The October Gauntlet
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
New releases from James Blake, Deftones, Kurt Vile & more reviewed plus the E/O October playlist.
Continuing on from my debut monthly round up last month, I'm checking out some of the standout records that dropped over the past four weeks. October was jam packed with great releases from Adrianne Lenker to Weather Underground so let's get into them!
October Album Reviews
songs/instrumentals - Adrianne Lenker
Adrianne Lenker distils Big Thief's irresistible indie rock melodies down to their spine tingling essence with a majestic series of gently psychedelic, freak acoustic ballads on outstanding solo record songs, before taking a deep breath to explore some ambient blues and folk throughout two gorgeous soundscapes on twin album instrumentals. Both records combine to highlight Lenker's immense (and seriously underrated) talent outside of her signature band work.
Best Tracks: 'anything'/'dragon eyes'/'my angel'
Ohms - Deftones
The 9th album from the legendary alternative metal outfit certainly packs plenty of heavy hooks and some typically spellbinding vocals from frontman Chino Moreno, yet Ohms is sadly lacking the melodic groove of Deftones' best work and these ten tracks fall flat more often than not. But for a quite brilliant lead single in title track 'Ohms' as well as hypnotic centerpiece 'Pompeji', this is a mostly forgettable, by the numbers addition to Deftones' versatile discography.
Best Tracks: 'Pompeji'/'This Link Is Dead'/'Ohms'
Before - James Blake (EP)
Blake continues his fine form in 2020 on this low-key EP release that sees the producer lay down some blissed out electronica beats across four tracks in seventeen minutes. The 32 year old has been productive during quarantine, releasing some typically heavenly piano ballads while still making time for more club-oriented production work. These two forms combine on Before in dazzling fashion, making for a perfect late night soundtrack this November lockdown. Most notable is stunning closer 'Summer of Now', a potential indication of an alluring new direction for Blake to explore deeper on future releases.
Best Tracks: 'Summer of Now'
Speed, Sound, Lonely KV - Kurt Vile (EP)
KV is in a contemplative state on his latest EP as the psychedelic stoner rock of Bottle It In takes a back seat for some country inspired acoustic jams on Speed, Sound, Lonely KV. This smooth set of folk tunes is a delightful breeze that showcases Vile's laid back charm at its easiest, headlined by a lovely collaboration with long time influence, the late John Prine, on a cover of his own 'How Lucky'.
Best Tracks: 'Speed of the Sound of Loneliness'/'Dandelions/'How Lucky'
Into The Blue/Trees - Weather Underground
Weather Underground shift away from the garage rock of their 2018 EP Chronic Lateness with an intriguing left turn on their latest two track release. 'Into The Blue' finds the band in a pleasant limbo between their earlier Britpop inspired guitar work and newer territory as a playfully catchy chorus is offset by a more atmospheric outro, before 'Trees' finds the quartet exploring a dream pop style that fits a charm. Drummer Daniel Kearns pens an instrumentally dense gem that teases a fruitful new direction for the young Dubliners. Both tunes demonstrate a developing sense of musicianship and collaboration between the four, and offer an enticing preview of what we can expect on the band's forthcoming full length debut album.
Either/Or's October Playlist
'The Pink Phantom (featuring Elton John & 6LACK)' - Gorillaz
'Look Over Your Shoulder (feat. Kendrick Lamar)' - Busta Rhymes
'Hear Me Out' - Pixies
'Mr. Child' - Guided By Voices
'Postcard From Spain' - Quarter Life Crisis, Frances Quinlan & Ryan Hemsworth
'Jeanie (feat. Bon Iver) - Jim-E Stack
'BRON' - Lykke Li
'We've Only Just Begun' - Bat For Lashes
'Unfold You' - Rostam
'Superstar' - Tennis
'Shiver' - Jonsi
'Ghosts' - Bruce Springsteen
'Let Me Love You Like A Woman' - Lana Del Rey
'Californian Soil' - London Grammar
'Faith Healer' - Julien Baker
'How Lucky' - Kurt Vile & John Prine
'Interstellar Love (feat. Leon Bridges)' - The Avalanches
'Knife Prty - Purity Ring Remix' - Purity Ring, Deftones
'This Link Is Dead' - Deftones
'Cat's Cradle' - Tigers Jaw
'nowhere, man' - Tune-Yards
'Trees' - Weather Underground
'zombie girl' - Adrianne Lenker
'Summer of Now' - James Blake
November's Most Anticipated Releases
Ariana Grande - Positions [Pop/R&B]
Busta Rhymes - Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God [Hip-Hop]
Wilco - Summerteeth (Deluxe Reissue) [Indie folk/Alternative country]
AC/DC - POWER UP [Hard rock/Heavy metal]
Aesop Rock - Spirit World Field Guide [Hip-Hop]
Elton John - Jewel Box [Pop/Glam rock]
Autechre - PLUS [IDM/Glitch]
BTS - BE [K-pop]
Miley Cyrus - Plastic Hearts [Pop/Country]
Smashing Pumpkins - Cyr [Alternative rock]
Arctic Monkeys - Live at the Royal Albert Hall [Indie rock]
Sigur Ros - Odin's Raven Magic [Post rock/Ambient/Art rock]
The White Stripes - Greatest Hits [Blues/Garage rock/Indie rock]