Autumn is officially here, and although September proved to be an unbelievably busy month for new music, there is no let-up this month. Amongst the usual barrage of anticipated returns and exciting debuts, there are new releases from ROAM, The Front Bottoms, Trivium, Jamie Lenman, The Darkness, and August Burns Red.
However, as always, the Already Heard have selected nine other “must-hear” releases for October. From shock rock comebacks to the intriguing 11th album from one of rock’s most inconsistent bands, to stunning lyricism from indie rock’s finest songwriters of recent years, to down to earth hardcore to dynamic alt-rock, to impassioned pop-punk and more. These nine albums deserve to be played on repeat in the coming weeks.
Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
It’s been ten years since ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’ turned Marilyn Manson from the most controversial and innovative names in mainstream rock into a schlock romantic with all the threat of a Disney villain. Every album since has seen him cling onto the verge of sustainability with a number of decent songs in collections of vast mediocrity.
While we can’t promise Manson’s tenth full-length ‘Heaven Upside Down’ will restore the former glories that many fans have grown up with from ‘Antichrist Superstar’ to 2000’s game changing ‘Holy Wood’, we are set to receive a record that provides the most substance since 2003’s banger laden ‘Golden Age of Grotesque.’
Lead single, ‘We Know Where You Fucking Live’, is an avalanche of attitude that ditches the more formal songwriting that has dominated Manson’s later work in favour of untamed aggression in its choruses. Follow-up single ‘Kill4Me’ revolves around a flamboyant 70’s disco groove, its sophistication and cinematic flair for dramatics is a continuation of the best parts of 2015’s ‘The Pale Emperor’ with a greater injection of personality.
Naturally, given the history and legacy Marilyn Manson has given our world, a new album is always going to raise attention, but ‘Heaven Upside Down’ is set to show the man at his fullest potential, and that’s a prospect to get very excited about. (AD)
‘Heaven Upside Down’ by Marilyn Manson is released on 6th October on Loma Vista Recordings.
Weezer – Pacific Daydream
Last year’s fourth self-titled album (referred to as ‘The White Album’) saw a return to form for Weezer, after more than a decade’s worth of awful-to-middling records. The band had originally planned on creating a darker follow-up to ‘The White Album’ entitled ‘The Black Album’, but chose to shelve this in favour of what’s shaping up to be a summer record taking considerable influence from The Beach Boys’ early work and aesthetic: ‘Pacific Daydream’. Why the band chose to slate it for an October release is a mystery, but the aforementioned Beach Boys’ ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ came out in February, so maybe it’s just always summer in California?
The three songs released from ‘Pacific Daydream’ (so far) are a mixed bag: ‘Feels Like Summer’ is a god-awful electro-radio-pop number; ‘Mexican Fender’ is somewhat fun power-pop that nonetheless pales in comparison to anything on ‘The White Album’; and ‘Beach Boys’, despite the title, sounds more like disco than anything The Beach Boys ever recorded.
On the merit of those three singles, it’s unlikely that we’ll see an album as great as last year’s, but here’s hoping Weezer keep their heads above (salty beach) water and avoid slipping back into mediocrity. (AC)
‘Pacific Daydream’ by Weezer is released on 27th October on Atlantic/Crush.
Citizen – As You Please
With their third full-length, Citizen provide an intense, confrontational set of songs. Strangers occupying houses, a desire to be loved, accepting fate, and having a disconnection from their audience are just some of the tales songwriter Mat Kerekes sings about on ‘As You Please’.
Stylistically, there is a sense of familiarity to their brand of alt-rock as heard on ‘Jet’. However, Citizen show they’re not afraid to be dynamic; the title track is a brooding rumble, ‘You Are A Star’ opens with a haziness and songs such as ‘Fever Days’ and ‘Ugly Luck’ highlight Kerekes’ maturing songwriting. While ‘In The Middle Of It All’ is an early, infectious highlight.
Ultimately, ‘As You Please’ shows Citizen’s growing versatility as musicians and as songwriters. It’s a lyrically engaging record that deserves to be poured over in intricate detail. While bleak on the surface, ‘As You Please’ sees a band full of confidence. (SR)
‘As You Please’ by Citizen is released on 6th October on Run For Cover Records.
Stick to Your Guns – True View
Fourteen years is enough time to break any band, but in hardcore, surviving that length of time takes serious levels of dedication and an unbreakable attitude. Needless to say, these qualities are exactly why Stick To Your Guns are one of the most important and celebrated bands in our scene today.
Having gradually evolved from a cult band to a name that carries a degree of weight on the UK live circuit, STYG return with their sixth full-length album ‘True View’, It’s set to be an emotional, internalised follow-up to 2015’s call-to-arms on ‘Disobedient’ as evidenced from lead single ‘The Sun, The Moon, The Truth: “Penance of Self”’, wherein frontman Jesse Barnett reflects upon a life of selfishness at the cost of loved ones, while ‘Married to the Noise’ is a tribute to the hardcore scene wherein he discovered his values and has no plans to abandon.
In a modern society where self-preservation prevails over any sense of community, ‘True View’ is Stick To Your Guns’ challenge to their listeners to reflect on their errors, and embrace their struggles and gain a deeper understanding of the ego and world around them. And it’s a message they’ll hammer into you riff after riff. (AD)
‘True View’ by Stick To Your Guns is released on 13th October on Pure Noise Records.
Knuckle Puck – Shapeshifter
Having broken away from the pack of emerging pop-punk bands with 2015’s ‘Copacetic’, Chicago’s Knuckle Puck return this month with ‘Shapeshifter’. Recording sessions for the album began at the start of the year, yet midway through they decided to scrap it and start over. They decided to reconnect with ‘Copacetic’ producer Seth Henderson to record what would become ‘Shapeshifter’. The end result sees the quintet hone in their qualities; impassioned, honest songwriting with tight hooks.
Recent singles, ‘Double Helix’ and ‘Gone’, certainly back this up. At their core, its unquestionably Knuckle Puck at their best; Joe Taylor punk-fuelled vocals, urgent instrumentation with an underlying sense of posivtivity and self-purpose.
With every release, Knuckle Puck are growing in a variety of ways; both creatively and personally. ‘Shapeshifter’ has all the ingridiants to see their rise continue. (SR)
‘Shapeshifter’ by Knuckle Puck is released on 13th October on Rise Records.
Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights
Since releasing her debut album, ‘Sprained Ankle’, two years ago, the music of Memphis, Tennessee native Julien Baker has spread through word-of-mouth for a good reason. Her blend of alt-rock, dream pop and indie rock is covered by her raw, vulnerable songwriting that is thoroughly compelling.
Now having made the jump to Matador Records, its follow-up arrives this month in the form of ‘Turn Out the Lights’. And if leadoff single, ‘Appointments’, is anything to go by, Baker is set to once again deliver any set of intimate songs. ‘Appointments’ is a twinkling, introspective number that instantly pulls at the heartstrings.
While its predecessor sees Baker put the focus on her identity, ‘Turn Out the Lights’ reflects on her experiences and those close to her; how mental health struggles affect the relationships with friends and family. Baker’s deeply personal narrative has an ability to connect with listeners; her songs heal all involved – the listener and Baker.
With the winter nights approaching, ‘Turn Out the Lights’ is sure to be the ideal soundtrack. (SR)
‘Turn Out the Lights’ by Julien Baker is released on 27th October on Matador Records.
My Ticket Home – unReal
Anyone who has followed Ohio metal quartet My Ticket Home up to this point will recognise how important evolution has been to their sound, as the leap from 2012’s debut full-length ‘To Create a Cure’ to 2013’s criminally underrated ‘Strangers Only’ proved, as they ditched the then-popular electronic metalcore influences in favour of a rawer production and layers of nu-metal bounce, which contained admirable nods to the past while sounding more energetic than anyone else in their playing field.
Four years later, everyone from Of Mice & Men to Cane Hill has tried to merge nu-metal and metalcore’s defining traits, and MTH find themselves aiming for something more ambitious on ‘unReal.’ The early 2000’s nostalgia is still present here, you can even see it in the neo-sepia toned music video for ‘Hyperreal’ and frontman Nick Giumenti’s vocal performance on the track that could only be influenced by listening to Linkin Park growing up.
Alongside singles ‘Thrush’ and ‘We All Use’, ‘unReal’ still packs enough punch to bring out an intense reaction from any audience, but also has enough refinement that could gain them a whole new fanbase from the US Rock Radio circuit. And it’s about time My Ticket Home got their dues. (AD)
‘unReal’ by My Ticket Home is released on 22nd October on Spinefarm Records.
Sharptooth – Clever Girl
Living up to their name, Baltimore’s Sharptooth provided a substantial amount of bite on their 2015 EP ‘Chompers’, unleashing scathing social commentary about dissenting attitudes towards women’s rights, and pretentious elitism in a male-dominated scene turning women away from the hardcore genre that they perform so well.
On their debut full-length ‘Clever Girl’, the quintet bring their message to a larger audience, with a sharper production providing a decimating sonic assault to their listeners. Among their array of clattering and discordant song arrangements, there’s enough gleaming hooks that bore their way into your consciousness, such as the title track’s refrains of “dead men tell no tales/dead men talk no shit”, which are sure to incite carnage at any live show.
As the boys club status quo that has troubled hardcore for the better part of the last decade continues to be challenged, a band like Sharptooth is a valuable asset to our community, as they seek rectitude towards marginalized voices in aggressive music, while out-aggressing everyone around them in the process. (AD)
‘Clever Girl’ by Sharptooth is released on 27th October on Pure Noise Records.
Left Behind – Blessed By the Burn
‘You know what you did so get fucked!’, Left Behind frontman Zachary Hatfield barks before the band swing into a sludge encrusted breakdown on ‘Tough Love.’ This type of extreme bluntness is a good illustration of the way the West Virginia quintet write their songs. Confrontational, in-your-face and refuting the needs of any gentle metaphors getting in the way of the hard truth of their message.
After using those ideas to devastating effect on last year’s ‘Seeing Hell’, Left Behind are back for round two on the 27th when their second full-length ‘Blessed By the Burn’ is released. ‘Tough Love’ itself is a good indicator for the sonic punishment that lies ahead, with Hatfield’s vocals recalling Corey Taylor at his most feral, as the rest of the band lash out with arrangements inspired by hardcore, sludge and thrash metal. Played with a rawness that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a circle with each member playing around you, Left Behind have a directness that at times feels claustrophobic.
Exploring themes of emotional trauma, and mental deterioration brought on by abuse and experiencing the suicide of loved ones, ‘Blessed By the Burn’ is a record that holds nothing back, and could be one of the boldest and unflinching albums to come out this year. Don’t sleep on this record, because Left Behind are about to take hardcore by storm. (AD)
‘Blessed By the Burn’ by Left Behind is released on 27th October on Unbeaten Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (AD), Sêan Reid (SR) and Alan Cunningham (AC).