October's Best New Music

  • Publish Date: October 31, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 9 user comments

The best albums released this month...

Here are the best new studio albums released in October (minimum 7 reviews):

good kid, m.A.A.D. city 91 (Aftermath)
by Kendrick Lamar


West Coast rapper (and Black Hippy member) Kendrick Lamar had one of the top hip-hop debut albums last year with his independently released iTunes LP Section.80. After signing with Dr. Dre's Interscope-affiliated Aftermath Entertainment earlier this year, Lamar made his major-label debut this month with good kid, m.A.A.d. city, which includes contributions from Dre himself as well as Drake, Schoolboy Q, and Jay-Rock.

The result is one of the best-reviewed albums of 2012 so far, trailing only Frank Ocean's Channel Orange and The Menzingers' On the Impossible Past as far as Metascores go. The diversity of the production, Lamar's undeniable skills behind the mic, and his deep and thoughtful lyrics (the L.A. Times calls it "a masterpiece of storytelling") combine to make a "masterful" album that Exclaim! calls "a heavily introspective tour de force" that is being hailed by other critics as "a classic." Cautions Spin, however, "It's a completely exhausting listen, one that might prove easier to admire than enjoy. But at the very least, it's never anything less than fascinating." More reviews...

Also by this artist:
Section.80 2011 80

All We Love We Leave Behind 88 (Epitaph)
by Converge


All We Love is the eighth studio album from the Massachusetts hardcore band best known for their 2001 classic Jane Doe. The new album is intended to have a rawer, more live feel than its more heavily produced predecessors, and finds the group working without collaborators for the first time in several albums. While NME regrets that Converge have become too normal, the majority of critics hear a band at its "brutal," "blistering" best, even if a few songs veer dangerously close to melodicism. The relative increase in stylistic diversity is a bit of a sticking point—some critics like the variety, but others, like A.V. Club, just find a lack of cohesion—but all agree that Converge is as aggressive as ever, with No Ripcord calling it "one of the most spectacular and intense albums the group has released yet." More reviews...

Also by this artist:
Axe To Fall 2009 77

Kaleidoscope Dream 86 (RCA)
by Miguel


R&B singer-songwriter Miguel, who made his debut in 2010 with All I Want Is You, returns with a sophomore album (and debut for RCA) that is even more adventurous (or, as AMG terms it, "funkier and weirder") than his first. Fans who already own Miguel's recent EPs might be disappointed by the lack of much new material here, but reviewers found little else to complain about. The A.V. Club feels that Kaleidoscope Dream rivals Frank Ocean's Channel Orange for the crown of top new R&B album, while other critics admire the wealth of ideas on display throughout an album that is "ambitious" and "thrilling." More reviews...

Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran 85 (Mercury Nashville)
by Jamey Johnson

The country artist's first covers album is a tribute to songwriter Hank Cochran. Each of the 16 Cochran compositions here finds Johnson duetting with another artist, and the roster of collaborators is impressive: Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, and more. Country Weekly calls it "one of the most heartfelt albums of the year," while Slant is happy that despite the big names on hand, the focus remains on Cochran's songwriting talent. More reviews...

Also by this artist:
The Guitar Song 2010 91
That Lonesome Song 2008 81
Take the High Road 2011 72

Until the Quiet Comes 85 (Warp)
by Flying Lotus

Since signing to Warp Records five years ago, Los Angeles-based producer Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus) can do no wrong, as far as critics are concerned. Until the Quiet Comes, his third LP for the label, is another winner. Thom Yorke, who also guested on FlyLo's previous LP, Cosmogramma, and Erykah Badu contribute to the new album, but as a whole it is a mellower and more minimalist set than its predecessor, designed to be consumed whole rather than in pieces. Despite those intentions, there are numerous complaints from critics about inconsistency, and some reviewers find it more "pleasant" than exciting, but overall it's another "gorgeous" dreamscape from FlyLo that is more "accessible" and "digestible" than his past works. More reviews...

Also by this artist:
Cosmogramma 2010 86
Pattern + Grid World EP 2010 82
Los Angeles 2008 81

Sing the Delta 83 (Flariella Records)
by Iris DeMent


Country-folk singer-songwriter Iris DeMent released a string of acclaimed albums in the 1990s before going on an extended hiatus, recording nothing but an album of traditional gospel tunes (2004's Lifeline) over the past 16 years. Now, at age 51, DeMent has returned to recording with the self-released Sing the Delta, which consists of a dozen original tunes. Uncut calls it "a startling, inspirational comeback," while the Boston Globe deems it "a work of rare, unvarnished grace and power." While everyone seems happy to have DeMent back, especially with songs of this quality, AMG cautions, "There's little that moves one to sing along here, unfortunately. The tempos are all slow, dramatic, and melancholy." More reviews...

Unfinished Business 82 (Sugar Hill)
by Wanda Jackson


Now 75, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and First Lady of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson doesn't appear to consider retirement an option. That's a good thing, if Unfinished Business is any indication. Produced by Justin Townes Earle, Jackson's new album is earning stronger reviews than her previous, Jack White-produced LP, with Earle appearing to be a better fit as producer. The sound here might be simpler than on The Party Ain't Over, with more of a live feel, but the "quick, fast, and dirty" approach (as Paste describes it) produces a more coherent set that leaves Jackson sounding "as vital as ever," to quote Magnet. More reviews...

Also by this artist:
The Party Ain't Over 2011 66

Honor Found In Decay 82 (Neurot)
by Neurosis


This Steve Albini-produced tenth album from the Oakland, California metal band is the group's first release in five years. All Music Guide is surprised to find that the combination of Albini's precise, minimalist engineering and the dense sonics of Neurosis actually works, and Exclaim! agrees, albeit more colorfully, noting that while "the execution has become more precise, more considered, the gigantic, swooping structures of the songs remain as thick and muscular as the Midgard Serpent, undulating around and encircling the world." Sputnik, however, finds it less immediate than previous Neurosis albums, while the A.V. Club calls it "uneven" and "unfocused." More reviews...

METZ 81 (Sub Pop)


One of Sub Pop's newest signings, Canadian trio METZ make their full-length debut with this energetic burst of noisy post-punk (or maybe just punk) that also bears the name METZ. What does it sound like, exactly? A telling clue is that more than one reviewer compares it to a sledgehammer, though other critics prefer weapons like "Molotov cocktail" and "gut punch." The Quietus deems it one of the best punk albums in years, while PopMatters considers METZ one of the best releases this year, period. The album isn't universally loved, however. Prefix cites problems with the attention-grabbing production, while Dusted finds listening to the album more like work than enjoyment. More reviews...

More Well-Reviewed October Albums
Album Label Metascore
Jake Bugg by Jake BuggMercury80
Sunken Condos by Donald FagenReprise80
Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young & Crazy HorseReprise80
Transcendental Youth by The Mountain GoatsMerge80
2 by Mac DeMarcoCaptured Tracks79
Twins by Ty SegallDrag City79
Traveling Alone by Tift MerrittYep Roc79
Landing On A Hundred by Cody ChesnuTTVibration Vineyard79
Tinsel And Lights by Tracey ThornMerge78
Local Business by Titus AndronicusXL78
Lonely At the Top by LukidNinja Tune78
The Haunted Man by Bat for LashesParlophone78
Who Needs Who by Dark Dark DarkSupply and Demand77
Don't Be a Stranger by Mark EitzelMerge77
Come Home To Mama by Martha WainwrightCo-Operation77
Total Loss by How to Dress WellAcephale76
Glad Rag Doll by Diana KrallVerve76
Sugaring Season by Beth OrtonAnti76
Red by Taylor SwiftBig Machine Records76
Avoid these:
Lightning by Matt & KimFADER Label / One Label59
Sticks + Stones by Cher LloydEpic / Syco Music51

The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). All scores are from October 31, 2012.

What do you think?

What new albums or songs are in heavy rotation on your MP3 player? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (9)

  • WeAreOne  

    I also echo the strange exclusion of Tame Impala?? Why?? But I would also like to give you guys a thumbs up for bringing this monthly feature back, I missed it.

  • dlistblogger  

    Metacritic, it's time to explain yourself!! Where is Tame Impala???

  • Bulsajo  

    Without a doubt leaving Tame Impala off this list is criminal.

  • Jerem  

    Where is Tame Impala with lonerism !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bigbry  

    Lonerism is a great album. What a great young band. They should be included on metacritic.

  • Bigbry  

    This album is such a revelation. What a great young talent!! And the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Lonerism should be included on metacritic.

  • DJ99X  

    It was bad enough that they didn't include Innerspeaker when that was released. Forgetting/refusing to add Lonerism disgraceful. It's not like it was a low-key release or anything; it charted in the top 50 in most countries

  • MattG  

    Agree Boompa. Just ridiculous that a website that would like to think of itself as the most comprehensive compiler of reviews on the net could possibly overlook Tame Impala's Lonerism - given the dozens of overwhelmingly positive reviews it has received. And especially when it was featured in it's Music Monday section a month ago. Lift your game Metacritic!

  • Boompa  

    How could you, Metacritic, possibly miss Tame Impala's Lonerism? It's definitely got more than 7 reviews, and it's definitely at least the second-best reviewed album of October. I now use anydecentmusic.com, and I will continue to do so until you add this amazing record.

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