The season of parties approaches, and while I may have bumped a lot of these jams (isn't that what the kids call it these days?) at my Halloween party, I feel confident that many of these tunes are solid enough to keep in rotation to NYE and into 2016. Moreover, it would seem that indie artists have been on a bit of a mission to appropriate and reinvent country music. A revolution that I fully approve of, and can't stop listening too. That said, October was a fantastic month for new releases, and it was very hard to whittle down my favorites to just 20 songs. All the artists are gearing up to impress for 'Best of 2015' lists. Speaking of which, why yes, of course I'm doing a 'Top 100 Songs of 2015'. Check back in December for updates.
'Amanecer' - Bomba Estereo : There's an awful remix version of this song featuring Will Smith. Ignore that trash. This version is much better. Still, it may finally break this band in the states, though they've been slaying it in their native Columbia and South America generally for years.
'Hot' - Powers : I'm assuming that this duo is intentionally over the top in a fun ironic kind of way. Even if it's for cereal, it's hard not to fan yourself when listening to this club jam #onfleek
'Freedom! '15' - !!! : often pronounced Chk Chk Chk now has a successful track record of record of reinventing disco with an indie edge spanning over a decade. This is their 6th full-length, and they've still got it.
'Pray for Rain' - Pure Bathing Culture : You might be surprised that this now Portland-based duo got their start playing with indie folk band Vetiver, since their music has a decidedly electro bent now. This song is simultaneously makes my feet dance and my heart yearn. I can't stop listening to it.
'Used To' - Mutemath : This band has been hit or miss for me. They blew up math rock in 2006, and I loved them for it, but then they fell into some formulaic stadium rock thing that was dismal. The new album is big without being pretentious.
'Bombs Away' - BOOTS : Though he gained some indie recognition with his band Blonds, Jordon Asher did not become infamous until it was rumored that he was the brains behind Beyonce's 2013 self-titled album. His debut full-length as BOOTS is filled with menacing beauty.
'No One Wants It to Happen to You' - Small Black : In 2013 Small Black released an album on Jagjaguwar that was a serious contender for best of the year, and now they're back. Best Blues is, as the title would suggest, more introspective, but still offers many sounds to appreciate.
'Silver Car Crash' - Magical Cloudz : 6th release in 6 years, Are You Alone? from this prolific Canadian artist has a dreamy, almost cinematic aesthetic. For example, this song is a contender for most romantic lyrics of the year.
'Sold' - Little May : So Baroque it's almost orchestral folk from a trio of ladies with sweet vocal harmony skills. The organizers of Lilith Fair would have swooned all over this. Plus the album artwork is impeccable, an increasing rarity in the digital age.
'Where'd You Go' - Boy & Bear : Rambly, catchy folk rock with a silver-throat frontman. Apparently, they broke out big in their native Australia. This is their third release and it sounds like they're ready to take the world by storm.
'Bitter Water' - The Oh Hellos : Classic big singalong, clap-along folk with mandolin trappings and playfully paired lady and male vocals. It may be classic, but this independent duo of Texans execute this style flawlessly.
'Demons' - Summer Twins : The veneer of garage and psychedelia we expect from Burger Records' bands with 60's pop sweetheart vocals from two bonafide SoCal sisters. Bonus for a sweltering guitar solo and vintage organ sounds.
'Legends of My Own' - Gun Outfit : Is lo-fi post-country a thing? Gun Outfit kind of makes it a thing, and I like it. Droney vocals and finger picking FTW. Check out the accompanying music video, which was shot on a Super 8 in Washington and the band's new home of LA.
'TXTN' - Conner Youngblood : A bit of a musical savant, it's rumored that he plays 30 to 40 different instruments. His contemporary aural explorations collide with his roots: born in Texas, and based in Nashville. You really need to check this out.
'Lay Down' - Son Little : In the '50s gospel met rock 'n' roll in wave that would become known as R&B. While artists like Mayor Hawthorne have revitalized later '60s iterations of this collaboration, Son Little tackles the early years when things were a little more raw. Sam Cooke, eat your heart out.
'Real Blues' - St Germain : Active in the mid to late '90s, this is the first full-length from the French electronica artist in 15 years. After all this time, he still has an instinctual flow and crate-digging expertise, sampling Lightnin' Hopkins vocals.
'Nottamun Town' - LISTENBEE : This song reminds me of video game music...in a good way, though it does that jazz sample thing that Euro DJs seem to love. It's the second single from an artist with more remixes than originals. It'll be interesting to see what he does next.
'Fela' - NVDES : 3rd single from a brand new LA-based artist that hasn't even released an EP or LP yet. It's got a fun calypso beat, good build, and sexy dude vocals. Want to try and check this live ASAP.
'No Pixar' - RDGLDGRN : Pronounced Red Gold Green, this trio has the DC/VA style of rap mastered, a laid back mix of a range of influences including indie, electro, and rock. Confession: I can't help but 2-step to this.
'Kanta's Theme' - Chris Walla : The guitarist for Death Cab for Cutie for 17 years, Chris Walla began working on solo atmospheric ambient music in 2008. Last year, he officially parted ways with DCfC, and this new album would suggest it's all for the best. Here's all the contemplation and feelz from Transatlanticism with none of the bullshit teen-pandering of the Twilight soundtrack debacle.