October is usually a pretty mundane affair, the weather turns crap, your tan has faded and Christmas still seems ages away. I expected October 2013 to be no different, but little did I know that it was soon to become and electrifying month full of exciting album/EP announcements, new tunes and even a Christmas single or two. Here are some of the best things I heard last month:
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Since their pretty much flawless debut album Funeral in 2004, Arcade Fire haven’t put a foot wrong. Although this cements them as one of this decade’s best rock bands, it also puts a lot of pressure on them as a band to deliver (and me as a fan to like it). Thankfully, they have delivered one hell of an album, despite a few duds (*cough* Supersymmetry *cough*), this album is a solid groove-fest with lead single Reflektor, Afterlife and It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus) being particular highlights. Although, if you are new to Arcade Fire, I would recommend that you start with The Suburbs, which is easily their most accessible release. Check out Afterlife below:
Marika Hackman – Cinnamon
Marika Hackman’s painfully underrated That Iron Taste mini-album was one of my favourite releases of this year so far, I was spell bounded by Marika’s voice and the accompanying dreamy medieval-folk production. It left me gagging for a full length album but I guess I’m gonna have to wait because her next release it a new EP Sugar Blind, which is out in December. Cinnamon is a taste of what’s to come and is a lot darker than some of her previous stuff with its sparse production and electronic glitches. Hear the gorgeous acoustic version below:
Kelly Clarkson – Underneath The Tree
Too early for a Christmas single? Not in my book! This festive tune comes from none other than American Idol veteran Kelly Clarkson. Kelly has always had a special place in my heart; she was my first ever gig and her albums Breakaway and My December pretty much soundtracked my childhood (along with The Strokes and Bjork). I was slightly apprehensive when I first heard she was releasing a Christmas album but this song is the absolute nuts. It’s everything you expect from a Christmas song: LOADS of bells, a jolly chorus, bouncy piano, harmonies (predominantly oohs and aahs), cheesy-arse lyrics, plenty of hooks and even a sax solo. But it totally works and is already a classic in my opinion. I would say this is Mariah-level awesomeness.
Say Lou Lou – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and Better In The Dark
Say Lou Lou are Swedish dream-pop duo who have been turning heads with their dreamy electro-pop, their single Julian was good but it was their excellent Tame Impala cover which (which dropped in September) showed that they mean business. Hot off the heals of this marvel of a song (which is available for FREE here) they dropped yet ANOTHER epic song, this time in the form of electro-pop stonker Better In The Dark which can be heard below:
Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
I first came across Sky Ferreira at the tender age of 11 and formed a slight obsession with her and even created a website dedicated to her in ICT class. After uncountable false starts and an arrest, Sky has finally dropped her debut album and it is well worth the wait. Sky has managed to channel her traumatic experiences into 12 electro-pop songs with extra bite. Despite the absence of my personal favourites Everything Is Embarrassing and Lost In My Bedroom, she has produced an pop album which is as meaningful as it is catchy, with highlights being Boys, 24 hours and Nobody Asked Me (If I Was OK). However, due to Capitol Records’ obvious conspiracy against me, they are making it really difficult for me to obtain a copy, the bastards.
Oh I do love a female-fronted band, they seem to really capture the emotion of their lyrics whilst creating catchy hooks at the same time. Blessa do this perfectly, their recent single Between Lines has a gorgeous guitar melody throughout which recalls shoegaze and pop as well as an absolutely glorious chorus with a soaring female vocal to top it all off. The b-side is a more low-key affair but equally as brilliant, I’m expecting a very good album from them in the not-too-distant future. Check out both songs here:
Disclosure – Apollo
Having only just dropped one of the best albums of the year in June, I was pleasantly surprised to see an new Disclosure song in my Soundcloud timeline. It isn’t yet known if it’s an off-cut or if it’s part of a bigger release but one thing is for sure; it is bloody brilliant. Returning to their roots, Apollo sports a more deep-house infused sound which my favourite Disclosure songs such as Tenderly and Flow also have. Good stuff.
Lewis – Hunter
From the already established to the brand new - literally this is their only song online at this present moment. Lewis are a Brooklyn-based band… that’s about it for now. But they have given us an absolute gem in the form of Hunter, which is a blues-rock/pop/electronica/country/R’n’B stomper is one of the most confident debut singles I’ve heard in a while, it sounds like a song from an already established/already universally adored band which you might hear on the trailer for the next big American vampire drama. The best thing about this is that it is only a promo track, their first official release is still to be announced. Exciting stuff.