October is amongst us. I am a big fan of the month of October. The tenth month of the year brings us Octoberfest, a grand time of year for beer drinkers worldwide, the World Series, the NHL and NBA both return, and Halloween, everyone’s favorite “not so scary and I can still be old and dress up” holiday. Many artists will be dropping new albums this month as we are smack in the middle of music’s very important fourth quarter. Whether or not these albums will be tricks or treats is yet to be determined. But I will give you the skinny on what’s dropping this month and what you need to look out for.
America’s new bad girl drops her fourth major album, Bangerz on October 8th and to be honest with you, I am pretty excited about this record. Miley has done a complete 360 in terms of her image and appearance. This is the former Hannah Montana we are talking about here. Cyrus was once Disney’s meal ticket, golden gem, a teen role model who could do no wrong. Oh how times have changed! She is the daughter of famous country singer Billy Rae Cyrus. but Miley was done being a kiddie wunderkind. She wanted to be taken seriously. She wanted to be seen as an adult, and she was done being a good girl. Enter 2013, and a new diva has emerged. Miley is anything but Hannah Montana these days. She’s raw, uncut, sexy, and uncandid. She sticks her tongue out a little too much and prefers to wear little to no clothing. She came under national scrunity for her performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards where she performed her mega hit, “We Can’t Stop,” and collaborated with Robin Thicke on his summer anthem, “Blurred Lines.” On stage Miley twerked her way into the homes of America, girrating with a large foam hand, and leaving an impact that would make your grandmother upchuck. But you know what that performance did? It got everyone talking about Miley Cyrus. She wanted the attention and she got it. She followed in the footsteps of some of her famous pop contemporaries, such as Madonna and Britney Spears, who used shock value to gain attention. And at the end of the day, Miley is making some of the best music of her career. She followed up “We Can’t Stop,” with the power ballad, “Wrecking Ball,” which both will appear on Bangerz, and both are strong singles. Whether you like her or not, you have to admit both of those songs are catchy. The album is produced by hip hop beat maker Mike Will and includes collaborations with Pharrell, will.i.am, and Future. Also rumored is a collabo with Mr. Kanye West. So love her or hate her, you will be hearing a lot from Ms. Cyrus this October.
SLEIGH BELLS–Bitter Rivals
Sleigh Bells return with their third LP, Bitter Rivals this month. This Brooklyn two some has been making noise on the indie circuit since their debut album Treats dropped in 2010. The band is made up of vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Edward Miller, and for their latest effort the band is looking to encorporate more melody into their rugged and raw sound. Krauss has taken on a larger writing role for this record and the band is looking to sounded a litle cleaner this time out. Seligh Bells can be classified as experimental pop. Their music involves a wide variety of sounds stretching from synthesizers, grungy guitars, electo and hip hop beats, to R&B vocals, and punk. They are a little all over the map with their style and sound. It will be interesting to see what Bitter Rivals sounds like. Their first single “Bitter Rivals” sounds a lot like more of the same fuzzy guitar and blistering beats. Hopefully they can expand their style on this effort.
PEARL JAM–Lightning Bolt
The grunge era is still alive! That’s right folks, America’s favorite flannel shirt wearing export from Seattle, Washington is back with their tenth studio album, Lightning Bolt. Twenty two years ago, we were all introduced to a band called Pearl Jam, with a little album called Ten. That album went on to sell over 10 million copies world wide, (reached that milestone in Feb 2013) and has been certified 13x platnum. The album is a piece of my musical history as well as for many others. Pearl Jam have been a staple in American rock music since that time. They have relased some incredible albums since then (Vs, Vitalogy, Yield) and some not so great albums. (No Code, Binaural, Riot Act) It is definitely harder for bands to keep up with the times over a 20 plus year span. Music has changed. The indie scene is much different from the grunge scene, and I feel that at times Pearl Jam is still trying to figure out where they fit in in today’s music lanscape. The band continues to be one of the strongest touring acts around. They sell out wherever they go and are phenomenal live. I’m on the fence with the first two singles that I have heard from Lightning Bolt so far. I was not impressed with “Mind Your Manners.” It just felt to me like a lot of Eddie Veddar screaming. But I connected more with “Sirens,” the second single that is more melodic and classic Pearl Jam too me. The album is being produced by longtime Pearl Jam producer Brendan O’Brien, so I expect more of a back to basics effort from the band who loves them some Mookie Blaylock. Bring back the grunge Eddie!
THE AVETT BROTHERS–Magpie and the Dandelion
Is this the album where the Avett Brothers make that Mumford and Sons-type plunge into mainstream stardom? Who knows? May be difficult to accomplish with an album title such as Magpie and the Dandelion. However, North Carolina’s finest do know how to rock. The Avett Brothers have been making music since the early 2000’s and have been one of the more consistent bands on the indie/folk scene. Fans across the globe have jumped to love the bluegrass revival that has been made popular by bands such as Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers, but the Avett Brothers have been tinkering around with that sound for years. Their indie folk sound has been a staple on alternative rock radio since their debut album Country Was was released in 2002. The Avett Brothers have known to be specialists in the acoustic music game. Magpie and the Dandelion reunites the band with uber producer Rick Rubin, who has produced the bands last two albums, The Carpenter, and I and Love and You. With Rubin in control of the boards expect another air tight album that’s artistic and creative from the Avett Brothers. The first single off Magpie and the Dandelion is the catchy “Another is Waiting.”
Get ready for the Paul McCartney revival. Sir Paul is one of the most famous musicians in the world. As one of the prime members of the Beatles, Paul McCartney is a classic rock and roll star. He along with fellow Beatle, John Lennon, have written some of the best songs ever regardless of genre. The Lennon/McCartney duo are some of the best known writers ever to put words to music. Ever since the Beatles broke up, McCartney has been a fixure in music with a successful solo career. But he’s never reached the level of success that he once had with the Beatles. I mean how could he, the Beatles are the biggest rock band of all time. But McCartney, a self taught musician has always had a pulse on popular music and knows how to create magic. New is McCartney’s first collection of original music since 2007’s Memory Almost Full. New is produced by a powerhouse of big names in the music biz. Mark Ronson, (Amy Winehouse) Ethan Johns, (Ryan Adams, Kings Of Leon) Paul Epworth, (Adele, Florence and the Machine) and Giles Martin (son of George Martin, who produced all the Beatles albums) all share production duties on McCartney’s latest forray into the pop spectrum. The first single “New,” produced by Ronson, is a musical delight, filled with a classic Beatles sound with a Mark Ronson twist. The song is very Ronson. I’m looking forward to hearing if Sir Paul still has it in him in 2013.
THE HEAD AND THE HEART-Let’s Be Still
In 2011, a Seattle band named The Head and the Heart, re-released on Sub Pop Records their fabulous 2009 debut record The Head and the Heart. I simply adored this album. Their multiple part harmonies, the acoustic instrumentation, and indie folk pleasantries all seemed to flow together perfectly. I was even more impressed when I saw them play live at Coachella in 2011. There is a strong sense of family with this band, and I am eagerly anticipating their new album, Let’s Be Still. I hope the Head and the Heart can avoid the sophomore slump. They usually say your second record is the hardest to make because of expectations after a successful first album. The band hit the road hard in support of their debut, so their chops are more seasoned at this point. “Shake” is the first single off Let’s Be Still. Although it’s no “Lost in my Mind,” the forumla of multi-part harmonization is still in tact. This first single has me excited about what’s next to come.
Katy Perry gets to strike before Britney and Lady Gaga in the battle of pop divas releasing albums in the 4th quarter of 2013. Ms. Perry has gotten off to a fast start with “Roar,” the first single off her thrid album, Prism. The song has already reached number 1 on the Bilboard Top 100. Perry has also released the hip hop-esque single “Dark Horse” feat Juicy J. as well. Katy Perry is a pop machine. She has dropped nothing but hits since she first kissed a girl and liked it (“I Kissed a Girl”) back in 2007. Her second album Teenage Dream, was a global smash, selling over 5.5 million copies worldwide. The album produced 5 number 1 singles (“California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “E.T.,” “Last Friday Night,”) which is just bananas. I don’t know how KP can top that with Prism, but im sure she is going to try. Even though her love life to John Mayer seems to be up in the air, one thing that is for certain is how dominant of a pop force she is. The only question now is how many copies will Prism sell?
The album that I am most looking forward to hearing this month comes from my favorite band to come from north of the border, Canada’s own Arcade Fire. The last time Arcade Fire was making waves was when the won Album of the Year at 2011 Grammy Awards for their album The Suburbs. I know some people shook their heads at that announcement, but I think it was well deserved. Their debut album Funeral, was one of the best releases in 2004 and one that I should have received some Grammy hardware. They followed that album up with the very strong Neon Bible album. The Suburbs, showed the growth of Arcade Fire as they were continuing to come into their own as prominent rock stars. They are as solid of a band that there is in music today. At the end of the day, they write beautiful songs, and Win Butler is as good of a frontman as there is in music today. When word leaked that LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy was producing their latest LP Reflektor, I am almost had an axiety attack because I was so excited to hear what that mash up of talent would sound like. I was blessed with that creation when their single “Reflektor” hit the web in September. The song is 7 minutes of awesomeness. The band played the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, last Sat, Sept 28th, and played that and second single called “Afterlife.” Both songs were so dope. The band also followed up that performance with a 30 minute show called Here Comes the Night Time. In this 22 minute visual the band played three new songs from the record “Here Comes the Night Time,” “We Exist,” and “Normal Person.” The show also featured cameos from Ben Stiller, Bono, Zach Galifianakis, Rainn Wilson, Aziz Ansari, Bill Hader, and Michael Cera. The three songs shown in this clip are also musically impressive. I can hear a lot of James Murphy in their new sound which makes me happy. Check out Here Comes the Night Time below.