It’s been a relatively frantic month with regards to track releases from a variety of big names, and while we’re still waiting out on a number of albums before the year ends, October has been a sweet precursor to what we can only expect to be some fascinating records. Within the past 30 days: Drake has managed to spawn the most meme’ified video of the year without hitting his first Billboard number one, Adele dropped a long awaited typically morose love ballad that racked up over a 100 million views, and St. Vincent was spotted working at a Tex-Mex restaurant, all before Halloween. With so much hubbub and white noise, we’ve decided to sift through the best releases of October to bring you what’s really worth listening to.
Chairlift - Ch-Ching
Chairlift are back with their first single since 2012 and an announcement that their next album Moth will surface early next year. Ch-Ching sees the ever lovable Caroline Polachek groove and vogue her way through what is presumably the underpass of some Williamsburg train line. The track is slightly more upbeat and danceable than Chairlift’s usual fair, but they still manage to create some dizzyingly catchy synth pop that’s too good not to get down to.
Grimes - Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream
Claire Boucher drops a straight forward pop whammy as her second track of the year. As a followup to her previous work, Flesh Without Blood sees Grimes ditch her more subdued synth pop sound for top 40 traditionalism. Louder and more coherent than ever, Grimes insists that her new inflection is here to stay. On November 6th you’ll be able to determine for yourself if she can make that switch, when her second LP Art Angels is released.
Joanna Newsom - Divers
2015 has been a particularly notable year for strong female vocalists and songwriters. The return of Sleater Kinney, the phenomenal M3LL155X from FKA Twigs, Julia Holter’s Have You In My Wilderness, Bjork’s breakup music, the list goes on and on. Now throw Joanna Newsom into the mix with a harp and her first album in five years, 2015 is all about girl power.
Chance The Rapper ft. Saba - Angels
Chance has been steadily dropping gems all year, from an insanely catchy remix of Jerimih’s Airplanes, to the deeply pleasing Sunday Candy, Angels is merely another weapon in his arsenal of positivity. Picking up where Kanye left off with Late Registration, Chance is about as uniformly Chicago as it gets. A stark contrast to his drill counterparts both stylistically and sonically, he still manages to weave a sound that’s as inspired by everything good about Chicago as it is bad. Saba adorning the hook is also a welcome touch, but now we’re just waiting for a one man followup to Acid Rap.
Blood Orange - Sandra's Smile
British born New York based singer-songwriter Devonte Hynes, otherwise known as Blood Orange, releases a somber R&B ode to Sandra Bland. While the song may be titled Sandra's Smile, it addresses the wider upheaval and struggle in the black community with policing and racism. The music video, an energetic but somewhat withdrawn black and white dance piece, is a fitting companion to the message.
Erykah Badu - HOTLINE BLING BUT U CAN'T -- USE MY PHONE
Artists across the board have been clamoring to cover Drake's Hotline Bling, everyone from Sam Smith to fucking Jadakis have put their own unique spin on the cotton-soft banger. None however, come close to the oddity that is Erykah Badu. Channeling New Amerykah vibes through and through, her cover is more its own than any of the takes on the song prior or since. The skit interlude and the subtle Ms. Jackson sample alone elevate the song to epic proportions.
Beach House - Elegy to the Void
With Depression Cherry barely turning two months old, Beach House have come out of nowhere with the surprise release of Thank Your Lucky Stars. Elegy to the Void, released prior to the bewildering October 16th drop, is a deeply haunting and ethereal piece of music. Slightly more downcast than the material on Depression Cherry, the single still retains the sonic echoes of reverb they've become known for. However, something feels slightly more discordant than usual. Let's chock that up to the more political nature of the album.