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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Belt

October 2023's music blogger roundtable

Bringing together music bloggers to discuss music highlights from October

Our assembled cast of music bloggers and broadcasters return to share their thoughts on October 2023 in music.

Joining 5-9 editor, Andrew Belt, to answer the questions are:

Sophie (otherwise known as Purpl Mac) who is a new music fan lover from Belgium.

She likes to support new indie & alternative music bands by featuring them on her show/podcast, playlists and on social media.

She is also a lover of music on vinyl growing her collection of physical copies and digital copies on bandcamp.

Matthew McLister is a freelance writer and music fan based in Glasgow with a degree in History (University of Glasgow). Passionate about new guitar music and indie bands, he writes features for Gigwise and HeadStuff Media. During lockdown he launched the Blinded by the Floodlights indie website and has even produced his own podcast. By day, he works in Corporate Communications.

Adam Reeve is an editor/writer + other things-er for various places over many years. Currently for Dead Good Music - a music blog that pairs music and oranges together like you wouldn't believe.

5-9: A month of big releases! Matthew, I know you had your eye on the latest efforts from Sufjan Stevens, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Gaslight Anthem, so what did you make of them?

Sufjan Stevens's Javelin failed to land with Matthew

Matthew: Sufjan was a bit underwhelming for me. I only gave it a couple of listens then felt no desire to return to it in all honesty! Which is disappointing as I loved his electronic album The Ascension (2020). Bombay Bicycle Club's My Big Day was fantastic and The Gaslight Anthem's new one definitely grew on me the more I listened - though not on the same level as The 59 Sound or Sink or Swim, I was really feeling a few of the more subdued album tracks after a few listens ('Michigan, 1975', 'Empires', 'A Lifetime of Preludes').

And how was seeing CamelPhat?

Matthew: We never ended up seeing CamelPhat in the end. Well, we made it to the Warehouse Project in Manchester nice and early but were quickly told they wouldn't be on until 1.30am. Still, we got to see a few DJs and was in complete awe at the size of the place!

5-9: Adam, Sophie, Andrew, how was October for you?

DJ Shadow's Action Adventure was just one of the many big releases in October

Adam: October was pretty good aside from having the worst flu in existence. But that did allow more opportunities to listen to new music rather than go outside!

Sophie: I had a busy month starting a new job and moving out to a new place. Less time for new music on which I am catching up now.

Andrew: September was jam-packed with loads of exciting new releases and October kept up, or even increased, the momentum. Hoping to use the next two months to catch up on some of them I didn't get round to at first!

5-9: What was the best album in October?

Adam: Musically, October was probably one of the strongest months for me. There were a lot of good albums released each week, from Fizz, PEACH and Holly Humberstone's debuts right up to Mayer Hawthorne's latest at the end of the month.

My favourite would probably be Dream Nails's DOOM LOOP. Their first album was great, and they seemed to take all of the good parts and build on it for their second. It references a lot of heavy societal issues but it delivers it against some seriously catchy instrumentals, so it has depth as well as accessibility! Definitely a record that I've found myself returning to over and over.

Sophie: I must first mention Lemon Lights (Lemon Lights | seablite ( - the album by American band, Seablite, which was released on 29 September. A refreshing mix of indie and dream pop/shoegaze songs. They landed on the discovery radar of bandcamp.

In October, Apollo Junction, an indie band without any label, released their third album and entered the official UK album chart at number 68 and reached number 1 as independent breakers. Clearly a people's choice. Favourite track from the album is 'History'.

Matthew: Best album has to be Bombay Bicycle Club's My Big Day. It's a record which takes them further away from their guitar roots and, despite initially not feeling the singles, I thought it was brilliant! A fairly eclectic mix of tracks of the highest quality with some excellent collaborations with the likes of Damon Albarn and Holly Humberstone who really contribute to the record without overwhelming it.

Andrew: Seeing as we haven't recorded our Album of the Month podcast yet, I'm not at liberty to divulge... But aside from the albums we'll discuss then, I did enjoy DJ Shadow's latest, Action Adventure - a different yet familiar-sounding release from the master of samples.

5-9: What were your favourite songs from October?

Black Honey

Sophie: British band, ME Rex, released their excellent second album, Giant Elk, and my favourite track on it is 'Infinity Worm'.

The Fae, an indie band from Ireland, released their debut EP, Bloodrush, with my favourite track, 'Chloe', although the entire EP is worth listening to.

I also loved 'My Little Tony' released bar italia's latest EP (although it was released as a single in September).

Matthew: Best songs for me would be IDLES's new one with LCD Soundsystem, 'Dancer', Yard Act's 'Dream Job' and The Vaccines 'Sometimes, I Swear'. Each of these three were preview singles for new albums coming next year - 2024 is already looking to be a big one for new records!

Adam: Dream Nails - 'Good Guy', Fizz - 'Close One' and Black Honey - 'Lemonade'.

It was hard to narrow it down to three songs, but these are the ones that have been inside my ears the most. The Fizz one is a great breakaway from the otherwise massive sound on the album, but is a great song on its own too.

Andrew: Always tricky, but I will plump for 'Tiny Garden' by Jamila Woods and duendita, 'Shame' by Lauren Mayberry and 'Bittersweet Goodbye' by Olivia Miceli.

We've now collated the monthly song picks into one, easy-to-find playlist, which also includes picks by 5-9 Album of the Month co-hosts, Karl Blakesley and Kiley Larsen. Listen below:

5-9: What's the best gig you've been to this month?

Dream Nails - 'blew the roof off' at Rough Trade East in London, according to Adam

Adam: I saw Dreams Nails at Rough Trade East, and while the venue and setting was noticeably more intimate than traditional gigs, they blew the roof off. It was great getting to hear a lot of the new record live.

Matthew: I only went to one gig this month and it was New Order at The Hydro in Glasgow. Bernard's voice may be fading a little, but it was great to hear so many of the Manchester legends' classic songs on the night, with an encore of three Joy Division tracks. The pre-encore had a run of 'True Faith', 'Blue Monday' and 'Temptation' - sublime stuff!

5-9: What are you most looking forward to next month?

SUDS's new album is exciting Adam

Adam: There's a band called SUDS who are releasing their new album on the 3rd. I was sent their single a while ago and it's been hard counting down the days. It's rare to feel excited by a particular release considering how much music we receive, but their sound is great and should be perfect for these wintery months. I can't wait to put it on while shielding from the cold.

Andrew: The upcoming album by Beirut was my pick for November's Album of the Month podcast and I'm looking forward to that. Aside from that, I'm looking forward to seeing Finch and The Murder Capital live.

Sophie: I'm looking forward to seeing New Zealand artist Fazerdaze live for the first time in November.

Matthew: November is a bit of a quieter month music wise after a stacked October. The Goa Express are a young band from Manchester who release their debut at the end of the month, so I'm thoroughly looking forward to that. In terms of gigs, nothing concrete as yet but have my eye on Friendly Fires at SWG3 in Glasgow towards the end of the month and also The Coral!

Thanks for taking part in 5-9's October roundtable and look forward to catching up next month!

To keep up to date with Sophie's shows, podcasts and more follow her on Twitter - @macaronpurpl - or on Instagram - @purplemacpodcast.

For Matthew: @matthewmclister on Twitter.

For Adam: @adamsoundsgood and @deadgoodblog on Twitter.

For a further deep dive into last month's music, look our for 5-9's Album of the Month podcast which will drop next week.

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