Short

Since October has been quiet on the news front, here are 15 albums to fill the noise void

Just kiddin' – it's been a bit batshit hasn't it?

Maybe it’s that Christmas is little over eight weeks away, but October’s turned us into very positive people. In the veritable rush from record labels to release everything that’s been gathering dust on the shelf this year, there have only been a couple of howlers. The strength of this month leaves us with a substantial list and plenty of honorable mentions that didn’t make the cut, too – just listen to Vagabon, clipping, Patrick Watson. And brace yourselves: here are the 15 best releases from October. You can listen to one every other day next month while we decide if the rest of the year’s worth telling you about.

Artist: Big Thief
Title: Two Hands
Label: 4AD
What is it? The second album Big Thief release this year is the earthy companion piece to their celestial first, filled with the raw folk songs Adrianne Lenker is proudest of.
L&Q says: “Two Hands is a musical treat, full of aching fervour; sincere and honest without feeling overwrought or affected.” 

Read Katie Cutforth’s review.

Artist: Kim Gordon
Title: No Home Record
Label: Matador
What is it? The first solo studio album from Sonic Youth co-founder, and half of Body/ Head, Kim Gordon, that sounds exactly nothing like you’d expect it to.
L&Q says: No Home Record is spattered with tongue-in-cheek wordplay and a humour that has in part come from thirty self-confessed years of not knowing how to play an instrument.”

Read Tristan Gatward’s review.

Artist: Anna Meredith
Title: FIBS
Label: Moshi Moshi
What is it? The new album from the creator of what we deemed the best record of 2016, that sits somewhere between classical, electronica, rock, pop and more or less every other musical style too.
L&Q says: “far from feeling like a jumbled assortment of styles, FIBS feels more like a sprawling spectrum that hits a spot somewhere between the irresistible and the intriguing.”

Read Reef Younis’s review.

Artist: Richard Dawson
Title: 2020
Label: Weird World
What is it? A poetic masterwork from the black-humoured bard of Newcastle, with an updated reading of his usual 6th Century character studies.
L&Q says: “The accumulated weight of queasy imagery mounts and mounts; Zoopla, beta blockers, vape shops. Anxiety is pervasive, people have stopped smiling, floods destroy sleepy villages and a local butcher wants you to turn against your neighbour.” 

Read Fergal Kinney’s review.

Artist: Floating Points
Title: Crush
Label: Ninja Tune
What is it? Chaotic, dexterous and shape-shifting electronica that marks a decade of Sam Shepherd’s Floating Points project.
L&Q says: “As Floating Points’ sound has evolved, so has the clamour to return to the roots of early tracks […] as Shepherd meandered through cerebral takes on anything that took his crate-digging fancy.” 

Read Reef Younis’s review.

Artist: Angel Olsen
Title: All Mirrors
Label: Jagjaguwar
What is it? Angel Olsen’s darkest and most expansive work with an enigmatic Bond theme (but better) heart and ominous 14-piece orchestra.
L&Q says: “Despite her lyrical honesty she remains unknowable, evolving with each release and holding up a cracked lens to reveal a new side of her creativity.” 

Read Susan Darlington’s review.

Artist: Lightning Bolt
Title: Sonic Citadel
Label: Thrill Jockey
What is it? The seventh studio attempt from the Rhode Island noise rock duo that doesn’t break the moulds they’ve set themselves across the last two decades.
L&Q says: “They’re still the gold standard for controlled chaos using as few material elements as possible, while still being something your dad might call “too busy”.” 

Read Dafydd Jenkins’s review.

Artist: Battles
Title: Juice B Crypts
Label: Warp
What is it? Funk-fuelled rock music from the XYZ band, newly a two-piece.
L&Q says: “An LP both fast in terms of tempo and run time and fastidious when it comes to its construction.”

Read Joe Goggins’s review.

Artist: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Title: Ghosteen
Label: Ghosteen Ltd
What is it? The first real document of Nick Cave writing through pain and grief, following the accidental death of his 15-year-old son in 2015.
L&Q says: “Where once the Bad Seeds were marked by their bombast, now their sound is as elusive as Cave’s writing can become – Ellis’ synthesizers glow and swell, and occasionally like on ‘Galleon Ship’ they wail like the top notes of anxiety.” 

Read Fergal Kinney’s review.

Artist: Wilco
Title: Ode to Joy
Label: DBPM Reocrds
What is it? The eleventh studio album from Chicago indie rock titans, that still manages to explore new ground after two and a half decades.
L&Q says: “This is no grand stylistic shift – but this time it’s one made by a band with an apparently renewed purpose, if not necessarily trying to accrue new fans then at least reminding existing ones that they still have something significant to offer.” 

Read Sam Walton’s review.

Artist: Tony Njoku
Title: Your Psyche’s Rainbow Panorama
Label: Silent Kid
What is it? An experimental album that still manages to pack an emotional punch.
L&Q says: “What you get isn’t just the abstract pleasure of great sound design and weird song structures; it’s an intimate portrait of self-attacking masculinity and insecurity”. 

Read Alex Francis’s review.

Artist: JOHN
Title: Out Here on the Fringes
Label: Pets Care
What is it? A furiously kinetic electric punk-rock sophomore record from a band named after two men called John.
L&Q says: “Like a horror film that builds its suspense through the absence of an image, JOHN’s second album teases the storm coming from a mile away.”

Read Tristan Gatward’s review.

Artist: DIIV
Title: Deceiver
Label: Captured Tracks
What is it? An album about the wounds of drug abuse, from the dream pop outfit in recover after their lead singer successfully left rehab.
L&Q says: “Reinforcing their rhythm-driven shoegaze with sturdier instrumentation, it represents DIIV’s most full-bodied album to date.”

Read Jamie Haworth’s review.

Artist: Hana Vu
Title: Nicole Kidman/ Anne Hathaway
Label: Luminelle Recordings
What is it? A double EP that flicks between melancholia and ethereal dream pop, from songs about shit exes to a Mulan cover, named after two people who make a living from pretending to be someone else.
L&Q says: “Co-existing opposites recur throughout the album, particularly in a sense of the strange existing within the familiar, like an unshakeably eery sense of deja-vu.” 

Read Megan Wallace’s review.

Artist: Gong Gong Gong
Title: Phantom Rhythm
Label: Wharf Cat
What is it? The psychedelic debut from Canadian-come-Cantonese duo, so good they were named three times.
L&Q says: “Like the muted hypnotism of Konono No1 or the white hot intensity of Arto Lindsay’s solo shows, the best of their full-length debut can invoke such a clatter as to outdo groups three times their size.” 

Read Dafyyd Jenkins’s review.

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