From Stormzy to Fever Ray, we present Another Man’s guide to October’s best new music releases
Welcome to the October edition of Tracks of the Month. There’s an air of defiance around this month’s picks. From the Grenfell-referencing acerbic takedown of Dave’s Question Time, to the catharsis of New York’s noise-punk bruisers Show Me The Body, October’s been musically – and socially – defined by challenging those in power. Get stuck in below.
Stormzy – 4PM In London
Given his beaming grin and countless recent primetime TV slots, it’d be easy to forget that Stormzy made his name on the palpable anger of his ‘fire in the park’ freestyles. 4PM in London sees Big Mike return to that early-days aggression, freestyling over a gloomy backdrop, and tantalisingly nodding to the future: “They told me back in summer I should drop a summer tune / but I’ve been workin’ fuckin’ hard, the second album’s coming soon.”
Luxury Death – Diluted
Art-pop group Luxury Death take the neon-hued excess of their Manchester hometown’s renowned nightlife, and channel it through a punk spirit. Diluted, side A of their new two-track single, is at once bright-eyed and bruised - a tale of modern-day romance set amongst the gloom of a basement club. Released alongside 52-page art zine, Digital Ceremony, Luxury Death are increasingly looking like the gatekeepers to their city’s creative underworld.
SOPHIE – It’s Okay To Cry
Once a master of hyperactive, fizzing future-pop, SOPHIE’s new single is something of a heel-turn. As close to a ballad as the PC Music alumni have ever dared to tread, It’s Okay To Cry is a soaring, sensitive ode to emotional fragility. Where once SOPHIE turned out brash bangers and explosive EDM on the regular, it seems she’s finally mastered a new form of expression.
Show Me The Body – K9
Borne of New York’s grimy underbelly, noise-punks Show Me The Body continue their reign of terror with K-9. A slow-burning, anguished exercise in tension, the ante’s upped with every low-slung bass rumble and muttered declaration that they’re “ready to bite”. Penned as a tale of “the cultivation of community” in their East Coast home, it’s further proof that Show Me The Body find collective comfort in chaos.
Dave – Question Time
Eschewing corny stage names and unnecessary bravado in favour of a social conscience and open-hearted honesty, Dave is one of a new generation of rappers taking aim at the everyday. Question Time is that movement’s most direct hit to date, a seven-minute sprawl of “questions for the new Prime Minister” that takes on austerity politics, war in the Middle-East and still-unanswered questions about the Grenfell Tower tragedy, packaged up and delivered at the doorstep of 10 Downing Street.
Miya Folick – Give It To Me
The title-track to her incoming new EP, Miya Folick’s latest cut of soaring, atmospheric alt-pop is surely her best to date. Swingingly wildly between intimate, broken laments and huge, heart-bursting explosions of sound and passion, the track’s stunning video visually mirrors those emotional peaks and troughs, with a solo Miya zipping up and down on an old-timey wooden rollercoaster. It’s the perfect metaphor, as Give It To Me harnesses that free-falling, gut-flipping feeling with every twist and turn.
MGMT – Little Dark Age
Ten years on from their radio-smashing summer LP Oracular Spectacular, MGMT staged their return this month with the notably moodier Little Dark Age. The flip-side to that breakthrough record’s spirited, bubbly pop hits, their new single finds the American oddballs instead embracing the more grisly side of human nature; lies, grief, and death all colour the lyricism of Andrew VanWyngarden, while his bandmates paint a soundscape fit for a gothic horror.
Rina Sawayama – Alterlife
A hark back to the more guttural days of 90s pop melody, Rina Sawayama’s latest single remains fixated on the here-and-now, the Japanese-born, London-bred singer penning another tale of finding oneself amongst the anxieties of the always-on technological age. Searing guitars cut through the mish-mash of electronica, making Alterlife come off like the soundtrack to an alternate reading of the Blade Runner series – one where its all-powerful women rightfully rule the roost.
Dream Wife – Let’s Make Out
Finally announcing their self-titled debut album this month, Dream Wife’s huge Let’s Make Out perfectly encapsulates the London group’s dedication to sexual liberation and no-frills fun. Exploding in a haze of high-gain guitars and yelps, it’s a dizzying reimagining of the frolics of Dream Wife’s live show – itself an escape from the day-to-day drudgeries of modern life. Dream Wife arrives January 26 – the perfect, fiery antidote to that New Year chill.
Fever Ray – To The Moon And Back
“Hey, remember me?” asks Fever Ray’s Karin Dreijer in To The Moon And Back’s opening minute, “I’ve been busy working like crazy.” Formerly of oddball duo The Knife, Fever Ray is Karin’s equally madcap solo project – dormant since 2009, she returned this month with surprise new album Plunge. Its lead single To The Moon And Back is the kind of lustful, spirited electronica that has left fans so desperate for this return – a wilfully weird slice of alt-pop brilliance.