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The 10 Best Albums of October 2017

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The 10 Best Albums of October 2017

It’s the day after Halloween, and we still have some tricks and treats in store. Not only did Paste review a scary death metal album, but it also ranked among the best albums of October. And while mainstay rock artists like Beck and beloved indie up-and-comers like Julien Baker and made this list definitively, the No. 1 album served as another spooky surprise. Check out the 10 highest rated albums from October 2017 below.

10. The Barr Brothers, Queens of the Breakers
Rating: 8.7

The Barr Brothers harbor a boundless sense of curiosity. Brothers Brad and Andrew Barr and Sarah Pagé seem to look at the world around them, and especially the vast array of noise-making devices around them, as instruments through which to channel that wonder. On their third LP, Queens of the Breakers, The Barr Brothers use everything from their typical set-up—guitar, percussion and harp—to strings performed by The Warhol Dervish, requinto guitars from Mexico and stringed ngoni from West Africa continue that joyful sonic experimentation. —Hilary Saunders

Read the full review here

9. Beck, Colors
Rating: 8.7

Over the course of Beck’s 25-year career, he’s tapped into a multitude of styles, including lo-fi avant-garde, country, alt-rock, hip-hop, funk, orchestral, and singer/songwriter. It’s only fitting, then, that his latest collection, Colors, reveals yet another persona. True to its name, it’s a jovial psychedelic mixture of ‘60s rock, ‘80s synth pop and modern electronic that, like many of its predecessors, finds Beck channeling the current musical zeitgeist while also maintaining his trademark sensibilities and personality. Although it’s sustained templates make it a tad repetitious overall, it’s still a very pleasing, cohesive and imaginative sequence. —Jordan Blum

Read the full review here

8. Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
Rating: 8.9

It’s impossible to assess Julien Baker’s sophomore effort, Turn Out the Lights, without acknowledging the considerable shadow of its predecessor, Sprained Ankle. Two years ago, the debut snuck up on all but a handful of people. Turn Out the Lights will sneak up on no one. It sounds lush and meticulously made. Sprained Ankle was stripped to the bone, sonically speaking, but its follow-up features lots of keyboards, plus string sections, vocal harmonies and more atmospheric qualities. —Ben Salmon

Read the full review here

7. Protomartyr, Relatives In Descent
Rating: 8.9

Protomartyr must be one of the more unlikely rock ‘n’ roll success stories of the past few years. Nearly a decade after it first formed, Protomartyr is back with its fourth album of snarling, tightly wound post-punk. Relatives in Descent builds on what the band has been doing since its 2012 debut No Passion All Technique, with frontman Joe Casey turning his loathing outward, and his band sounding bigger and better than ever. While his band has grown into a post-punk monster, Casey, too, has moved beyond his personal frets and frustrations and developed into a lyricist capable of clear and compelling commentary. He’s a voice worth listening to. It took a while, but thank goodness he found his way to the front of a band. —Ben Salmon

Read the full review here

6. Margo Price, All American Made
Rating: 9.0

Country star Margo Price has always toed the line between diving backward into country music’s canon and ushering an innovative future for the genre. Luckily, she’s able to do both on her don’t-you-dare-call-it-a-slump sophomore release. All American Made. Vocally, she still pays homage to the country foremothers to whom she’s oft compared, like Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. Looking ahead, however, Price expands her musical horizons past the cliché of three-chords and the truth. Her voice sounds stronger, more confident than on her wily, ragged debut, and her backing musicians help build a versatile foundation for her croons and screams. —Hilary Saunders

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5. A. Savage, Thawing Dawn
Rating: 9.1

Best known as co-frontman of frenetic, rock outfit Parquet Courts, Andrew Savage has a new moniker (the very nudge-wink, A. Savage), a new girlfriend and a new album—his solo debut. Departing from the angular, New York-influenced sound of his other band, Savage uses Thawing Dawn to explore love from the inside—reflecting on it as it’s happening instead of once it’s gone—while also leaning in to his Texas roots. —Madison Desler

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4. Exhumed, Death Revenge
Rating: 9.1

Guitarist and vocalist Matt Harvey formed gore-mongers Exhumed in 1990 when he was 15 years old. From there, the band released a slew of demos, splits, and seminal gore-grind and death metal albums like Gore Metal and Slaughtercult. But after a break from the band, Death Revenge marks a much more ambitious return for Exhumed. We understand that goregrind may not be everyone’s preference. But for a band that sharpened their teeth on said sub-genre, Death Revenge is a a magnum opus for the group, and a flying leap into so much more. —Aris Hunter Wales

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3. King Krule, The Ooz
Rating: 9.1

Archy Marshall’s debut album as King Krule, 6 Feet, was a profound creative statement, belying his unassuming appearance and youth. So his second record, The Ooz, comes with expectations, however unfair. But he more than rises to the occasion. Partly due to Marshall’s incredibly low register, songs on The Ooz take on frightful undertones, as howls and shrieks are riddled atop meditative musical ambience, like a Lynchian fever dream. —Ryan J. Prado

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2. Gabrielle Papillon, Keep The Fire
Rating: 9.1

Having released five wonderful studio albums over the last 15 years, Gabrielle Papillon stands alongside artists like Greg Laswell, Tori Amos, Ben Folds and Joanna Newsom as one of today’s best singer/songwriters. Indeed, her mixture of sweetly cautious singing, graceful lyricism, and sophisticated folk/rock tapestries makes her a highly distinctive, moving, and consistent creator. In other words, hers is a sound of bittersweet, luscious empowerment, and her latest offering, Keep the Fire, is her greatest observation yet. Filled with both charming introspections and catchy outcries—all of which are delivered via engrossing, ambitious and dynamic arrangements—it’s a true gem in the genre. —Jordan Blum

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1. Melkbelly, Nothing Valley
Rating: 9.3

This is the fun part, when a promising band seems to emerge fully formed, from out of nowhere, with a great debut album. Consider Melkbelly, the affably disruptive Chicago quartet of singer-guitarist Miranda Winters, guitarist Bart Winters (her husband), bassist Liam Winters (his brother) and drummer James Wetzel. Cramming what should be an unworkable heap of concepts and sounds into a deliciously volatile 35 minutes, Nothing Valley is a bracing blend of scraping noise and tender melody, not unlike the recipe used by Speedy Ortiz. —Jon Young

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