this album. As with its predecessor, the album’s setting permeates its songs, and Bergsman’s voice is as pretty as ever. The whole record is streaming here.

Flying Lotus — Until the Quiet Comes (October 2)

If FlyLo’s cerebral hip hop is your thing — and it’s definitely not for everyone — then you’re most likely falling over yourself at the prospect of a new full-length album from the man. Happily, you don’t have to wait until tomorrow to hear it — it’s streaming at NPR right now.

How to Dress Well — Total Loss (October 2)

The early tracks that surfaced from this album seemed to involve Tom Krell embracing his poptastic side more and more with every passing minute. Having said that, it’s not exactly upbeat, as the title suggests — the “total loss” refers to the people Krell has lost along the way, either to death or to the pitfalls of life: addiction, depression, lost love. Modern R&B with heart: the world needs more records like this.

The Mountain Goats — Transcendental Youth (October 2)

John Darnielle has been calling this the Satan Record, which should give an indication as to the tone of its subject matter — disaffected youth, small-town alienation, and general existential angst. It’s a Mountain Goats record, in other words! This one’s streaming in advance of its release, too — you can hear it here.

ERAAS — ERAAS (October 2)

This has been one of our happiest discoveries of the year — spooky, atmospheric, widescreen rock ‘n’ roll from former members of Apse. They’re the first release on new NY-based label Felte, and the album is excellent. It’s streaming now at Stereogum, and we highly recommend checking it out.

Tori Amos — Gold Dust (October 2)

In which Tori reworks a bunch of old tracks with an orchestra. Certain corners of the Flavorpill office have been going absolutely gaga about this record.

Gudrun Gut — Wildlife (October 5)

Gudrun Gut goes back to nature? This we have to hear. (Sadly, we can’t find any of these new songs on YouTube, but you can hear 30-second snippets of each of them here. In the meantime, that’s her and Anita Lane above.)

Suzanne Vega — Close-Up 4: Songs of Family (October 9)

Suzanne Vega, meanwhile, goes the opposite route to Tori Amos with her Close-Up series, which finds her stripping back a bunch of old tracks to make new acoustic records — this is the fourth and final installment in the series. As with Amos, Vega’s back catalog is strong and extensive enough to justify an exercise like this, even if it stretches to four albums, and the songs themselves are interesting enough to transcend accusations of rehashing past glories. We would like to see a new record of original songs sooner rather than later, mind. (Nothing’s surfaced on YouTube from this record yet, so that’s a discussion of the series circa Vol. 3 above.)

Tame Impala — Lonerism (October 9)

The preternaturally talented Australian band’s march toward world domination continues apace with this record. It’s apparently inspired by Tame Impala listening to a heap of Todd Rundgren records, which is absolutely alright with us.

Jason Lytle — Department of Disappearance (October 16)

Many good Jason Lytle-related things are happening at the moment — there’s the Grandaddy reunion, obviously, and then there’s this record, which is a fine piece of work in its own right. It takes its name from a sort of Kafka-esque governmental body that’s depicted in the title track — which may or may not be a commentary on extraordinary rendition and all such unpleasantries — and as a whole, it’s a thoroughly excellent piece of work. Fingers crossed that whatever Grandaddy do next is similarly worthy.

Martha Wainwright — Come Home to Mama (October 16)

About time Martha Wainwright made a new album, dammit. This one was recorded at Sean Lennon’s home studio in NYC, and, among other things, features a beautiful version of “Prosperina” (above). The song was written by Wainwright’s mother Kate McGarrigle, and the cover is made all the poignant by McGarrigle’s death from cancer in 2010.

Of Montreal — Daughter of Cloud (October 23)

Of Montreal obsessives, rejoice — here’s a 17-track compilations of rarities and unreleased tracks. (You can get it on double turquoise vinyl, too.) Song titles include the glorious Barnesian likes of “Our Love Is Senile,” “Subtext Read, Nothing New,” and “Sails, Hermaphroditic” — you can hear the latter here.

Various Artists — Rework: Philip Glass Remixed (October 23)

We’re going out on a limb here as we literally haven’t heard a second of this — it looks fascinating, though. As the title suggests, it’s a suite of remixes of Philip Glass’s work, and there’s quite the roll-call of producers involved — amongst others, there are remixes from Pantha Du Prince, Beck, Dan Deacon and Glass’ recent ATP collaborator Tyondai Braxton (above).

The Soft Moon — Zeros (October 30)

The Total Decay EP got a solid workout chez Flavorpill last year, and we’ve always enjoyed the band when we’ve seen them live — they played a killer show with the aforementioned ERAAS in NYC a couple of weeks back — so we’re excited for the arrival of a new studio album proper.

Also out this month:

Why? — Mumps, Etc. (October 2) Yoni Wolf is one of music’s real love-or-hate characters, and if you love him, well, you’re most likely going to love this.

Muse — The 2nd Law (October 2) The band recently told the NME that this album involves experimentation with dubstep, rock opera, and rapping Terminators. God help us all.

Beth Orton — Sugaring Season (October 2) A welcome return for one of the 1990s’ most underrated singers. There’s a nice big interview with her in last week’s Observer, too.

Moon Duo — Circles (October 2) Is Sacred Bones. Is good.

Tilly and the Wall — Heavy Mood (October 2) Their percussionist is a tap dancer, don’t you know?!

Papa Roach — The Connection (October 2) A commenter last month told us off for being unnecessarily “caustic” on this page, so… this space intentionally left blank.

Black Moth Super Rainbow — Cobra Juicy (October 9) They raised $125K via Kickstarter to make this album and, we imagine, will be paying all their touring musicians.

AC Newman — Shut Down the Streets (October 9) Solo album for New Pornographers dude. Features one of the best song titles of the year.

Coheed and Cambria — The Afterman: Ascenion (October 9) Say what you like about this crew, they don’t do things by half measures. This album comes with a coffee table book and an exhaustive explanation of the band’s Amory Wars mythology.

Holly Golightly — Sunday Run Me Over (October 9) A second album for the year. Wild Billy Childish taught her well!

Cold Showers — All We Love We Leave Behind (October 9) Look, here’s the thing: we do not trust bands who come from LA and sound like Joy Division.

Ty Segall — Twins (October 9) Does the album title refer to Fender Twin amps? Quite possibly, actually.

Barbra Streisand — Release Me (October 9) If you insist.

Bat For Lashes — The Haunted Man (October 16) It’s perhaps a reflection on the state of the music industry that this album has been rather overshadowed by its cover art. Sigh.

Ben Gibbard — Former Lives (October 16) We’re assuming Death Cab fans care?

…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead — Lost Songs (October 23) Features a track dedicated to Pussy Riot, apparently.

Kendrick Lamar — Good Kid, MAAD City (October 23) Faintly menacing West Coast hip hop built over loping beats and lots of bass? It’s just like the ’90s never ended! (Shit, Dr. Dre even produces a track!)

Titus Andronicus — Local Business (October 23) Angry, angry, angry.

Paul Banks — Banks (October 23) At least he’s not calling himself Julian Plenti any more.

Egyptian Hip Hop — Good Don’t Sleep (October 23) Not nearly as interesting as their name, sadly.

Calvin Harris — 18 Months (October 30) What does Calvin do next? Our Pop for Skeptics correspondent Rohin Guha has all the answers.