October was pretty big month in music. There were highly anticipated releases along with a few surprises. Below are just a few of last month’s new releases i’ve really enjoyed.
Arcade Fire’s fourth album Reflektor was by far the most hyped album released in October if not one of the most anticipated albums slated for release this year. Expectations for Arcade Fire’s new album were undoubtedly increased by their shocking Grammy win for “The Suburbs” and the elaborate marketing campaign building up to the release of Reflektor. Amazingly enough Arcade Fire seem to have largely met those crazy expectations. Reflektor is a great album and one where Arcade Fire took risks rather than play it safe. The band teamed up with recently retired LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy to produce Reflektor. That alone is indicative of Arcade Fire’s intentions with Reflektor. Arcade Fire’s 4th album is a rhythmic centric dance oriented album. The songs are reminiscent of disco but with a rawer more organic Caribbean sound. Despite the lighthearted tone of the music, Win Butler’s lyrics throughout the album are deeper and more poignant than ever. Reflektor is a fun and engaging album thats worth listening to over and over.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Paul McCartney. Thats all you really need to know about this album. New is the famous ex-Beatle’s 16th studio album and his first in 5 years. If you like McCartney then of course you will love this album because Paul seems to be in top form. The music is focused and well produced. The songs are catchy and rocking. However, if there is just one song you should listen to on this album it is Early Days. This song almost made me cry. Early Days is essentially an affectionate and nostalgic letter from Paul to his deceased friend and musical counterpart John Lennon. Paul McCartney has really aged well, I hope he keeps making great music for many more years.
Paul McCartney – New
Four Tet might be my favorite electronic producer maybe because he never fails to surprise. Four Tet is always evolving. Recently he has focused his talents on producing club friendly singles. Beautiful Rewind is the album form of Four Tet’s EDM phase and it surprisingly works really well. The album starts abruptly as if you’ve just walked into a club with the DJ two hours deep into his set. From there the album takes many twists and turns through the world of underground dance music. Kieren Hebden’s deep and vast knowledge of dance records and sub-sub genres shines on Beautiful Rewind. The last half of Beautiful Rewind is my favorite, Hebden totally nails the flow and pacing. Four Tet’s eclectic and diverse approach to dance music isn’t for everyone but if you like music that transports you to those rare magical moments you’ve experience late at night at some dingy club then check out Beautiful Rewind.
Four Tet – Beautiful Rewind
FINALLY. Sky Ferreira released her long awaited, many times delayed, debut album (and yes that is the real album cover). Night Time, My Time is a nearly perfect neo-pop album. I think part of this is attributable to her immensely talented producer Ariel Rechtshaid who has produced music for artists from Usher and No Doubt to Vampire Weekend and Haim. With the help of Rechtshaid, Ferreira has been able to hone and focus her musical talent into a tight polished product. Night Time, My Time is what pop music on the radio should sound like. There is real emotion and angst behind Sky’s beautiful voice and catchy melodies. Night Time, My Time will make you feel young and reckless (if you’re getting old like me). However, there is nothing to feel guilty about with this pop pleasure.
Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
The Flaming Lips were approached by the movie studio producing the adaptation of Enders Game to write a song for the movie. The Flaming Lips instead wrote 5 songs. One of those songs (the title track) was accepted by the movie studio and the rest rejected. The Lips have done us a favor and released all of the tracks on an EP. The Flaming Lips have always been huge sic-fi fans (the band made their own sic-fi movie once) so they are perfect candidates to write songs for a big sci-fi blockbuster. Peace Sword sounds like The Flaming Lip’s last two albums and Yoshimi all combined into one. This is a very strong EP. The Flaming Lips could have easily added a few more songs and made it into an album and I would have been happy with it.
The Flaming Lips – Peace Sword
Kurt Vile has been on the road touring in support of his fantastic double album Wakin on a Pretty Daze. His show in Salt Lake was amazing. Its a Big World Out There (And I am Scared) captures the sound and experience of that show in an EP. The EP contains several alternate versions of tracks from Wakin on a Pretty Daze including, ”Never Run Away”, “Snowflakes Are Dancing,” and “Air Bud.” These alternate versions are full of hazy synths and psychadelic guitars reminiscent of Vile’s former band The War on Drugs. If you enjoy Kurt Vile’s prodigious guitar work and his live sound you’ll love this EP.
Kurt Vile – It’s A Big World Out There (And I Am Scared)