The nights may be drawing in now that the clocks have gone back, and temperatures might be heading south, but don’t worry - album releases are still pure fire.
From the experimental hip-hop of Clipping and the reflective grime of Wretch 32, to the textured soundscapes of Sudan Archives and Floating Points, October gave us plenty of excellent music.
Here’s our round-up of some of the best albums that dropped over the last month…
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Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin // REVIEW
Although the appeal of Danny Brown has always been in his chaotic production and delivery, he delivers a more focused, melancholic project on his fifth studio album ‘uknowhatimsayin’.
The record succeeds in flipping our expectations of a Danny Brown album, delivering a project that’s masterfully produced and exquisitely executed.
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Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen // REVIEW
‘Ghosteen’ is not a blissful or comfortable album, but it is a hopeful one. The gaping wound of ‘Skeleton Tree’ is scarring over as Nick Cave pulls away from the past’s savage undertow, content in the knowledge that peace will come.
It’s a paean to how all things bright and beautiful can be thrown into blinding relief once you’ve known real darkness, another open letter straight from artist to audience that cuts right to the core of what means to have loved, lost and loved again.
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Chromatics - Closer To Grey // REVIEW
Modern life is frantic, moving at a sickening pace. At times it can all feel a bit too much. Perhaps more than ever, people are in need of an escape, just a little bit of respite from the stresses that come with 21st century living.
It may not have been their intention, but with ‘Closer to Grey’, Chromatics provide just that, and much more.
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Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2 // REVIEW
Following Part 1, Foals promised that Part 2 of their 2019 albums would contain some of their heaviest work yet. And while this is true for singles 'Black Bull' and 'The Runner', there is much more here than just hulking riffs.
Best listened to with the context of Part 1, the way Part 2 rounds the 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost' era off makes for the argument that this is Foals' most accomplished body of work to date.
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Caroline Polachek - PANG // REVIEW
There’s something oddly fresh and ethereal about this record from Caroline Polachek - regardless of its owner’s signature organic autotune and liquid lyricism, whether she knows it or not, there’s an underlying confidence that runs throughout.
‘PANG’ marks the beginning of a new chapter and confirms its position as one of the most singular, captivating records of the year.
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From crying on your bedroom floor to dancing the night away, Vagabon’s music is versatile enough to encompass both while everything in between. ‘Flood’ and ‘Water Me Down’ can both be seen as a clarification of an anxious mind with different undertones of the emotional spectrum.
The 24 year old wrote, arranged and produced this album all by herself. The work of an immensely talented melodic mastermind, Laetitia Tamko's second album touches on the magical.
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Sudan Archives - Athena // REVIEW
‘Athena’ isn’t just an album to be listened to, it’s to be experienced. While this is arguably true of all music, this album is filled with deeply textured soundscapes that feel contemporary but also from the not-too-distant future. The beats are crisp and reference R&B/beat culture, but are backed by gossamer strings and elegant synths. Then over this Sudan Archives vocals either float gracefully in like an apparition, or come at you like a banshee.
Her ability to incorporate avant-garde motifs and textures is brave, as the songs could be overloaded with too many ideas, but her deft vision means they are totally balanced and invigorating to listen to.
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At its core ‘There Existed An Addiction To Blood’ is an avant-garde experiment into tones and sounds that has been dressed up as a hip-hop album. They show that hip-hop doesn’t need to keep to convention to be gripping and visceral; refusing to be placed in stasis for the sake of chart success, the group deserve all the plaudits that will come their way.
Truly, an album to savour.
Wretch 32 - Upon Reflection // REVIEW
Wretch 32 has refused to allow the changes across the musical landscape to obstruct his timings and artistic process. Having clearly established a following, prestige and critical acclaim, Jermaine Scott Sinclair stands tall as a UK pioneer.
Last seen in a full capacity in 2017 - with his album FR32 - Wretch 32 returns with his “surprise” album ‘Upon Reflection’ which hones in on the act on a retrospective and intramural level.
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