Each year the September through November period typically brings us a bigger volume of good music than at any other time. This October was no exception. So, being unable to whittle down the list to our normal 5 current albums plus 1 oldie, and rather than bombard you good readers with too much in one sitting, Equilibrio has this month opted to split its “best of” music recommendations into 2 batches of 6 each. Part one to be released this week with part 2 to follow next week. Enjoy!
Download these songs this month…
Song: The Man
From album: Wonderful Wonderfu
If you come from Vegas, I guess a bit of glorious ridiculousness is pretty much par for the course. And so it is with the Killers, who for 13 years now have been bringing us their 80s UK indie-dance/Springsteen crossover schlock. On 5th album Wonderful Wonderful they try change it up a bit; a touch of soul here, a little bit of the blues there and Lord alone knows what they’re trying to do on the opening title track. But despite these efforts they still manage to just sound like the Killers. Maybe it’s Brandon Flowers’ plaintive schoolboy wail, or the cheesy motivational poster lyrics, or the tacky synths, but the Killers we love are still very much intact. Lead single The Man is the closest thing here to the early smash hits Mr. Brightside or When You Were Young, and it’s terrific. Also try get your hands on the Jacques lu Cont remix.
(Also download these songs from the album: Run For Cover, Rut, Wonderful Wonderful)
Hercules & Love Affair
From album: Omnion
A dance music magpie is what Andy Butler is. As the lead protagonist behind Hercules & Love Affair, the giant, chiseled ginger from New York has spent the last 13 years mining the history of the genre, covering the best of old school disco, house and techno, sometimes within a single tune. 4th album Omnion continues this journey, now also taking in icy-synth pop and near-ambient. In addition to normal vocal contributors Rouge Mary and Gustaph, Sharon van Etten (on the opening title track) and Faris Badwan of the Horrors also chip in. The latter provides the singing on Controller, a crisp, melodic danceable track with just enough eeriness to lift it above the fodder of the top 40.
(Also download these songs from the album: Rejoice, Wildchild, Omnion)
Song: Something To Remember Me By
From album: V
The are many examples of brand names that producers may have thought clever at the time but just seem silly with the passage of time. Food like Mrs. Ball’s or Wimpy, fashion brands such as Dr. Martens or Acne, and products like Babyliss or Volkswagen. And so it is with The Horrors. When they started out as whip-thin lads from Essex in 2008, the label fit with their initial gothic-punk tunes. But as their sound has become more widescreen and stadium-ready so has their name become more daft. Never mind, as 5th album V continues the trajectory established in the previous 2 releases and is chock-full of great radio-friendly alt-pop songs. Something To Remember Me By is the album-closer and is by far the sunniest thing the band has ever managed to create, with its danceable swirling electronic patterns and soaring chorus. Nothing to be afraid of then (well, except maybe for the ultra-creepy video that is, view below).
(Also download these songs from the album: Machine, World Below, Press Enter To Exit)
Warning: this video is a little “odd” and hard to stomach.
Song: Don’t Bother Calling
From album: Aromanticism
To be aromantic means to be bereft of the ability to experience love. LA-based Moses Sumney’s debut is a concept album that explores this state through every track. But an inability to feel does not necessarily mean there is a lack of feeling in his music. His take on old style R&B is fresh and thoroughly modern, with a dreamscape sound that presents a subtle backing to the real centerpiece here; Sumney’s vocals. His voice is an instrument of breathtaking beauty, something that weaves its way effortlessly and snakily throughout each piece. Nothing out there is remotely like this. Indeed, this is a challenging and unusual album requiring repeated listening to get your head around and begin to absorb its depth and quality. Easiest entry point is Don’t Bother Calling, which surprisingly wasn’t released as a single but is the closest thing to a verse-chorus-verse song here.
(Also download these songs from the album: Quarrel, Lonely World, Plastic)
From album: Communicating
Formed in Florida USA, Hundred Waters combine organic and electronic sounds on languid dream pop songs. A bit of an outlier on the OWSLA label owned by Skrillex with a sound more in step with some of the acts that they have opened for on tour like the xx and Alt-J. The closest that album opener, Particle, comes to a Skrillex moment, is in fact the almost indiscernible bass drop that kicks in on the chorus. Frontwoman Nicole Miglis has a classical music degree and was previously a globally acclaimed concert pianist. However, this doesn’t result in a heavy handed baroque approach to the music. Everything here has a light and gentle production touch.
(Also download from the album: Wave To Anchor, Fingers, Parade)
Song: The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness
From album: Sleep Well Beast
Since their 2007 breakthrough hit Fake Empire, The National have proven to be a dependable bunch. The National is a 5-piece band, comprising 2 sets of brothers plus lead vocalist Matt Berninger. Their brand of soft alt-rock from Ohio, USA has a seeping quality to it, supported by Berninger’s deep baritone and wonderfully haunting lyrics that very often cut deep. Now 7 albums in, Sleep Well Beast is a bit more ‘difficult’ than previous outings. While still very much a National record, greater angst has emerged thanks in large part to dissatisfaction with the Trump administration. The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness is another one of a long line of great National singles where Berninger’s lyrics again somehow seem to have a profound effect, even if it’s tricky pinpointing just what it is he’s on about. A band so good that Coobs’ owner and chef, James Diack, co-opted their name for his Parktown North restaurant (which, like the band, is also worth investing some time in).
(Also download from the album: Day I Die, Dark Side Of The Gym, Guilty Party)
Till next week then…
(RELATED POSTS: read our previous music reviews here.)