November means Thanksgiving and the official start of holiday season. But, it also marks the steep drop-off of albums released in the calendar year. Even putting this list together, the bulk of the albums we’re looking forward to arrive by mid-month. Still, these 10 records are exciting and diverse, ranging from freak folk to chanson to soul. Check out the 10 albums Paste writers are most excited about in November 2017.
In case you missed it, Shamir already released an album this year. The indie pop whiz kid who refuses to be confined by any genre or gender labels offered up Hope this spring before signing with Father/Daughter Records for Revelations. Like the title implies, the songs that comprise this record serve as lessons learned since the jittery days of “”On The Regular.”
Gun Outfit, Out Of Range
Just like you should never judge a book by its cover, we try not to judge a band by its name. Although Gun Outfit might evoke completely different imagery, the Los Angeles-via-Olympia band actually makes country-folk songs inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Langhorne Slim, Lost at Last, Vol. 1
Langhorne Slim’s Lost at Last, Vol. 1 is actually his sixth full-length album, but he actually released a score of singles this year via three EPs—Never Break, Life Is Confusing and Funny Feelin’. A tireless touring musician and performer, Slim takes a more personal perspective on Lost at Last, Vol. 1 that questions humanity from a bird’s eye view.
Sleigh Bells, Kid Kruschev
Less than a year after their last album, Jessica Rabbit, the Brooklyn-based noise pop duo returns with this mini-LP. Comprised of just seven songs, Kid Kruschev was reportedly the result of Alexis Krauss moving upstate and the newfound ability she and Derek Miller had to explore with sounds, loudness and silence.
Karl Blau, Out Her Space
Singer/songwriter Karl Blau has been making quirky folk music out of the Pacific Northwest for two decades now. It’s been so long, in fact, that it’s hard to tell which originally began influencing the other—Blau’s originality and creativity or the region’s tendency to harbor such souls. Out Her Space, out on Bella Union, is apparently inspired by Blau’s, “overwhelming feeling to point out that men, in general, need to listen, to stop being so assertive and to get out of her space.”
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rest
Charlotte Gainsbourg is set to release her fourth studio album, her first since 2010, mid-month. Although the A-list collaborations with Paul McCartney, Owen Pallett and Connan Mockasin have garnered a lot of the initial attention, the album also serves as a tribute to her late sister and a document of that grieving process.
Mavis Staples, If All I Was Was Black
Gospel soul dynamo Mavis Staples is rejoining forces with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco their third album together. However, If All I Was Was Black marks the first time Tweedy has written an entire set of original songs for Staples—songs that take an unflinching look at the dire state of our divided nation. —Scott Russell
OCS, Memory of a Cut Off Head
Just three days after the release of their acclaimed new album Orc in August, Oh Sees have announced yet another new release. John Dwyer and company will release Memory of a Cut Off Head on Nov. 17 via Castle Face, and they’ll do it as OCS. The album will be the band’s 20th in their 20 years of existence, during which they’ve cycled through several iterations, including Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees, The Oh Sees and, originally, OCS. —Scott Russell
Sharon Jones & The Dap-kings, Soul of a Woman
The loss of Sharon Jones in 2016 was an almost impossible blow to take for dedicated fans of soul music. With this posthumous release, two sides of the band emerge—the up-tempo, dynamic soul standards Jones was known for, along with some music done in a significantly different, newer style, involving what a release calls, “string-driven ballads,” which would possibly have led to “a tour incorporating symphonies or string sections.” —Jim Vorel
Sufjan Stevens, The Greatest Gift Mixtape — Outtakes, Remixes, & Demos from Carrie & Lowell
Originally scheduled for release a month ago, the release date for Sufjan Stevens’s mixtape was moved to Black Friday. With deep cuts recorded during the Carrie & Lowell writing/recording process—like an iPhone demo of “John My Beloved” and multiple remixes by Helado Negro—this collection is shaping up to be “The Greatest Gift,” indeed.