While November is a lighter new album release month as far as sheer volume, the first Friday in November already brought new albums from Jim James (MMJ), Hope Sandoval & the Warm Intentions (Mazzy Star/ My Bloody Valentine), Honus Honus (Man Man), STRFRK, Efterklang and more. Not a bad start to the month, but there’s more than just those in store for this month, with plenty under the radar artists releasing albums that should command your attention.
We asked our writers to pick an under the radar album (or more) being released in November that they believe are deserving of more love from the national media, and of course, the ears of the listeners. Whether it’s a debut album, just a new album that’s great, or an artist that hasn’t quite taken their buzz into the US, here are the picks of Under the Radar Albums we believe you should pay more attention to coming out this month.:
Dot.s – We Swim (Nov. 4th)
Dot.s quickly earned a reputation around their hometown of Atlanta as one of the must catch live acts behind their debut album, Jellyfish, helping the city remember how to dance along the way. Even for an “experimental pop band”, their debut showed a young band willing to really push the boundaries of the genre, always teetering on the fine line of falling off the edge, without ever actually losing their balance. They don’t lose the rhythm or beats that keeps the crowds moving, it’s kept in the details. It’s what makes them so compelling to Atlanta, and has the band ready to be heard far beyond.
On their sophomore release, We Swim (Deer Bear Wolf Records), Dot.s seem more focused without losing any of their zeal. There are certainly obvious influences of the Talking Heads and more modern TH influenced bands like LCD Soundsystem snuck in throughout the album, but this isn’t just another modern indie pop band taking all their tricks from Speaking in Tongues. There is a more airy feel to We Swim, the synths sing and the walls of sounds carry the listener on a journey while Dot.s explores the entertainment and inherent sadness of a life desensitized by modern devices. There is a new maturity behind Dot.s sophomore release that has the band coming into their own. But don’t worry, the playfulness of the first album isn’t lost on We Swim, and this album will once again make you pull out dance moves you didn’t even know you had. Dot.s is a must listen this November. /- Mike Gerry
Palace – So Long Forever (Nov. 4th)
London based Palace sounds like a band that’s been around forever. Intricately crafted and matured the four piece is set to release their debut album, So Long Forever, on November 4th via Fiction Records. The album was written and recorded in an old munitions factory in Tottenham, The Arch, where musicians often go to take advantage of cheap rent. Palace formed in 2012 but since their time at The Arch the band had time to not only perfect their masterpiece but to relax; which shows in their music.
Fans of The National and Foals will appreciate Palace’s vulnerable writing and alternative rock/blues sounds. “Break the Silence” begins the album with echoey guitar riffs and then launches the listener into dark sultry rhythms and lyrical cries for open communication. “Holy Smoke” is a slow jam that prompts theological questions and deepens the imagery of the album. Another single that has been released and my personal favorite is “Have Faith”. It’s more upbeat but equally as heartrending. The song creates a gorgeous atmosphere by drawing a line between hope and desperation. These songs stay with you long after they’re played; one listen to their bluesy embrace explains why Palace is very much the band to look forward to in 2017. /- Avery Newmark
Olivia Block – Dissolution (Nov. 11th digital – Nov. 14th physical)
It’s hard to put a finger on Olivia Block’s electro-acoustic music or to know where to begin talking about it even. She utilizes field recordings, found sounds, traditional instruments like flute and clarinet, electronics, etc. to sculpt her sound creations. I became acquainted with her music in an extremely roundabout way last year when she contributed to Chicago experimental metal band Wrekmeister Harmonies’ excellent 2015 album Night of Your Ascension.
While far removed from the world of metal, Block’s music is certainly intense and haunting in its own way though she’s much more likely to perform somewhere like MoogFest or doing a sound installation at an art museum than to perform in a rock club.
“Dissolution B,” the piece you can sample in advance of the album’s release feels familiar and distant at the same time, like the score of some foreign art film heard through your neighbor’s apartment wall on a television playing too loudly.
While sounding nothing like either performer, people that enjoy some of Radiohead’s more abstract moments or who enjoy the intense white noise of some of Ben Frost’s work are likely to enjoy Block’s forward thinking constructions. /- Culture Czar
Pavo Pavo – Young Narrator In The Breakers (Nov. 11th)
Brooklyn experimental pop band Pavo Pavo are set to release their debut record, Young Narrator In The Breakers on November 11th via Bella Union. With 4 songs released ahead of the album, there’s no doubt that this will be one of the best releases in November, and one of the debut albums of the year. The young band is comprised of 5 songwriters, switching between guy/girl lead vocals and harmonies that wrap themselves around the inner workings of your ears, giving each song a unique life of it’s own. Yet with the 5 different songwriters, the band shows a remarkable focus to pull towards the same direction. Young Narrator In The Breakers is one of those dreamy and airy albums that takes the listener out of their reality, only to become one with the band as they explore the magic and panic of adult life. It’s impossible not to get lost in Pavo Pavo. The violin, guitars, bass, and drums all play heavy parts within the band’s debut, but it’s the synthesizers that the band is able to experiment with to give the dreamy soundscapes within. Most of all though, front and center are those vocal harmonies that really stick out. At times, their harmonies almost sound akin to some of the greats of the past, like The Mamas & the Papas, CSNY, The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, yet there is still plenty of modern pop throughout. Mixing the harmonies with the heavy experimental side of the band is what makes this the perfect album as fall transitions to winter, and with just enough heat to take you all the way to spring. /- Mike Gerry
Sports Coach – Beau and His Dreams (Nov. 16th)
The first time listening to Sports Coach it was from the Try & Try & Try & Try release from Citrus City Records — a Richmond based record label. The tape featured a lo-fi dance feel, perfect for the summer days that proceeded. Loops controlled the majority of the songs, and J Thatcher May’s voice is layered subtly above the dance beats. The tape stayed in constant rotation and excited me for what was to come next.
Sports Coach announced their latest effort last month, Beau and His Dreams, set to release November 16th. Immediately this struck to be my most anticipated album for the month of November. That rang true when the first single, “Late Night City Cruising” was released. Sports Coach kept their sound, but there was something new about what was being presented. The means of production seemed to be on a new level; vocals were more clear and percussion was more tight knit. November 16th Beau and His Dreams will release via Step Pepper Records. It is without a doubt going to be an album to watch out for. /- Bryceson Center