The 10 Albums We're Most Excited About in October

Featuring Dry Cleaning, Alvvays, Plains and more

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The 10 Albums We're Most Excited About in October

October is a time for falling leaves and temperatures, scary movie marathons, copious amounts of candy and—like every other month in Paste Music’s house—much-anticipated new albums. Unlike every other month, however, this one is absolutely stacked when it comes to exciting record releases. That includes quite a few showstoppers that are less than 24 hours away, like the long-awaited comeback album from Alvvays, while we’ll have longer countdowns to the new LPs from English rockers Dry Cleaning and Americana duo Plains (feat. Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson). Treat yourself to the rest of our most-anticipated October albums below.

October 7

Alvvays: Blue Rev

Polyvinyl Recording Co.

Perhaps the single biggest no-brainer on this list is Blue Rev, the first album from dream-pop standard bearers Alvvays since 2017’s immaculate Antisocialites. The summer release of its lead single and opener “Pharmacist” set an expectation the band’s third album is now poised to pay off in only a matter of hours, promising the most challenging, yet characteristically intoxicating music of the Toronto quintet’s career. Where previous Alvvays albums resembled precious gems the band dug up fully formed and placed on pedestals with care, Blue Rev feels more as if we’re stepping into their world and excavating alongside them. Molly Rankin’s halcyon vocal melodies are layered alongside synth and guitar textures more compelling and explosively spontaneous than any the band have crafted, with Grammy-winning producer Shawn Everett (The War on Drugs, Kacey Musgraves) helping to warp Alvvays’ sound into thrillingly topsy-turvy forms. Listening to Blue Rev is like seeing a beautiful face in a funhouse mirror—good luck looking away. —Scott Russell

More notable October 7 releases: Bob Weir: Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros: Live in Colorado, Vol. 2, The Bobby Lees: Bellevue, Bonny Light Horseman: Rolling Golden Holy, Broken Bells: Into the Blue, Bush: The Art of Survival, Charlie Puth: Charlie, Chloe Moriondo: Suckerpunch, Context, NA: Out of This World, Counterparts: A Eulogy For Those Still Here, Courtney Marie Andrews: Loose Future, The Cult: Under The Midnight Sun, Daphni: Cherry, Dayglow: People in Motion, Disq: Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet, Dungen: En Är För Mycket Och Tusen Aldrig Nog, Fucked Up: Oberon EP, Gilla Band: Most Normal, Indigo Sparke: Hysteria, Johanna Warren: Lessons for Mutants, Keiji Haino & SUMAC: Into This Juvenile Apocalypse Our Golden Blood To Pour Let Us Never, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava, Lamb of God: Omens, Loraine James: Building Something Beautiful For Me, Michigander: It Will Never Be the Same EP, NNAMDÏ: Please Have a Seat, Open Mike Eagle: Component System with the Auto Reverse, The Orielles: Tableau, Peel Dream Magazine: Pad, Saint Christopher: Pop Shit, Shabason & Krgovich: At Scaramouche, Sorry: Anywhere But Here, Sun Ra Arkestra: Living Sky, THUS LOVE: Memorial, Tim Baker: The Festival, Will Sheff: Nothing Special, WILLOW: COPINGMECHANISM, Wunderhorse: Cub

October 14

Bill Callahan: YTILAER

Drag City Records

There is a patience to Bill Callahan’s work, even when the tempo is upbeat. On his forthcoming album, YTILAER, it’s no different, a wise sense of humor seeming to permeate the veins of his songwriting. In the two singles released thus far, Callahan falls in line with the patterns of the world around him, developing his own connection to reality, and allowing the listener to join him as he sings, “They say never wake a dreamer / Maybe that’s how we die / I realize now that dreams are real.” On lead single “Coyotes,” he weaves dream material in and out, telling the story of his sleeping dog, sweetly explaining, “In her dreams she is coyotes / Which of course is what she used to be / A dream of a coyote / Watching over you and me.” And recently released track “Natural Information” provides the perfect counterbalance to the steady, reliable “Coyotes”—there is a rush to the acoustic guitar that feels natural, not disturbing your body but riling it up all the same. Callahan works with a full band setup on this one, somehow always delivering the perfect picture that’s never too much. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Field Medic: grow your hair long if you’re wanting to see something that you can change

Run For Cover Records

Kevin Patrick Sullivan, aka Field Medic, seems to constantly be shedding skins and revealing new states of vulnerability to his listeners, even as he settles himself more and more comfortably into his sound. But he’s owning up to his own mistakes, perhaps healing himself from them in the process, singing on his latest album, “And I know this ain’t God punishing me / This is a reckoning / For my own stupidity.” Gentle harmonies dig you even more deeply into his songs, which have reached a more produced maturity. And his honesty forces your own, creating an intimate experience between you and the voice coming out of your headphones. Some of his songs begin to venture outside of the lo-fi, acoustic rawness that he has become known and loved for (“i had a dream that you died” serving as a particularly electronic example), producing excitement and curiosity about what will be found elsewhere on the album. The newness makes sense, with Sullivan saying, “I didn’t want to write the same song again. I have songs about being on tour, I have songs about drinking too much, and falling in love. I needed a different approach to feel inspired to create.” —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Plains: I Walked with You a Ways

ANTI- Records

On the heels of their acclaimed 2020 albums Saint Cloud and Sorceress, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson decided to start down a new road, walking arm in arm as Plains. The duo’s first album I Walked with You a Ways, produced by Crutchfield’s Saint Cloud collaborator Brad Cook, will also be their last—Crutchfield and Williamson have declared this a one-time collaboration, which is all the more reason to cherish the resulting record. As the pair interweave their voices over warm Americana that’s at turns upbeat and wistful—and sometimes both at once—Plains invite the listener into a shared, communal space, wallpapered with the classic folk and country they grew up on. Tracks like “Problem With It” and “Line of Sight” lean hard on Crutchfield’s knockout vocal hooks, while “Abilene” and “Bellafatima” let Williamson’s more delicate presence sneak up on you. It’s rewarding to hear Crutchfield and Williamson’s ample talents intermingle as they shape I Walked with You a Ways into a celebration of their shared passions. —Scott Russell

Skullcrusher: Quiet the Room

Secretly Canadian

On Skullcrusher’s (aka Helen Ballentine) debut album, she wastes no time teaching a master class on vulnerability. The songwriting is rooted in the confusion of childhood, examining Ballentine’s own through vaguely told memories and home-video voice memos. The guitar builds itself a home in the ambient, wide production. This is certainly not an album to be pigeonholed into one genre—the influences on this album range all over the board, and include a lot of electronic artists. It peels back the curtains from the culturally romanticized image of childhood, revealing it as a time with the same pain and confusion, as well as abstract joy as any other part of life. Being young is anything but simple, and those dreams and experiences spin around in Ballentine’s mind years after moving away from her childhood home in New York state. In describing the songwriting process involved on the album, Ballentine says, “I viewed my younger self through a wash of emotions: anger, sadness, pity, confusion, all reaching for a kind of compassion. I tried to capture the contradictions that comprise my past and define who I am now. As I looked back, I saw my life in pieces: some moments blacked out, some extremely vivid, some leading nowhere.” The resulting LP is a shivering look inside yourself through the memories of another. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Wild Pink: ILYSM

Royal Mountain Records

Singer and songwriter John Ross sounds reborn on ILYSM, Wild Pink’s follow-up to their 2021 breakout A Billion Little Lights. In a way, he was: Ross had already started writing the band’s fourth album when he was diagnosed with cancer, a battle that threatened to derail the LP, only to instead infuse it with urgent purpose. Ross pushed forward through the dark alongside a community of collaborators, co-producing the record with Justin Pizzoferrato (Pixies, Body/Head, Speedy Ortiz) and Peter Silberman of The Antlers, and enlisting contributions from J Mascis (“See You Better Now”), Julien Baker (“Hold My Hand”), Ryley Walker, Yasmin Williams, Samantha Crain and Ratboys’ Julia Steiner (the title track, among others). The songs they made together vibrate with wonder, as befitting of any pursuit that comes on the heels of an existential threat. The album is dreamy in a way that feels less like an escape and more like an adventure, as if Ross is seeing his world—and the people who populate it—through new eyes. —Scott Russell

More notable October 14 releases: The 1975: Being Funny in a Foreign Language, A.O. Gerber: Meet Me at the Gloaming, Alaskalaska: Still Life, The Big Moon: Here Is Everything, Boston Manor: Datura, Brian Eno: ForeverAndEverNoMore, Enumclaw: Save the Baby, GIFT: Momentary Presence, Julianna Riolino: All Blue, Lil Baby: It’s Only Me, Louis Cole: Quality Over Opinion, Matt Kivel: bend reality ~ like a wave, Mavi: Laughing So Hard It Hurts, Meat Wave: Malign Hex, Mykki Blanco: Stay Close to Music, The Natural Lines: First Five EP, Palm: Nicks and Grazes, Poppy: Stagger EP, Poster Paints: Poster Paints, PVA: Blush, Red Hot Chili Peppers: Return of the Dream Canteen, Sam Gendel: Uroko, Sparta: Sparta, Todd Rundgren: Space Force, Tove Lo: Dirt Femme, Zella Day: Sunday in Heaven

October 21

Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork

4AD

It’s not every band whose debut album ends up on Paste’s best of the year list—but then again, Dry Cleaning aren’t every band. The U.K. quartet made their mark on 2021 with New Long Leg, pairing Florence Shaw’s idiosyncratic, sing-speak with jangling, danceable post-punk, and have turned around quickly to deliver Stumpwork. The band’s second effort finds them expanding their comfort zone, if not leaving it behind entirely—singles like “Don’t Press Me” and “Gary Ashby” continue to draw power from Tom Dowse’s riff-driven grooves, while Shaw exhibits growing confidence in delivering her ever-deadpan lyrics, increasingly opting to sing them outright. As seen on “Anna Calls from the Arctic,” though, Dry Cleaning are also exploring subtler sounds, managing cool-headed intensity at any tempo. —Scott Russell

Frankie Cosmos: Inner World Peace

Sub Pop Records

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from old favorites Frankie Cosmos, but these newly released singles off their forthcoming album Inner World Peace promise they’ll climb back into the same niche in our hearts. Even when they perform with a slightly apathetic tilt, there’s an obvious sweetness, and an earnestness that reveals itself if you’ll give it some attention. Greta Kline’s vocals are light as always, but lacerated with barely repressed emotion, be that the buzzing anxiety of knowing something’s wrong without having the words to express it, the pain of giving yourself over to love that ends up lacking sincerity, or simply wanting to “freak out” at the end of a long week (Through a party? Through a panic attack? That one seems to be up to the listener’s interpretation). “Aftershook,” one of the singles, features a more direct sound, with groovier guitars than you might have heard before on a Frankie Cosmos track. The lyrics remain just vague enough that they’re easy to relate to, but aren’t explaining the storyline to you in painstaking detail. Frankie Cosmos’ music has always maintained the illusion of weightlessness, all while getting just personal enough that you squirm a little bit. It’s music to float to, mouthing along to lyrics about fears of drowning. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Nick Hakim: Cometa

ATO Records

No one’s ever quite been able to put their finger on Nick Hakim, and this latest album shows that he’s likely to continue to evade categorization. A haze shimmers over it all, as he drifts into and explores different kinds of love. His psychedelic vulnerability is back, remaining relaxed even as the lyrics describe intense passion. Sometimes the music feels like the only anchor keeping Hakim from spinning out entirely, as he observes and writes about an intense love. There’s an incredible warmth, unusually coupled with a sense of detachment—from one chord to the next, he has you guessing at and reassessing your comfort levels. It makes sense, then, that the album’s title, Cometa, means “kite” in Spanish. There is this balance between floating in love and drifting away, as Hakim’s music gives you the opportunity to inspect those feelings from an outside view. And it makes sense why the artist feels the need to step away sometimes: “Her supernova / Exploded and changed my world,” he sings on “Happen,” “And most my old ways / I found something new from the ocean / I love you, honey / Glad you found me in this light / I watch the sun scan your body.” The intimacy is almost too much to bear. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Wiki & Subjxct 5: Cold Cuts

Wikset Enterprise

Betting against Wiki is a good way to go broke. After a prolific 2021 that saw the New York City emcee release acclaimed full-length collaborations with producers NAH and Navy Blue, “Wiki got it comin’ this year,” too, as New Jersey producer Subjxct 5 ad-libs on “The Fonz,” the second of two singles so far from the duo’s collaborative mixtape Cold Cuts. Subjxct 5’s subtly twitchy, sample-driven beats evoke the timeless edge of East Coast hip-hop while Wiki filters his often brutally honest lyricism through an effortlessly complex flow. Wiki’s raps have the raw, revelatory feel of someone telling their truth without a second thought, yet he delivers them with a precision honed across his years as an underground hip-hop force. “My life’s a psalm, nah, a sitcom / Just goes on and on, no direction, just the theme song,” he raps on lead single “My Life,” searching, but as sure as ever of his purpose. —Scott Russell

More notable October 21 releases: Archers of Loaf: Reason in Decline, Architects: the classic symptoms of a broken spirit, Arctic Monkeys: The Car, Ariel Zetina: Cyclorama, Armani Caesar: The Liz 2, Bibio: BIB10, Carly Rae Jepsen: The Loneliest Time, Dawn Richard and Spencer Zahn: Pigments, Goat: Oh Death, Hagop Tchaparian: Bolts, Jobber: Hell in a Cell EP, Loyle Carner: Hugo, Meghan Trainor: Takin’ It Back, Pinkshift: Love Me Forever, Rubblebucket: Earth Worship, Serj Tankian: Perplex Cities EP, Simple Minds: Direction of the Heart, Sloan: Steady, The Soft Pink Truth: Is It Going To Get Any Deeper Than This?, Taylor Swift: Midnights, Tegan and Sara: Crybaby, Twain: Noon, Whitmer Thomas: The Older I Get The Funnier I Was

Notable October 28 releases: Babehoven: Light Moving Time, Babyface: Girls’ Night Out, Benjamin Clementine: And I Have Been, Blessed: Circuitous, Cakes da Killa: Svengali, Dan Mangan: Being Somewhere, Dazy: OUTOFBODY, Dead Cross: II, Devin Townsend: Lightwork, Dragonette: Twennies, Drugdealer: Hiding in Plain Sight, Fred again…: Actual Life 3 (January 1 – September 9 2022), Garbage: Anthology, girlpuppy: When I’m Alone, Guided by Voices: Scalping the Guru, Junior Boys: Waiting Game, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Changes, Lee Fields: Sentimental Fool, Nosaj Thing: Continua, Scout Gillett: no roof no floor, Show Me the Body: Trouble the Water, Tigers Jaw: Old Clothes EP, Trampled by Turtles: Alpenglow, Wand: Spiders in the Rain