The Best Tracks of October 2018 & Monthly Spotify Playlist

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Graphic by Julia Carbone

October at The Alternative was a month dominated by The Fest. We sent a bunch of contributors down to Gainesville for the festivities, and just now the interviews, writeups, and most memorable moment articles are beginning to roll in. It’s going to be a sweet retrospective on all of the incredible music we heard. But October was also another solid month of top notch releases, and below I’ve written a bit about some of our favorites. Take a read and then hop down to the bottom to check out our monthly staff playlist with all those tracks and more.


Probably the most exciting release of the month was the new superband boygenius which is made up of singer/songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. When it comes to young women playing guitars and writing heartfelt songs, there isn’t much better than this trio and combined they were still able to execute their magic. The first 3 singles that were released are the stars of the show, but the back 3 tracks round out the EP into a very solid soulful release in its own right. While all 3 artists are more soulful and calm on their solo projects, they weren’t afraid to rock out when they combined, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Strange Ranger have been one of my absolute favorite rock bands since their intriguing double-LP debut in 2016. Since then, they’ve only backed it up with another EP and a sophomore LP that was one of my favorites of 2017. This month they released a 5 track EP and it’s chock full of more of the same goodness. Hooks, stream of conscious lyrics, and charming guitar leads. Strange Ranger aren’t going to punch you in the face with how good they are, but if you put in the time to listen, you will be thoroughly impressed.

I could really say a lot of the same about Stove, who released a new LP this month that has completely blown me away. Stove is another project from Steve Hartlett (songwriter of Ovlov). While Stove began when Ovlov was on hiatus, they both now are releasing simultaneously and I have to say we are all better off for it. Hartlett knows how to write rock songs that stick to your brain and won’t let go. On ‘s Favorite Friend, Steve’s lyrics breakdown relationships, friendships, toxic callout culture, and more topics that deserve deep thought. Stove’s mellow vibes and grungey sounds make for the perfect soundtrack for those deeper moments, and when the record decides to get more experimental with voice effects and samples, you’re just happy to be along for the ride.

Speaking of experimental rock, Young Jesus pulled out all the stops on their explorational LP. Their jammy rock n roll is either completely improvised or just has that feel. Not afraid of a 3 minute interlude, or a standard hooky ABAB format, there is nothing they won’t try. Usually these are risks that can leave listeners behind, especially in the streaming era, but this release came out the other side a nice piece of brain candy.

October has also been a great month for hiphop releases. Sheck Wes. Lil Wayne, and Freddie Gibbs each gave us a taste of their local variety of rap (New York, Deep South, and Midwest respectively), and the Vince Staples and Metro Boomin albums that hit us in early November added some West Coast and Dirty South sounds to round out our diet. And that is not even to mention all the smaller rap releases that dropped recently. It’s a good time for hip hop, no matter what style you are into.

Sorry I couldn’t write about more, the Fest flu still has me ailing, but there really was a wealth of new music this month. Take a listen to the playlist below and I know for certain you will find some gems you had missed.

Best of the Month Spotify Playlist


Writing by Henderson // @HendoSlice

Playlist curated by Steven Lalonde // @StevenLalonde

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