It's October, which means the death of summery good times and fun. No longer can we drink Bud Light Limes on the beach or devour fruit salad while sunning on the patio. Instead, we must inhale the cedar of mothballs as we carefully remove sweaters from the back of the closet in preparation for the forthcoming harsh winter. Thankfully, though, the gods have granted us two bits of respite from the chilly months ahead: the season of fall and a smattering of great music. Here are 12 song recommendations for how to stave off your post-summer musical malaise this month.
1. "I Ain't The Same" by Alabama Shakes:
A year ago, Alabama Shakes had promise, a four-song EP, and not much else. Today, they're media darlings, a commercial success, and the envy of indie bands everywhere. With good reason: Boys and Girls, their debut album, showcases the immense talents of Brittany Howard, the dynamic singer and lead guitarist of the down-home, bluesy group who are changing the conversation about rock music every day. Alabama Shakes are touring now, so if you live in a city where their show isn't already sold out (fat chance), snatch up some tickets while you still can.
2. "Sleeping Ute" by Grizzly Bear:
You'd think a band that sold out Radio City Music Hall would at least be able to afford health insurance. But according to the cover story in the latest issue of New York Magazine, only some of the members can manage visits to the doctor without paying a prohibitively exorbitant amount of money. Hopefully, Grizzly Bear's fourth album, Shields, which debuted at #7 on the Billboard Charts on September 18, can change that. Or if that doesn't work out, they can always just take advantage of their current tour — on which the band will no doubt play its first single off of Shields, "Sleeping Ute" — and quickly pop into a hospital in one of the 35 countries that boast higher health care rankings than the U.S.
3. "Breezeblocks" by Alt-J:
Fun (and retroactively obvious) fact: Alt-J's name comes from the triangle symbol made when you hit "Alt" and "J" at the same time on your computer keyboard. While these fast-rising Brits garner comparisons to Radiohead solely because people have no idea how to classify them, they're really in a class of their own. With lyrics that allude to Maurice Sendak, Hubert Selby, Jr., and Luc Besson, their debut album, An Awesome Wave, which came out last month, is one of the most original and well-constructed releases of the year. "Breezeblocks," while relatively bizarre, doesn't even rank as their weirdest video.
4. "See Thru To U" (Ft. Erykah Badu) by Flying Lotus:
Blog darling and member of musical royalty (he's a Coltrane) Flying Lotus has boasted highly imaginative beats for years now, and always to critical acclaim. His latest, Until The Quiet Comes, continues that trend. "See Thru To U" combines FlyLo's jazzy production with Erykah Badu's silky voice for two and a half minutes of eardrum bliss.
5. "Hurricane" by MS MR:
The music industry might be dying, but smart bands have innovated to get their music out there. That's exactly what MS MR did for the release of Candy Bar Creep Show. Each track on the record — paired with music videos that definitely reflect the title of the EP — was debuted on Tumblr over the period of four weeks. Did it work? According to Wired, they scored over 9,000 reblogs.
6. "Losing You" by Solange:
While older sister Beyoncé might get most of the attention, Solange Knowles has been carving out a solid career for herself over the past 10 years. The beautifully shot video for "Losing You," the first single from her yet-to-be-named third album, which is slated for release early next year, contrasts the starkness of Cape Town with the sartorial charm, dancing and skills of nearly every character we see. In the end, though, the concept isn't a statement about the city, but rather a celebration of the people who live there.
7. "Tales That I Tell" by He's My Brother She's My Sister:
A brother/sister combo, a drummer that simultaneously tap dances, and über-catchy, feel-good songs? Awesome. In a music industry dominated by irony, He's My Brother She's My Sister refreshingly exudes honesty and charm. (They actually list their real influences on their Facebook page!) Their debut album, Nobody Dances In This Town, which they're currently touring, to support, comes out on October 9.
8. "Swimming Pools (Drank)" by Kendrick Lamar:
Kendrick Lamar has been one of the most talked about people in hip hop recently, and on October 22, when he releases his major label debut, good kid, M.A.A.D city, a greater audience will be able to see why. One reason: Collaborations with the likes of Lady Gaga and Best Coast's Bethany Cosetino show major crossover potential. A better reason: As you can see on his television debut backed by The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, he has some serious talent.
9. "Evening's Kiss" by Willis Earl Beal:
Willis Earl Beal might be the most interesting man in music today. His story is almost mythical: Kicked out of the military and living in his grandmother's house on the South Side of Chicago, he moved to Albuquerque (of all places) to make it as a musician. While supporting himself as a night watchman at a La Quinta Inn (he was also homeless for a time), he sculpted his debut album, Acousmatic Sorcery, out of nothing but pawnshop instruments, a cheap tape recorder, and his imagination. October marks his release of Principles of a Protaganist, an EP of five completely re-imagined songs off of Acousmatic Sorcery. Based off of Beal's novella, Principles of a Protaganist, it will also serve as the soundtrack for the upcoming short film entitled — you guessed it —Principles of a Protaganist.
10. "Spitting Image" by Freelance Whales:
From expansive layers of sound to a perfectly interlocking rhythm section, everything clicks on "Spitting Image," Freelance Whales's first single off their newest full-length, Diluvia. The album, which you can currently find streaming at NPR, showcases more of the same. If you can get past the band name, they're more than worth it.
11. "Autumn Tree" by Milo Greene:
Milo Greene rose to prominence quickly with their eponymous debut, which reached #1 on Billboard's Heatseakers Albums chart. "1957," the group's biggest single, might be bouncier, but this acoustic version of "Autumn Tree," with its dense four-part harmonies and all-encompassing feel, seems better suited to warm you up as the foliage turns this fall.
12. "This Kiss" by Carly Rae Jepsen:
You think I'd get all the way through this list without mentioning something mainstream? Shame on you. Of course, no other song by any artist will ever match the phenomenon of "Call Me Maybe" tribute videos, but "This Kiss," the third single off of Carly Rae Jepsen's second album, Kiss, packs a enough of a punch to satisfy your cravings for a new, catchy hook until after Halloween.