Rocktober: Must-Listens from Last Month

Halloween and October are over and with that comes a strong, cold breeze that will torture us Hoosiers until mid-March. Fortunately, a ton of great music came out this past October, so let’s revisit some highlights and try to forget the freezing temperatures, bare trees and lack of sunlight that’s in our future.

Ben Howard-I Forgot Where We Were

Soulful crooner Ben Howard released his follow up to 2011’s excellent My Kingdom on Oct. 20. I Forgot Where We Were features the English songwriter’s lovelorn lyrics and token mellow sound, reminiscent to a sadder Jack Johnson. On stand out tracks like “Small Things” and “I Forgot Where We Were” Howard uses minimalist instrumentals to complement his voice, and he succeeds in making the perfect soundtrack for a cold winter day. In his usual style, the ten song album clocks in at 54 minutes as all the songs are at least three-and-a-half minutes long. Such long songs are nothing short of hard, keeping people’s attention is pretty difficult, however Howard’s melodic and soothing voice, often blending in and out with the dreamy, melancholic, even stormy, instrumentals take listeners on a sonically-pleasing journey.

Cold War Kids-Hold My Home

If the Cold War Kids are good at anything, it’s that they’re good at staying exactly the same. In their latest release, the California rockers maintain the same sound as they were in 2006’s Robbers & Cowards. That’s not to say that Hold My Home is a bad or boring album. Quite the contrary, as leader vocalist Nathan Willett continues to shine with his unique voice and the rest of the band is as talented as ever, balancing out Willett’s sometimes brash voice with soaring guitars and a steady percussion. Though not as good as their most recent album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, the band still shines in tracks like “Hotel Anywhere,” “First” and my personal favorite, “Nights & Weekends.” Another solid album by one of the more consistently good bands from the past decade.

Milky Chance-Sadneccessary

Despite their unappealing name, (maybe because I despise milk? I don’t know it just sounds wrong), Milky Chance put out one of my favorite albums from this year. The German duo first made music headlines when their single “Stolen Dance” blew up on YouTube. Their unique take on an electro/indie/pop blend really shines on tracks like “Flashed Junk Mind” and “Down By The River.” My favorite track off the record is easily “Running.” The track combined elements of minimalism, with the sporadic bass line and the mumbling adds to a melancholy sound. However, the song starts to pick up midway through and has this sort of desperateness to it that makes it so different. Milky Chance is actually set for their first U.S. tour starting in early 2015, and I’m hoping to catch them in Indy in April.