Who can keep track of new music these days? There’s so much new music out there that it’s both a blessing and a curse – sometimes songs that otherwise would be perfect gems sink to the bottom. Here are ten October releases you might have missed, ranging all over the genre charts!
MIKA – “Domani”
Most people know MIKA best for hit songs “Grace Kelly” and “Lollipop” – borderline-manic sugary pop with a darker, human appeal. His latest release has left some of the sparkly coating behind, but the songwriting skill is more obvious than ever.
“Domani” is actually a B-side of the album My Name is Michael Holbrook, which dropped in October; it’s the Italian version of the track “Tomorrow”. However, there’s something about the Italian version that hits harder. Italian is one of the 4 or so languages that Mika speaks fluently, and the longing in the lyrics is even more present in this version.
2. Anavae – “Human”
Anavae is a rising talent out of Britain, a hard rock duo driven by blaring guitar and soaring vocals. Their songs have always been driven by a distinctly gothic aesthetic, but “Human” takes this to new heights, beginning with “I wanna skin you alive, I wanna wear your flesh like a costume” Marilyn Manson style. In fact, I’m distinctly reminded of Die Mannequin’s early days in 2010, for anybody else who remembers them.
The real power in “Human”, however, is the duality between monstrousness and humanity – wanting to be human through the cruelest ways. This is fuelled even more by the danceable, pounding beat over surprisingly wistful sentiments. Anavae is a band worth watching, especially if they keep releasing singles like this.
3. Ghost and Pals – “Entomologists”
Ghost and Pals, despite the name, is just one person. They dub their music with the questionable genre of “industrial Catholic bugcore” – a closer description is probably noise-pop made with Vocaloids. It’s unsettling, fun, and fast-paced music.
“Entomologists” is Ghost and Pals’ latest release, although technically it’s a remaster/reissue of an older attempt. Still, with how niche Ghost and Pals’ audience tends to be, and the extent of the remaster, I think it belongs on this list. The lyrics in particular are terrifyingly evocative – it’s hard not to be drawn in by Hatsune Miku singing “today marks two long dreams, festering away, sallowing bodies crawling on all fours”. Apparently even Vocaloids have goth phases.
4. CHVRCHES – “Death Stranding”
Everybody and their dog has been talking about the bizarre new Hideo Kojima video game Death Stranding, but not as much attention has been paid to its absolutely killer soundtrack. CHVRCHES are already known for atmospheric electronica with a pop sensibility, but their song for the video game, also called “Death Stranding”, is a gorgeous lament for the end of the world.
Probably the standout component of this song is the combination of the rhythm of the lyrics and production of the vocals. The background music is focused on rhythms and snare beats, creating a relentless forward rhythm that is still oddly calming. Whatever your opinions of Death Stranding the game, the song is definitely worth a listen.
5. Sleater-Kinney – “ANIMAL”
Despite still only being four years out from their (very, very) extended hiatus and a few months out from fresh new release The Center Won’t Hold, riot grrl group Sleater-Kinney is back with another new single. October drop “ANIMAL” was recorded at the same time as the other The Center Won’t Hold songs, evident since Janet Weiss (their recently departed drummer) features on the track. Still, one wonders how it didn’t make it onto the album itself – it’s hardly B-side material.
“ANIMAL” is a fierce punk rock song about letting the ‘animal side’ howl. “Given up on being practical, cause I’m feeling like an animal,” feels like a direct shot back at those who claim that women’s anger is inappropriate or crude. If Sleater-Kinney knows about anything, it’s the power and the enduring nature of women’s anger.
6. Jimmy Eat World – “555”
I’m trying so hard not to continue the “What year is it??” joke from the previous round-up into October, but seriously, Jimmy Eat World? What? As with many of the other installments of that meme, however, they’ve been continuing to make music the whole time. Nostalgia just seems to be hitting particularly hard in 2019, probably because now we have to admit that “The Middle” came out in 2001.
“555” is a medium-tempo song with a serious topic – what do you do when things don’t play out like you wanted? Adulthood was sold to us with certain promises, supported by media that told us that we could be successful if we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and that phone numbers began with ‘555’. (Hence the title). It’s a timely, gorgeous song from a band that’s been around from the beginning of the myth, deconstructing it the whole way.
7. Elusive – “Still Breathing”
Australia seems to be the new hotbed for amazing punk-rock acts. Elusive is the latest of these, a female-fronted 4-piece that blends pop-punk with crunchier guitars and catchy hooks. A little harder-edged than Paramore and a little more radio-friendly than Press Club, I’m excited to see where they go.
“Still Breathing” is a raw rock ballad with some great guitar playing and drum fills behind Shar Dee’s vocals. In particular, I really like the distorted hook that opens the song – it reminds me of Bring Me The Horizon and Bullet For My Valentine’s older days. Female-fronted punk or metal bands sometimes restrain themselves, believing that they have to be ‘softer’ for some reason for another, and it’s always nice to find ones that don’t. (There’s a reason In This Moment has been so successful. I’m not going to say it was lesbians, but it was lesbians.)
8. Anti-Flag – “Hate Conquers All”
Hey there, Anti-Flag! I don’t know if Anti-Flag was ever actually on hiatus, but it’s a long time since they’ve crossed my path. And of course, they do it with a loud, satirical political lampooning. Good for you. Besides, we ended October with the announcement of an impeachment hearing – I’d say this was pretty timely. October also heralded Anti-Flag’s new tour dates and record announcement.
“Hate Conquers All” opens with a spoken-word clip about how protestors were “treated very very differently” in the “good old days”, before blasting into the song itself. Some people will recognize the clip that calls for protestors to be beaten, but it isn’t a historical moment or from a time long past – it’s from the mouth of Donald Trump himself. The song itself is a blistering polemic, all about how ‘hate conquers all’ with such bitter sarcasm that you can feel it through your headphones. Quite aside from its anger, though, it’s just a damn good song! It’s catchy, simple, and distilled punk goodness. And that’s exactly what the power of punk is, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be catchy with how dissonant it is, but you sing along anyway.
9. Lacuna Coil – Now or Never
I had one of Lacuna Coil’s earlier Black Anima singles on one of these lists, but with the October release of the full album, there’s even more to love. “Now or Never” in particular is a winner, guttural vocals blending with Cristina Scabbia’s unearthly singing. It sounds like what you would hear as an old gothic mansion collapsed under the weight of its own ghosts – Too specific? Well, still.
I’m still in awe about how far Lacuna Coil has come. They’ve always been an excellent band, but “Now or Never” and Black Anima as a whole shows just how much more cohesive and talented they’ve become. Every instrument works together to create a single whole, every sound feeling deliberate and carefully chosen.
10. Alcest – “Les jardins de minuit”
Alcest’s music lands somewhere between black metal, prog metal and shoegaze; in fact, they pioneered the bizarre fusion genre of ‘blackgaze’ that I’ve fallen begrudgingly in love with. New album Spiritual Instinct, however, is definitely prog metal.
The title of this song in particular, “Les jardins de minuit” translates to “The gardens of midnight”, and the lyrics are all in French, but talk about the singer’s attempt to embrace his whole self – darkness and light. “Daydreams, give me the courage,” he sings in French, “to embrace the light as much as the shadow.” Neige was deeply depressed after excessive touring, and made this album as an attempt to reconnect with his spiritual side – and the result is gorgeous.
There are plenty of other songs that came out in October, but these ten are the ones that blew me away! Don’t forget to check out my top ten September singles, and check out Substream’s interview with Jimmy Eat World here!
Did we miss some of your favourite October singles? Comment below and let us know!