Fall is coming and the number of albums we’re excited to hear this month is hitting us like a windfall. From the collision of modern masters—Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile— to the resurgence of experimental pioneers like John Maus, our tastes varied widely among voting staff members. Read on for 15 of the October albums we’re most excited to hear, and be sure to click through to find the Paste Studio Sessions of number of these artists who already dropped by to debut some of their new tunes.
Weaves, Wide Open
After their self-titled debut album was shortlisted for both a Juno Award and Polaris Music Prize, Toronto-based Weaves had a lot of pressure surrounding their sophomore release. As if one follow-up wasn’t enough, though, Weaves apparently already has enough material for two more albums. Here’s hoping for lots more new indie-pop jams from these folks in quick succession from Wide Open.
Four years after their last album, guitarist Brian Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin return as Cults. Judging by the band’s three-song set in the Paste Studio yesterday, the New York City-based duo haven’t lost a step over the years. In fact, their newer synth-pop jams seem to reflect a more meaningful back-and-forth exchange between Oblivion and Follin.
Wolf Parade, Cry Cry Cry
Wolf Parade exited the scene seven years ago after the release of their third album Expo 86, and it looked like they might never return. Then last year they emerged with a self-titled EP and returned this year with “Valley Boy” and “You’re Dreaming” from tomorrow’s Cry Cry Cry, the latter of which we named a Daily Dose back in August. “Valley Boy.” So far, so good from the rejuvenated Wolf Parade. —Matthew Oshinsky
The White Buffalo, Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights
Alt-country singer-songwriter Jake Smith is also known as The White Buffalo. When he came into the Paste Studio in New York back in August, he unleashed his appropriately animalistic howls over just a lone acoustic guitar. Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights, his sixth LP, will be his first for Thirty Tigers.
King Krule, The Ooz
To many, Archy Ivan Marshall is a mastermind. The young performer known as King Krule is part rapper, singer, producer and instrumentalist, and he has been writing and releasing music since he was a teenager in South London. Although only his second album as King Krule, The Ooz serves as a return to a more authentic persona for the young Krule.
The Barr Brothers, Queens of the Breakers
Something about The Barr Brothers’ three-song set in the Paste Studio last month appealed to everyone who voted on the best sessions of September. It could have been the diverse instrumentality among the five members or the way each of the songs they played seemed like a malleable entity that could be distilled or expanded as necessary. Regardless, the new songs The Barr Brothers played from their forthcoming album Queens of the Breakers showcased their boundless curiosity and creativity. Check out the session here.
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice
Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett strummed on the heartstrings of indie lovers when they declared that they would be joining forces to make sweet, dry-humored music together. The album includes originals, reinterpretations of each other’s songs and even a few covers—duet renditions of Belly’s “Untogether” and “Fear Is Like a Forest,” originally recorded by Barnett’s partner Jen Cloher. What’s even more exciting is that Vile and Barnett are gearing up to go on tour in the fall backed by The Sea Lice, an all-star crew comprising Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag), Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), Rob Laakso (The Violaters, The Swirlies, Mice Parade) and Katie Harkin (Sky Larkin, touring member of Sleater-Kinney and Wild Beasts). —Lisa Nguyen
St. Vincent, Masseduction
Speaking on Facebook Live as part of a mock-press conference, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark revealed, “Every record I make has an archetype.” She continued, “Strange Mercy was Housewives on Pills. St. Vincent was Near-Future Cult Leader. Masseduction is different, it’s pretty first person. You can’t fact-check it, but if you want to know about my life, listen to this record.” But even if she alludes to a more autobiographical premise, Clark enlisted an A-list team of collaborators including co-producer Jack Antonoff and thrilling special guests like Jenny Lewis, Kamasi Washington and more. It’s all adding up to be one of the most anticipated records of the year. But don’t just take our word for it. Check out Arkells covering Masseduction’s first single in our studio below.
After teasing us all with a trio of new singles in 2016, Beck is well and truly back with his 13th record in 2017. After releasing a smattering of songs, the chameleonic multi-instrumentalist’s new single “Dear Life” is a jaunty, piano-driven number. Released with a lyric video—directed by Jimmy Turrell, Laura Gorun and Brook Linder—that features animation from Drew Tyndell and Rhiannon Tyndell, the clip’s imagery fits wonderfully with Colors’ aesthetic, and the tune itself is all but certain to stick to alternative radio like superglue. —Scott Russell
Yellow Days, Is Everything OK In Your World?
As if we weren’t excited enough for King Krule’s newest, those similar vibes abound in Yellow Days’ stellar latest offering. English wunderkind George van den Broek shares gorgeous, gravelly vocals paired with his own dexterous guitar riffs and polished melodies. We picked up on them back in June for a Daily Dose, and are ready for an album-worth at the end of them month. This is definitely one to watch. i—Adrian Spinelli
Margo Price, All American Made
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. The songs she released on the recent Weakness EP, which features songs from the forthcoming second LP, show Price’s voice as stronger, more confident than on her wily, yet ragged debut, and we’re looking forward to following her lead as the genre evolves in time.
Led by ferocious frontwoman Alicia Bognano, Nashville indie rockers Bully are back with their sophomore release Losing. The 2015 Best of What’s Next picks first entered into the music scene with their record Feels Like that same year. Since then, they’ve been channeling the likes of The Breeders and Sonic Youth to grace us with perfectly dialed-down punk anthems. —Lisa Nguyen
Canadian indie rocker Dan Bejar has announced his 12th album as Destroyer, ken, as the follow-up to 2015’s Poison Season. ken was produced by Josh Wells of Black Mountain, who’s been drumming for Destroyer since 2012, and was recorded in the band’s jam space/studio dubbed The Balloon Factory. Bejar’s songs are characterized by abstract lyrics and idiosyncratic vocals, bringing in a realm of different influences, and the new record will surely hold true to that. —Samantha Lopez
John Maus, Screen Memories
Fans of experimental, ‘80s-inspired synth music should rejoice at the fact that former Ariel Pink collaborator John Maus has not one, but two albums of new material on the horizon. The first, which comes out this month, is called Screen Memories, and the other, called Addendum is scheduled to be released as part of a retrospective vinyl box set next year.
Julien Baker, Turn Out the Lights
Singer-songwriter Julien Baker’s second LP arrives nearly two years to the day after her debut, the superlative Sprained Ankle. Baker wrote, recorded and produced Turn Out The Lights at Ardent Studios in her hometown of Memphis, and Craig Silvey (The National, Arcade Fire, Florence & the Machine) mixed it. For context, Sprained Ankle landed not only on our list of the best albums of 2015, but also earned a spot on our ranking of the 100 best indie-folk albums of all time. In other words, Baker is the real deal, and we couldn’t be more eager to get our eardrums around her sophomore effort. —Scott Russell