Here’s the second half of October’s playlist as promised! Only two all-caps names this time, heh. Have fun and enjoy!
FINNEAS, Optimist, released 15 October. Billie Eilish’s brother comes out from behind the instruments and laptops and releases his own solo album. Like Billie, he’s a super-soft singer, but it works with the ballads and ponderings he’s featured here. As I’d hoped, his songwriting is just like on his sister’s album: the closer you listen to it, the more creative it is.
Deerhoof, Actually, You Can, released 22 October. They’re definitely your classic weirdo alt-rock band on par with Liars and Animal Collective that aren’t always easy on the ears, yet somehow you can’t stop listening to them. You never quite know where the songs are going to go next.
Clinic, Fantasy Island, released 22 October. This is another odd band, this time with one foot firmly entrenched in a Silver Apples-like motorik synthesizer sound. They’re definitely a ‘critic fave’ sort of band that never gets airplay, but they’re worth checking out.
Black Marble, Fast Idol, released 22 October. They’re part of the current wave of synth bands recapturing that UK synthpop sound (think super early OMD, well before their hit song), and they’re so much fun to listen to, especially for a GenXer like me. It’s like listening to college radio again!
Duran Duran, Future Past, released 22 October. This album is definitely a change from their previous record, 2015’s Paper Gods, in that they’ve moved slightly away from the dance grooves and headed towards inventive rock territory — sort of like 1988’s Big Thing in a way, come to think of it. It’s got some truly odd moments but it’s a a super fascinating listen.
La Luz, La Luz, released 22 October. Quirky lofi-ish indie pop that hints at garagey surf rock with maybe even a pinch of Stereolab. Bouncy, light fun.
RUFUS DU SOL, Surrender, released 22 October. I do loves me some epic-sounding moody electronica, especially for writing sessions! This is a relatively new band find for me, and I’m quite digging this record.
Parquet Courts, Sympathy for Life, released 22 October. This is another one of those weirdo bands I didn’t think I’d get into, but they keep coming out with great alt-rock gems that get stuck in my brain for hours at a time. They never really take themselves all that seriously, which makes their songs even more fun!
The The, The Comeback Special, released 29 October. Matt Johnson surprised everyone a while back by staging a comeback tour (including a stop in San Francisco, which I was able to catch!) in addition to releasing several of his Radio Cineola projects and soundtracks for his brother’s films. This record is pretty much a single entire show from start to finish, and it just shows how many amazing songs he’s written over the last several decades.
Billy Bragg, The Million Things That Never Happened, released 29 October. Still going strong since the 80s, he still writes the great troubador folk songs (now in the form of catchy alternapop these days) that are intelligent, catchy, and quite often amusing. And it sounds like he’s not going to quit any time soon.
Tori Amos, Ocean to Ocean, released 29 October. Another great songwriter releases a quiet and moody lockdown album inspired in part by her Cornwall surroundings and also the US Capitol riots.
Geese, Projector, released 29 October. This NYC band sounds like they dug deep in their local inspirations, as they definitely have that arch No-Wave sound similar to Television. There’s a hint of grooviness, a hint of jam-band meandering, and college radio moodiness on this record that really makes this band fascinating.
Whew! That was a lot for the last half of October, and it looks like November’s going to have an overflow of great records as well! Not going to complain, of course…