Don’t look now, but we’re already in the home stretch of 2021, with only the holidays standing between us and a shiny, new year. That means many things—namely, that Best of 2021 honors are right around the corner—but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves just yet, instead shining a light on the best releases of last month. October gave us perhaps the best records yet from The War on Drugs and Wiki, as well as an undeniable debut from Geese. Gritty hip-hop, glossy synth-pop, expl…….
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Don’t look now, but we’re already in the home stretch of 2021, with only the holidays standing between us and a shiny, new year. That means many things—namely, that Best of 2021 honors are right around the corner—but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves just yet, instead shining a light on the best releases of last month. October gave us perhaps the best records yet from The War on Drugs and Wiki, as well as an undeniable debut from Geese. Gritty hip-hop, glossy synth-pop, explosive emo—it’s all here, and then some. Find the Paste Music team’s top October albums below.
Listen to our Best Albums of October 2021 playlist on Spotify here.
Eternal Home is the most expansive statement yet from Chicago-based producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Angel Marcloid, who records as Fire-Toolz, among other monikers. The prolific artist’s seventh full-length since 2015 is a 78-minute double album that seems to defy time, not to mention genre classification, sweeping you into a whirlwind of ambient, yet melodic, Oneohtrix Point Never-esque electronics, operatic prog percussion, caustic black metal vocals and heavy shoegaze guitars. These elements collide to particularly mesmerizing effect on standouts like “Odd Cat Sanctuary” and “Thick_flowy_glowy_sparkly_stingy_pain.mpeg,” demonstrating the unconscious precision of Marcloid’s vision. Eternal Home makes, say, hyper-pop feel quaint, treating experimental sounds not as a fashion statement, but as a governing principle. If you have yet to wander into the topsy-turvy world of Fire-Toolz, there’s no time like the present. —Scott Russell
Teenaged Brooklyn rockers Geese grabbed our attention with their stellar first single over the summer and, with the release of their much-anticipated debut album Projector, show zero signs of letting it go. The quintet’s sound fits most comfortably in the post-punk bucket, but placing any one descriptor on it is a mistake—Geese’s raison d’être is stylistic multiplicity, and their songs never occupy a single space for long, shifting fluidly between angular precision and psychedelic sprawl, all while remaining perpetually danceable and energetic. Frontman Cameron Winter’s lyrics inhabit the perspectives of various shadowy characters, spinning tales of anxiety and annihilation that imbue the band’s mercurial instrumentation with a gripping darkness. All told, Projector is an exhilarating first statement from a preternaturally talented band, bottled rock lightning with roots in decades of compelling musical influence. —Scott Russell
Synth-pop duo Magdalena Bay, aka Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin, have fully embraced the secret blessing of the pandemic. Following the unfortunately timed release of their 2020 EP A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling at the cusp of lockdown, the ensuing isolation gave time for the EP to resonate with fans, leading to a growing support system that crystallized into the hype for their debut album <…….