October is always one of my favorite months. I love when summer starts to go away and it starts to get cold again. We have been having some October rain out here in Los Angeles that has been fabulous! This also means that Halloween is right around the corner! Many labels save their big releases for the end of the year, which also makes this time of year exciting for those of us that love music. October 12th is a big release day -- three of my favorite artists have releases on this date! It's almost too much to handle! Sufjan Stevens, Belle & Sebastian, & Antony & the Johnsons all have new albums -- all in one day! I have been patiently waiting for Sufjan to continue his series on all the 50 States. He gave us the brilliant Illinois and Michigan and then nothing else. I am of course wanting California and New York, but also all the States in between. I am hoping that he has actually been working on them in secret. He just continues to release these other albums to distract us, right? But then in a couple of years he will release a comprehensive 50 state box set. It will have an album for each state and also contain 2 7"s for the commonwealths and it will come with a puzzle. I could even be satisfied with an album of 150 songs with 3 songs for each state -- just give me something, Sufjan! A 7" for each state would also be amazing! His new album is called Age of Adz. I sort of had a strange reaction to it at first. It incorporates some electronics and at times sounds like a Lil Jon album...but it is still Sufjan, and I still love it. I just takes a couple of listens.
Belle & Sebastian's new album Write About Love also took a couple of listens to fall in love with. I was sort of still on my Belle & Sebastian high from seeing them in Vegas. And I do love the contest they ran to get fans to write about love. There are some great songs on Write About Love for sure but I really could have lived without the Norah Jones duet. I know this band is both easy to love and hate. Some people are very proud of their hatred of the band. I am one of the lovers of the band and I always will feel the same.
Antony & the Johnsons also has a new album called Swanlights. I still think that Antony sort of peaked at I Am a Bird Now in 2005. The new album is still good. It is just not great. I don't keep going back to it for more like I did with his first two. I still think he has some more briliant albums in him; I am not giving up on him yet. And I will also not give up on this album. There has just been a lot out this year to distract me. I still might love it yet! And Antony is absolutely brilliant live so perhaps getting to see him perform might just make me fall in love with the new material.
One of my recent favorites, Zola Jesus, also just released a new album, Valusia. The album is also known as Stridulum II. And yes, there is a Stridulum I. It is hard to believe that Nika Rosa Danilova, the woman behind Zola, is only 21. She has already done so much. She is like a more dreamy or shoegazey version of Siouxsie. It is music made for me and I love it! I am now a Zola Jesus fanatic and collector, trying to get my hands on everything she has put out. This is some amazing stuff! Thank you, Zola Jesus!
Can you believe Bona Drag was released by Morrissey 20 years ago? I am having a hard time grasping that Morrissey has been in my life for over 20 years already. I was in 10th grade when Bona Drag was released. By that point I was a full time Morrissey fan but it had really only been a year. I was too young to be a Smiths fan when The Smiths actually existed. But I was in 8th grade when Morrissey's first solo album, Viva Hate, was released in 1988. It took me a couple of years to really get into Morrissey and The Smiths but by the time Bona Drag came out in 1990, I owned every album that I could find. I honestly always thought that Bona Drag was a new album. It had 12 new songs on it that had not been on any other albums yet. "Suedehead" and "Everyday Is Like Sunday" had both already appeared on Viva Hate but everything else was new to me. I was just happy to have a new Morrissey album to call my own. He had been putting out a ton of singles and had a bunch of unreleased songs so putting out Bona Drag was a smart idea, but Kill Uncle was just right around the corner in 1991. Bona Drag included some of my favorite Morrissey songs of all time: "Piccadilly Palare," "Interesting Drug," "November Spawned a Monster," "Ouija Board, Ouija Board," and "Lucky Lisp." I basically love every song on this album. It is my favorite Morrissey album or collection or whatever you want to call it. The 20th Anniversary Edition is all remastered and repackaged and includes some great bonus tracks. I can't really think of anything more exciting than hearing a song for the first time from 20 years ago that you never heard before. I was not really a singles collector back in 1990 -- that phase in my life didn't come until a couple of years later when bands like Blur, Pulp, and Suede put out about 10 singles every year all with amazing b-sides. So hearing the bonus tracks on Bona Drag was pretty awesome. The first bonus track is "Happy Lovers at Last United." This is an outtake from the "Everyday is Like Sunday" sessions. The next track is "Lifeguard on Duty." This is a track from the Viva Hate sessions. The album also includes "Please Help the Cause Against Lonliness," "Oh Phoney," "The Bed Took Fire," & "Let the Right One Slip In."
Bona Drag still holds up as a brilliant collection of songs. It is reissued as both a CD and an LP and is just an import at the moment but I imagine a domestic release will be sometime soon. And maybe those Smiths reissues that we are all hoping for will finally happen too! What we all really want is a box set by The Smiths. I have my Cure and Siouxsie box set; I have my Depeche Mode boxes and my Joy Division box set; Jesus & Mary Chain and New Order have great boxes as well; but what we really need is The Smiths box set! Somebody please make this happen! I know I will most likely never see a Smiths reunion show but at the very least I would like deluxe 2CD reissues from all albums by The Smiths and Morrissey and one amazing comprehensive box set by The Smiths. I also wouldnt mind seeing Hulmerist, The Malady Lingers On, Live in Dallas, and Oye Esteban on blu-ray! But wouldn't a reunion by The Smiths be amazing? One can dream. I do have some friends that I idolize that actually got to see them live. I imagine a whole month of performances for this reunion show. You know that some of us would go to every single one. Maybe something like a month of performances at the Greek or the Orpheum? I would even fly to London for something as amazing as this. I never thought that I would get to see Yaz or My Bloody Valentine but they both had reunion shows in the last couple of years! Stranger things have happened. But for now at least you can enjoy this reissue. It is just as fantastic as you remember. It has been 20 years but it really does feel like just last week that I listened to my Bona Drag cassette for the first time. It was a friend's tape that I listened to on a cassette player during our lunch break at high school. I went out and bought my very own copy that weekend. Morrissey, I love you. And thanks for being in my life for over 20 years!
Watch Morrissey in the "November Spawned a Monster" video from the album Bona Drag...
also out 10/12...
Chateau Crone by Agent Ribbons
Swanlights by Antony & the Johnsons
It's What I'm Thinking by Badly Drawn Boy
Write About Love by Belle & Sebastian
Blood Bunny by Black Heart Procession
$0$ bt Die Antwoord
Post Electric Blues by Idlewild
Metallic Spheres by The Orb featuring David Gilmour
Social Network Soundtrack
Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens
Valusia by Zola Jesus
also out 10/19...
Undercard by Extra Lens
Come Around Sundown by Kings of Leon
Can of Bees reissue by The Soft Boys
Underwater Moonlight reissue by The Soft Boys
Acme + Extra Acme Expanded reissue by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Orange + Experimental Remixes Expanded reissue by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion