Now that we are officially in the best season of the year, here are a few albums to look out for to keep you warm in these final months until new releases trickle to a stop and 2019 ends.
Danny Brown - “uknowwhatimsayin¿”
Release date: October 4
Danny Brown has shown throughout this decade that he’s one of rap’s most distinct personalities and won’t ever try to capture the same sound or persona on two different records. “Uknowwhatimsayin¿” follows his 2016 full-length, “Atrocity Exhibition,” which became one of the most highly praised hip hop albums of that year.
“Atrocity Exhibition” saw Brown trip into a psychedelic hellscape with beats confounding enough to not have been replicated in the three years since, but the singles for his upcoming album show his more playful side dramatized.
Even with two singles, “Best Life” and “Dirty Laundry” already released, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Brown is aiming for with his new album. He’s working with super-producer Q-Tip, though, and guest spots will include Run the Jewels, Blood Orange and JPEGMAFIA.
Big Thief - “Two Hands”
Release date: October 11
Big Thief is taking an unconventional approach to 2019 by refusing to rest and following up its May masterpiece, “U.F.O.F.,” with another full-length album just five months later with “Two Hands” set to drop Oct. 11.
“U.F.O.F.” saw Big Thief and its enigmatic lead vocalist Adrianne Lenker wander deeper into the woods, discovering a murkier, more mystical sound than the band had ever shown previously.
Lenker’s distinct and nasal vocals grow from lilting lullabies into full-on howls and screams on the album’s opener, “Contact.” But mostly, “U.F.O.F.” was as green and sunny and meditative as the album’s cover art.
The only track released for “Two Hands” shows the band’s other side. “Not” is a barn burning folk-rock statement, elevated by a nasty three-minute long guitar solo. Lenker’s howling is back in a big way, more urgent than she’s ever sounded.
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Big Thief may be one of the few bands who can pull off an album cycle this short and offer two separate and euphoric records.
FKA Twigs - “Magdalene”
Release date: October 25
FKA Twigs’ 2014 debut, “LP1,” still sounds like the future of alt-R&B. It’s a minimal, icy and honest record that has inspired superstars like The Weeknd, Grimes and Jeremih. Since then, Twigs has been through a public relationship and breakup with Robert Pattinson, starred in Nike and Apple advertisements and has released little new music, save for an EP in 2015.
Twigs is an icon, with tumblr pages dedicated to her latest outfits and paparazzi tracking which new star she might be dating (lately it seems to be Another Man magazine’s fashion editor, Reuben Esser). But she’s also been through trauma in the last couple years, including an emergency laparoscopic surgery to remove hormonal growths on her uterus, which she described in an interview with The Guardian as the size of “two cooking apples, three kiwis and a couple of strawberries. A fruit bowl of pain.”
We’re all lucky that Twigs is back making music, and her lead single, “Cellophane” showed her as vulnerable as ever. The song’s refrain is simply, “Why don’t you do it for me / When all I do is for you,” over sparse piano and a slow-building backdrop of synths, bass and whispery wordless vocals. “Magdalene” will surely be one of the most powerful and confessional albums of the entire year.
Have a Nice Life - “Sea of Worry”
Release date: November 8
The occult masters of shoegaze, post-rock, post-punk and myriad other genre tags are back! Have a Nice Life hasn't released any new music in five years, and the band’s sound remains cathartic, intense and cavernous on new singles “Lords of Tressorhorn” and “Sea of Worry.”
Check out “Deathconsciousness” for a nearly 90-minute journey into the depths of the band’s industrial, hazy soundscape, if this sounds appealing.
Great Grandpa - “Four of Arrows”
Release date: October 25
I’m trying my best not to even listen to the singles in an effort to keep this album unspoiled, if that’s even a thing for music releases. Great Grandpa released their last album, “Plastic Cough,” in 2017, and completely blew me away when I saw them perform “Favorite Show” from that record live in a basement-esque venue here in Richmond. This is indie rock for those who wish indie rock attempted to sound and feel big more often.
Devon Welsh - "True Love"
Release date: October 11
Devon Welsh, formerly of Majical Cloudz, has fallen from his status earlier this decade as a buzzy blog-band, and for the last couple years he’s just been doing his own thing. His own thing tends to involve his operatic, slow-mo vocals resting atop a gently strummed guitar or maybe some accompanying strings. He sounds like he’s got some stuff figured out, but also please go back and listen to “Bugs Don’t Buzz” if you need a release from the stress of upcoming midterms.
"Music Mondays" is a weekly column run in conjunction with the University of Richmond radio, WDCE.
Contact contributor Conner Evans at email@example.com. Evans is the music director for WDCE.
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