The Best Of October 2018 PLAYLIST + ROUND-UP

Welcome to the October 2018 edition of our monthly new music playlist, which is available to listen to and watch via YouTube. If you enjoy any of the songs featured here, we encourage you to support the artists by purchasing their music from your local record shop, or through online retailers.

Stream the playlist below and read a bit about each individual track further down the page. This edition features essential new music from The Lucid Dream, Estrons, The KVB, The Chemical Brothers, The Good The Bad And The Queen, Ian Brown, The Dandy Warhols, Thom Yorke, She Makes War, The Living End, Basement Revolver, Muse, Richard Ashcroft, James, Goatman, Jon Hopkins, Lee Scratch Perry, Metric, The Prodigy, Slaves, Daniel Avery, Hookworms and Steve Mason.

 

 

The Lucid Dream – Zenith (parts 1 and 2)
Formed in 2008 and causing a stir since their 2013 debut ‘Songs Of Lies And Deceit’, Carlisle four-piece The Lucid Dream suffered a cruel blow early last year in 2017 when all of their equipment was stolen following a gig in Paris. Some would’ve conceded defeat or had their momentum severely damaged during these difficult days for musicians, but instead, the band ploughed on, as their fanbase raised £10,000 to finance some new gear. Fourth album ‘Actualisation’ is startling.

On the superb ‘Zenith’ the pulse of intricate analogue rhythms gradually form a disciplined pattern topped with sirens and searing electronic notes, before kicking into a Madchester groove topped with licks of fat bass, atmospheric guitars, and the welcome offer of a melodica solo. Immediately launching into its lysergic vocal-topped second half, it dazzles with its house piano and addictive rhythm. Frontman Mark Emmerson explained “The track was the first one written and recorded for the new album and was hugely influenced by acid house, alongside the early Heavenly Recordings works. It’s an amalgamation of the influences of house, dub, hip-hop (certainly in the drums and 808), and is the second instalment of a two-part opus. Somehow, we’ve managed to streamline it into a 2.5-minute pop song (in the right manner).”

Rebuilding their sound around the essence of their previous output, resilience, defiance, reinvention and momentum have produced one of 2018’s greatest records. The Lucid Dream have turned a major setback into a triumph. Read the full review HERE.

Estrons – Lilac
We’ve waited years for a truly life-changing new band. Well, here they are. Estrons have arrived. The amazing Welsh three-piece released their long-awaited debut album this month, and this is one that you cannot miss out on. Read the full 10/10 review of ‘You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough’ HERE. The band became hotly-tipped following three years of superb EP tracks and high energy gigs. Now, they have just released the debut album of 2018. A fierce, captivating, and empowering record from a band whose vitalising energy is thrillingly infectious.

The group is fronted by the outstanding talent of Tali Källström, a strong, intelligent female role model who doesn’t need permission for anything, along with Rhodri Daniels, who brings savage guitars and intricate notes to the mix. The musical differences between the two as well as their self-confessed love/hate relationship add fuel to the fire, making for a collision of two worlds, and an exhilarating sound that hits even harder thanks to their razor-sharp rhythm section.

Not a second is wasted right from the opening rumble of ‘Lilac’, a boundless joyride of an opener revelling in ferocity, chaos, and rousing hooks that conceal the darkness behind the lyrics. “It’s not all bleak bleak bleak,” says Tali. “That’s not what I’m trying to achieve with the album, I don’t want people to feel just terrible. I want to empower people, and I want to get some laughter.”

Developing their sound over the three years together before recording their first album has paid off, resulting in an impressively accomplished debut. Packed full of raw, passionate music that excites the mind and arouses the soul, ‘You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough’ brings a gut feeling like no other new band have delivered for years. 2018 is the time for Estrons.

The KVB – Afterglow
This deliriously dark helping of melodic machine music is taken from ‘Only Now Forever’, the sixth album from the London duo The KVB. Does psychedelic synthpop sound appealing to you? If so then try out ‘Only Now Forever’, which was released this month on the brilliant Invada Records.

“This was the first track we finished for the new album and definitely one of our favourites. For us, it feels very influenced by our time in Berlin. It’s about the temptations of living there and the struggle, but also fun that its lifestyle brings. On previous albums, we had always restricted ourselves instrument-wise to what we could play live, but this time we let the atmosphere and our experimentations dictate the tracks, especially this one.”

The duo’s new LP also features the kinetic ‘Above Us’, the sound of Jesus And Mary Chain atmospherics mixing with flavours of Mute Records. Other highlights include the lovely single ‘On My Skin’, magnificent closer ‘Cerculean’ and the glowing, surging magnificence of ‘Into Life’.

Listen to the album in full HERE.

The Lucid Dream – Alone In Fear

Another amazing track from The Lucid Dream’s Actualisation. The album roars into life with the astonishing ‘Alone In Fear’, a slamming psychedelic techno punk epic that rampages menacingly with a sound that sometimes recalls XTRMNTR-era Primal Scream and Underworld stuck together with strange cosmic glue. A militant thrash powered by rampant beats and harsh electronic tones, violent howls of abrasive, ferocious guitars screaming, howling and ripping into the ears as slamming techno beats punch though the chaos, railing against the backdrop of a divided, confused Brexit Britain. Savaging the greed of a filthy Tory government and the right wing media that acts as their mouthpiece for propaganda, it paces furiously and whips up an even bigger storm following the rumble of big, mammoth drums and snarling revs of bass. One of the year’s most essential tracks, and a true soundtrack of these tumultuous times, it’ll blow your head off your shoulders.

The Chemical Brothers – Free Yourself
The brand new track from dance legends The Chemical Brothers buzzes with an awesome energy. Evidently back on mind blowing form, ‘Free Yourself’ is the first taste of their upcoming ninth album, which is due early next year in 2019. With Jon Hopkins and Daniel Avery releasing two of the year’s best albums, as well as Orbital, The Prodigy and The Orb currently dazzling with astonishing new sounds, electronic music is currently enjoying something of a new golden era. The return of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons takes it up another notch.

Thom Yorke – Has Ended
More amazing sounds from Radiohead legend Thom Yorke’s soundtrack for horror movei Suspiria. Psychedelic trip hop flavours flow throughout the excellent ‘Has Ended. The original 1977 horror “Suspiria” was directed by Dario Argento, with a score composed by the Italian rock band Goblin. The 2018 remake also takes place in the 1970s and is released on Nov. 2.

Yorke talked about composing the film’s music: “It was an odd process from the beginning. When (director) Luca [Guadagnino] first came to see me, with the producers and [editor] Walter [Fasano], I just thought they were mad, because I’ve never done a soundtrack before. And ‘Suspiria’ is one of those legendary soundtracks. It took a few months to even contemplate the idea. It was one of those moments in your life where you kind want to run away, but you know you’ll regret it if you do.”

She Makes War – London Bites
Gritty, dark and melodic stuff and one of the best moments from the new She Makes War album ‘Brace For Impact’, which was at number 47 in the midweek charts a few weeks ago. It ended up achieving the number 15 position on the UK indie charts. It marks a long-overdue chart debut for the brilliant Bristol-based multi instrumentalist Laura Kidd, who has scored a victory for DIY music with this alluring and accomplished LP.

This and the other singles are perhaps curveballs, for there is a lot of light, calm and melody as well as the heavier elements. Drawing on personal experiences, the state of the world and society as well as a fine range of well-picked influences, ‘Brace For Impact’ continues Laura Kidd’s run of impressive self-released albums. Read the album review HERE.

The Living End – Otherside
From Australian punk trio The Living End’s eighth album Wunderbar. The standout ‘Otherside’ is another glorious moment that revels in the sound of the open road, melodically not unlike a collision between The Buggles’ ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ and Marc Cohn’s ‘Walking In Memphis’, along with hints of that other drivetime rock staple ‘Boys Of Summer’.

From a personal point of view, one of music’s great mysteries is why The Living End have never become that well-known over here in the UK. After hearing them two decades ago, I have been a fan and champion of their music ever since. Another mystery is how this band keep on delivering the goods over 20 years after their debut. Every time I hear of a new Living End album being released, I always think that it couldn’t beat the previous ones and that this group surely have to run out of steam at some point. But they never have. And that quality is continued on the diverse ‘Wunderbar’.

Basement Revolver – Baby
Beautifully dark, atmospheric guitars and swooning vocals impress on this endearing track from Canadian outfit Basement Revolver. It comes from their debut album ‘Heavy Eyes’.

Muse – Pressure

What do you get if you cross riffs “borrowed” from The White Stripes with a hint of Duran Duran and a touch of opera? Something very much like ‘Pressure’, an infectious new track from Muse’s upcoming eighth album Simulation Theory. Described as having a theme centering on “fantasy becoming real”, the LP is out on November 9.

Richard Ashcroft – That’s When I Feel It
People will be pleased to know that Richard Ashcroft’s new album Natural Rebel is a long overdue return to form. Released last week, I reviewed it for XS Noize, and you can read more about it HERE. The ex Verve frontman’s latest offering finds him moving back towards the style of his earlier solo work, bolstered by songwriting that takes cues from sources unexplored by Ashcroft in the past.

That’s When I Feel It thrives on positive vibes, his voice sounding more vital than it has in years, with its talk of “music in motion, love and devotion” summing up the outlook nicely. Like much of Natural Rebel, its an example of back to basics magic, not unlike Urban Hymns with an added twist of George Harrison and Tom Petty.

James – Leviathan
Manchester indie veterans James released their latest album Living In Extraordinary Times a few months ago to critical acclaim, scoring another Top 10 album in the process. The band have just issued a lovely acoustic version of this song as a single, but today let’s marvel at the power of the glorious album version.

The stunning grace of ‘Leviathan’ recalls the sparkling beauty of 2014’s ‘Moving On’, rising into another sweet, majestic chorus. Across this record, there are fascinating, maverick rhythmic ideas, and a wealth of sounds that are interesting yet always accessible. Their gift for creating superb arrangements is something they bring to the fore on this album, along with some terrific songwriting. Living proof that a band’s best work isn’t always from their younger days, and that age means experience, not being past your peak. Somehow, James just keep on hitting the targets and confounding expectations.

Read a full review of the album HERE.

Goatman – Carry The Load
Wild eastern-shaped psychedelic free jazz chaos from the appropriately-titled ‘Rhythms’ album. It’s out now on the excellent Rocket Recordings label and is the work of the mysterious Goatman, who is a member of the captivating masked Swedish outfit Goat. As well sounding totally nuts, the video is pleasingly crazy too…

Jon Hopkins – Feel First Life
A mesmeric beauty from the brilliant ‘Singularity’ album by Jon Hopkins. Released earlier this year on Domino Records, it was the British electronic producer’s fifth studio LP. This new video for the blissful ‘Feel First Life’ was directed by Elliot Dear.

The Prodigy – Fight Fire With Fire (feat. Ho99o9)
Another fierce new track from electronic heavyweights The Prodigy, a riotous blast of techno-punk from their upcoming seventh album ‘No Tourists’. Released on November 2, the album’s cover photo depicts a Routemaster bus on route 7 with its destination being The Four Aces in Dalston where the band played their first gig in 1990, perhaps hinting at a return to their rave roots.

Liam Howlett explained that its title refers to the album’s theme of escapism, “and the want and need to be derailed. Don’t be a tourist – there is always more danger and excitement to be found if you stray from the set path”. According to Howlett, No Tourists will display the same amount of aggression as previous albums, “but in a different way”.

Slaves – Magnolia
Railing against the bland lyrically and musically, this rowdy track from British punk duo Slaves is taken from their third album ‘Acts Of Fear And Love’.

The KVB – Into Life
Another track from the wondrous ‘Only Now Forever’, the new album from The KVB. One of the many highlights of this highly recommended LP, the shimmering euphoric surge of ‘Into Life’ is a wonder to behold.

This is the second time that a track from the London duo’s new album has featured in this month’s round-up, so The KVB must certainly be doing something right.

The Good, The Bad And The Queen – Merrie Land
Haunted fairground vibes and graceful melancholia are very much the order on the new track from The Good, The Bad And The Queen. Prolific as ever following two Gorillaz albums in the space of a year, the legend that is Damon Albarn has been in the studio with his supergroup that also features Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Verve guitarist Simon Tong and afrobeat drummer Tony Allen. 11 years on from their self-titled debut album, their second LP ‘Merrie Land’ is due on November 16. Featuring a video led by a creepy wax puppet, the title track is the first taster from the upcoming record.

The LP will be self-released on the newly created label Studio 13. Produced by Tony Visconti and The Good, The Bad and The Queen, Merrie Land contains 10 new songs – written during the current period in which the UK is preparing to leave the European Union – creating a reluctant good-bye letter, a series of observations and reflections on Britishness in 2018.

Merrie Land’s focus moves beyond GBQ’s London-themed first album to a wider land, with a beautiful and hopeful paean to the Britain of today, an inclusive Britain, currently in an Anglo-Saxostentialist crisis at the end of a relationship, wondering what might be salvaged. Could there be a more perfect band – with their creative symbiosis of pasts and present and shared acclaimed music histories – to reflect on the anticipation, disorientation and confusion of current life.

December sees the band set out on tour for a run of UK shows, performing this collection of new songs live, for the very first time, in Blackpool, Glasgow and East London.

Daniel Avery – Diminuendo
Heavily percussive new offering from producer Daniel Avery. ‘Diminuendo’, can be found on the Songs For Alpha album, released earlier this year. It also features as the lead track on a new EP of the same name, a companion EP that follows Song For Alpha. It’s available now via the Phantasy Sound label.

Ian Brown – First World Problems
For the last few weeks or so, there have been rumours pinging around about a new album from Stone Roses icon Ian Brown. The whispers appeared to be true as Ian Brown posters prematurely went up around Manchester containing the words ‘First World Problems’. Finally, we get the new track in full, and it’s been well worth the wait. Brown’s last solo effort was 2009’s ‘My Way’, released a couple of years before that lucrative Stone Roses reunion. Ironically after years of fans calling for the band to reform and record new material, their two singles from 2015 were judged as an anticlimactic folly, and people began wishing for more solo stuff from Brown. Now, they’ve got it. It comes from the upcoming album Ripples, out in March. ‘First World Problems’ is an interesting return, an uplifting, funky track characterised by strange keyboard sounds.

Brown produced ‘Ripples’ as well as writing the majority of tracks on the album. Three of the songs were co-written with his sons, who also play a multitude of instruments across the release. Covers of Barrington Levy’s ‘Black Roses’ and ‘Break Down The Walls’ by Mikey Dread also feature.

The album was recorded in Liverpool and enhanced in the Beatles room at Abbey Road Studios, before being mixed by long-term collaborator Steve Fitzmaurice. The record was digitally mastered by Bob Ludwig in New York, while the vinyl was mastered by Chris Bellman in LA.

Ian Brown has retained complete creative control of the project – producing the album, directing the video (to be released soon) as well as creating the artwork himself and playing the guitar, drums and a host of other instruments throughout the record.

The Dandy Warhols – Forever
Deliciously dark new sounds from The Dandy Warhols. ‘Forever’ is the first new music from the Oregon four-piece since 2016’s ‘Distortland’, and comes from their upcoming tenth studio LP ‘Dine Alone’, which is due for release at some point next year.

Lee Scratch Perry – Trendsetting Dub
The new album from legendary Jamaican producer Lee Scratch Perry is 50% genius, 50% the insane ramblings of a madman. And I love it. From it, ‘Trendsetting Dub’ is a typical Perry dub of high quality.

Released a few weeks ago on October 19, you can listen to ‘The Black Album’ in full HERE.

Wishing to create a raw analogue sound, Perry enlisted the help of British producer and mixer Daniel Boyle, who previously collaborated with him on the ‘Back On The Controls’ album. Initial sessions for the album began at London’s RAK studios, recorded using only strictly analogue equipment, including RCA ribbon microphones and the API desk.

Hookworms – Ullswater (Luke Abbott Remix)
Invigorated analogue sounds and an entrancing kinetic rhythm drive this brilliant remix of the Hookworms track ‘Ullswater’. The original can be found on the band’s third album ‘Microshift’, which was released earlier this year. This awesome remix by Luke Abbott is taken from the ‘Microshift Remixes EP’, released 23rd November 2018 on Domino Record Co.

Thom Yorke – Volk

A heavy, intense atmospheric piece, and another one of the highlights from the Radiohead man’s soundtrack album for the film ‘Suspiria’. At times, the excellent ‘Volk’ recalls BBC Radiophonic Workshop and 1970’s Doctor Who soundtracks.

Metric – Now Or Never Now

Shimmering indie synthpop magic from Metric. This uplifting, infectious track can be found on the Canadian group’s seventh album ‘Art Of Doubt’, released last month in September.

Steve Mason – Stars Around My Heart

Joyously catchy new single from Steve Mason. The former Beta Band man is releasing his fourth solo album ‘About The Light’ in January 2019. “I decided with this album that I wanted to get my live band involved at every stage because I wanted to capture the energy that we produce when we play live shows, so this time the band and myself worked on a collection of songs over the course of last year,” Mason explains.

The Smiths and Blur producer Stephen Street was at the controls for this LP. Street says, “Steve explained that he wanted to make this album with his band playing more ‘live’ than on some of his previous offerings and also to augment the songs with brass and female backing vocalists. I felt this approach of first stripping back the songs to a more ‘live’ feel to create more space for the more ‘soulful’ elements to breathe in was an interesting one and we got down to work!”

Mason commented “When I listen to this album it feels and sounds like the first ‘legitimate’ record that I have ever made. It’s hard to explain but it sounds like a ‘real’ album. I think that is partly the production, the playing and the work that I did with the band for all those months in our rehearsal room on the South Coast. It’s a beautiful, confident, positive, angry, loving and gentle album which once again moves what I do forward.” He adds “David Bowie said that you should always be slightly out of your comfort zone if you want to achieve greatness, and for the first time perhaps ever, I deliberately pushed myself into that place. Who doesn’t want greatness?”

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