Now winter is coming, here’s a selection of music to warm the soul

Cosy up with Malcolm Jack as he handpicks some of the best forthcoming releases

It’s around this time of year with another summer a full three seasons away that nature presents us with a stark choice: scream despairingly into the void, or find something else to look forward to. 

Laid out ahead like a well-fluffed comfort blanket, the new music release schedule for autumn-winter – or as industry types call it, rather less sentimentally, “quarter four” – proffers just such crumbs of consolation. It’s traditionally the music business’s busiest phase each year not because it’s all about fleecing spend-happy back-to-uni students out of their loans and getting everyone shopping good and early for Christmas, but because it’s when our favourite artists take it upon themselves to generously help light up the drawing-in nights and warm our hearts and souls as temperatures plummet. OK fine, it may also be about money.

From loose’n’loud indie rock to psychedelic film soundtracks and slowcore sex jams, there’s a whole load of great music inbound to help banish the summer’s gone blues – here are just a few highlights.

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Big Thief
Two Hands

Having furnished us with one exceptional record already this year in the form of February’s enchanting UFOF, these Brooklyn purveyors of raw, rootsy indie rock and folk promptly present what they call its ‘celestial twin’. Two Hands was recorded almost immediately after its predecessor at the same rural studio; it’s noisier, looser, more direct-to-the point, and as such the perfect compliment to what was already hands down one of the best records of 2019.
Get set for Big Thief to steal your heart, again.
October 11

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Alex Cameron
Miami Memory

Such is this Australian’s burgeoning rep as one of the cleverest and wittiest songwriters in the business, he was invited to co-author five tracks with Brandon Flowers for The Killers’ latest studio album Wonderful Wonderful. A song in which he hails the emancipating power of homemade pornography and another in which he likens enjoying a niche sex act with his girlfriend to devouring an expensive mollusc Flowers presumably suggested that Cameron keep for himself. And so instead they form centerpieces of the Aussie’s hotly anticipated third sax-laced synthpop solo album Miami Memory.
September 13

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Angel Olsen
All Mirrors

A synths’n’strings wall-of-sound, the title track from the shape-shifting St Louis, Missouri singer-songwriter’s new album promises much. It’s pleasingly accompanied by a video in which Olsen parades around in moody monochrome in a variety of futuristic-extravagant frocks, looking and sounding like Kate Bush doing a Chanel commercial in space. The long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s critically exalted My Woman is produced by producer John Congleton (Sharon Van Etten, St Vincent), features a 14-piece orchestra and is all about “owning up to your darkest side,” says Olsen. The words “yes” and “please”, spring to mind.
October 4

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Cigarettes After Sex
Cry

For a band titled in honour of the traditional post-coital snout – sadly a rarified thing in this day and age (a post-coital vape somehow just doesn’t have the same aura) – you have to wonder if Cry is really the best name for their second album, crying being not typically a good sign after sex. Who knows, perhaps they’re happy tears? Either way, the Brooklyn-based dream-pop band are back with more noirish, narcotic slowcore jams that sound
so excruciatingly intimate the phrase “get a room” doesn’t spring to
mind so much as “get a room with thicker walls”.
October 25

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Fenella
Fehérlófia

The latest project from Jane Weaver – Liverpudlian avant-garde electronic composer extraordinaire – is her most cosmic yet: a reimagined soundtrack to Marcell Jankovics’ cult 1981 animation Fehérlófia, released under the nom-de-plume Fenella. Ever wondered what ancient folklore and the mythical tales of the Scythians, Huns and Avars might sound like in cinematic droney-ambient form? Wonder no more!
November 1

Main image: Nic Chapman